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Social Anxiety At Church


Kodiak

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Sounds like you may not yet have had cognitive behavioral therapy.  Learning how to thinking in healthy ways can make a huge difference (you no longer absorb the hits so personally, and you no longer give others power, and you think in authentic and not distorted ways, if you have the real stuff --- many claim to provide it.  few actually do.)

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Sorry to resurrect this. But I need advice for social anxiety at church and RS meetings/activities. The only time I would go to them is when it was part of my calling, or a service project.

Last night as I walked my dog, I heard the laughter of a RS get together outside. I felt like a total outsider. My ward is having a lot of young families move in, from many new homes being built.

If I wanted, I could totally hybernate. I took myself off the list to be visited a year or so ago, but I still visit teach. Why do I even care? It's difficult to go when in a FC. Sometimes I want to attend another faith just for the social part, but I'd probably revert to my old social anxiety again. Glad I saw this thread I'll read through for some help.

 

There is only one cure for social anxiety; Become involved.

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There is only one cure for social anxiety; Become involved.

Actually not. If the anxiety is significant, that can make it worse.

Do you have insurance coverage for therapy? If so check local therapists but don't feel obligated to stick with one if you don't feel s/he helps.

If you can't afford therapy, you might try Painfully Shy...I think that is the name or go online and do research for recommendations from actual professionals, not just people pushing their own book.

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Actually not. If the anxiety is significant, that can make it worse.

Do you have insurance coverage for therapy? If so check local therapists but don't feel obligated to stick with one if you don't feel s/he helps.

If you can't afford therapy, you might try Painfully Shy...I think that is the name or go online and do research for recommendations from actual professionals, not just people pushing their own book.

 

Sure there are things that can help. Talk therapy, and if necessary drug support. But all those just ease the discomfort of that getting involved.

 

My DSM says what I can charge for in my practice.;)  If at any time the client is not comfortable with the therapist ask for a second opinion or change in therapist.

 

Most therapists that I know of have a sliding scale for those clients who need the help but can't afford it.

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I just know for some telling them to get involved, which is exactly what they went out and did, gritting their teeth, was a recipe for disaster. They needed to learn new coping strategies and ways of thinking beforehand, not after the problem increased by having the fears proven true.

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I just know for some telling them to get involved, which is exactly what they went out and did, gritting their teeth, was a recipe for disaster. They needed to learn new coping strategies and ways of thinking beforehand, not after the problem increased by having the fears proven true.

I have at many times wished I'd not gone to RS Meetings or in the past what would be called "Homemaking" meetings.  I'd push myself to get there every time.  Wish I wasn't this way.  I'd always think I'd find someone like me that looked out of place or uncomfortable and try to befriend them, but inevitably I'd say or do something that would embarrass myself, with no relief in sight.  I've now got to just accept that I'm an odd duck, and I don't relate well to most LDS women.  But have tried for so many years I can't count.  I don't know why I freeze up around them.  It's nothing they do.    

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Sounds like you may not yet have had cognitive behavioral therapy.  Learning how to thinking in healthy ways can make a huge difference (you no longer absorb the hits so personally, and you no longer give others power, and you think in authentic and not distorted ways, if you have the real stuff --- many claim to provide it.  few actually do.)

 

 

Actually not. If the anxiety is significant, that can make it worse.

Do you have insurance coverage for therapy? If so check local therapists but don't feel obligated to stick with one if you don't feel s/he helps.

If you can't afford therapy, you might try Painfully Shy...I think that is the name or go online and do research for recommendations from actual professionals, not just people pushing their own book.

Will do as both of you have suggested, thanks for taking time for a brat like me!  I've never heard of Painfully Shy, or have never thought of cog behavioral therapy, maybe I have a few good years left and will be able to put these ideas to use.   

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I have at many times wished I'd not gone to RS Meetings or in the past what would be called "Homemaking" meetings.  I'd push myself to get there every time.  Wish I wasn't this way.  I'd always think I'd find someone like me that looked out of place or uncomfortable and try to befriend them, but inevitably I'd say or do something that would embarrass myself, with no relief in sight.  I've now got to just accept that I'm an odd duck, and I don't relate well to most LDS women.  But have tried for so many years I can't count.  I don't know why I freeze up around them.  It's nothing they do.

No, you don't have to accept that if you don't want to. You can seek out help in change your ways of thinking, whether that means you are more comfortable with not being social or more comfortable with being social or both (which is where I am at now) is up to you.
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Will do as both of you have suggested, thanks for taking time for a brat like me!  I've never heard of Painfully Shy, or have never thought of cog behavioral therapy, maybe I have a few good years left and will be able to put these ideas to use.

It is a book, I forgot to mention that. It is several years old so there may be something better out there. Check around and if you find something you want an opinion of let me know. I can also ask my daughters therapist to recommend someone in your area, she has been remarkable for us. Daughter was trying things she hadn't attempted for years.
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It's rough, man. Tao and I are both mildly autistic. It's not quite the same, but in a small way we get it.

He decloaks!  Good to "cyber-see" you, my friend.  :)

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They found a spot for me as a Stake Clerk.

 

 

Part of the problem may be that you look at the callings they "find" for you as less than important.  I have served in many callings in the Church including Stake Clerk.  I have never looked at any as being a "project" calling and found them all to be challenging and fulfilling.  You seem to be aware that you have some limitations and what they are.  When called to serve honestly evaluate whether it is beyond your present abilities.  Don't sell yourself short.  With Gods help you can accomplish more than you think you can.  Be the best you can be and please don't worry about what others might say.

 

May God bless your efforts.

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No, you don't have to accept that if you don't want to. You can seek out help in change your ways of thinking, whether that means you are more comfortable with not being social or more comfortable with being social or both (which is where I am at now) is up to you.

 

I have some mild social anxiety and I've had to do both of these -- use CBT to address the irrational assumptions and accept that it's okay to be very introverted.  I have a tendency to isolate myself so I try to stay involved in small group Bible studies and have a regular prayer partner.  That helps me to have regular social contact without having to make a lot of effort to set it up. My current prayer partner has social anxiety too, to the point where she didn't want to attend the churchwide women's Bible study we have each summer, but she is okay in smaller groups or one-on-one.

 

I have at many times wished I'd not gone to RS Meetings or in the past what would be called "Homemaking" meetings.  I'd push myself to get there every time.  Wish I wasn't this way.  I'd always think I'd find someone like me that looked out of place or uncomfortable and try to befriend them, but inevitably I'd say or do something that would embarrass myself, with no relief in sight.  I've now got to just accept that I'm an odd duck, and I don't relate well to most LDS women.  But have tried for so many years I can't count.  I don't know why I freeze up around them.  It's nothing they do.

I have a somewhat similar feeling of not quite fitting in with other women, especially since I'm not a typical female (I'm an INTJ, for one). I have this stereotype of what a Christian woman is in my area -- homeschools four kids, is confident and friendly and outgoing, etc. -- and that's totally not me.

It's possible that at least some of the women you talked to liked you and didn't think you were as odd as you felt you were. When I interact in groups I tend to wake up in the middle of the night panicked that everyone thinks I'm stupid or rude or something, especially if I talk more than I usually do; but on the other hand, several people have said they wished I would talk more.

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I have some mild social anxiety and I've had to do both of these -- use CBT to address the irrational assumptions and accept that it's okay to be very introverted.  I have a tendency to isolate myself so I try to stay involved in small group Bible studies and have a regular prayer partner.  That helps me to have regular social contact without having to make a lot of effort to set it up. My current prayer partner has social anxiety too, to the point where she didn't want to attend the churchwide women's Bible study we have each summer, but she is okay in smaller groups or one-on-one.

 

I have a somewhat similar feeling of not quite fitting in with other women, especially since I'm not a typical female (I'm an INTJ, for one). I have this stereotype of what a Christian woman is in my area -- homeschools four kids, is confident and friendly and outgoing, etc. -- and that's totally not me.

It's possible that at least some of the women you talked to liked you and didn't think you were as odd as you felt you were. When I interact in groups I tend to wake up in the middle of the night panicked that everyone thinks I'm stupid or rude or something, especially if I talk more than I usually do; but on the other hand, several people have said they wished I would talk more.

I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with the initials INTJ. Your bible study group sounds phenomenal, I'd love something like that.  And a prayer partner?  What religion do you belong to if you don't mind me asking? 

 

I tend to think that some women in my ward are at a different place in life than I and who among them would or are, ever on a board like this?  I have zero in common for the most part.  When I do talk, it's them talking and me just being a good listener.  So for them, kind of boring I guess.  Once in a while I'll connect with someone in conversation and that's nice when it happens, but it rarely does.  For one, I was at one time inactive during HS and hung with a wild crowd, not terrible, but not really doing church things etc.  So right there I'm feeling like I don't relate. 

 

One RS Meeting I went to they played the game of writing down the most embarrassing thing you've done.  Well I was just a little embarrassed that I put what I did and it was read aloud and people guess whose belongs to whom, things like that. 

 

Or "Super Saturdays", or "Souper" Saturdays (we ate soup), that's when they get together and make crafts once a year.  I'd sign up for several projects to make for gifts or for the home, and I'd usually be the last one there trying to finish them up, not feeling myself enough or calm enough to do the project right and always taking them home unfinished and feeling little panic attacks while there.  I did this year after year, can't believe it. 

 

Anyway, thanks for your comment Kind Debater, you've been very kind ;) and it helped a lot!  :)    

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I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with the initials INTJ. Your bible study group sounds phenomenal, I'd love something like that.  And a prayer partner?  What religion do you belong to if you don't mind me asking? 

 

I tend to think that some women in my ward are at a different place in life than I and who among them would or are, ever on a board like this?  I have zero in common for the most part.  When I do talk, it's them talking and me just being a good listener.  So for them, kind of boring I guess.  Once in a while I'll connect with someone in conversation and that's nice when it happens, but it rarely does.  For one, I was at one time inactive during HS and hung with a wild crowd, not terrible, but not really doing church things etc.  So right there I'm feeling like I don't relate. 

 

One RS Meeting I went to they played the game of writing down the most embarrassing thing you've done.  Well I was just a little embarrassed that I put what I did and it was read aloud and people guess whose belongs to whom, things like that. 

 

Or "Super Saturdays", or "Souper" Saturdays (we ate soup), that's when they get together and make crafts once a year.  I'd sign up for several projects to make for gifts or for the home, and I'd usually be the last one there trying to finish them up, not feeling myself enough or calm enough to do the project right and always taking them home unfinished and feeling little panic attacks while there.  I did this year after year, can't believe it. 

 

Anyway, thanks for your comment Kind Debater, you've been very kind ;) and it helped a lot!  :)

Sounds so familiar...only I stopped early on, didn't last year after year.

Online interaction provides such a perfect outlet for people like us.

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Sounds so familiar...only I stopped early on, didn't last year after year.

Online interaction provides such a perfect outlet for people like us.

You're so right, I'll bet if I were to meet you in person I'd probably worry you'd be disappointed in the real me and probably duck out of the room.

One time an old friend from HS was in town and wanted to visit me at my home, it was after I married and had young children. I don't know if I was embarrassed about my home or my looks or just felt insecure, but gave her a lame excuse as to why I couldn't see her that day. Things like this happen all the time.

Btw, thanks for the deciphering of those initials, I've never taken the test. I"ll have to check it out and take it.

Edited by Tacenda
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I avoid those situations so as not to make those excuses. Especially since old friends (only had one good friend growing up, we wrote a book together or tried to) would not understand how I got to where I am because of health issues and I would wonder if they saw me as a failure (I was going to be a research scientist but only managed my BS) and that would be unbearable.

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My daughter has severe social anxiety to the point where she can't attend church at all. Even the thought of it and other activities set it off. I have taken on the role of being the one to thank others for their efforts on her behalf but refuse to participate. It gets really old after awhile. I can imagine what it is like to want to be a part of things, contribute but not be able to handle it and then have people treat you differently. My daughter comes by her anxiety honestly as both I and some members of my husband's family have it, though none as bad as her. She has other complicating factors (diabetes, thyroid disease, and a sleep/movement disorder that mimics anxiety) all of which magnify her difficulty and that prevents medications from being useful for her. We have finally be able to get the diabetes and thyroid diseases under control enough that we have hopes that her anxiety levels are going down over all (she reports this) so that she will soon develop a strong enough desire to escape the trap that her severe and almost constant episodes created for her, but it is an effort we look at with little steps taking months to happen and feel it is a success for just getting through a week without me being waken up at night having to comfort her because this shows she is controlling it, not it her.

It is not an easy life especially since there is nothing to point to physically and people associate severe anxiety with the mild, natural everyday variety that they get when facing a test or meeting new people but it is most definitely not the same and definitely not just much worse. One cannot just grit one's teeth and work through it, or even just slowly adapting and getting used to it. It takes special ways of learning step by step how to change one's thought processes and how to control one's physical responses and this can be different for different people.

The only way I've been able to deal with it (both my own and working with the more severe disorder my daughter has) is to pray to the Lord and leave it in his hands. He has blessed me with peace and the knowledge that when she is ready, she will be able to take the steps to deal with it in the best way possible for her. The Lord is the best source of help in this situation, imo, but getting therapy if possible can aid in acceptance and stability and figuring out what is possible and what limits one should accept. I have also found that with any health problem (I have many inherited from my parents which I have unfortunately passed on to my daughter so I've wanted to learn as much as possible for both of us) the best thing one can do for oneself is to educate oneself as much as possible on the subject. Thankfully with the Internet there is a wide range of support features out there.

There are those out there who have it...quite a few according to reports of friends and family, but they are usually the last ones who are comfortable enough to talk about it so I can see why you might feel like you are the only one out there. It is an wicked disorder where the very ill that you need to be treated for is the ill that keeps you from asking for help or making use of it when you need it.

If you can make it work at work, just try to have enough confidence that it will come together at church too eventually and keep working at it. You will not be happier if you give up and stay home even if you are more comfortable speaking from experience, not in the long run. Nothing wrong with taking a bit of space to recharge and reassess and plan, just don't let it slip into excuses for avoidance. That is a habit that is extremely hard to break.

Why do people push at him and your child, I just don't understand why there is this need by the larger church to expect that everyone is the same and not see the damage done to a person when you expect things that fall way outside their capabilities.  No one has a problem with accepting that some people will never be able to do calculus or algebra why is there this problem with understanding that "social skills" are in the same category as math or any other skill set?  It seems cruel, there is a difference in challenging people to expand their capabilities and pushing someone where they have no talent what so ever.

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I wonder if Bill Gates worries that other people think he's a looser ?

Did Mother Teresa spend time stressing over how effective she was?

Does Michael Phelps concern himself with his body image?

These folks are humans and so I suspect the answer to each query would be .. Yes. A hard lesson to learn is that you are unique --- just like everybody else. At my age I am slowly coming to focus on the motto that " what other people think of me is none of my business ". Shaking that desire to please/ impress is tough though.

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It is the older generation (don't see it as church related) that seem to think that if one grits their teeth they can do anything. My dad's would say if you want something bad enough, you can get it....well he could, but he was strong, healthy, very good looking and outgoing and male in a time that made a difference. So he just saw his children as being lazy when things didnt work out for us...or worse we loved our comfort too much.

Church members now are bending over backwards to try and help out in anyway. We could ask for some pretty extravagant stuff and they would probably agree to it they want so badly to help...but we won't. :)

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Reading through this thread made me so sad.

 

My question is, are these types of disorders of relatively recent origins , at least to the percentage of the population that are experiencing them? Cal, are you aware of any research done that points at factors such as environment, genetics , societal?

My guess would be that advances -- in medical care, psychology, and even the internet -- have allowed more people to determine what is happening to them and to interact better with 'normal people'.

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Cal, I re-read the post about your daughter and saw that she had thyroid disease, I've been diagnosed with thyroid problems and read that it causes anxiety. Maybe I've had it for many years. It's just gotten worse, especially with my fear of driving on certain highways.

I've never really been good at getting well care doctor's visits with blood work. It's only this past year that I remember getting full blood work done. It made me feel somewhat better knowing there is maybe a reason for my severe anxiety. Sounds like that's the case for you, your daughter and everyone else that have these issues.

There are a lot of things that can go haywire in our bodies, it's amazing the cells, and nerves in our bodies, and chemicals that pass through them do as well as they do. Thank goodness for modern medicine and therapy. I think the more it gets out that a person has actual physical reactions they aren't doing on their own, maybe people might get it through their heads.

I pray for your daughter to get that help she needs, and God bless you for being the support you are, despite all you're dealing with.

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