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  1. #1
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Default Survey for Those with Shyness or Social Anxiety Disorder

    I'm doing a research project on social phobia or social anxiety disorder, specifically on the language and rhetoric surrounding the disorder, and central to my project is information I gather from primary sources such as interviews and surveys. If you're not sure you have it but consider yourself to be pretty shy, please respond anyway; I can use all the information I can get. Which also means, feel free to pick and choose among the questions you answer if you don't like them all or don't have time for them all. I may come back later to change the focus of the questions or to add more questions.

    *************

    First of all, how acute do you consider your shyness or social anxiety to be?

    Do you find it easier to talk to people online than in real life? If so, what do you think makes it easier?

    How much does your disorder inhibit your dating life? In what ways does it inhibit it? What do you think your prospects in dating are?

    Why is it, do you think, that people are often more comfortable when someone says, "I'm not feeling well" than when they say, "I'm feeling shy and socially anxious"? If you get a hit of anxiety in a social situation, have you ever used the "I'm feeling sick" excuse or an excuse that wasn't the truth to explain why you were acting the way you were or to get out of the situation altogether? Why? (Be careful to distinguish shyness and social anxiety from mere introversion.)

    When you realized you had the disorder, how did you familiarize yourself with it? Where did you seek information? What kinds of information about your disorder are most important to you (treatment options, coping skills, causes of the disorder, experiences shared by those afflicted with it)?

    What roles do this forum, support groups, and nonprofit organizations play in your life? How important are they to your knowledge, socialization, health and treatment?

    What do you think the public perception of SAD is? Does it match the reality of SAD? What misconceptions do society and even your own family and friends have about the disorder?

    Do you think people see social anxiety or shyness as a weakness? Do you think they see it as your fault or as something you can fix?

    Do you consider it your fault? Do you feel shame because of your disorder?

    How much does your shyness define you?

    What hope do you have for improvement?

    How acute has it been in the past? If your condition has improved, how did that happen?
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  2. #2
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    Okay not sure if I have it, but here ya go.

    First of all, how acute do you consider your shyness or social anxiety to be?
    [B]Mine isn't too bad, I'll go out with friends, just not for a prolonged period. But an example of the last time we went out, there were 8 of us that were going to go out, they decided on a bar/dance club place.. we went there and when I got to the front, I couldn't walk in without feeling uncomfortable and shy so I waited outside for a few hours while they went in. I can hang out with them in like a house or Starbucks for a few hours before needing to go home.

    In a school setting, back in middle school it was pretty bad. I remember giving a book report in front of the class.. I prepared all night and had everything ready. I got to the front of the class and froze up. I didn't say a word, and walked out of the classroom.


    Do you find it easier to talk to people online than in real life? If so, what do you think makes it easier?
    Much easier to talk to strangers and unknowns online than in real life for me. If I find someone random in person, I'm more wary and skeptical of how to interact with them. Usually, unless it looks like a genuinely nice person, I'll be quieter and observe more, which is probably viewed as weird and cold.

    Plus online, you don't have to worry about people judging you(to a certain extent). If someone insulted me online, I would care a lot less than if it were in person.


    How much does your disorder inhibit your dating life? In what ways does it inhibit it? What do you think your prospects in dating are?
    It doesn't really affect my dating life. In the most humble way, I actually get approached a lot , which I find weird, so the part for getting attention from females is never an issue. What is usually an issue for me, is not being reclusive towards people when it comes to dating. When a girl gets too talkative or clingy I disappear(I'm really good at disappearing). I feel bad about it cause they get mad. And I wish I wouldn't do that.

    Why is it, do you think, that people are often more comfortable when someone says, "I'm not feeling well" than when they say, "I'm feeling shy and socially anxious"? If you get a hit of anxiety in a social situation, have you ever used the "I'm feeling sick" excuse or an excuse that wasn't the truth to explain why you were acting the way you were or to get out of the situation altogether? Why? (Be careful to distinguish shyness and social anxiety from mere introversion.)

    I think that people would prefer to hear "I'm not feeling well" because that's generally an accepted excuse for not doing anything. If people hear "I'm feeling shy or socially anxious" as an excuse, people would be more inclined to have weird impressions about the person... of course this is all IMO.
    Yes, I've used the "I'm not feeling well" excuse before.. probably too many times. My friends are used to me never being around them even though they bombard me with phone calls, but sometimes when they want to hang out, I'll reluctantly agree. As the time comes closer to when I leave my house to hang out with them, I've gotten anxiety about hanging out with people in general in a more public place and don't want to leave. So I've called them a few times to say "I wasn't feeling well" so I wouldn't have to go out.


    When you realized you had the disorder, how did you familiarize yourself with it? Where did you seek information? What kinds of information about your disorder are most important to you (treatment options, coping skills, causes of the disorder, experiences shared by those afflicted with it)?
    Nothing. I like the way I am. Lol.

    What roles do this forum, support groups, and nonprofit organizations play in your life? How important are they to your knowledge, socialization, health and treatment?
    I like the forums here and reading about people similar to myself. I've been on this and some other INFJ websites and I feel more relaxed about myself knowing that there are others like me out there.

    What do you think the public perception of SAD is? Does it match the reality of SAD? What misconceptions do society and even your own family and friends have about the disorder?
    I think majority of people think it's weird. We had a girl in our friends group way back in high school who had a really bad case of SAD and my friends definitely always talked about how weird she was, and sometimes made fun of her(behind her back). Probably why I'd say it's a better excuse to use "I'm not feeling well"

    Do you think people see social anxiety or shyness as a weakness? Do you think they see it as your fault or as something you can fix?
    I think I hide it pretty well with the common person. If I were to really analyze myself, I'd probably say I come off as confident and reserved when I meet someone. I've gotten that a lot, and that's my intention.

    Do you consider it your fault? Do you feel shame because of your disorder?
    Nah, I'm not ashamed of the way I am.


    How acute has it been in the past? If your condition has improved, how did that happen?
    I'll repeat again, I don't think it's a bad case of anxiety, it's probably just slight. And over time, I just got more comfortable. Taking public speaking class in college helped me with speaking more in public.

  3. #3
    señor member colmena's Avatar
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    First of all, how acute do you consider your shyness or social anxiety to be?

    Inconsistent. Ranging from complete confidence to terror at the thought of someone possibly being able to talk or be near me.

    Do you find it easier to talk to people online than in real life? If so, what do you think makes it easier?

    Yes. The absence of the physical and the senses. Asynchronous communication gives me time to think.

    How much does your disorder inhibit your dating life? In what ways does it inhibit it? What do you think your prospects in dating are?

    It's difficult to isolate anxiety from things like esteem, but I'll try to be specific. I'd say it plays a large, but secondary reason for not wanting to meet people.

    Conducive to defeatism - expect to be uncomfortable and embarrassed.

    Prospects - little to none.

    Why is it, do you think, that people are often more comfortable when someone says, "I'm not feeling well" than when they say, "I'm feeling shy and socially anxious"? If you get a hit of anxiety in a social situation, have you ever used the "I'm feeling sick" excuse or an excuse that wasn't the truth to explain why you were acting the way you were or to get out of the situation altogether? Why? (Be careful to distinguish shyness and social anxiety from mere introversion.)

    I warn in advance that I will leave if uncomfortable. Or those who know me would already understand.

    Why is it...? - The assumption is stigma attached to psychological disorder.

    When you realized you had the disorder, how did you familiarize yourself with it? Where did you seek information? What kinds of information about your disorder are most important to you (treatment options, coping skills, causes of the disorder, experiences shared by those afflicted with it)?

    Rationale, I suppose. Constructing ideas to optimise development.

    What roles do this forum, support groups, and nonprofit organizations play in your life? How important are they to your knowledge, socialization, health and treatment?

    The socialisation on the forum keeps me sane.

    Do you think people see social anxiety or shyness as a weakness? Do you think they see it as your fault or as something you can fix?

    I would expect so. I would agree in most circumstances.

    I'm rarely able to work out what people think about me.

    Do you consider it your fault? Do you feel shame because of your disorder?

    I consider it my fault. Shame - perhaps not directly.

    How much does your shyness define you?

    Probably more than I like to admit. Generally, it would be impertinent to bring it up. Nevertheless, I'm sure it has had a substantial impact on who I am.

    What hope do you have for improvement?

    Inconsistent. Now and then I get excited about ideas, but the pessimism/defeatism usually steps in before I make progress.

    How acute has it been in the past? If your condition has improved, how did that happen?

    It has improved - time and maturity has given me perspective.
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  4. #4
    Blah Orangey's Avatar
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    First of all, how acute do you consider your shyness or social anxiety to be?

    Very acute.

    Do you find it easier to talk to people online than in real life? If so, what do you think makes it easier?

    Yes, it's easier to talk to people online than in real life. In real life I get the impression that I can't control my facial expressions (or my expressions in general) very well, so I often give off the wrong impression. The anxiety also interferes with my ability to listen to people, so I will miss a lot of what people say to me when they say it. The online interaction takes away both of those problems, and gives me time to adequately process and respond to people's thoughts and feelings.

    How much does your disorder inhibit your dating life? In what ways does it inhibit it? What do you think your prospects in dating are?

    It inhibits it to a very great degree. My shyness completely cuts off my ability to send sexual signals, such as flirting, so even when someone is actively interested in me, I never give enough encouragement (I even sometimes actively discourage it) to make the other person know that I am not repulsed by their attentions. I think that my prospects are fairly dismal.

    Why is it, do you think, that people are often more comfortable when someone says, "I'm not feeling well" than when they say, "I'm feeling shy and socially anxious"? If you get a hit of anxiety in a social situation, have you ever used the "I'm feeling sick" excuse or an excuse that wasn't the truth to explain why you were acting the way you were or to get out of the situation altogether? Why? (Be careful to distinguish shyness and social anxiety from mere introversion.)

    I think that people believe shyness and social anxiety to be something that's totally within a person's control...so to say that you are feeling shy/socially anxious is like saying that you feel sick with a sickness that you have the ability to instantaneously will away. Real illnesses, however, cannot be willed away, and are therefore completely out of an individual's control, so that is an acceptable excuse.

    I have faked illness to get out of social engagements before as well. Lately, though, I've changed my strategy to "I have homework" or "I didn't get any sleep last night, so I'm sleeping now".

    When you realized you had the disorder, how did you familiarize yourself with it? Where did you seek information? What kinds of information about your disorder are most important to you (treatment options, coping skills, causes of the disorder, experiences shared by those afflicted with it)?

    I only read the basic stuff, and that was to see if what I had was really a disorder. I haven't pursued treatment, and the information I read hasn't really helped me to cope or anything.

    What roles do this forum, support groups, and nonprofit organizations play in your life? How important are they to your knowledge, socialization, health and treatment?

    Well I use this forum and some other forums as outlets for communication. It relieves me to be able to talk to people in a way that I find comfortable and fulfilling. I don't do support groups or nonprofits, though.

    What do you think the public perception of SAD is? Does it match the reality of SAD? What misconceptions do society and even your own family and friends have about the disorder?

    I don't think that most people know that it's real. Even if they've heard of it, I find that most people I know (barring a few, whom I think suffer from it like me) deny that it's really a disorder. I think they see it as being on par with something like ADHD, where something that's perfectly controllable is being needlessly pathologized.

    Do you think people see social anxiety or shyness as a weakness? Do you think they see it as your fault or as something you can fix?


    Yes, I do. They see it as my fault, I think.

    Do you consider it your fault? Do you feel shame because of your disorder?


    I don't consider it my fault, really, but it does make me ashamed of myself sometimes.

    How much does your shyness define you?

    I don't know. I think it limits what I do, and how others perceive me.

    What hope do you have for improvement?

    None, really.

    How acute has it been in the past? If your condition has improved, how did that happen?

    It hasn't really gotten better or worse.
    Last edited by Orangey; 12-06-2008 at 06:13 AM.
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  5. #5
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Mempy - just a pointer - SAD often refers to Seasonally Affected Disorder (Winter depression) so just be careful to define your terms in the research paper

  6. #6
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    First of all, how acute do you consider your shyness or social anxiety to be?

    Situational. In most cases, moderate, in a few, extreme, and not much at all when I'm in a group of friends (or even having one friend along reduces it greatly).

    Do you find it easier to talk to people online than in real life? If so, what do you think makes it easier?

    Yes (though it doesn't disappear). I think mostly it's because I have time to formulate my answers rather than stammering/hunting for words, so I'm less afraid of looking stupid. It's also partially because people aren't actually watching me, and partially because I choose the interaction and can walk away at any time.

    How much does your disorder inhibit your dating life? In what ways does it inhibit it? What do you think your prospects in dating are?

    Not too much, since I'm female so I'm not expected to make that much of a first move. Alcohol helps for that, too...I've done alright, I tend to end up dating friends or at least friends of friends so I'm more comfortable. I could never approach a stranger.

    Why is it, do you think, that people are often more comfortable when someone says, "I'm not feeling well" than when they say, "I'm feeling shy and socially anxious"? If you get a hit of anxiety in a social situation, have you ever used the "I'm feeling sick" excuse or an excuse that wasn't the truth to explain why you were acting the way you were or to get out of the situation altogether? Why? (Be careful to distinguish shyness and social anxiety from mere introversion.)

    Sick = temporary, shy = permanent? Shy implies a personality defect, plus people would probably get hurt and think you were blaming them for making you feel anxious...

    I've only used that excuse a few times, when it became unbearable, and in those cases I really was feeling unwell by that point (dizzy, heart racing, anxious/out of it, etc) so I don't really consider it a lie.

    When you realized you had the disorder, how did you familiarize yourself with it? Where did you seek information? What kinds of information about your disorder are most important to you (treatment options, coping skills, causes of the disorder, experiences shared by those afflicted with it)?

    I never really realized I had a disorder, I've just always been extremely shy. I don't really know the difference between SA and shyness, or whether I have SA. I know I get extremely anxious/avoidant of many social situations, but I'm not sure what the disorder entails. I'm much better now than I was as a child. I haven't really read much about it, because all the best treatment is exposure, and the thought of that always made me so uncomfortable that I never pursued it. I would be interested in treatment/coping as well as causes. I don't really care about others' experiences, it's not helpful.

    What roles do this forum, support groups, and nonprofit organizations play in your life? How important are they to your knowledge, socialization, health and treatment?

    none really. The forum is entertaining and a form of social contact outside of my friends, I suppose, but it's not changing anything in that area.

    What do you think the public perception of SAD is? Does it match the reality of SAD? What misconceptions do society and even your own family and friends have about the disorder?

    I'm not sure. I haven't talked to anyone about it. The few I have, don't really understand that it's not as simple as forcing yourself to talk to people to stop being shy/etc....

    Do you think people see social anxiety or shyness as a weakness? Do you think they see it as your fault or as something you can fix?


    Yes, definitely. I think they see it as your fault to a degree, because it's something you can fix.

    Do you consider it your fault? Do you feel shame because of your disorder?

    Yes, I consider it my fault that I haven't gone to the effort of trying to fix it. And shame for the same reason, I suppose.

    How much does your shyness define you?

    Not much when I'm with my friends, because they don't see it that much. It has a huge impact on my academic/professional life though, and other areas. I don't consider it part of my personality, but rather a bad habit/flaw.

    What hope do you have for improvement?

    Medium, I guess? I haven't really thought about it.

    How acute has it been in the past? If your condition has improved, how did that happen?


    as I said above, it was pretty extreme as a child... probably moving to the city and making friends for the first time helped. definitely university helped a lot, though I'm not sure why. differences in attitudes I guess, growing up, etc. I don't know, it wasn't conscious anyway....

    HTH
    Last edited by Randomnity; 12-06-2008 at 10:28 PM.

  7. #7
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    First of all, how acute do you consider your shyness or social anxiety to be?

    Formerly severe and near-constant. Currently mild and episodic.

    Do you find it easier to talk to people online than in real life? If so, what do you think makes it easier?

    Yes. There's no pressure to make the correct facial expressions, and the pace is more like my internal pace. If I am very comfortable with the people in question then the preference is not so pronounced and I can get into a flow with them and keep up the pace of the interaction. This typically only happens with family and very close friends, though once in awhile I have a good night where I feel like I'm "on" with other people.

    How much does your disorder inhibit your dating life? In what ways does it inhibit it? What do you think your prospects in dating are?

    I'm not dating, but when I was, it was very prohibitive. My social anxiety was telling me that nobody was interested in me and nobody wanted to hear what I had to say, and obviously that included prospective dates.

    Why is it, do you think, that people are often more comfortable when someone says, "I'm not feeling well" than when they say, "I'm feeling shy and socially anxious"? If you get a hit of anxiety in a social situation, have you ever used the "I'm feeling sick" excuse or an excuse that wasn't the truth to explain why you were acting the way you were or to get out of the situation altogether? Why? (Be careful to distinguish shyness and social anxiety from mere introversion.)

    People are much more comfortable with physical ailments than mental ones across the board, not just when it comes to social anxiety/phobias. For this one in particular, I think people may feel like they ought to be able to make you comfortable with them, and if you feel too shy to socialize, that means they have failed in some way.

    When you realized you had the disorder, how did you familiarize yourself with it? Where did you seek information? What kinds of information about your disorder are most important to you (treatment options, coping skills, causes of the disorder, experiences shared by those afflicted with it)?

    I participated in a study at Duke University for people with social phobia. It's hard to say which was more helpful, the experiences of the other social phobic people in the group or the insights of the behavioral therapists who helped us desensitize ourselves. I didn't really seek any other information sources because the study worked so well and nearly completely.

    What roles do this forum, support groups, and nonprofit organizations play in your life? How important are they to your knowledge, socialization, health and treatment?

    Although I no longer consider myself acutely socially phobic I still get a majority of my day-to-day social needs met on this forum and others like it. Before I participated in the study at Duke, another online forum was a helpful step on the way to learning how to interact with people comfortably. And the support group I was a part of at Duke was probably the biggest single factor in my recovery.

    What do you think the public perception of SAD is? Does it match the reality of SAD? What misconceptions do society and even your own family and friends have about the disorder?

    The public perception is probably one of pity. I can't speak for other social phobics but I'm uncomfortable with being the object of pity. I don't think people with SAD need pity, just understanding. Some others seem to think that if only we could find the right bar, club, or social gathering, we would not have SAD. And while it's true that when I was acutely phobic my symptoms were greatly lessened in the company of people I thought understood me better than the average person, it didn't go away entirely.

    Do you think people see social anxiety or shyness as a weakness? Do you think they see it as your fault or as something you can fix?

    Absolutely- I think they see it ultimately as a form of self-absorption, and think that we should be able to just get over it.

    Do you consider it your fault? Do you feel shame because of your disorder?

    I don't really think of it in terms of fault. And I don't feel ashamed anymore.

    How much does your shyness define you?

    I've become more comfortable with acknowledging that I'll have some shyness at first when I meet new people, and it has become a part of my landscape, but it is no longer all of who I consider myself to be.

    What hope do you have for improvement?

    I don't think I will improve much more than I already have. I don't think I will magically become comfortable delivering toasts or being in the spotlight, for example.

    How acute has it been in the past? If your condition has improved, how did that happen?

    It has been severe enough to cause me to cry, blush, and totally avoid social situations in the past. The only thing that helped me improve was slowly desensitizing myself to the symptoms of anxiety by realizing that they would not kill me, and that working through them would make them shrink away eventually.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post

    First of all, how acute do you consider your shyness or social anxiety to be?
    Not very, I guess it depends on the situation. If It's a situation where I'm comfortable not so much. Or if I'm never going to see the people again I'm fine. But asking for something I don't know I just get very anxious about something like that
    Do you find it easier to talk to people online than in real life? If so, what do you think makes it easier?
    online and strangers. I have no problem going up to a stranger on the street and asking something. If their's a chance I'm going to have to see them again, I get very shy.
    How much does your disorder inhibit your dating life? In what ways does it inhibit it? What do you think your prospects in dating are?
    No official diagonosis, mostly cuz I don't like to talk about it with people, but people who know me know that I can be very anxious and shy in social situations, to the point of I won't do something I need to and in the end would make my life easier if I could get over the fear of calling people, or talking to someone. I don't want to date, and my mom and others think its the fact that I don't like revealing myself to people and the fact that some information could be used against me.

    Why is it, do you think, that people are often more comfortable when someone says, "I'm not feeling well" than when they say, "I'm feeling shy and socially anxious"? If you get a hit of anxiety in a social situation, have you ever used the "I'm feeling sick" excuse or an excuse that wasn't the truth to explain why you were acting the way you were or to get out of the situation altogether? Why? (Be careful to distinguish shyness and social anxiety from mere introversion.)
    I usually use the excuse I didn't feel like it, but never I'm not feeling welling or I'm shy. In fact one time I was sick and my room mate was like are you sick? and I was like no I just feel a little nauseous and dizzy and my head's full of goop. and she was like that's the defintion of sick. I don't like admitting I'm sick, I'm convinced I'm hypochondriac now I'm not sure, but I'm convinced any pain i feel is psychological.
    When you realized you had the disorder, how did you familiarize yourself with it? Where did you seek information? What kinds of information about your disorder are most important to you (treatment options, coping skills, causes of the disorder, experiences shared by those afflicted with it)?
    I haven't really done much I've always been shy, and that was my parents main fear when I was growing up. that I would often be to scared to speak up and people would take advantage of that. Now I still don't always speak up, but have no problems with certain people telling them if they have been a shit head reacently.
    What roles do this forum, support groups, and nonprofit organizations play in your life? How important are they to your knowledge, socialization, health and treatment?
    I don't like support groups, but then that's just me
    What do you think the public perception of SAD is? Does it match the reality of SAD? What misconceptions do society and even your own family and friends have about the disorder?
    that if you just go and do all these things you'll be fine. The truth is I've tried those things and each time I'm faced with something that I'm not comfortable doing it's the same process all over again. People are like if you need anything call me, I won't call them. What if their busy? what if they were just being nice but don't want to really do anything with me. I still panic when I make plans do stuff with people I've done stuff a thousand times

    Do you think people see social anxiety or shyness as a weakness? Do you think they see it as your fault or as something you can fix?
    yes, very much so. same way people see as clinical depression as go exercise and meet people and yayaya etc etc. It's a start but often their is more then people can see.

    Do you consider it your fault? Do you feel shame because of your disorder?
    Not really, I mean their's worse things to be. Of course I don't know how much of it is me cuz I've been like this before I even started school.

    How much does your shyness define you?
    not as much as it use to, so I think as time goes on I'll become less shy and socially anxious, but will always be an introvert

    What hope do you have for improvement?
    realizing that sometimes its ok to interrupt someone would be great.

    How acute has it been in the past? If your condition has improved, how did that happen?
    I'm not sure, I know it was more acute but I went through 2-3 years of therapy and though it wasn't directly adressed some of the things I was asked to do helped. I still have a long way to go.
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

  9. #9
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    I'm not certain at all that this applies to me... but I'm in that group of people you asked to complete the survey anyway, so here you go

    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    ...
    First of all, how acute do you consider your shyness or social anxiety to be?
    Fairly acute - it tends to "jump up and grab" me - but it's really fairly predictable when it happens. Put me in a social situation where I'm not grounded in relationships with others I know well, and it'll happen every time. I generally do okay if I'm with a core group of friends, even if there are a lot of others around.

    Do you find it easier to talk to people online than in real life? If so, what do you think makes it easier?
    For people that I don't know well, it's somewhat easier to talk online. For me, it's mostly the separation - I'm in a comfortable spot (my desk chair), and I'm not as concerned with having to control my body language, etc. It also tends to absolve me of some of my (self-imposed) responsibility to make sure that the interaction is good for everyone.

    How much does your disorder inhibit your dating life? In what ways does it inhibit it? What do you think your prospects in dating are?
    Hard to say for sure, but something definitely inhibits it . Most of it's just that I'm not often comfortable in situations where I might meet new people - I rarely put myself in that position, and when I do, I tend to be on the lookout for an escape route, and hypersensitive to my own reactions (which I focus highly on inhibiting) and who I might have offended inadvertently. Prospects? Hmm... probably poor. Not giving up, but probably poor.

    Why is it, do you think, that people are often more comfortable when someone says, "I'm not feeling well" than when they say, "I'm feeling shy and socially anxious"? If you get a hit of anxiety in a social situation, have you ever used the "I'm feeling sick" excuse or an excuse that wasn't the truth to explain why you were acting the way you were or to get out of the situation altogether? Why? (Be careful to distinguish shyness and social anxiety from mere introversion.)
    I think that people generally understand that physical ailments (headache, etc.) are outside of your control, and really don't have much stigma attached. For most physical things, it's easy for most people to find a common frame of reference - everybody's had a headache or an upset stomach at some point. Nonphysical conditions tend not to be those where a common frame of reference exists (at least widely), so they tend to be viewed as a form of weakness or something that anyone should be able to handle easily by force of will.

    I have done the "I'm tired" thing to leave certain circumstances early. Mostly it was to be polite - being at a party and saying "I'm antsy and not enjoying myself because there are too many people around" not only sounds bad, it could be considered to be placing blame on the host - which certainly isn't true. It also goes back to the common frame of reference - everyone's been tired and looking to go to sleep - it's an easily understood excuse/reason that nobody will object to. I've also just "disappeared" - although as I've grown older I simply don't put myself in circumstances where that's necessary.

    When you realized you had the disorder, how did you familiarize yourself with it? Where did you seek information? What kinds of information about your disorder are most important to you (treatment options, coping skills, causes of the disorder, experiences shared by those afflicted with it)?
    Not sure I do, really - so I've not been involved in any of this.

    What roles do this forum, support groups, and nonprofit organizations play in your life? How important are they to your knowledge, socialization, health and treatment?
    None, really.

    What do you think the public perception of SAD is? Does it match the reality of SAD? What misconceptions do society and even your own family and friends have about the disorder?
    I'd say that the public perception is one of nonexistence or weakness. I'm not sure how that matches the reality - but I do know that when I get hit with an "episode", that there's not a whole lot of nonexistence going on there. Can't really comment about family/friends - my guess is that they would understand a little bit - but because they care about me, not that they really understand and consider it valid.

    Do you think people see social anxiety or shyness as a weakness? Do you think they see it as your fault or as something you can fix?
    I'd say yes, most people probably consider it a weakness, and something that isn't necessarily my "fault", that it's something that any adult should be able to easily conquer as a part of maturity.

    Do you consider it your fault? Do you feel shame because of your disorder?
    Not directly, and not often. I've felt shame at leaving a social situation early because I was getting stressed out about it, but mostly I just feel relief in such situations - I don't back out of or break promises due to it (although I might not *make* promises), so usually I'm not too ashamed - but sometimes a bit... disappointed?

    How much does your shyness define you?
    In my day-to-day life? Not much... I've sort of grown into a lifestyle where it doesn't much interfere (for better or worse). In social situations, where it's not just me and close friends, it's a pretty big part of who I am at that moment.

    What hope do you have for improvement?
    I'm not sure... I'm not all that social of a person anyway, so it's not like I'm sitting at home wishing I could be out on the town, so I don't know that a lot of "improvement" is what I'm looking for, but it would be nice to not feel so cornered in sometimes.

    How acute has it been in the past? If your condition has improved, how did that happen?
    Hmm... it was probably worse when I was a kid... but part of that's the fact that I often wasn't free to simply leave or call it a night - I'd get stuck somewhere and not be able to leave, and wind up sitting by myself in a bathroom or at the foot of a dark, out-of-the-way stairwell. Now, I'd simply say good night / slip out and go home. Getting older itself has probably helped a bit, too - I'm still susceptible to bouts of hmm... anxiety, but I have a few more defense mechanisms against it.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
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    First of all, how acute do you consider your shyness or social anxiety to be?
    Right now I would say I have mild social anxiety. However at times in the past it has been severely crippling. I am terrible with meeting new people and usually need a close friend around.

    Do you find it easier to talk to people online than in real life? If so, what do you think makes it easier?
    Of course, because you don't have a face to scrutinise you.

    How much does your disorder inhibit your dating life? In what ways does it inhibit it? What do you think your prospects in dating are?
    Let's put it this way... I have to be drunk to get a date. Haha.

    Why is it, do you think, that people are often more comfortable when someone says, "I'm not feeling well" than when they say, "I'm feeling shy and socially anxious"? If you get a hit of anxiety in a social situation, have you ever used the "I'm feeling sick" excuse or an excuse that wasn't the truth to explain why you were acting the way you were or to get out of the situation altogether? Why? (Be careful to distinguish shyness and social anxiety from mere introversion.)
    I think people with SAD use this excuse because there is no need to explain why you are uncomfortable because of illness. Whereas if the SAD person has to say, "I'm feeling nervous and anxious," others will not immediately understand their pronounced discomfort. This may lead to focusing more attention on the SAD person: "Why are you nervous?" This is the last thing a 'socially inept' person wants to happen, and therefore, it causes even more anxiety. Yes I have used the excuse I'm not feeling well and it's less hastle. However sometimes my anxiety has led me to physical illness.

    When you realized you had the disorder, how did you familiarize yourself with it? Where did you seek information? What kinds of information about your disorder are most important to you (treatment options, coping skills, causes of the disorder, experiences shared by those afflicted with it)?
    I knew something was wrong with me so I searched for any information I could find online. I think hearing about other's with this disorder made me feel much more comfortable with myself as I realised I was not the only one. (Meaning I felt less shame.)

    *Disclaimer: I have never been diagnosed with SAD or any other psychological disorder.

    What roles do this forum, support groups, and nonprofit organizations play in your life? How important are they to your knowledge, socialization, health and treatment?
    I am new to this forum and haven't established myself so I am mostly here to learn about MBTI. The only support group I have is my family and friends and they have been the most helpful at treating my social anxiety as most of them are a bunch of god damned extroverts. :P Socialisation in a positive, warm environment and having knowledge that you're accepted for who you are I think was THE most important treatment I received. (And it also helps that one of my close relatives works in a mental hospital. XD She was also able to empathise with my problems as she suffers from panic attacks.)

    What do you think the public perception of SAD is? Does it match the reality of SAD? What misconceptions do society and even your own family and friends have about the disorder?
    In my opinion I think the general public thinks very little of SAD as they have not experienced how intense it can be. Sort of a "just get over it" or "stop exaggerating" mentality. The usual.

    Do you think people see social anxiety or shyness as a weakness? Do you think they see it as your fault or as something you can fix?
    I think it depends on the person and whether or not they can empathise with this disorder. But overall I think people don't understand it and therefore confuse it with normal shyness.

    Do you consider it your fault? Do you feel shame because of your disorder?
    Yes I do feel shame... shame and embarassment. It's not my fault that I developed this way, but it is my responsibility to keep socialising myself and not letting 'automatic negative thoughts' control my life. Otherwise I will regress to my former state.

    How much does your shyness define you?
    More than I would like it to, as I don't want irrational fear to define who I am. Inside myself I have a thirst for adventure but this social ineptitude always gets in the way.

    What hope do you have for improvement?
    I have already made a lot of improvement. I'm still socially awkward and sometimes I still freeze up but more and more I find myself more in control of the situation. If I keep working on improving my self confidence and focus less on the beating myself up I will keep improving. I have started to express my opinions without fear of being immediately shot down and I have started to feel free to ask questions.

    How acute has it been in the past? If your condition has improved, how did that happen?
    Sorry this is long...

    I have always been shy since I was a kid, but I had some really ----ed up things happen in my childhood to condition my social anxiety. Sparing the details, I progressively became shyer as I got older. For example, as a child I was absolutely afraid of asking questions to adults, especially male adults. But I was generally sociable with the other kids. Later I became hyper aware of any 'mistakes' I had made, leading to perfectionism. I felt that if I hadn't done it just right then my peers would think ill of me. I started having difficulty with speaking in front of groups. Neither could I take a leading command in a group despite my will to do so.

    I got much better after living two years with one of my close friends family (mentioned in the answer to the sixth question). But I regressed horrendiously when I moved to another state and had to be the new person on the block. I was once so anxious about what people thought about me that it drove me to near--if not--psychosis (paranoid delusions). I was so anxious that I lived two years almost completely like a hermit. I became so rediculously shy that I couldn't even take out the garbage in daylight. At this time I also was severely depressed. I 'overcame' this shyness when I realised I needed to do something or else I was doomed. I spent a lot of time researching psychology which eventually lead me to figure out what caused my social anxiety and how to deal with it. This in conjuction with re-socialising with my family has made profound improvment.

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