I have been socially awkward since forever. I was called shy, and introverted.

In college I had to be tested, and was diagnosed with dyslexia. Part of the college's required plan was that I had to have counseling with their staff of psychoanalysts or something like that. They diagnosed me with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and cyclothymia (like bi-polar disorder, but without such excessive manic periods).

We had to talk about what happened when i was in a group of people, and had to read or do math, and how I felt. During those discussions, the doctor discovered that I felt anxiety in all social situations, not just where I had to do math or read. We talked about how I was convinced people were staring at me, thinking bad thoughts about me. I was convinced that they could read my thoughts, and knew what was going on in my head, which really freaked me out. I knew none of that was really true, but I just couldn't stop thinking it.

Once I went to a concert with a friend, for his birthday, and I ended up having a really traumatic experience because I started freaking out, and smashed through the crowd and passed out at the feet of a security guard. I spent a long time trying to convince the drs that I wasn't on drugs. I have never been to another concert.

i shop in the middle of the night because i cannot deal with crowds. When I am with people I have to remind myself constantly that its not a real heart attack, its just a panic attack, and if i breath right, it will go away.

i'm fine at work for some reason, even in a crowd of hundreds of kids. but in anything social, sometimes i can't help what comes out of my mouth, if i talk at all.

i am absolutely convinced that there is a link between SAD and schizophrenia, because the only differences I see is that I technically know that the voices aren't real, that people aren't really watching my every move.

i am afraid that i will become schizophrenic, or agoraphobic. of the two, i would prefer agoraphobia though. duh, right?
eyes eyes
31-35, F
4 Responses Oct 14, 2007

an accurate diagnosis helps us begin to understand what someone is going through, and what kind of help is needed <br />
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i do agree that a lot of it is in the imagination, that people are hypochondriacs of sorts, who look for a label to explain what isn't quite right, and ofen doctors are too quick to diagnose and to medicate instead of trying to get at the heart of the problem

"it is an attempt to understand that which cannot be understood - "<br />
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There's a lot of truth to that, eyes. At the same time (and counter to what you're saying, Shaylon) I've seen a lot of people benefit from being diagnosed (accurately, of course) and then getting much needed help and support.<br />
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What you're dealing with sounds tough - immobilizing, even. I hope you can find some support and guidance to work it through. I think some of us are dished up a heaping helping of family toxicity that has been passed down and intensified over the generations and no single one of us is strong enough to get out from under it all by ourselves.<br />
My partner was diagnosed a few years back with a major personality disorder. The help has been a mixed bag - she was often at odds with her therapists - but for the first time in her life, it's she who is getting to make the choices, rather than just being whipped around by the unmitigated demands of her syndrome.

if you get right down to it, everything is a figment of our imagination - our attempt to explain the unknown <br />
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we have theories and hypotheses, set up rules and laws, say - this is how the universe works, this is how we work<br />
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it is an attempt to understand that which cannot be understood - we will never understand, but cannot bear the fear of not trying to come to an understanding<br />
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i know in my case, the fear i have of social situations is very real, while the name for it is contrived, it is, nonetheless, my reality

I think SAD and schizophrenia are figments of psychiatrists imaginations.