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Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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I may appear very cool and collected on the outside but on

Resolved Question:

I may appear very cool and collected on the outside but on the inside I'm extremely anxious and somewhat worrisome in social situations. I know that it all stems from the perception of how I am viewed. I thought it would start to fade as I got older but to be honest it has actually gotten worse. Often times in meetings and during conferences I can feel panic kick in and I start to worry that I might actually puke. I feel like I am almost hyper sensitive. I'm just wondering if this is something that I should try to fix or maybe I should just go with it? You know, pursue another line of work where I work in small teams as opposed to large social settings where speeches, leadership and management come into play.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Jean replied 1 year ago.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello- welcome!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Are you able to engage in a live chat?

Customer:

Hello yes

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Great!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Sounds like anxiety escalating a bit

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Anxiety is very treatable

Customer:

Well yea

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's worth treating first before you would make a career change

Customer:

I mean, I've always been somewhat shy and reserved but I was recently reading about HSP and I never really knew about it but I kinda feel like I 've always had that.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Anxiety has become more physical with the felling like you could puke

Customer:

The feeling is there but I never have...its weird

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Relaxation, cognitive therapy- couple things to consider- We then can become anxious about the physical response

Customer:

So your saying I should pursue meditation type techniques to combat this anxiety? You dont think its just a natural, hereditary trait that shouldn't be treated

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes- those techniques do work

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Do you mean treated with medication?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Or with therapy?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I think the techniques are worth a try- finding ways to relax, divert your attention, take a look at your thinking- and make thoughts more realistic.

Customer:

I've never been a proponent of anti-depression/anxiety medication. I think it does more harm than good. I'm asking if I should seek treatment? The thing is I work better when I by myself. My production goes way up.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

One with anxiety tends to think in extremes- that's where cognitive therapy comes in

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If once you try some of those techniques and your discomfort continues- can look at job change of some kind- you are right some do work better alone- not right or wrong, just different- more introverted.

Customer:

Okay, the real question is do you think I can lead a fulfilling, heathy life without seeking help for what I perceive as a problem with my individual self?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

There are some good anxiety self help books too. I think it sounds like it has escalated a bit and finding some form of treatment is worth a try-

Customer:

come on, yes or no?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It doesn't sound like you are presently happy- and before big career move finding some relief is worth a try. I'd say no-

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Getting some sort of treatment- relief or career change.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Are you physically active- that can help ease anxiety.

Customer:

No, I'm not happy. But I'm also not sad. I'm just kinda middle of the road. I mean, I am ridiculed with quite a few addictions as well. I'm more like a functioning addict but I do think the source of all those addictions is my anxiety. A way to escape really.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You are trying to self medicate- numb out??

Jean N/20pluscounts :

No doubt alcohol and drugs "melts" away anxiety- works for a while, but then becomes part of the problem

Customer:

I'm in the military, so yes, I am physically active. Initially it wasnt about numbing out - it was about having fun. But yes, it eventually turned into a way to forget and feel nothing.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You are wanting relief- of course!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes- fun, takes the edge off, makes you more socially comfortable...

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Thank you for sharing that!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's quite common for those who are being treated for alcohol or drug addiction to have lots of anxiety and depression

Jean N/20pluscounts :

However, the alcohol can make those symptoms worse- the day after the drinking.

Customer:

Really? So if I curb my addictions my anxiety might start to fade as well?

Customer:

Yes, I know about that. I get extremely depressed the day after.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I do believe that- worse at first but better in the long run.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Lots underneath addiction it is important to have support to look at this- hard to do alone.

Customer:

Yea I know, its hard to seek help in the military though.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

That's sad- really that that is true.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Do you mean because of the stigma?

Customer:

its not like i can just go see a therapist or go to some AA meeting. They want to know where you are and what you are doing at all times. I'm not about to divulge this to anyone I know personally.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hey- you can pave the way for the rest!! You deserve your privacy for sure.

Customer:

Yea, of course. you dont want to labeled the psycho who needs therapy or the alcoholic that needs rehab. Kind of a career killer.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes- I'm quite sure many then suffer in silence- unfortunately

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes- there are high expectations- honor- etc. to contend with.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Like you said- maybe a different position can lessen this- especially if you feel limited getting help.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Feeling so anxious every day is exhausting!!

Customer:

Yea but I just reenlisted which probably wasnt the best idea. I feel like sylvia plath at times. Ive traveled to some extremely beautiful places but Ive never truly taken advantage of it. I still feel trapped in the bell jar and thats been going on for a good 15 years

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You may be feeling more anxious since you reenlisted- gluten for punishment huh?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Glutton?

Customer:

Well Im not anxious all day, its only in certain situations. You know, when I have to give a speech or have to attend important meetings. I know that stress is supposed to be a good thing at times but I guess I never learned how to direct it in a positive manner,

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Right- more specific to being judged, when you are more the focus of attention-

Customer:

Ive always hated being the center of attention. even with my family. middle child syndrome maybe. I hate it. is that bad?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Good, yes to a point- a bit of stress can get us doing what we need to do- but becomes more disruptive when it affects your ability to do your job as you'd like- or is so uncomfortable. No- it's not bad- I know what you mean!!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Many of us prefer the "background" not right or wrong, just different

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You are more introverted- being center of attention when it's not something you are comfortable with- goes against the natural grain of how you are wired.

Customer:

Well, thats what i mean. I feel like the source of my anxiety is being judged or the center of attention. so if i remove myself from those situations, i will obviously be happier, but is that the route i should take? you know for a fulfilling lifestyle.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Can be a combination of being introverted, low self esteem, anxiety....If you are not able to get "treatment", yes that may be something to consider strongly- will lessen your anxiety- to remove self from what is causing the anxiety.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

We are not all cut out to be the center of attention- we all start life with a certain temperament- wired that way.

Customer:

i would be more than happy to give up my addictions if i know i could lead a fulfilling life not ever been the center of attention and knowing that there is somebody out there that appreciates that and would want to spend the rest of their life with me. I just dont think that is a really positive trait and I guess thats where the confusion lies for me.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes there are skills you can learn to lessen that- but can we really change that personality trait- pretty hard wired- it's not bad. The world would be out of control if we all needed/wanted to be center of attention. You compliment the world by being an observer, a thinker- those are great qualities.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Building on your strengths may get you further!!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

How long have you been in the role of "center of attention"

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Did your alcohol or drug use increase since you've been in this role?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Like you said your anxiety has gotten worse, not better as you have gotten older.

Customer:

I mean, in college with my friends I was always the "comment" maker. People loved me and I didnt have a tremendous amount of friends but the ones I did have were extremely good relationships. Obviously in college you have to be the center of attention at some point, specifically giving speeches, which I would dread and worry over immensely. But when I joined the military, and as you rank up, you have to take on that leader role and you have to be the center of attention at some point.

Customer:

Alcohol has definitely increased but thats probably because I cant use drugs anymore.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Right- higher expectations in leadership role- to have to put yourself out there. Sounds like great opportunities- says a lot about you to move up the ranks!! Alcohol is more "acceptable" for sure.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Remind yourself you in those roles for a reason- earned your rank and promotions.

Customer:

Pornography as well started to creep in my life. Something that I never really cared about before. Its like I just keep picking up different bad habits. Smoking has gotten out of control. I'm basically killing myself slowly and I know it which is the worst part about it.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's all a form of numbing- you need to find a way to choose "life"

Customer:

I agree, I just hope its not too late.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You are searching for ways to less your anxiety. Addiction can become a disease- but interesting that it's dis ease- discomfort.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Never to late- you reaching out is a first step- to identify a problem or concern.

Customer:

I do still have hope, I think some of my dreams have faded but I do still believe I can have a fulfilling life.

Customer:

But to be honest if I didnt have my family and my friends that I have, I would probably would have killed myself a long time ago.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Now it's time to find support somewhere- HOPE - you can build on that.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Sorry you have struggled so much-

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You must realize there are many others who struggle with this- just no one talks about it.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Like you said you come across cool and collected- on outside.

Customer:

I know, its tough. I would never talk about this to someone face to face. Or someone that cares about me. I just, really wouldnt want them to worry about me.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

We tend to compare our insides to others outsides- not accurate comparison- others look a certain way but doesn't speak to what is underneath- I say that to assure you- you are not alone.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Someone who cares about you- lean on them a bit. You deserve support, someone to care, and show concern.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

That's where you may need to take the risk- opening up with someone.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You sound really sensitive- don't want to hurt others- you matter too.

Customer:

I really just wouldnt want to ruin their perception of me or be a disappointment to them. I guess that goes back the whole "judgement" thing. I consider my older sister to be one of my best friends but I really would never want to tell her about this stuff. I think it would crush her.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Finding someone unbiased- removed from you can really help- if you fear sharing with loved ones.

Customer:

I'm extremely sensitive. Thats probably why I've never been in a serious, committed relationship. I dont think i could deal with the pain when it went south. I always bailed first in my relationships.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

There you go again- worried about how you would affect others- even when your sister is your best friend. You've held this stuff in for a long time.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Sensitive is good- but yes need to find a bit of armor to protect it- a bit of military gear!!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It is "stuff" it's not YOU- stuff you struggle with- like the best of them.

Customer:

Okay, thank you for the talk. i appreciate it.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Begin identifying your strengths and remind yourself of those!!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You are welcome- take care! Would you be so kind to rate my answer ok or higher so I can get credit. Much appreciated!! Best wishes to you!

Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience: Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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