is social anxiety part of fibro??

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Cara-Sue, Apr 18, 2003.

  1. Cara-Sue

    Cara-Sue New Member

    I was wondering if any of you had social anxiety?I'm not sure if this is to do with fibro or something else.I find sometimes I can be alright and other timesI am overwhelmed.Company parties ect. are out for me.Any thing with big crowds i feel I cant breath.Anyone else like that?
  2. joannie1

    joannie1 New Member

    I have the same problem and at times it seems to get even worse. You aren't alone on this I don't think. At least i know i too go through it. I have troubles at time with even family gatherings being too much for me. Probably our over sensativity to noise and such don't you think?
  3. gottalottalove

    gottalottalove New Member

    I too have just experienced social anxiety for the first time since fibro. I was attending the police academy, working at juvenile hall, attending college part-time,and an active mom and wife until about 1 year ago. Now I am much more comfortable at home. I think we are just hyper sensitive and cant be to long in an environment that is over stimulating. Be gentle with yourself and spend this time to reflect and appreciate the little things. I like to plant a few flowers outside to encourage me to get some fresh air each day.
  4. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    The neurological problems we have from the slight seizure state of our brains. Dr. Paul Cheney has written an excellent article on this and the drug Klonopin. It is in our library. Do a search there on his name and it will list his articles. This seizure state is responsible for RLS, muscle spasms, tinnitus, anxiety/panic attacks, insomnia, and sensory overload.

    Love, Mikie
  5. Hippo

    Hippo New Member

    My soon-to-be-ex-husband's family is very loud, and I used to get very frightened at their get-togethers. I remember one big, loud wedding, I even took a tranquilizer before I went just to get through it. I also think food has something to do with it. Sometimes we would go to someone's house for dinner, and they would delay the serving of the food, and I think my hypoglycemia kicked in, which would cause symptoms. I always dreaded seeing his family, because I would be afraid of having an anxiety attack.

  6. Solstice

    Solstice New Member

    In fact, I just posted something similar cara-sue. "Do you get easily overwhelmed/"

    I have been in situations like packman where I just have to leave. Although I try to be involved in things, everything I do, has to be something that I can back out if I have to. No definite committments, and people who know me have come to know that I may not be able to do the things that I plan on. It's tough for them and me, but that is just the way it is.

    Going to a basketball game to watch my daughter is something I dearly love to do............if I can. But I have missed way more than I have made. Same with other sports that my kids are in. I go to the gym and walk in and the noise and the activity is literally painful for me to be around. At times, I have just turned around and left. I have been known to wear ear plugs, and always have to sit by the wall for my back, and I take cushioned pads to sit on. But it helps.

    And I love music, but most of the time I need total SILENCE, just to cope.

    I do also wear ear plugs to bed and any other time that noise is bothering me.

    If I go to a social event, and it is overwhelming, sometimes I will just go to a quite place and sit. Or maybe just one person will sit with me and I can handle that better.

    I try not to go into places like walmart, or meijers, or other big stores. The lights and the noise are overwhelming and I have been known to just leave there too.

    I wonder if anyone here takes anything that can help with this?
    I have found some quite time, meditation or deep breathing can help. But not always.

    My best to you,

  7. Sandyz

    Sandyz New Member

    I was dignosed with social phobia a long time ago. The doctor also said I had a fear of people. I have really overcome it a lot over the years but I still get anxious whenever I go out around people.
    My dad had this too, he was such a homebody and he always avoided social situations as much as he could. My mother had to go alone with us kids to most things, even church because he just couldn`t handle going out much.
    I myself do pretty well. I force myself to go to my kids games and programs. I always am anxious before I go but am ok once I get there. It seemed to help me a lot just knowing what I had. I also take klonapin and that has helped me more then anything with the anxiety and fear.
    It sure fits that this would be part of the FM as well.
  8. ForeverFlaring

    ForeverFlaring New Member

    I was ALWAYS an extrovert. The life of the party, literally. A few weeks ago I went out for the first time in about 6 months. A couple of friends took me out to dinner. The whole time I was at the restaurant, I felt extremely uncomfortable. I was glad to be with them, but I just had this edgy feeling that I couldn't explain. As soon as we left, the feeling left.

    Now, about my theory. Some of you may think I am weird, and that's ok :) I am wierd sometimes, just hear me out.

    Every living thing puts off an energy or life force. Trees, cats, mice, humans, everything. Someone in another post mentioned feeling vibrations. Vibrations are a connection to energy. You put your hand on the refrigerator, and you feel the vibration? Why? It is energy. The same goes for humans. We each have our own hums or vibrations that whether we realize it or not, we are very accustomed to recognizing. To elaborate, we have become so in tune with our own bodies; aches, pains, fatigue, etc, that we have learned to feel this energy or vibration, whatever you want to call it.

    When we enter a crowded place, because we have unknowingly learned how to, we also feel the other people's vibrations. This causes us to have a sensory overload and not knowing how to handle this, we panic.

    This is just my own theory...but I thought I might throw it out at you :) Believe it or not...
  9. kadywill

    kadywill New Member

    in an active social climate. I now shun all places where people congregate. My husband and I eat out rarely, but when we do, the restaurants are very quiet and intimate. We even attend early church services at 8:45, because there are very few people who prefer that time. I go to Wal*Mart very early in the mornings if I need to shop, because there aren't many people there. I prefer to have less bright lights, less noise, less talking and less loud laughter. We keep the volume down on our TV or radio and we don't have these turned on when we aren't sitting and watching/listening. I don't need background noise. I keep the volume turned down on the computer. I don't use the icons any longer. I rarely socialize with my friends outside of my own home.
    This is all so very different to the life I led pre-FMS/CFIDS. It's a change that I can live with, though. It's my family and friends who have a hard time dealing with it.
  10. Achy-shaky

    Achy-shaky New Member

    I believe many of us already had some but it wasn't a problem until FM. I was always shy and not much of a party person so used to be a social drinker to get through it.

    Now my psych therapist has me doing assignments to help overcome it by taking walks in the mall. He thinks the more you do it the easier it becomes...he doesn't get it about FM. So I take the walks in the mall but still don't like it...too many people. My greatest problem is places really big like stadiums where there is no easy escape route but now that my kids are all grown there really is no need to go to that type of thing.

    Foreverflaring is probably right about the vibs people give off. I actually think this happens with anything that moves like traffic, movies and even web site banners - they all cause sensory overload.

    My brother has social anxiety but not FM (we call him the family hermit since he hardly ever goes to family events) and he was helped with Paxil. I do believe that some antidepressants help a little - my husband asked "what happened to you" because it was not like me to talk so much. Also Klonopin is great when you feel panic just have to know how much to take that won't make you sleepy by experimenting (I carry it everywhere I go). Deep breathing can help too but not for as long. I'm also happier at home and my apartment is so small we can't do a lot of entertaining which is just fine with me.

    I feel like what's the big long as you get out for some sun and air every other day and have a few close friends/family you see occasionally there's nothing wrong with that. And so what if they think your weird for not liking restaurants & other querky things - everyone has their querks. When going out to eat, I find that if I go to a restaurant with quieter outside sitting I'm not so anxious - lots of those in California.

    So you are not alone Cara Sue & remember emailing and message board are a great way to socialize. Chat rooms move to fast for me so I can't do that since FM...feel like someone hit the slo-mo button (HA!)

    Butterfly hugs,

  11. spazmonkey

    spazmonkey New Member

    I do believe that we can feel other people's emotions because we are soo in tune with our bodies. I think I picked up all my boyfriends negative emotions and i can feel what he's feeling before he ever tells me. The things is he is wrapped way too tightly and hardly ever wants to open up, not just to me but to anybody. But when he does tell me, im right on the nose. But it's rough because i start to take on the emotions of others very easily. And my emotions are always the extreme of what normal people without fibro feel. It's like im always out of whack. I sometimes question whether or not im bipolar cause of this. I can be extremely at peace and happy, but i can also get sad at a sappy commercial and cry for 5 minutes-and that can bring me down.

    I'm just soo cautious around people, I tend to feel them out before I can totally be myself around them. There are some people that i already "know" i can't feel comfortable around before talking to them. It's usually loud and agressive people and im drawn to sensitive "comfortable" people like myself.

    I've always been a bit shy, but at least i've been more comfortable in my own skin when i was younger. Now im nervous at the slightest interaction with people. I do force myself to go out, though.
  12. bejo

    bejo New Member

    I do,but I was always shy and as a child was very backward around people.Although noise levels do bother me more now.So I'd have to say just the social anxiety for me came before the fibro. bejo
  13. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Cognitive behavioral therapy is good, but no therapy in the world could help me with my anxiety/panic attacks; it was coming from my brain. Klonopin has been wonderful at relieving that and a whole bunch of other symptoms.

    I'm not thrilled about being on it long term either, but without it, I simply cannot function.

    I don't believe it is psychologically addictive, but one certainly does develop a physical dependence on it.

    It only takes .75 mg. at bedtime to give me a really good night's sleep. One quarter of a .5 mg. tablet, desolved under my tongue, allieates my anxiety and sensory overload without making me sleepy.

    Love, Mikie
  14. Notonline

    Notonline New Member

    Just when I'm sitting hear thinking about another holiday dinner together with hubby's family tomorrow. I love them all...but can't stand all the talking, noise, and stress that comes along with these family occasions. In a half and head will be screaming, my eyes will hurt, I will start to forget what I'm saying on at least 6 different conversations, and my stomach will be rolling around in nine directions. Hopefully I will not have a wonderful episode with my IBS also... at least not until I return home again.

    I will return home wiped-out and ready to crawl into bed and hide for awhile...which is unfortunately never possible to do.

    I have been told I have a personality disorder, I should be on Paxil (which by the way, only makes it much worse for me), and a whole bunch of other crap. Relatives just cannot understand why I do not like social events. I ask if oranges make you sick & miserable, do you sit in the grove and enjoy eating them??? I was never always this way, not until a few years back when the rest of my problems began. I shop at yard sales, and small stores, I avoid the mall and crowded places like the plaque.

    Sorry for the long post...really kind of dredding that holiday dinner tomorrow. Wish I was 3yrs old again, hiding under the dining room table to get away from it all isn't such a bad thing after all.

  15. leokat

    leokat New Member

    not much I can add to all of the above really. I just wanted to add my name to the list.

    I have always had a fear of large crowds and of being in company I'm not familiar with. I used to cope well on a one to one basis and at family do's but even these situations are becoming increasingly difficult for me right now.

    I just hope some doc doesn't add this to the list of stuff to beat us up with (metaphorically of course). I
  16. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    Hi Cara-Sue, I think we all get this feeling worst when the holidays come around.

    I woke up this moring with the IBS cramps so bad, the heating pad is sitting on 'on' in the bathroom.

    I am 'suppose' to go to my son's house tomorrow, and I love my kids company, but the ride is 150 miles round trip, and my DIL's mother will be there, and I simply can't stand this interfereing woman, who asks everyone one thousand questions, interferes with whatever anyone is doing or saying, and is just an over all pain in the rearend!

    I take a low dose Xanax just to tolerate the trip and this woman, otherwise I would throw her in the pool.

    As for Wal-Mart, the lights in there are horrible, they are brighter than the noon day sun. If I have to go, I wear sunglasses. Home Depot and Low's have the same kind of lighting. The lights alone in those stores will make me very ill. Sweats, headache, nausea, and I feel like I am going to faint.

    As for crowds, I avoid them I am always afraid I will get ill and can't get out. It happened to me once, and I have not forgotten it.

    I used to be a social butterfly, the life of the party, but not anymore. I mostly shop at small stores, eat in quiet restaurants, stay away from small children in stores or restaurants. Can't handle the hassle or the noise.

    When we need anything from Wal-Mart etc, my husband goes alone.

    I can also get anxiety just talking on the phone. Like Mike, I take a low dose of the Xanax instead of Klonopin in the evening. Thats when I make phone calls! Otherwise I am so hyped and wired that I feel like I am going to fly in ten different directions and can't relax enough to go to sleep at night.

    When I have company, I am wired! Its truly miserable, but I can't seem to control it, the deep breathing does not help me. The only thing that calms me just to normal is the Xanax.

    I do think it has a lot to do with the Fibro. I was never like this before. I loved company, going out, talking on the phone etc. Now I would really just like to stay home and not go anywhere. But I do fight this as it is very unhealthy not to leave the house!

    I live in the country on five acres of mostly uncleared land (one acre cleared where the house is, the rest is as wild as God intended it to be!), I could not imagine living with noise all the time anymore.
    The whole area is fenced with 8' fencing and the gate is 300 feet of wooded land away from the house, so no one comes to the door unless its my family. I guess you could say I am a hermit in my own way! It is peaceful. The only noise I hear is the wild birds, squirrels, and my five dogs.
    My husband works for an oil company so he is gone for weeks at a time, then home for the same amount of time. So I am pretty much alone and I love it this way.

    I think I got off the subject??? Whats new!

    Shalom, Shirl

  17. jka

    jka New Member

    i have the same problem.some days i don't want to even leave the seems to hit me the hardest the worse i feel.sometimes i go 2-3 wks with no problem-then pow-right between the eyes.

    kathy c
  18. poobaer

    poobaer New Member

    Hi! I also have a terrible time with crowds, am just so overwhelmed makes my head spin and i fight a panic attack. My family and friends do not understand why i do not visit or want to go to social events. It is not a question of not wanting to, more of not being able to. Big difference. I take zoloft and xanax and it is a big help for me. But have learned my limits. I do not exceed them as i know too well i will suffer the consequences. I keep busy and that helps.
  19. lucky

    lucky New Member

    What a change here also over the years, from fun loving 'crazy' parties to shying away from crowds, noise, etc.
    Mikie explains the reasons well - but who will understand that we cannot handle to be part of any fun and games anymore.
    Happy Easter, Lucky
    [This Message was Edited on 04/20/2003]
  20. Fibrohoneyt

    Fibrohoneyt New Member


    I have horrible social anxiety, sometimes, im afraid to walk down the street, or to the store. i'm always using my anxiety as an excuse not to do anything.i'm now discovering this behavior, and, accepting it. I'm always afraid to do things, but, i need to push myself all the time now.even a quick walk around the corner is anxiety inducing. if i need to take public transportation im anxious too. any moving vehicle. its becoming a magor obstacle in my life now, but the acceptance and awareness i believe is a start.

    Becky :)