Is This Social Anxiety?

I'm an expat wife and I move to a new country with my husband every couple of years. This means that every couple of years, we have to start over and find new friends. Each time I tell myself "This is a fresh start, no one knows me, don't **** it up." 

We have to go to social parties at ambassador's houses, etc. and each time, one of two things happen: 1) I'm so nervous to talk to anyone - scared that I'll kiss someone on the cheek the "french way" when I should shake his hand, or vice versa. I'm so scared to be left alone that I go with my husband to the bar and go to straight to the bathroom as an excuse if he leaves for a moment to talk to someone else. 2) I drink a lot so that I don't feel as nervous and then end up telling my entire life story to strangers that could care less, and probably leave thinking I'm a complete moron. Or I say something completely inappropriate and say something that is way too personal. When I do this, I am so humiliated the next day and scream at myself for not being able to just shut the hell up! Often, I'm so embarrassed about it that I refuse to go out with those people again - I assume they hate me or think I'm extremely annoying.

Still, I'm so sensitive about this, that anytime someone jokes about how much I talk, I just want to cry. When my husband leaves town for awhile, I rarely leave the house. I'm fine when he's with me, but just think that life is easier if I stay home when he's not around so I don't do anything stupid and embarrass myself. I can't stand any criticism, because I get tears in my eyes and take it way too hard. I can't stand any compliments, because I get so embarrassed and feel like I'm vain. In an interview I'm scared to say anything good about myself. 

I love singing and dancing - most of the time, I can sing a song in front of a huge crowd and enjoy every minute of it. But i still remember every mistake I made in any performance - even when I was a little kid - and I still feel humiliated each time I think about it.  

I HATE giving speeches. I'm a teacher, and I have no problem standing in front of the class of children all day. But when I have to give a speech, I cry, I whine, I try anything to get out of it - from lying to disappearing. I can't sleep from the moment I know about the speech, until after it. During the speech, I think my heart is going to explode. My whole body shakes, I feel like my legs are going to collapse out from under me, I can't stop stammering and I sweat like a pig. I avoid videographers at weddings like the plague! Before I start a new job, I want to kill myself just to get out of it, and dread the moment when I have to walk into the office. I try to avoid any moment when I have to be alone with someone I don't know. I'm terrified of speaking with my husband's family on the phone because I'm scared that I'll say something wrong, even though I like them all a lot and I know they like me. 

And I often lie and say that I couldn't reach someone, when I was actually too scared to call or go see them. 

Is this social anxiety? It's strange because I'm an outgoing person.

anxiousexpat anxiousexpat
26-30, F
1 Response Feb 14, 2010

Ito me it sounds like a form of social anxiety. Being anxious in new situations is normal, but it sounds like it bothers you enough that you want to change it.<br />
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Something that may help is maybe a drama class. I just recently met a drama therapist to help for PTSD. Maybe just some acting classes will help you get through the tough moments.