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Social anxiety and one other thing

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by dabatross, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    Hey everybody,

    I learned last Thursday that I had to go to a dinner tomorrow for work that would be at a university and would require being in a social environment with a crowd of people. I dont know if this is coincidence or not but since last Thursday my pain levels have gone up. I didn't change anything at work but these kind of things make me nervous because I have social anxiety. Since I take medicines like paxil and klonopin I dont feel much of that anxiety thank god but I do believe that I get increase pain from it. Im sure social anxiety can increase MBS symptoms like other anxiety can as well. The problem is Im not really sure how to deal with the social anxiety situation. This happens at family get togethers, my dads house, pretty much anywhere where i feel self conscious of what I say and I feel that people are paying attention to me. I tried looking on the wiki for information related to social anxiety and stress relief but didn't find much.

    The odd thing is that its not like im thinking about this 24/7 conciously but I think unconsciously Im fearing the event coming up and i get increased pain levels from it until the event ends and then it goes back down again (kind of like a flare up). Whenever I get flare ups for a couple days I get those feelings again of going back into my old ways I wrote a post about this before. I dont know if any of you have this problem too when you have worse pain days where your mind starts going back to old habits of thinking about physical stuff.

    I appreciate any advice you guys have relating to dealing with social anxiety and MBS symptoms.


  2. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Alex,

    It sounds like you are able to take anti-anxiety medication and feel less anxious but then you get pain instead?--maybe that's a type of symptom substitution? I sometimes notice I alternate between pain and anxiety.

    Two of my favorite anxiety books: Hope and Help for your Nerves (Claire Weekes) and Panic & Anxiety Workbook.

    Take care,
  3. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    Yes. And I have to catch myself doing that and redirect my thinking to psychological concerns instead. It's a little bit of a battle, but persistence pays off.
  4. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    it would seem like symptom substitution but its not i started taking the paxil and klonopin a year and a couple months after i began getting symptoms so i dont think it was a trade off. yeah when you have bad days those are the hardest to battle because you have to keep redirecting your thinking to psychological instead of jumping back into old habits that you know weren't working. i think its just being told so many times that pain is caused only by physical reasons that it gets ingrained in peoples minds and you have to put a significant amount of conscious effort to overcome that.
    Enrique likes this.
  5. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Anxiety and pain are pretty connected for me too. So how was the dinner (if you want to share)?
  6. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    the dinner was alright its not my type of thing there was a lot of people though and my anxiety levels were high so my pain was up the whole time. made me really nervous being in a room full of strangers like that. i was reading more of dissolving pain and read a part about how anxiety has a great effect on pain and can exacerbate it which i dont doubt at all. before i found out i had to go to this meeting, a couple weeks ago i was having a few good days here and there but since then ive been struggling. its been difficult
  7. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    one other question i had is that have you guys ever had pain linger after a stressful experience like i discussed above? i noticed that after stressful things like this it takes a while for my system to calm down it seems like for symptoms to return to where they were before. maybe its because my nervous system got a spike of stress hormones and needs a while for them to dissipate
  8. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    yes, this happens to me too. I think it can take a while for me to come down off of stress. One thing that helps me--if I know I'm going to have a lot going on one day, I try to keep the next day light so I can rest a little.
  9. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Hi Alex:

    I disagree with one of your statements above. Like Veronica asked "is it a trade off?" I would have to say yes. You may have started showing symptoms of your anxiety after your pain, but the two are related.

    I was diagonsed later in my life with GAD. But that is when the symptoms became too much - so I was put on medication. The pain started too within a year or so of my GAD being out of control. I have a lot of pressure in my life.

    I'm absolutely convinced that if I learn to manage my GAD symptoms better, my remaining pain will go away. I do this with meditation, down time, and trying not to get that tape of worry going in my head which ultimately leads to pain.

    Social anxiety is a bit different than what I have. Check your writing and see if you had this when you were younger. My belief is that the body first starts with anxiety to those of us pre-disposed to it as a warning sign. Then when we still won't change our thinking and or environment, then pain will set up camp and refuse to leave until we do something.

    I'd be curious to know how far back your social anxiety goes, or when it started.

  10. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    Hi Beach Girl,

    These are really interesting insights I haven't thought about. Im diagnosed with GAD and OCD I've had them since I was about 7 so around 18 years. I do get social anxiety too but the main component is GAD. I had a really bad bout of anxiety when I was in 6th grade that lasted around six months. I progressively got worse.. i started out that I was scared to go to school. Then eventually I stopped talking altogether, laughing, hanging out with any friends, etc. I dont remember why I stopped talking and laughing but I went to various psychologists, got on medication for it that wasn't helping, and around that 6 month mark I was whispering to my dad (the only people I would talk to were my immediate family members but I would whisper) and my dad was actually the one that got me to snap out of it. He was frustrated because he wanted to hear me talk and hadn't in months and wanted me to finally break out of this problem and that day I started getting better it was weird. So yeah I have a long history of anxiety/GAD/OCD problems they have shifted over the years to different things. I didn't think about the pain replacing the anxiety though what do you think is going on with that?

    I really think anxiety/stressful events for me now translate into more eyestrain. Somehow the two got interconnected and when I fear something and have anxiety about it, I eventually get heightened levels of symptoms. I dont know how they connect so I would appreciate any insight you have on that. Right now Im taking paxil and klonopin to help manage GAD and OCD i take lower doses of them. You said that the body first starts with anxiety as a warning sign and then pain ensuses if we dont change our thinking. Im not sure what I need to change though do you have any direction on this?

    One other thing that I wanted to mention that I think is important is that after that 6 month anxiety problem in 1998 I didn't have any other issues I can remember untiil 2005. When I got the job at Fedex in 2005, sometime during the first month of working there I was in the back of a truck and it was dark, I felt isolated, and I got scared. It was the same feeling I got in 6th grade of fear/anxiety/ heart drop where you're fearful but dont know why. I kind of freaked out about it that was one other thing in 6th grade was if my classroom was dark and dingy it would make my anxiety levels rise I felt isolated. So i dont know for sure if these feelings of anxiety are correlated with the pain or not, but around that time at Fedex I started experiencing the chronic foot pain that I get when I walk around for a while or stand for a while that I still have to this day.
  11. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Bingo. GAD is what I have too. And I'm finding this is my block, so to speak in getting totally healthy.

    I too had horrible GAD in school. I was smart. So I was put ahead in my grade. I started first grade at age 5 - something my parents were really proud of. But I wasn't ready emotionally to start school. I cried all the time and wasn't interested in being there until my teachers figured out I was smart and would engage me in helping other kids learn to read. Meanwhile, my parents didn't have a clue what to do, so they just berated me for not wanting to go to school. Well mostly my mom.

    How do I think the pain relates to this? We WORRY all the time. Our self talk is full of low self esteem (due to early experiences) and when we hit adult hood, the nervous system is really tired of being on high alert all the time. I was drawn to places and people who needed me - keeping me on high alert. Pretty soon the body says "ENOUGH" - because it's not a "natural state" and produces pain to help us get the message. This is my own opinion btw since I've read so much on both GAD and TMS and can see the correlation in myself.

    Well meditation does help. It brings down the whole mind into a slower way of thinking overall. It shows us as "things float by" that we have little to fear and helps us get out of the constant "fight or flight" mode we're in. I admit that I should do this more often as I'm in a "stuck" place myself. But I am starting to call myself on it. Like when I worry about my day first thing in the morning. I should be in the moment, enjoying the beautiful morning. So I switch my thinking. It's not easy. At all.

    You do know why! You talk about it here. Being in the back of that truck triggered feelings of 6th grade again and how that made you feel. I own a business and know how much pressure FedEx driver's are under. I would imagine you wanted to do the best job you could when suddenly - your GAD hit. You were in "fight or flight" in the back of that truck.

    I'd say they did. You are now an adult and the pressure of the new job was too much for your body so it went into overdrive - which started your pain and other symptoms. I would now look at your GAD and see what you can do to calm it, fight it, learn to tell it to stop and change your thinking on the spot. This isn't easy at all and really shows me at least why you are having problems and frustrated. I'm going through the same thing.

    I had "fight or flight" going on for years. Finally my back gave out. It was (as I've always said) the straw the broke the camel's back. I always knew it was an emotional injury rather than a physical one. But I never found the true journey to being cured until I found the wiki.

    Glad this came to light Alex - I think it's your missing piece. It's something you can get over. But you have to work it into your daily routine. "I will not worry today. "

  12. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    Two good books on GAD - "Dancing with Fear" by Dr. Paul Foxman (I learned so much from the book) and "Hope and Help for you Nerves" by Dr. Claire Weekes.

  13. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    Hi Alex,
    I also recommend Claire Weekes, she's great!

    I did find medication helpful for anxiety but also therapy made a big difference for me, having someone to check in with every week or two who could help me look at anxiety in new ways.

    Sometimes it's just good to do something you enjoy doing that takes up all of your attention. When my anxiety got really bad in 2001 I didn't even know what I enjoyed doing because I had been so focused on work! I had to learn how to have fun again. At first I just started with reading books (fun books--not books about TMS or anxiety, etc.!) and then I started hiking, more yoga, etc. Maybe give yourself a break from anxiety and TMS work and do something you like to do?

    Like TMS pain, anxiety is another way the mind tries to distract us from the present moment and from our core issues.

    Hope you're having a better day today.

    :) Veronica
  14. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    Thanks so much for your feedback Beachgirl and Veronica it really brings my spirits up. I too think my GAD has a lot to do with this problem and Im going to check out those books you guys suggested. Its pretty freaky how related these things are.. the more mind body information I read the more I see relations between all of it of how emotions influence pain and so forth. I think there is anxiety below the surface in my unconscious still that I haven't felt yet or have been pushing away and is probably manifesting itself through physical symptoms. Veronica its really interesting that you brought up doing something that takes up your attention.. this is something Im also reading about and working with in Dissolving pain exercises by Les Fehmi. Today I was reading a book that was on Lori's list one of the members on the board here called Take off your glasses and see. It explores the mind body connection of vision and emotions and their relation. One of the most interesting things I read so far is that the author talks about something called Open Focus where you open up your awareness and your attention its hard to explain but it essentially calms your nervous system down by feeling space and doing these exercises. This book was written in 1995 and he mentioned Les Fehmi and open focus in it relating to vision and the dissolving pain book I read is written in 2010 and it mentions the same stuff about the eyes in it. Really interesting the correlation these two books have since they're written 15 years apart.

    One more thing I wanted to talk to you guys about was how my symptoms shifted after I left my standing job. I eventually had to quit fedex because the pain became too much in june 2006 a year after I started there. I was jobless for like 2 months and couldn't find work so I ended up having to take another standing job where I ran into the same issues with my foot pain. I stayed there for like 2 years and then I had the opportunity to take the job in web design part time. I was like "this is it im finally going to get a sitting down job where I won't have foot pain anymore" but there was as fear of taking this job. He wanted me to work full time in the summer and I had a really deep fear of not being able to see my girlfriend (now fiance) and it scared the hell out of me any time something would make it so I couldn't see her. So I was in a struggle there.. i had the job in line where I could get away from my foot pain but then there was a chance I wouldn't be able to see her because she worked at night and I worked in the day. I had a lot of irrational fear at that time (I still do about other stuff) but regardless I took the job. There was a lot of pressure taking this job as well because I had to do a probationary period of a week to show if I could do it well or not. Anyhow, I kid you not, I quit the standing forklift job at Steinhafels and started working as a web designer and that same day I started experiencing eye strain for the first time like this. I had been working on computers for many years, doing the same type of work as I was doing here, and this was the first time I had noticeable eyestrain and its been this way ever since. It was like the symptoms shifted I know this is a hallmark of TMS however I still have the foot pain when I walk for a decent amount of time so that didn't go away completely. Does this sound like coincidence or symptom substitution? I began worrying about the eyestrain becoming chronic like my foot pain did and thus started my cycle of googling, going to doctors, etc. just like I had done with my feet when they began to hurt.

    After all that I've done with physical treatments and that they didn't help, this can't just be coincidence theres evidence here. Im definitely going to check out those books I have a lot of them to read on my list right now it hurts to read them but I do it anyway to gain the knowledge.
  15. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hiya Dabatross,

    It definitely sounds like TMS/PPD is at play here. Think about it, you had pain in your feet because your job required you to stand. Then when your job required you to look at a computer screen you started to have eye problems...Very Curious.

    You are making terrific progress in making these connections. It is very easy to be afraid of our symptoms, especially when they are so related to our work and career. I suffered through this a lot in my own recovery. But that is where accepting the diagnosis came in. When you accept the diagnosis, you accept that the symptoms are not caused by something structural. When you understand this, you understand that there is nothing physically wrong with you. When this happens there is really nothing left to fear. All you need to do then is to start thinking physically and investigating your emotions. It sounds like you are making great progress in connecting your past events to your symptoms. Keep digging like this until you fully accept the diagnosis and understand which emotions who have been repressing.

    You are on the right path. Keep it up.

  16. dabatross

    dabatross Well known member

    hey forest,

    thanks for the feedback. ive made these connections before after a while of not getting help from physical treatments i started thinking maybe there is a psychological connection so i thought about it and these types of things that happened seemed too much to be just coincidences. the fact ive had anxiety problems for a long time, i wear fearful of working full time at a job, and when i stopped working on my feet i started getting eye strain that i didn't get before even though i was doing a ton of near work. this is probably because i never worried about my eyes until i had to use them for my career. i had done web design, graphic design, played games on the computer for hours before this happened and didn't have issues but it seemed when it became a job for me to do every day is when in got the symptoms. that and symptom substitution seems to be at play here too like you said where when i stopped doing the stand up job and started the computer my pain switched. the curious thing is why didn't my foot pain go away completely then?

    however monte did say something that made a lot of sense to me: just because you are aware of emotions you are repressing doesn't change the fact that you are repressing emotions. so im aware of these connections and things that look too curious like how the eye strain started but the pain is still there. why is this? as i do my journaling and stuff i began to realize i was putting a lot of stress and pressure on myself but im not sure how to uncover the emotions im repressing on a daily basis. as monte said its not the emotions from 10-20 years ago that are causing your pain now but the emotions that you're repressing in the present.

    as in your case fear was a huge component to why you weren't getting better so when you realized nothing was physically wrong with you and there was nothing left to fear you got better. i will admit that during this process of doing the TMS work over the last couple months I've had shaken doubts about things at times, especially on bad days im sure you've seen my posts about this. but i would say that im closer than i've ever been to fully accepting the diagnosis and moving forward only psychologically. it took me a long time to cut out all physical treatments which i did but then the "wearing the glasses" thing was still on my mind causing doubt like "what if i didn't wear the glasses long enough, what if i didn't get the right prescription, blah blah" that went through my head. im reading this book now called take off your glasses and see recommended by Lori which is helping me get past that barrier. i wore the glasses that were prescribed to me but i didn't get much of any difference in symptoms while wearing them.

    i spend hundreds of dollars actually on different prescriptions. i always had this thought in my mind like "maybe i didn't wear them for long enough to see a difference". there were two experiments i did though: the first was I wore the glasses i was prescribed for 2 weeks straight full time each day and had no difference in symptoms. the second experiment with a different prescription i wore for a week straight and saw no different in symptoms. im not a glasses wearer so i dont know how long it takes to adjust but i think after a week i would see some difference at least.

    as you know getting over the physical treatment part is really hard and my last hurdle was getting over this wearing glasses thing. im just confused on how to discover any repressed emotions i have.. maybe the word repressed is part of the problem. are there different types of things that are considered repression? i always think of repressing like holding feels in and stuff but i dont feel like i do that. monte talked about repression also including blowing up in anger over something (which is a way to repress your emotion) so i think there are different ways to look at repression am i wrong? i dont feel like im a person who holds things in i always speak my mind and before a few weeks ago i would often blow up on people from anger and stuff which i know is part of TMS. sorry this post is long as hell i could go on and on about this

    thanks for reading

  17. Endless luke

    Endless luke Well known member

    Intensive Short Term Dynamic Therapy focuses on the relationship between pain (a defense) and anxiety. The entire Wikipedia article is really worth reading but this is the most relevant line
    "When those emotions rise to a certain degree and threaten to break into conscious awareness, they trigger anxiety. The patient manages this anxiety by deploying defenses, which lessen anxiety by pushing emotions back into the unconscious."

  18. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    It is interesting you bring up ISTDP, because Arlene Feinblatt, the so called "Mother of TMS Therapists", actually wrote a brief description of ISTDP for at http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Intensive_Short_Term_Dynamic_Psychotherapy . Dr. Sarno actually brings it up in The Divided Mind saying:

  19. Endless luke

    Endless luke Well known member

    Dr. Schubiner also is a proponent of ISTDP.
  20. KoalaCarla

    KoalaCarla New Member

    Hi, I too have found that journalling has stirred up anxiety and trembling. whole body trembling. tightness in chest, eye pain all signs of stress and anxiety. I know they are all physical signs and am trying not to get caught up in them. I also want to pass on that referencing Donna Eden's work on how to cope with stress maybe very useful here - look up how to sedate Triple Warmer - the bodies' defence against stress is get the warrior out- and support Spleen. I work with Meridians in my work and yet I too have stress pain for 4 years. I see this as a merging of the energetic and the mental. exciting.

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