Social Awkwardness revisited

I’m attempting to overcome social awkwardness but it’s something that I’m still dealing with. I’ve renamed it “social anxiety.” I mentioned it to my diagnosis to my doctor — OK, I admit — hoping for medication. You know what he prescribed?

CBT. (sigh) I was hoping for dulled emotions.

When I took Lexapro, my emotions were so dulled that I didn’t care much about anything. It was frustrating but within my fogginess, it was freeing to not worry about what people thought of me. Unfortunately, Lamictal doesn’t have that effect on me. So while my mixed-mood, manic, and depressive episodes are under control, my anxieties about social situations persist. I’m still paralyzed by what occurred at my last job.

I struggle with a variety of things:

  1. If others are speaking in hushed voices, I worry that they’re talking about me.
  2. When I don’t get invited to events, I think they’re purposely excluding me.
  3. If I respond to mass emails at work, I wonder whether they start shooting emails to each other behind my back, talking about how much of a loser I am.
  4. In the midst of a conversation, I wonder if my thoughts are coherent and if they understood what I was trying to say in the midst of my stutter. (I only have mild stuttering around people I don’t know or am not comfortable with. Selective stutterism?)
  5. If I’m in a conversation with acquaintances and mention something that I have heard or know of, I worry that they think I’m a “know-it-all.”
  6. Because I often walk with my head down and a serious look on my face, people probably think I’m weird.
  7. Because I have occasional bursts of talkativeness but seem mostly quiet, my coworkers probably think I’m odd. (I’m only gregarious with people I know or am comfortable with.)
  8. If I say something, I immediately wonder if it was a stupid thing to say.
  9. I’m not that interesting so there’s no point in talking to other people. (How egocentric.)
  10. There’s no sense in inviting people to lunch  because that would give me the potential to humiliate myself and get them to dislike me. (Once again, narcissistic.)

I’m likely no different than the majority of people. The difference between those who struggle with social awkwardness and other people is how these situations are handled.

I came across a post from The Simple Dollar on Seven Ways to Overcome Social Awkwardness. Fear holds me back from actually employing these things (something else I need to work on), but let me know if any of those principles actually work for you.

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6 Comments

  1. August 1, 2008 at 9:39 am

    I’d invite you to lunch, to go for a walk, or anything just to be with you.
    I’m in the same predicament with the social awkwardness. I know exactly how you feel, dear, and it isn’t fun.

  2. Gianna said,

    August 1, 2008 at 10:43 am

    hi Marissa,
    yeah i have a lot of those problems too…though they vary based on circumstance, environment and situation…
    I just live with it..and it never mattered how medicated I was…I’ve always dealt with these insecurities…
    and that is how I consider them…insecurity…lack of confidence..that’s all.

  3. August 2, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    I just read through your list and was nodding my head at just about every one-so you are definitely not alone with feeling these ways. I did kind of enjoy the list of how to overcome s.a. Sounds fairly reasonable and I might actually try them out.

  4. Tamara said,

    August 2, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    I can so relate to how you feel. I had overcome it for a while and then I had a new round of memories that pretty much floored me and all my anxiety came back. My doc gave me ativan which really doesn’t help all that much and it is just one more drug I would have to withdraw from so I am hesitant to take it. I mainly just stay a recluse in my house (which I love). I really think that maybe I just don’t do well with a lot of friends anyway because I tend to get so overwhelmed and feel like I am letting them down. GGGGRRRRR!!!
    Now I’m annoyed at myself because I can’t just shake it off and be “normal”!

  5. K said,

    August 4, 2008 at 6:38 am

    You are no more akward than all the rest of us poor humans trying to make it through each day 🙂 I think everyone feels really akward on certain days. I know I do.
    Thanks for your help with moving the other night – and thanks for brining the waters over too.

  6. Marissa said,

    August 4, 2008 at 11:51 am

    SilverNeurotic ~ I’m slowly breaking out of my shell but it’s tough. We can try it together! lol
    Tamara – When I suffer from extreme (and I mean EXTREME) panic attacks, Ativan doesn’t do a THING for me. I threw it away. I didn’t want to become dependent on it. I like being a recluse too. Sometimes I like getting out of the house but I prefer to be in my apartment alone or with my husband. I also struggle with disappointing people all around me. I think that also contributes to my suicidal thoughts. Caring too much about what other people think of me.
    K – Yeah, I guess. But I think some people freak out about it more than the average person. Especially those who forget who their worth comes from. 🙂
    No problem. It’s not over! Enjoy camp this week.


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