Maladaptive Daydreaming: where wild minds come to rest
How bad is your social anxiety? Do you get depressed during social settings but when you're back in your room, you are fine? Why do you think you get this way.
The reasons why I am asking these questions is not only to relate to all of you but also to find answers on why I have as much social anxiety as I do. I'm going to university this September. It's my first year. Today my friend said something that hurt me but I know she did so for my well being. I love that she's being honest with me but I really wish I didn't have these problems to begin with. She told me that I needed to get out of my comfort zone one time or the other and it's going to be ten times worse for me in university if I don't change now. She told me that there are multiple times when I do look depressed or I have a sad look on my face and that people would stay away from me, or pick me last when working in partners if I don't make these small changes. I don't know why look depressed. I don't know if it's because I am usually sad, because my features are designed that way or because I make a certain face that looks sad when in deep thought. She said that I'm an adult and I need to make these changes.
Her words got to me, yes they were harsh but she was telling the truth and sometimes you do need a slap in the face if you want to improve yourself as a person. My problem however is that it's no easy. Over the years, I've had my phases where I've let go and had gotten out of my comfort zone. However My "existential depression"(I wouldn't say depression as I don't have the symptoms for general depression and I'm fairly happy when I'm alone and daydreaming or keep to myself) is getting worse. My thoughts are more pessimistic and often times, it is a fact, being out, being in social settings makes me more upset than I can put in words to a point where I do often start having suicidal thoughts. It's very miserable for me sometimes. Going out to lunch with a group of girls and boys-I'm usually the quietest one and the saddest one there and there's nothing could do to change that. Those are the times I often feel suicidal and I feel like it's not going to change. My perspective of the world around me is getting darker as I grow. Of course she doesn't know that but I want to get to the root of my issues. Why do I feel the way I do?
So everyone, how do you feel when you're in a social setting? How bad or good is it? Why do you think you feel this way? What do you do to help you?
I think, as far as the social anxiety- because I've always spent so much time with the characters I create in my head, that it is often disappointing getting together/spending time with real people- except for a very few whom I especially close to. The imaginary people are a hard act to follow, since they are custom made for me. So yes, that does cause some anxiety for me. I make a point to get out and spend time with friends- but unless they are the ones I feel especially close to, then I often find myself counting the minutes until I can leave. I always do feel better, ultimately, for having gotten out though.
The things your friend said are a bit concerning. I agree that there's some truth to them, and she might very well have had good intentions, but it's still sounds a bit critical and not very supportive.
I take it you are relatively young? (I presume, since you are just starting university.) It takes time for some of us to find friends that are a good match- who will like you for who you are, instead of just any ol' body to hang around with. (I suspect serial daydreamers need the former kind of friends more than the latter.) Unfortunately, it often takes hanging around with almost any ol' body to meet these special people- so I do agree about getting out of your comfort zone in that regard. As a slightly older serial daydreamer, I can tell you this is something I wished I'd figured out when I was younger. I slightly disagree about looking happier, personally (after all, the goal is to find kindred spirits- not only people who will only accept you when you look happy), but it is important to get out with people here and there- even if we don't feel an connection to the ones we happen to have around.
It depends on the social setting. When I am with my friends I feel fine--it is as if I need a foundation to hold on to. I feel most vulnerable in a social setting where I know no one. I still don't understand why I feel this way, but I sense it has a lot to do with my comfort zone and how I view myself in comparison to other people. Fear can drive us to unspeakable level of stress. It is true that through life you would have to keep breaching your comfort zone especially how our society is set up.
I do not get depress in social setting, just very limit, constrict, and alert in some sense. Being in a crowd in the classroom where we are expect to engage increases my anxiety because I like more of a small group. We don't all grow up in a big family of 30 or more people right? I have similar problem like you do. I feel people tend to shy away, avoid, or don't approach me as often as they do a friend of mine. That makes me feel that something about me is out of place or repeal them. Perhaps my gesture, my aura, and my facial gives a lot away.
I was re-reading what you feel when you went out to lunch with a group of girls and boys and I think probably try to go out with people you already know. Going with people you feel comfortable around makes everything better--I know it does to me. You wrote as you grow your perspective of the world is getting darker which I think could be because of how you view everything. There are things that will make you feel afraid and instill fear and dread, but always try to confront them. Maybe try to talk to stranger in your group to get to know them. I know it is not easy at all. I have done a lot of times and it is still not easy. And it's okay to be the quiet one. I often become the quiet one because I don't have anything to say. I don't joke too well. I think people often think of me as the serious and intelligent type--someone even share when I was in a group that I give out this noble feeling.
I feel only you understand why you are the way you are. Always question why you won't do something, why you want to run, why you feel bad etc etc. You will get to the bottom of it, but the real issue is if you have the will to confront it.
I used to be more shy than I am now. I've had a couple of jobs where I have to talk to strangers, and I learned how to make small talk, make people feel comfortable, etc. Plus, I began to keep a little journal of my social encounters: what the social interaction was, how anxious I felt about it on a scale of 1-10, what my anxious thoughts at the time were ("They're going to think I look like an idiot") and immediately afterward ("Yeah, I definitely sounded like an idiot"), and then, once removed from the situation, what the realistic side of me was able to say about the situation ("You blushed and tripped over yours words. Happens to everybody sometimes. It doesn't make you an idiot."). I literally only had to do this for about a few days (maybe a week?) and then I didn't have to write it down anymore, I was able to sort of do it on the spot (I guess that's what happened anyway).
I still struggle with feeling like no one knows who I am, but am realizing that's because "small talk" doesn't go further than the surface--people don't really know how to go deeper than than small talk, so I try to take it upon myself to clear the conversation in the direction of something deeper, asking questions so I can try to find out what the people around me are really like ("What do you want to be known for after you die?" "If you could try out any job for one week, what would it be?" etc.)
And THEN...there's always the daydreaming. I often pick out someone to be and then be that person so I'm more comfortable in certain situations. I don't know if it's healthy, per se, but it works pretty well.
Hang in there. It took a while before all this got better for me. Be patient with yourself. What kind of thoughts go through your head when you're with people? What do you tell yourself when you're with them? What is it about being with people that makes you anxious?
For me I am pretty disconnected at times, which more or less leads to my social anxiety, at least thats how I see it. I mainly have anxiety starting conversations and speaking in front of a group of people.