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Social Phobia and exercise

Friday, August 13, 2010

I have suffered from social phobia for many years the last few years being a very tough severe phobia. When I try to explain to people how it feels I'm often faced with people who think it is just shyness or poor social skills, unfortunately for me and other sufferers it is way more than this.
The fear of embarrassing myself in public or saying something that people would laugh at is HUGE, it means that I do not go out alone to places where people might talk to me, it means that when I'm somewhere and I have an opinion about something there is such a battle going on in my brain that the words will not leave my mouth, I know exactly what I want to say but no words will leave my mouth. I find it difficult to answer the door or speak on the phone, even to people I know really well.
Trying to exercise when you have social phobia is a huge obstacle because I cant just go for a nice walk, the fear I have means that i can not even walk to the end of my road to post a letter without extreme anxiety and fear. I feel the panic rise up in my chest which feels tight and my throat feels like it is closing and I cannot breathe.
I would love to go swimming but cant bare the thought of people seeing me in a swimming costume. I would love to join a gym but I am too ashamed of my weight and fear that I will be the largest person there and they will all laugh at me.
I know that these fears are illogical and extreme but when fear takes over there is nothing I can do to stop it, that part of my brain wont listen to the rational part that is saying you are being daft!
I have a wii it is brilliant for just getting me active, I have the EA active sports personal trainer, I find the kick boxing and other exercises really get my heart rate going and I feel that I have really achieved something after exercising for 30 mins or so. I am hoping that as my weight goes down I will start to feel more confident in myself and be able to venture out on my own just to go for a nice walk or a bike ride. I am sharing this so that others who also experience this high level of anxiety can realise that they are not alone and that those that don't may start to understand a little about how it feel to suffer from this condition and maybe understand that we are not just shy or Lazy but struggling to cope with everyday situations that other people do on a daily basis without even thinking!
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  • HLEIGHH
    I sympathize, I definitely have anxieties about being seen exercising in public.

    One thing that has worked for me is to take it slow... I started out by walking the dog in street clothes, then walking the dog in running shoes, then walking the dog in running shoes and occasionally breaking into a jog. Preferably after dark. (I can do that because we live in a warm climate and a safe neighborhood - I realize that's not true for everyone).

    I've found that experience in REALITY can over-ride the FANTASY of being pointed at, laughed at, mocked, etc ... every time I pass another person on the street and nothing happens (or maybe they even smile or say hi), it takes away a bit of my anxiety.

    Good luck!
    3377 days ago
  • FAIRYCUPCAKE
    Thankyou both for your kind comments emoticon
    VTSKIER805 I do have the wii fit but find it too slow to do a workout I have heard that the wii fit plus is better and have been thinking about buying it.
    3411 days ago
  • VTSKIER805
    Good luck! It sounds like you are doing well battling your phobias. I suffer from some oversensitivities (mostly to noises like chewing and sniffling) so I understand what it's like to feel something awful that nobody else can understand because they don't feel it themselves. I wish you continued success!

    I don't know if you have Wii Fit Plus but it has been very valuable to me. I have incorporated weights into my workout to make it more challenging and am sure that muscles will show up soon!
    3411 days ago
  • WALKMAMMAWALK
    You can do this! The biggest hurdle you have already overcome, acknowledging your anxiety may be irrational - and are willing to work towards a goal of living without the fear. emoticon

    I wish you the best on your journey, and congratulate you on taking the steps for a fuller life... for YOU! You are special, you are worth it!
    3411 days ago
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