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17050 No. 17050 [Edit]
Does seeing a psychiatrist who specializes in anxiety, rather than just a general one, help? Has seeing somebody ever helped you get over your anxiety or hikky tendencies, or at least enough to be able to handle grocery shopping or holding down a job?

If so, how did it help? What were the sessions like?
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>> No. 17057 [Edit]
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I spent about a year visiting a Clinical Psychologist, referred to me by my doctor. I was sent to a psychologist rather than a psychiatrist because my doctor felt that my problems were due more to behavior than mental illnesses. I was diagnosed as depressed though, and was receiving disability allowance. I didn't have to pay anything for the visits; my local Health Board covered it.

I had just turned 18 so I was sent to a adult psychologist, who turned out to be a woman in her 30s, and just out of training. Meeting and talking with someone I didn't know was petrifying at first, but across the weekly visits I managed to get used to talking. It very refreshing talking to someone that will listen to you without judgement. I was able to talk earnestly about my family for the first time.

Later on the appointments became more focused around my feelings. My psychologist taught me to think calmly about why I felt particular emotions towards problems, and to think about how my family felt about me. My codependency towards my mother, lack of father figure and other problems were talked about with someone who I could trust. This is probably the most valuable thing I learned; I feel like a much better person after this experience.

I have kept a full time job for 2 years now, and don't feel depressed much at all. Although having a job doesn't give me much time for that.
>> No. 17058 [Edit]
How bad were you before seeing her? How did you cope with going outside? I'm glad to hear things have gotten better for you.
>> No. 17059 [Edit]
A professional who specializes will always be better than a professional who does a bit of everything.
If you are willing to be honest and open with the person and genuinely want to get over your anxiety someone who is good at it can help you. Willingness and somebody who can do their job well go a long way.
I don't remember how many sessions I had but I saw somebody for 4 months sporadically specifically for anxiety. First he just got to know me. Asked a lot about me, about my fears, what I did, my feelings on my life, everything. Then he told me how we were going to fix things and get me better. We would talk about stuff I was anxious about since the last visit and figure out how to be less anxious. He gave me 'homework' assignments to do, things like "answer the phone" or "go for a walk in public."
It didn't help me because I'm a lifelong idiot who is never going to change, but if you want to then try it out it's definitely different than seeing a normal psych.
>> No. 17065 [Edit]
I spent roughly 1.5 years in NEETdom before the visits, and another year after the last appointment. I remember spending months at a time cooped up in my room, days passing by in self pity and regret. Video games and anime were my escape, and funnily enough tohno-chan too. It's interesting to revisit this site years later with another perspective on life. What /so/ represented to me back then was confirmation; that the NEET lifestyle was cool and easy. Now it's the opposite.

My mother would then take away privileges like my laptop, tv and even my radio in an effort to get me to do something. I hated the idea of working, who would employ a stupid high school dropout with no experience? So I would spend my time doing absolutely nothing, wasting away and hoping to die. At the worst point I starved myself to get attention, this only resulted in threats getting sent to a mental asylums. Of course I caved in and ate, and hated myself even more, but at that point my mother had alerted the authorities that I was suicidal, and off I went to the doctor.

As for going outside, I felt some anxiety but not to a large degree. I would visit my barber when I needed my hair cut, and would go to the library to get some books during this time. I did feel that people were watching/judging me when I was outside. I think that my anxiety of going outside wasn't as much of a problem compared to the average tohno-channer, though. I did speak to my psychologist about this anxiety, and she simply stated that public didn't care who I was and would forget me as soon as I am out of sight. That small amount of encouragement was helpful in getting back to a normal life.

My "homework" consisted of a hourly activity timetable that I had to fill in. I never did fill one out properly, having an entire afternoon be "staring at the wall" was too embarrassing. Although the amount of time I wasted thinking up "normal" activities seems funny, in retrospect, anyway.
>> No. 17070 [Edit]
While I haven't gone to a mental health professional in about 4 years, I was pretty much bouncing between different social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists (and related drugs), and programs from ages 2-20 (I had trauma as a child and I don't want to blog about it, but I also have been diagnosed with social anxiety and depression).

There are a few things you need to know, in my opinion. First is that you can't be helped unless you want to be. There was a big chunk of my teens where nothing got better because I expected people to magically swoop in and fix my own problems, which was stupid. Second of all, not all professionals are going to be good for you. One psychiatrist I remember in particular told me I was stupid for being paranoid about having a heart attack because a classmate did (which, while true, made me feel worse about my anxiety and made me dread my appointments with him at the time).

I think the thing that really made a big difference for me was when my psychologist and parents forced me to go to outpatient group therapy. The group part of it was... not really that great, and many of the people were much older than me (like 2-3 decades older), but in a way it was kind of nice to be amongst people who had lives as fucked up as mine (or moreso). That said, I think the real game changer was learning about mindfulness meditation. Clearly not all methods work for everybody, but I'd look into it if you're curious. I got a job a few months after I did the group therapy thing and am still going at it; I've had this job for about three and a half years now. It's minimum wage work but it's better than nothing.

Also, >>17059's first few sentences are very true.
>> No. 17071 [Edit]
It's great that you're trying to improve your life by asking for help, but doesn't this mean that ultimately all your problems are only a matter of perspective? After all, psychiatrists can't fix your problems for you. They can only tell you to stop worrying about things or that everything will be okay. Having that sort of positive reinforcement would be nice, but the only way a psych could truly help me is by giving me a time machine so that I could undo all my fuckups. Religion serves the same purpose, and your local priest will not charge you any money.
>> No. 17074 [Edit]
What is having a job like? Do your co-workers expect you to talk to them often?
>> No. 17076 [Edit]
If I'm going to be honest, it's not so bad now, but when I started it was pure hell. Spoiling this because I know work discussions can be frowned upon: I started my job after about a year and a half of mostly lying in bed and being unable to get out of it because I was too depressed to do anything but F5 websites, and going from doing that to standing at a register for even 4 hours and getting yelled at by customers and managers was really bad. Most of my shifts were around 6 hours at the time but they ranged from 4-9 (typically I get the 9 hour shifts now). I got extremely tired afterwards and there were days that I immediately had meltdowns when I got home or went on break. Also, I usually didn't have any energy to do anything after work - I just went straight to bed. With time, I got the stamina for it both emotionally and physically so it didn't bother me at all. For me it took about two years. Unfortunately there's not a lot you can do to prep for it (except for maybe exercising, which I don't).

It was rough also trying to get used to socializing. Thankfully most of the people in the store I work at often feel the same way I do - burnt out after having to deal with bitchy people all day - so there's not too much talking during breaks at least, but when there's downtime while working it's hard to avoid. Mostly I just listen to people because they know I'm "shy" and don't like talking much about myself. Some avoid me completely which I'm fine by as well - it's not a part of my job to be friends with other coworkers, just to be cordial and to get my job done. There are a few invasive people but you have no obligations to tell anybody your life story or anything about you really - just say you're not comfortable talking about it and typically they will leave you alone. A lot of my interests aside from anime/otaku stuff are "academic" as opposed to recreational, so just making it clear that that's what I could talk about scared most people away, but I've had a few decent conversations with people. (To be clear: I don't mention the otaku stuff unless somebody else brings it up first.) Working at a job like the one I have has really helped my social anxiety in casual situations like making small talk, but I can't go beyond that really. Nobody expects you to at work though.

That isn't to say that there aren't bad days, because there are. I've been cussed at, had things thrown at me, and been touched by other people (I really hate when people touch me, even if it's just a pat on the shoulder or something... and some times it's been more aggressive than that, but nothing painful I suppose). There have been times where things are so stressful that I get an anxiety attack and have to struggle so I don't show it. I used to just hide but you can't do that when you're in the middle of doing a task involving other people. I'd say this used to happen about once a week but it only happens to me every few months now.

I should also mention that I'm really lucky in one regard in that my managers aren't complete shit at the moment. They were kind of shitty when I started but there was a big turnover and things got a lot better. A good or bad manager can make or break a job.

Overall... it's not fun, but it's just a thing I do to get money, because I need it to survive.

Also I didn't explicitly mention this so I thought it should be said - you absolutely do not need to go to a professional to learn about mindfulness meditation. There are loads of resources online and in books.
>> No. 17077 [Edit]
How bad are the customers? Do bad things happen daily, or is it rarer than that? Do certain types of people get treated better than others by the customers; for instance, would somebody like us be treated worse than an attractive girl or confident guy? I'm worried it'll be even worse for me than regular people if I got into retail.
>> No. 17079 [Edit]
>How bad are the customers? Do bad things happen daily, or is it rarer than that?
It really fluctuates with the seasons. If you were to get a job in retail right now, I'd say this is one of the least stressful times of year. Assuming you are in the USA (which is where I live), people are more stingy with their money in the period after Christmas and before they get their tax returns. What that translates to, overall, is fewer people, and thus fewer bitchy people. February is probably the slowest month. June and July are really busy, and obviously so is October through Christmas. Typically, the busier it is, the more grumpy and rude people you will find, and the more people will try to rip off the store you're working in/steal stuff. As for how bad they are... I've had a fair amount of bad experiences that shook me up. I think the worst/most memorable was the first Christmas season I worked, I was closing as the only person on register and a lady's card got denied. She yelled at me, telling me I was lying that her card was denied because she spent over $500 on it earlier that day (which is probably why she got denied...), telling me to go fuck myself and she tossed a shirt at me and demanded to see the manager, who ended up telling her the same thing. She stormed off and was cursing at us when she left and left my register a huge mess with merchandise everywhere. It was years ago so exact words are escaping me but I remember I was struggling to hold back tears. There was another time where two stereotypical dudebro douchebags were asking me questions about what I was doing with my life and if I had gone to college, and also asking me where a lot of things were, without showing any interest in buying stuff (so both bothering me and wasting my time). They got kicked out of the store because they had done that to other employees too that day, apparently.

This is not typical. I want to stress that. But I also think you should know that it can get that bad. Usually the worst it gets is people fighting about fake coupons/wrong sale prices/etc and having them swear a few times. Again, depending on the time of year, if you are working customer service or register, expect that to happen either a few times a week or a few times a day (the latter only during Christmas season). The extreme examples I mentioned above will only happen to you a few times a year, if that.

If you can, try not to work the registers or at customer service if the store has one if you're nervous about interacting with people a lot. If you work on the sales floor, you will inevitably have to work with people, but the interaction is much less because you're mainly stocking, making sure stuff looks clean, and only occasionally pointing out where an item is to a customer. If you have to accept a cashiering job to start, so be it, but when you have worked for a few weeks it's not unreasonable to ask to be trained for working out on the floor. There's also back room and signing jobs where you're pretty much on your own, as well as overnight stuff. I've worked a lot of different jobs at the store I worked at, and I fully realize this isn't a thing a lot of you would probably be interested in, but I've noticed that if your store has a food area (like a McDonalds or Starbucks), even though you have to interact with people, they are generally nicer because they know not to mess with the people making their food.

I should also mention that I live in a fairly rural area, and for a large chain. While the store work in is pretty high-volume, considering, I have no idea what it's like to work in an urban area or a small business, and I am guessing it's very different. I did work briefly in a suburban store and people were slightly ruder but not too much (it might have a bit to do with the state it was in, as well).

>Do certain types of people get treated better than others by the customers?
By customers, not really. Especially if you're just ringing up their groceries and/or clothing, they don't really care, they just want to pay for their stuff and leave for the most part. I hear bad stories from pretty much everybody in the store regardless of what they look like or how they act. I would almost say that guys like us have an advantage in a way because we blend in and are innocuous (or at least I feel that way). They aren't particularly likely to say we did a good job (as in seeking out a manager to say so) as compared to the other two examples you posted, most likely, but as long as we do our job and they leave happy, they won't complain or treat us badly (unless they're assholes, in which case they'd be assholes to anybody).

Coworkers and managers are a bit of a different story because you actually have to work with them. That said, like I said before, a lot of people really don't care about interacting a lot and if coworkers do treat you really badly, start making a log of times and exact things they said or did. Most stores have security cameras not just for the customers, but for the employees too, for better or for worse. Unless the management in your store is complete shit, something will be done about it swiftly.

Wow, sorry for the wall of text. I hope this has been helpful.
>> No. 17080 [Edit]
That sounds horrible, I don't understand how you could cope. I'd either burst into tears or snap and insult them back. I can't believe people are rude enough to throw things at others.

Thank you for writing all of that out, I really appreciate it, it does help.
>> No. 17084 [Edit]
I used to have social anxiety but it has slowly gotten better over a course of four years. I'm now able to maintain a natural conversation with strangers and maintain the appearance of being reasonably socially adjusted. I did see two different psychologists/counsellors, but they did not help much with the anxiety.

Some things I've learned:

- It can get better. But improvement will be gradual, much like the training of a muscle, or anything else in life really.

- You must be brave. You must go outside your comfort zone at times.

- Doing some kind of regular activity where there are opportunities for social interaction, but where social interaction is not the focus, helps a lot. In such a situation you can talk if you want to but you're not forced to. E.g volunteer work, a job, a club, class etc. These are basically like training camps for social skills.

- You must talk to decent, normal human beings. People who you can develop healthy relationships with. Most people will be like this. You should not seek out hollaback girls, chad thundercocks and the like.

- Theres always going to be one or two encounters with assholes. Just ignore them.

- I find that it takes two to tango to make a non-awkward conversation. If you're awkward than talking to a non-awkward person often works well because the other person can carry the conversation. You might not neccesarily get on well with a person similar to yourself. When you gain enough social skills to carry a conversation then its possible to talk to other awkward people.

Post edited on 12th Mar 2014, 7:52pm
>> No. 17085 [Edit]
Did you find it hard to go outside? I can make myself appear normal in front of others and conduct basic small talk, but just the act of walking out of my house and going down a street makes me feel drugged and anxious. It's as bad, sometimes even worse, than speaking to another person. If you did, does this go with time?
>> No. 17088 [Edit]
Before I started getting better it wasn't impossible to go outside, but I definitely did not like to do it. I would get overly self conscious, it felt like everyone was scruitinising my appearance, my chest would get tight, I couldn't breathe, I began chewing the inside of my cheek a lot, and it felt I couldn't put my hands in a natural position. My case isn't as severe as some of the things I've seen written here on tohno-chan though.

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