Unmanageable anxiety

Discussion in 'Social Advice' started by Zooloo, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. Zooloo

    Zooloo New Member

    I thought I would gradually overcome this hurdle, but I'm finding it just as tough if not more challenging to ignore the anxiety that overwhelms me each time I want to initiate anything socially.

    Yesterday I was going to a party, which actually made it the third day in a row going out for a good time (something unheard of for me), yet I was almost paralysed with a mixture of fear, anxiety, and I was reconsidering what I was doing every minute or so. I took my bike out to go to a friend's house, where the party was taking place, but since I had never been there before I had to ask for directions. He didn't respond to my first message, but I didn't insist, even after several hours without a response. Instead, I spent near to 2 hours brooding on my bicycle and stopping here and there to sit down and try to relax. I literally stared into my phone for 20 minutes before finally calling up this female friend who was going to the party as well (and actually was supposed to be the only other person I knew at the party). I wrote and erased dozens of texts, prepared to ring her up scores of times, before faltering. But this wasn't some kind of State of the Union address I was preparing! Anyway, once initiated everything is of course simpler.
    We talk for a minute. She tells me to phone up the party host, and sure enough he answers, we chat, and not long after I arrive at his house.

    I've been trying to heed the advice people on these forums have been giving regarding willpower: instead of concentrating all your efforts on avoiding x or y, concentrate your willpower on doing z (like going to a party) even if it freaks you out and takes you out of your comfort zone.
    But regardless of this, regardless of the fact I knew I could enjoy myself, should take advantage of this kind of event to hone my pathetic social skills and patiently heal my porn-induced weaknesses, I could easily have said:
    -- Fuck it, I'll just go home and relax.

    The worst part is seeing so plainly how, once in the groove of things, such spineless behaviour seems pathetic and irrational, yet each time I find myself repeating the same mistakes, falling into the same psychological traps.
    Somehow I just don't really think the porn has all that much to do with this, so I feel almost hopeless to cure it.
     
  2. FritzBrause

    FritzBrause “You dogs, do you want to live for ever?”

    I was where you were at too once.
    I used to think about topics to talk about before going to parties.

    There isn't really much you can do except to keep going until you
    can feel comfortable doing this.
     
  3. hogus

    hogus Active Member

    Exposure is definitely the best cure.

    But it's not always practical when your anxiety is debilitating. You didn't give too much away about how deep it went (aside from just saying that it did) but you should consider therapy or pharmacological options.
     
  4. Zooloo

    Zooloo New Member

    It's interesting that you mentioned pharmacological options, because I did actually resort to a kind of pharmaceutical substance (but not the kind you can find in the drug store). Needless to say I felt guilty doing it, especially since the day before I had been to a music festival so I took some there as well, and this isn't the kind of drug you're supposed to be tripping on regularly.

    The root of this anxiety may have something to do with my passive-submissive social behaviour. I've always been the guy who goes to parties or follows others for a night out (or just not go), never the one who organises them or proposes to go have a drink. It's like I'm afraid of the rejection, afraid of being judged, and worse still if it's a woman I'm terrified she'll think I'm becoming obsessive and annoying.
     
  5. hogus

    hogus Active Member

    That's why exposure and therapy tends to work better (but if with a lower success rate) than drugs. You directly target the cause of your anxiety. Submissive social behaviour has become a normal part of your socializing and you just don't know any different. You could target it purely pharmacologically but you'd just get confused psychologically.

    You could also try something like GLL's approach anxiety program. It has a pretty specific aim but it really gets you into the mindset that what you say/do matters more to you than what she says/does. Look it up but the site is quite triggering so make sure you turn images off in your browser settings!!
     
  6. pimpetry

    pimpetry Have more fun!

    Read the book called You are not your brain by Jeffry Schwartz. It's going to help you to understand and change your behaviours.
     
  7. Zooloo

    Zooloo New Member

    Hehe, good looking loser? Yea, it looks like another of those pick-up artist sites. I've already been reading up on one, so I leave this one alone for the time being ;)
    That book could be interesting. No doubt a good read to keep me away from the computer over the next week.
     
  8. hogus

    hogus Active Member

    It is a bit. But where PUA fails (amongst others) is the basics. They summarize the entire beginning into "do a hundred approaches" - like that works. Say you got a hundred rejections...
    You literally start with asking girls the time and move up really slowly. You build on repeated success.
     
  9. KanagawaWave

    KanagawaWave Switch

    Yup, reminds me a lot of this program I found called Monster Confidence. It is built along the same lines, start by asking girls the time a few times a day, then ask for another favor, etc. and builds on itself. It also uses neurolinguistic programming (not sure if that's baloney or not), but also includes some meditations that focus on improving your self-image. I think it's a really good option for those that are anxiety-prone (like myself), since meditation practice by itself has been shown to reduce activity in the amygdala, where a lot of anxiety stems from. I'm going to start it in a few weeks once school starts back up.
     
  10. stretcher

    stretcher New Member

    I've tried everything pharmacological for that social confidence boost and none of it works. Legal stuff: celexa, lamictal, lithium, Wellbutrin, and others. It won't help you. Illegal stuff: coke, MDMA, bath salts. Not only will that stuff not help you, it will feed on your insecurities and make them worse. None of it will help you. There is no substitute for undergoing the pain of real life, with its stresses and failures. All you can do is keep putting yourself in those situations.
     
  11. winniethepooh

    winniethepooh New Member

    yeah, drugs only make things waaaaay worse. Because your behavior is pretty much impossible to change overnight, so then you'll be thinking "shit, even with coke and I still felt anxious, imagine without..."

    Drugs just add another layer of dependence, while the real goal is to progressively become independent of thinking about what other people think of you, which generates an enormous positive feedback and mental chatter that incapacitates normal behavior.
     
  12. stretcher

    stretcher New Member

    Like a friend of mine once said, "Don't go thinking this shit's going to get you laid. If you don't have game without ecstasy, you won't have game with it."
     
  13. hogus

    hogus Active Member

    I've actually had good experiences with G, anxiety and girls. I guess everyone responds differently, possibly because of the reasons for their anxiety.
     
  14. winniethepooh

    winniethepooh New Member

    haha I remember one time that I wanted to push sexual escalation with a girl I was hitting on a club, so I went to the toilet to sniff some coke and take some 'courage'. Well, I'll only say this: a big douchebag entered that door, a bigger one came out LOL

    Drugs only amplify your current state of mind. If you get high while feeling like shit, it's no wonder that the high is going to be shitty squared LMAO
     
  15. stretcher

    stretcher New Member

    Ha, so true. I was rolling at some sleazy afterhours club, trying to talk to a girl who was way out of my league. She was a 9 or so, and rolling as well. The conversation wasn't all that great, mostly on my part, so in my heightened state I thought, "Shit, I'm rolling, she's rolling, I got nothing to lose. Just kiss her and see if she goes for it." So I kissed her at some point where it *totally* wasn't called for (lol), and she just sat there, not moving her head, lips, or anything. When I pulled back, she was just looking at me like, "I let you get away with that because I'm rolling and don't care, but give me a break."

    So sad. lol
     
  16. KanagawaWave

    KanagawaWave Switch

    That's interesting to hear that none of those worked for you...not even a little? MDMA completely annihilates any shyness or fear of talking to new people, it's pretty remarkable. Obviously not a long-term treatment in any sense, and I very rarely partake, but it allowed me to see that that social, uninhibited person is in me somewhere, even if it takes a massive release of serotonin/dopamine to force him out. Now I'm on a Rx anti-anxiety med, and I feel that using pharmacological options in combination with CBT or some other treatment that aims at transforming the negative thought patterns is ideal for anxiety, especially social. Obviously some real world experience is essential too.
     
  17. stretcher

    stretcher New Member

    Nope, not even a little. All mdma did was make me more upfront with people about insecurities that I'd normally keep to myself. Not a good thing.
     
  18. KanagawaWave

    KanagawaWave Switch

    It's interesting you say that. I was thinking recently about my past interactions with girls I had just met, and I realized that for some reason I always get on the topic of my own problems/insecurities. As though I naturally thought that being more open would help develop more trust between us? And it did, while also almost always destroying any potential attraction on her side in the process. Now I'm learning to become a lot more closed off about my own issues, going more for that "aloof/mysterious" vibe, at the very least not being an open book anymore. Sorry to hijack the thread.
     
  19. KanagawaWave

    KanagawaWave Switch

    And Zooloo, not sure how old you are, but if you've been watching porn since your teens or earlier, you've got to remember that it takes a long time to rewire all that brain change you caused to yourself. I'm basically in the same boat (nearly the same time porn-free, working on MO now), and almost feel like I haven't been improving that much lately, although I definitely go out more. It just takes patience and resilience, with constant reminder of why you're going through this in the first place. I'll be checking in on your journal since we're around the same number of days 8)
     
  20. stretcher

    stretcher New Member

    Yeah, same here. Who knows, maybe long years spent on forums talking about one's problems habituates one to talking that way irl? I'm also finding that other people don't like hearing about my efforts at self-improvement either. Or my latest realizations about myself and/or social dynamics or whatnot. There's an element of neediness in it, like I'm trying to bond with people before it's appropriate. I know how I feel when other people have tried it with me, so I really should know better.
     

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