Social anxiety disorder

deedeebakerJune 27, 2007

Does anyone have this and if so what steps have you taken to help yourself with this. Would appreciate any help you can offer. This is something I have lived with for a long time and seems to be getting worse.

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Hi, I personally have dealt with this disorder for about 10 years. For a while it got to the point that I could not function. I felt like I was going crazy. I actually "like" being around friends and family but for some reason I would have anxiety and sometimes full blown panic attacks. Then I started dreading being in different situations.
To get to the answer of your question, for a while I worked really hard on changing my routines before walking out the door. I tried to get ready earlier and 20 minutes before leaving i would sit and quiet my mind. This seemed to work only a little. (I have 2 kids now- so its nearly impossible these days) I was also told to get on a good exercise schedule and when I was going to be around a group of people, or an uncomfortable situation, work out extra hard that day.
After trying to go the natural route for a long time, I finally broke down and was prescribed Lexapro. It actually helped me tremendously. BUT! As I am sure you know, medicines come with side effects. After being on this medication for 1 1/2 years I am trying to wean off of it now. Even with the much needed help, the side effects are very bothersome to me. I am hoping that I now have the confidence to do this on my own.
Im not sure this has helped you, I hope so. Its not a fun feeling. I hope you find some good tips on here! I will be reading along to find out myself. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 11:56PM
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Mississippi mama......maybe I ask you what side-effects you've had with Lexapro?
My husband has been on it for about 8 years.
Deedee.......I have the problem, but because I have so many side-effects from all medications, I'm not on anything for it. But I think about trying something often, as everything seems to frighten me.
Make sure you aren't vitamin deficient. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 7:19AM
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hi, my number one least favorite side effect has been weight gain.... in a very short period of time. When i started lexapro i was around 130 and about 5 months after i was close to 170!!! Without changing anything as far as diet or exercise. I exercise more now and cant seem to lose it.
My other side effects include strange headaches. They are hard to describe. It effects my eyesight and really makes me uncomfortable. Im not sure but I think they may be migraines. I have never had them before taking this med.
I also have horrible night sweats that started the first week I was on it.....i know what you're thinking, but im only 32! surely not.
I have noticed that my anxiety is much better, but I seem TOO mellow- if that makes any sense. I know that sounds like a good thing, but some emotions are nice.
Which leads me to my last side effect, decreased libido.
I am thankful that the drug got me through a really rough time, but I think I want to try managing it myself again. I think it gave me the boost I need to be able to do it.
I have decreased my dose from 20mg to 10 and next week I am going to 5. I have heard horror stories about just stopping cold turkey so I am going to do it slowly.
Does your husband have any of these side effects?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 12:39PM
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I just happen to be one of those people who cannot take antidepressants - they actually make me worse. I asked my doctor about Buspar for the anxiety and I am on that. I take 15mg a day. This medication is good because its not habit forming and the side effects are minimal. I have been on Ativan 0.5 mg for a year or so, as needed, but have noticed that I need something more than the Ativan. So I asked my doctor about taking both which really helps. I do not like dealing with this. I was able to keep myself under some kind of control until a week ago. I left my job that I worked at for 30 years and took any job that came along so I could get out of where I was. Along with this job I have to attend orientation, computor classes, cpr class and that's when the anxiety really hit me. Can't do situations where I don't know people or where I might have to do something in front of someone. I'm not a shy person just not very confident. I was to comfortable in my previous job- It's a real fight for me. I sometimes cry for days because the anxiety gets bad. Sorry to go on for so long. Looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 5:30PM
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That is exactly the same thing that took my anxiety to another level. I had to do an orientation at a Hospital for my internship and it was being in the cpr classes, having to take aggressive behavior management classes (having to get in front of everyone). It made made me feel like I was going crazy. I missed the whole next week of work because of anxiety. I felt like I was having a melt down. It really is a horrible, helpless feeling. I felt like my mind was against me!
My dr. put me on Xanax, as needed, to get me through. But, I didnt want to take that for too long. That's when I tried Lexapro. I eventually left that job, not because of anxiety but I got a better offer and at this orientation and different situations I did not have the anxiety that I experienced last time. Im sure that was because of lexapro, but I really cant wait to get off of this stuff.
I hope things get better for you, I know they will, it may just take time to settle in. I think anyone would be a little anxious about starting a new job after 30 yrs. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 9:26PM
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Mississippi Mama.......yes, my husband has gained weight, and lacks emotion. The lacking libido part was a good thing to me! haha
He also sweats alot when he works outside and he never used to. I think his blood pressure has gone up some too.
I wish I knew why some of us seem to get anxious overnight. For me, it got alot worse during perimenopause.
Sometimes I think some of us are just not social people. But the world around us is soooo social, and its always in our faces, and that gives us anxiety.
I have anxiety over some of the strangest things.
Calling various people on the phone makes me crazy. Sometimes I put it off over and over and over. When I finally do it, I think "That wasn't so bad. Don't put things off again"........but the next time its the same way.
I don't like gatherings. When I run into people I know at the store, my mind goes blank and I can't think at all.
And going to the doctor's or the dentist sends me over the edge. It helped to be on Toprol, but it had so many side-effects, I got off it. Now I'm even more anxious.
I am soooooooooo lucky that I don't have to work. Besides having fibromyalgia and feeling like poop alot, I just get nervous about everything.
I realize I was like this when I was younger, but I guess I had more energy to try to overcome it. I used to be an RN in an E.R., and worked back-up ambulance. Then I worked in a cardiovascular critical care at a big hospital. I realize now that every single time I went to work, I was totally anxious. It really stinks, doesn't it?
I have really run out of steam to handle it, and have become somewhat of a hermit.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 9:54PM
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It really is a helpless feeling. I went from a job in an insurance agency sitting behind a desk to a file clerk job for an OB/gyn office at the age of 48. My self confidence stinks and that is why I stayed where I was for so long. What a waste of my life. I'm having a hard time feeling like I fit in at this job. I've only been there 9 days so I need to cut myself a break. But I'm out of my comfort zone and that is very scary to me. Plus all of these situations I have to be in really scares me. The ativan takes the edge off just like the Xanax. The Buspar is an anti-anxiety medication you might want to try if you stillneed something. It's non habit forming but unfortunately doesn't have a strong effect on the anxiety at the level I'm taking it. This really hit me hard. Couldn't wait to leave the other job because if was boring,and now I have all this anxiety to deal with. Things aren't boring anymore. I'm gonna read the books and see how things go. I'm also considering couseling. Thanks for taking the time to reply and I hope all works out with you.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 9:55PM
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I was on HRT for 6 years and finally got off it. But a medication psychiatrist I saw once said that HRT is sometimes used for anxiety/thinking problems, etc. in women. Is it possible that you might benefit from a low dose of hormones?
I think a counselor is a great idea. Someone who deals with anxiety disorders. They might be able to come up with some coping skills that you haven't thought of yet.
What is it that is so anxious for you at work? Could you possibly talk to your boss and figure out ways to avoid people? Good luck deedee. I know how hard it is. Hang in there!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 3:39PM
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I think i'm so anxious at this job because it's new for me, it's very fast paced and i'm working with alot more people. You work close so there's no escaping anyone. It's a 9 doctor office with a staff of about 15 people. I've never worked in a medical profession before. I wanted to try something different. I feel like I don't fit in at this new place because I try to join in on conversations and they go nowhere with some people. I'm to old to be playing this "do they like me game". Those were in the teenage years. Sometimes I just wish I didn't have to work because it's easier to avoid all of these feelings. I would rather stay home. Also, I think alot of the anxiety comes with not feeling very confident about myself. I seem to expect too much from myself right now. I'm afraid I won't learn all I have to learn. And there are a lot of "what ifs" which has always been a big part of my life. I also have to attend courses which will put me in a social situation with people I don't know and i don't like that at all. That really gets me anxious. I have alot to work through and I'm sooooo tired of dealing with it. I think without the medication I'm on now I wouldn't be this far. It took alot for me to get out of the box and get out of the dull, mindless job it had become. I just want these feelings to go away. And I do take a low dose hormone and have been for about 2 years now.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 10:43PM
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Hi again Dee,
It sounds like you are expecting alot out of yourself right now. Just slow down. You'll learn everything eventually. You don't have to learn it all today.
And one thing I've learned to do in the past few years is to do a few little things that makes things easier for me in groups of people. I don't make eye contact. I just try to avoid alot of "visual" interaction and stimulation, and it does help some. You don't have to be a social butterfly at those meetings and courses. You don't have to talk to anyone if you don't want to. Maybe you're expecting too much out of yourself in those situations, and then you just feel worse?
That's where I would start........give yourself permission to NOT be sociable at these things. It doesn't mean you have to be rude....just not a social butterfly.
Maybe at these courses you have stuff to read, and if there is a break, you can just have your head down reading.
Or you can go to the restroom during a break, or step outside. Its okay to not be sociable.
I have ADD and throughout my life, when I would start a new job, I would feel totally incompentent for awhile. Then I would start to catch on, but it would take me awhile. None of us likes to feel incompetent.....but we have to be patient with ourselves and give ourselves time to learn.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 11:22PM
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Hi Catherinet,

I think your right about giving myself a break. Like you said I have that totally incompetent feeling right now and it stinks. Deep down I know I have to give myself a break and time to adjust because it has been so long since I've done something different. I'm going to take your advice on what to do at these courses. The social thing is what is making me anxious. The weird thing with me is that I'm more anxious now about it but when it actually time to do it I'm not as anxious. I worry so much ahead of time that I'm drained by the time it happens. I just don't get that. How did you become an ER nurse, crictical care and ambulance with the add and anxiety. I would think you were in a constant state of anxiety. You should be proud of that profession with the obstacles you faced. Thank you very much for replying to me. You sound like a person who is very caring. I hope that you are feeling better as I know fibromyalgia can make you feel pretty bad.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 8:01PM
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Hi Deedee,
I'm glad you're realizing that you need time to learn a new job. I think you're very brave for changing jobs and trying something new! And I think once you give yourself some time, you'll really start liking your job.
I know exactly what you mean. I worry soooooooo much about everything ahead of time, and its never as bad as I think it will be! I swear, I think there's something that happens to us in menopause that makes us be alot more anxious. I've heard the same thing from so many other women.
In retrospect, I WAS almost always in a constant state of anxiety in my jobs. I think I have been most of my life, but didn't know it. I tried to pretend it didn't bother me. Plus, I think when we're younger, we don't have the sense to be scared. haha
If I am very familiar with something in a job, then I'm not as scared. But I have to be absolutely in control of everything, or I get really scared. And the ADD definitely got in my way alot. For example, during a code (someone else's patient), I couldn't read, I couldn't do math, I couldn't hear. Those are all sort of disadvantages! hahaha
I guess I compensated for it by making sure my patients never coded! I was totally on top of their condition constantly, so I would never have to be in a code!
I think if I went back to that job now, I'd probably drop dead the first day! There's no way I could tolerate that anxiety now.
Thank you for telling me that I should be proud that I did that work, even though it scared me. I've thought of that before.......that if people understood how scared we really were, and yet we still tried to do it, they would appreciate how brave we really are!
I think you're right that you just can't make this a "will they like me" kind of thing. That just makes everything worse. You're there to learn a job, and you're going to do your best. If some people don't act like they like you.....well, that's their loss! After a while, you'll settle in and find the people who you feel comfortable with. I'll bet every single person who works there felt like you do when they first started.
I'm glad you're going to try to be kinder to yourself and be patient with learning all this new stuff. Just pat yourself on the back for starting something new!
I'm sure before long, you will start feeling lots better about it. But you just have to be patient with and kind to yourself! If you need to avoid a group of people, then allow yourself to do that without feeling that you've failed. Just try to make the situation as easy for yourself as you can. Eventually, you can add more things onto what you can handle. But for now, take it slow and accept yourself. :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 8:31PM
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I feel the same way. If I am familiar with what I'm doing I feel much better. I went from working in insurance to a medical office. And I'm not feeling real comfortable with any of it. I am proud of the fact that I made the change after 30 years but the job was stagnant and I think that's why all the anxiety is coming out now. It was so routine for me and so boring. I never had to do anything out of my comfort zone so that's why I have been able to feel so "comfy" with everything until I took the plunge. I don't know how to be kind to myself because I was always really hard on "me" if I ever made a mistake or things just weren't right. God forbid I'm not perfect. Or I make a mistake. I Think alot of that had to do with being called names growing up and never getting a pat for doing a good job. Nothing was ever good enough and still isn't. My own son keeps telling me I'm not giving myself a chance since I was at my old job for so long but I'm so afraid of failing. the anxiety gets so bad sometime I would rather leave the job and start looking again for some place that doesn't have as many people and not so hectic. The place is like a zoo sometimes. I looked into couseling today preferably with someone who has background in social anxiety. I know what I have to do I just need the guts to do it.The meds I'm on now are helping so keep the edge off but i so want to not be on them anymore. I wasn't always like this....

    Bookmark   July 2, 2007 at 10:00PM
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I understand deedee.
I think its good that you are looking for a therapist.
Its hard to know if you should "change" to be able to cope with the work situation you're in now, or accept that it just isn't you. What do you think? Can you remotely imagine that you might like this place someday? Working in zoos is not what some of us maybe you should keep that in mind.....that its just not your cup of tea. That doesn't mean you've failed or are inferior. We all have our likes and dislikes, and it sounds like this place is just too crazy for you. I hate that kind of environment too. I get over-stimulated and overwhelmed. If I'm having a really good day (which is rare), I can try to keep up, but I sure can't make a daily diet of it.
So keep that in mind.........that it might just be a place that doesn't suit you, and that's okay. Millions of people go through this, even without anxiety. Why don't you keep your eyes and ears open for what else you might like to do? Perhaps this place would be easier to bare for awhile if you knew, in the back of your head, that it was just temporary?
In the meantime, are there things you can do to help make the day more bearable? Can you make post-its to help you remember things? Can you prioritize a little better? There's nothing wrong with doing what you need to do to make the job easier for you. And don't worry about how it might look to others.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 9:46AM
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Some days are better than others. It's funny you said that maybe the place would be easier to bare if I keep in the back of my mind that it's just temporary. I've thought about that quite often and it doesn't make me feel so overwhelmed with anxiety. I have to work so I'll give it some time and see what happens. What I dream about doing is either working/owning a Bed and Breakfast. I did look into working in the baking shop in the supermarkets but they just don't pay and I've gotten used to the money. I still have kids at home so I have to rely on that salary. Owning the B&B is my dream. You can never stop dreaming--I'll just keep playing the lottery - who knows??? I could get lucky. Thanks for all of your advice. I really enjoy talking to you. Enjoy your 4th of July!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 10:49PM
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Wow, anxiety is getting worse since I last posted. I don't even want to go to work anymore somedays are so bad. This is not nice to deal with at all. Been at the new job for a month today. Don't really think this job is for me. To much stimulation and not enough direction. Can't seem to get one thing down well before something else is given to me. I've run out of steam and just want to stay home.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 7:18AM
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Hi deedee,
I'm sorry I missed your post awhile back. I'm sorry to hear that its not getting any better for you. Is there somewhere within this organization that you might transfer to? Somewhere where its not so hectic?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 8:12PM
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Hi catherinet,

No, there isn't anywhere else to go in this job. I've just come to the conclusion that the job is not for me. I've been looking for another job in the past week and a half. There not that easy to come by. I've been to a therapist and nurse phsychotherapist and neither of them are going to be someone who can help me. One is a holistic place and the other person told me I just have to let the anxiety "out". Well, if I could just let it "out" I wouldn't been sitting with a therapist. And if that's all it takes then that's pretty easy. I'm still searching for someone to help me out. The job just isn't stimulating enough. I pull charts all day long (if I'm lucky enough to find them) and then I file charts. Like I said I took the first job that was offered to me so I could leave my other job. Oh well, back to square one. By the way, how have you been feeling. I would like to hear from you.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 9:39PM
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I just discovered this thread. How are you doing, Deedee? I am sorry to read your story, and the others here, because I understand this tale so well.

One thing that has not been mentioned is that anxiety and panic are physical; they are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and they are usually genetic. This affliction is not necessarily attached to menopause. I had my first panic attack in 1976 (I'll never forget it) and they are still going on (am now in my sixties).

One thing that is crucial is a good therapist, preferably a psychiatrist, if you have insurance that will cover that. Because psychiatrists are MDs, they understand your entire health situation, and can prescribe the tests necessary to see what kinds of meds you can and can't handle. They also understand these meds in ways that no other therapist or doctor does. My first "therapist" was a psychiatric social worker. I was having trouble with a lot of anxiety most early mornings, as I was showering and doing my hair and makeup. This guy had me analyzing my "unhappiness" at being a woman and having to compete in the world while being "miserable" about myself. The makeup was the trigger, in his opinion. When I escaped from him and landed with a real shrink, the doc said, "Well of course you're having morning shakes; your system is running out of meds. Take the pill as soon as you get up, dissolve it under your tongue (gets into the bloodstream much faster than swallowing it), wait 10 minutes, and then shower, etc." And it worked.

I am a huge believer in meds for those with debilitating panic. I take 1 1/2 mgs of Xanax every day, broken into 1/4 mg halves, which I work through during the day. I also take 30 mgs of Celexa, which for me is mainly a mood elevator. When I wailed years ago to my shrink of now 21 years that I was going to be on meds for the rest of my life, he said to think of it as being a diabetic or epileptic, conditions which could not be cured, but could be lived with. I had a high-stress career which I was determined to keep, teaching foreign language to the military, had to be "on" all the time in front of high-energy, hormone-driven soldiers, sailors, Marines, etc., and the meds enabled me to do that. Have been retired for six years and was dropping down on my meds. But in April I had the worst panic attack of my life, it sent me to an ER for an EKG, and since then, my meds are back up. And as others have mentioned, I am a sort of hermit, happiest at home, although I can get pretty jumpy just doing housework.

Deedee - I understand about your feeling worst before you go out and then often being better once you're out. That's very common with people like us. Have no idea what the solution is, other than to tell oneself that it will pass. Oh, and being a perfectionist can also be a part of this syndrome. Since we can't be perfect, we are set up for seeing ourselves as failures. I don't suppose that going on disability is an option, is it?

BTW, my husband takes Buspar. It helps, but not completely. He can be a nervous wreck, although to look at him you'd never know it.

Wishing you good luck and a much improved situation...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 4:55AM
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Hello sable ca - I don't think my anxiety is bad enough to go on disability (I'm only 48 yrs old) but I have to admit it sounds great because I wouldn't have to deal with these feeling every day. Lately, since starting this new job the anxiety gets pretty bad on sunday the day before I have to go back to work. I've realized also that this job is just not for me. I can't see myself pulling medical charts all day long for the next couple of years. I just didn't know what the job was going to be like but I had to leave the other job and I'm glad I did. I dread going to work tomorrow. I don't like the fact that I cry most everyday and I think I've lost weight since I can't eat because my stomach always seems to be so tense.

I have been sending resumes' out for other jobs. Hopefull I can grab another job shortly because its getting to the point where I don't want to go into work. I never thought I would be experiencing things like this because I was so happy when I found another job.

The ativan is a live saver for me however, I am afraid of being addicted. I take 1 0.5 mg a day, which, by the way, I didn't start doing until I left the other job. I was just taking it as needed and it certainly wasn't everyday.

As far as the Buspar goes, I stopped taking it. I agree with your husband it helps, but not completely.

You really can't truly live your life with anxiety being a big part of it. I feel like I fight a never ending battle everyday and it's exhausting.....

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 8:23PM
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Hi deedee,

Although it may seem to reduce anxiety in the short run, I don't believe avoiding people or especially avoiding eye contact is a good idea... it would only reinforce any lack of confidence you already have. As you avoid saying hello, smiling, or even looking at others; they'll in turn wonder why you look so grim and unapproachable, and the disconnection will build on itself and becomes worse. You mentioned that when you tried to join into conversations, you got nowhere; how did you approach this? Are you more comfortable if someone else eases you into a discussion so you don't have to break in?

I take Xanax 1mg/day for an unrelated off-label use (reduces ringing in the ears, at least short-term). I was hoping it would also turn me into a really calm person, but it had no such effect.

See also my posts in this thread re: lack of confidence around other people.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 7:45AM
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Ok I've been at the job since June 18th and I have decided to start looking for another job. This just isn't for me. I can't see myself being this anxious for the next several years or so. The last week has really made me want to go. To much disorganization for me. I'm not that type of person. So I started sending resumes out and looking in the paper. I've always wanted to do some kind of food type business like catering or somehow be a part of that so I applied for a job at a catering company in my area that is looking for someone to do office work and who is interested in the business. So I'm giving something else another shot. The anxiety is still there but I'm trying to concentrate on the fact that I might be working someplace else soon. I really get anxious when I start thinking about having to tell them I'm not coming back to the job. I get really uptight about things like that. I won't be able to do it face to face so I'll probably just make a phone call. It's not as easy quiting a new job as it is quiting one you were at for 30 years. That seemed pretty easy. I want to quit now but can't. Wish I was married to a millionaire right now. Sometimes I'm just so tired of all of this.....

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 9:13PM
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Good luck deedee,
I know it will be hard to quit, but lots of people do it, and for seems to be necessary. Can you at least give them a couple weeks notice? I think that's a courtesy that you should really try to give them.
I'm sure you'll find something that fits you better. It might just take a little time.....but you'll find it.
Good luck deedee and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 9:28PM
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My daughter suffers from anxiety, amongst other things. Just recently I started giving her Omega 3 (fish oil) It's too soon for me to give any great feedback. I also started @ the same time so I could see what effects it was having. You might pull up some things on the internet on this, studies have shown it helps with depression, ADHD, moods, etc along with many other things.. From what I have read it doesn't interfer with any medications anyone might currently be taking. I have also started her on alot of vitamins in general, seemed the more I read alot of things go back to nutrition (she's a terrible eater) so I really want to help her. I also started a multi, b complex, magnesium taurite, C, and E. Let us know how things are going with you.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 3:34PM
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I don't think it will be hard for me to quit. I really wanted to get out like weeks ago and if I could quit right now I would. I'm hanging on because I have to work. I might just apply for part time for now just so I can get out. I know I should give them some notice but I will not be doing that. I will probably just call them and tell them I will not be coming back because the job is just not for me. I haven't been there that long so I don't feel so bad about doing that. I think it's a hectic job for anybody not just someone with anxiety. The disorganization is unreal, which they comment on, but don't seem to want to make any changes. I've been sending resumes for the past 2 weeks so we will see. It's hard to get a job with anxiety being the monkey on your back. Also, the social anxiety doesn't do well on job interviews. To many obstacles and I'm so tired of fighting... Not much support at home.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 8:54PM
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I've always been shy, even as a child. I used to have a lisp, and I've never liked the sound of my own voice. I'm now 57, and nothing seems to have changed. I'm uncomfortable around people, whether strangers or friends.

I feel like I'm being judged (does that mean I'm judging those? - vicious cyle).

I've been in the same job for 31 years, which is ok, but the last 5 months I've had to cover the phones more due to a co-worker on medical leave. For some reason, the anxiety level when the phones ring has ramped up.

Having problems at home, which doesn't help matters either.

If I were independently wealthy, I'd quit my job, leave my marriage and just be by myself for a while until I could figure out the rest of my life, preferably an anxiety-free or reduced-anxiety life.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:04AM
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