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Day 5 Looking back at childhood

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by itsallinurhead, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. itsallinurhead

    itsallinurhead New Member

    Looking back at my childhood, I think social anxiety issues are a major factor in some potential traumatizing experiences. There isn't any one particular event that is jumping out at me right now, but my entire childhood, more or less through high school, was filled with social fear and anxiety.

    All this stems from my personality. I am extremely introverted and potentially a high functioning autistic, although I have never pursued a diagnosis. In general, I actually like my personality a lot, to the point where I've had to work a lot on vanity issues. The problem is that in social settings I have basically no idea what to do with myself. There will be groups of people hanging out, talking, etc and I will have no idea how interject myself into a conversation, join a group without being awkward, etc. Social interactions that other people know how to navigation subconsciously, I just don't seem to have the programming for. This is not to say that I can't socialize, or that I don't like to socialize. On a basic level I crave human interaction just everyone else.

    The pattern that began in childhood and has been causing me problems ever since is that I will be in a social setting with at least a moderately large number of people. Everyone will be going about their social business, and I just won't know what to do. Then I will start to get scared that other people can see that I'm behaving awkwardly. This leads to even more anxious, awkward behavior, which leads to more people noticing, which leads to greater alienation from the group. It's a vicious cycle.

    The main ways I have coped with this throughout my life have been compulsive eating and drinking. At social settings there is frequently food out and when I feel my anxiety get activated my reaction is to use eating as a way to distract myself. Instead of feeling the anxiety I just take one bite after another and bask in the taste sensation. It's pretty much the same pattern with drinking and I've had a binge drinking problem ever since I started. I quit a couple months ago, but that could be a post entirely to itself.

    When I hit my late 20s, back, knee, and neck pain, as well as a host of other mind-body symptoms started showing up. Over the past couple years I have also started a daily meditation practice that has provided a lot of insight into these issues. I've got a lot of work left to do, but I feel like I am finally beginning to understand myself, forgive myself for the problems I've had in the past, and to start to love completely.
     
  2. wintermute

    wintermute New Member

    It's as if I'm reading a description of myself.

    Thing is, you probably do have the programming that allows you to easily blend in new groups just like the others, it's just anxiety that's holding you back. Too much conscious thinking about it instead of simply doing it. After just a few of these occasions it will already become a pattern to be awkward about it and then it's hard to reverse.

    After many years of feeling socially handicapped in gatherings I kind of stopped caring about it. I still can't join a group conversation without generating at least some weird looks, but most of the times it doesn't really bother me anymore. When I first made contact with my wife, she even noticed me in a crowd because everyone was talking in little groups having clich├ęd conversations and I was sitting on a stack of chairs by myself looking bored.
     

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