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  #1  
Old 14th June 2019, 12:50
Roisin Roisin is offline
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Default Feeling lost. How do I change?

I'm a 36 year old woman who's struggled with social anxiety since early childhood and I've got to the stage now where I'm desperate to change but I'm feeling somewhat lost as to how to proceed.

I've had social anxiety my whole life. When I started school at 4 I refused to speak to anyone at all for quite a few months after starting. I think these day it would have been called selective mutism but the teachers just labelled me as shy. I did eventually go on to make friends in school (small groups only) and things weren't too bad in my life up until 7 years ago when it all went wrong. In the space of a year, my dad killed himself, my grandfather died, my mum became depressed after my dads death and had to be looked after, I lost a job that I was due to start (I was offered it 2 days before my dad died and accepted it but then declined after he died as I was so sad), and my boyfriend of many years left me for a younger woman and then went on to rub my nose in it all over social media. A year later, my mums breast cancer returned and she became very ill. Her chemo led to pneumonia and sepsis but thankfully she did recover.

I became depressed and shut myself away. The more I did this, the harder it was to go out. The less I went out, the more my mum (who I live with) cried and said she was worried about me wasting my life away. The more she said that, the more ashamed I felt of myself for being a failure and the more of a failure I felt and the longer I was out of work, the harder it was to go back. It's like I got stuck and it's been that way for 7 years now.

However, just recently, I've been pushing myself to get better. I woke up one day and decided I'd let too much time slip through my fingers and I had to do something before it was too late. Coming here for help, support and advice is one of those steps. I hope it'll help me on my journey.
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  #2  
Old 14th June 2019, 15:16
Roisin Roisin is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melangell
What was the job you missed out on? Is it the same kind of thing you want to do again? Or do want to do something new? Did you ever do any qualifications?:
Hi Melangell,
Thanks for responding. I was a pretty average student at school. I got highers and a HND from art college but no degree. The job I was supposed to start was in childcare which I'm not sure I want to go back to. I haven't discarded the idea entirely though. Losing that particular job wasn't a big problem. The problem was that after a period of not working, I somehow felt I couldn't go back or I didn't know how. I felt too sad and anxious to do anything much.
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  #3  
Old 14th June 2019, 17:02
Dougella Dougella is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

Welcome
As Melangell says you have been through an incredible amount in a short time. Have you talked through everything with someone professional like a counsellor or therapist?

Even if you don't feel ready to go back to work yet you could try doing some volunteering to start with, even to try out any areas that you might want to go in to later as a paid job.

I hope you find the forum helpful, there are lots of people who have experienced similar things here.
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  #4  
Old 14th June 2019, 18:13
limey123 limey123 is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

Volunteering is a great idea for dipping your toes back in the water, seeing how you do and finding out, too, what kinds of things might suit you.
I'm doing some right now, and it's great to be helping others while at the same time helping myself.
You've been through much; give yourself some credit for making it this far. And great you've decided not to let your life just slip away.
There will always be people to listen here Take care.
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  #5  
Old 16th June 2019, 17:48
Roisin Roisin is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melangell

I am a bit lost again myself, I have some similar things in my background to you, Roisin. I did a degree in art and design, but ended up working with children.
What sort of work did you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melangell
My head seems to be jumping around a lot because I am not sure what to do next, so this morning was thinking voluntary work might help.
Phew! So it's not just me then. I'm not sure what I want to do next or what I can do. I've looked at all sorts of info online but I'm finding it all rather overwhelming and my lack of a degree doesn't help. I wish I'd done an apprenticeship when I was younger. A skilled trade might have suited me but I'm too old for that now.
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  #6  
Old 28th June 2019, 11:22
00_ryan 00_ryan is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

I agree with that. My parents pushed me down the academic route and I got lucky in the end considering my social anxiety but couldn't hack it any longer and been out of work for 3 years now.
I think a tradesman is better as it allows you to work on your own and still maybe earn some reasonable money
For someone with social anxiety it allows them to do things in their own time and space and not be bothered by others.
If I had any money now I would try and do a course to try and become a plumber maybe. But still I worry about classrooms, meetings, groups, work colleagues etc.
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  #7  
Old 28th June 2019, 13:17
SonicandTails SonicandTails is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

Hi there so sorry you have been through such an ordeal.

I have been out of work for the past 15 years mostly due to my son having special needs and me being his carer but I think I could have returned earlier but was too afraid because of my social anxiety and that I had been out of work for such a long time.

I recently started volunteering 2 mornings a week just doing general admin. I find it hard because of my anxiety so I have also arranged to start a course of CBT at the same time as I think this will help.

Not sure what area you are looking to do but hospitals are a good place to Volunteer and I am also due to start volunteering with my local hospital one day a week too. I think there are good permanent job opportunities in the hospital if you were looking for say general admin.
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  #8  
Old 8th August 2019, 15:10
Bluebear Bluebear is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

Welcome
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  #9  
Old 13th October 2019, 19:01
Debbie82 Debbie82 is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

Hi Roisin,
Your post moved me to write my first response. I am really sorry for all the sadness you have faced in your life. I am 37 and have been isolating myself more and more recently. The SA is getting worse the older I get I am finding. Really hope you find support here and that we can find some help to conquer this! Please feel free to PM me. Best wishes.
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  #10  
Old 14th October 2019, 23:27
Counterpoint Counterpoint is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

That is quite a tale Roisin, well done for reaching out to connect. You have know many sadnesses. Keep writing, journaling. Other people are the best antidote to ourselves sometimes, even though they can’t change the pain or our past, they can help show us how to better embody the present. Welcome to the site!
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  #11  
Old 19th October 2019, 13:14
Tonkin Tonkin is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

Well done for surviving all that!

You could start with reading some good books on anxiety and CBT and ACT etc.

I find they do help a tiny bit, but over time, it all adds up.

It's not a magic bullet but it can be a start, until you're ready to do something else.
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  #12  
Old 19th October 2019, 13:15
Tonkin Tonkin is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 00_ryan
I think a tradesman is better as it allows you to work on your own and still maybe earn some reasonable money
For someone with social anxiety it allows them to do things in their own time and space and not be bothered by others.
Is that true though?

I always see them as having to hustle for work, win over clients, network with other tradies to get more work or team up on bigger jobs, deal with clients etc.

Hadn't thought it would be good for an SA person. But maybe?
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  #13  
Old 19th October 2019, 22:32
limey123 limey123 is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

^ Agreed. If you're a tradesman, it helps enormously to be a people person and even be somewhat pushy into the bargain. In fact, so much so, I could hardly imagine someone being highly successful at the role without being a people person.
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  #14  
Old 19th October 2019, 22:56
βetty βetty is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

I’ve found act (acceptance commitment therapy) useful as it gets you to think about what you value in life. Highly unlikely but if you’re anywhere near Cambridgeshire I can recommend an excellent short course that’s free (need to be unemployed/reduced hours).
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  #15  
Old 21st October 2019, 18:28
Jimmy77 Jimmy77 is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

That's a really sad post Roisin. God, life can be so hard at times. I hope the forum helps you. Let me just add a couple of positives:

1) In my experience SA improves with age. I know that isn't everyone's experience, but it has been mine. Since I turned 40, I have stopped caring what other people think of me.

2) People at work are far less interested in you than you realize. You may think you stand out, that they can all tell you've been shut in your room for years, etc, but the truth is most people couldn't care less. They are so wrapped up in their own miserable lives that you'd have to come to work dressed as a Christmas elf before most of them would notice. Of course, you get the odd bully or intrusive, nosy idiot, but most people really don't care.

3) If you find an office environment too scary, why not do something from home? Could you re-train as a proofreader, or maybe set up as a freelance writer or something? Many people now earn a living from their laptop in Starbucks.
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  #16  
Old 8th November 2019, 22:02
choirgirl choirgirl is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roisin

I became depressed and shut myself away. The more I did this, the harder it was to go out. The less I went out, the more my mum (who I live with) cried and said she was worried about me wasting my life away. The more she said that, the more ashamed I felt of myself for being a failure and the more of a failure I felt and the longer I was out of work, the harder it was to go back. It's like I got stuck and it's been that way for 7 years now.

However, just recently, I've been pushing myself to get better. I woke up one day and decided I'd let too much time slip through my fingers and I had to do something before it was too late. Coming here for help, support and advice is one of those steps. I hope it'll help me on my journey.
I can identify with some of this Roisin, although with me it was my dad, and he's a shouter not a crier. I don't know what to advise, but you are not the only one. The main problem I have found is that it takes time to pull yourself out of the hole, but better late than never!
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  #17  
Old 11th November 2019, 10:07
Formershyguy Formershyguy is offline
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Default Re: Feeling lost. How do I change?

Firstly I'm sorry for your loss. That's a lot to deal with. I lost my Dad a few months ago but thankfully he went peacefully. I wasn't that close to him but my sister was. But it was still a shock. I can't begin to imagine what you have been through!

This would be a lot for anyone, let alone someone who suffers from social anxiety. I think you could benefit from some type of therapy or counselling as I think it would help to talk to someone, not only about the stuff you've been through but also your anxiety. I used to have crippling social anxiety then I saw a Hypnotherapist which really helped! I did pay for it myself though but I am sure you can be referred by your GP.

There are also plenty of books on bereavement and anxiety as well as youtube videos. You could even try relaxation and Hypnosis videos.

I realise it will be a struggle to get back to working but maybe you could start part time, a couple of days or few hours a week.

Join some meetup groups. Do you have any hobbies or interests? maybe you could do a part time course. I know this sounds daunting. It took me 3 attempts to try a salsa class. The first couple of times I barely made it near the door but each time I got closer!
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