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feel like I've lost my social skills


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As some of you might already know I suffer from social anxiety, which has been made worse by benzos--all through the time I took them and even more so now at 3.5 months out.  In fact I don't remember ever having social anxiety as badly as I have it now.  It's not ALWAYS intense but when it is it's just awful. 

 

Just as an example I was at the gym yesterday and got into a conversation with someone there who ended up talking my ear off.  I felt so incredibly anxious I thought I would jump out of my skin partially because I couldn't figure out how to tear myself away from this person gracefully.  My anxiety just kept building.  I feel like I've lost my social skills because I just seem to freeze in certain situations--where someone is making me uncomfortable for whatever reason.  I don't feel this way around everyone, only with certain people and in certain circumstances.  On some level I feel my intuition is stronger or something when it comes to judging people's character/intentions--sometimes too strong to the point of being overwhelming. 

 

To make matters worse, after this encounter I started ruminating over whether this guy at the gym could see how nervous I was.  The truth is I could care less what he thought, he annoyed me, but yet I couldn't stop thinking about it.  What sense does that make?

 

My biggest fear is that I won't be able to return to work, at least not for a long time.  I feel like benzos have permanently damaged my brain not to mention how tired I am of never being able to relax completely no matter what I do.  I'm so sick of this ongoing anxiety without let-up.

 

Mal

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I feel like I've lost my social skills, too. Sometimes I just stare at people and can't make conversation. The only hope I have is that some days I have windows and I am as social as can be and don't have a problem with it at all.  Then, other days I'm a freak!  It sucks.

 

I hate the anxiety, fear, short temper and anger issues. I just want to tell people, "it's not me!!"  But, how do you explain that?

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This has always been a hard symptom for me in withdrawal.  I ct/ed before this and made it to probably 7 to 8 months out, and near the end i was starting to get my social skills back.  Responses started to become automatic instead of having to think hard before saying something.  I felt like i could start connecting with people, and i enjoyed conversation.  Then i made the mistake of take 2 doses of ativan and it set me back to day 1 of withdrawal.  This symptom makes me very depressed considering i am in college right now, and normally am a very outgoing person.  I spend a lot of my time in my room right now, waiting for the day that i can go back out into "the world" and enjoy conversation and people.  I'm almost 5 months out now so hopefully this will get better soon.

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Ask,

 

Yea I feel like a freak too, and a total moron sometimes.  This is wreaking total havoc with my already limited self-esteem.  I just stare at people too because I can't think, so then sometimes I'll just say something inane to fill the empty air space--ug!  And like you I have windows where my thoughts flow pretty freely and I feel more like myself.  The unpredictability of this is crazymaking.  I'm just curious, is the Remeron helping you at all with anxiety?  I tried that a few years ago, but couldn't continue because it lowered my blood pressure too much.  Obviously you're not having that problem--you'd know it by now.

 

Sam,

 

Thanks, I hope more people contribute as well.  I need all the encouragement I can get--this stinks to say the least.  Looks like I'll be pretty reclusive this holiday season.

 

That's exactly what it is--my responses aren't spontaneous, or automatic, because I can't think right.  I have to REALLY concentrate sometimes to fully absorb what people are saying.  Makes it very hard to have a conversation.  

 

Thanks too for giving me hope that this may improve, since it did for you around 7-8 months out.  I know you're discouraged right now but at least you know that you got better before.  So you will again.  Hang in there.

 

Mal

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[10...]

I'm usually pretty good at making small talk, especially in situations such as going through a grocery store check-out line, etc. However, while I've been in w/d and initial stages of recovery I've felt so uncomfortable around people. When I go to the grocery I try and hit it about 2 p.m. -- after the lunch rush but before the dinner rush. It seems less busy then. That, or I'll go about 8 p.m.

 

If the check-out line is long I will just wander the store until i see it is short and then I'll dash for the line. Most of the clerks know me, since I've been going to the same Safeway for over a decade. They'll try and make small talk with me and it's a real struggle. I wear hearing aids and I'm now wearing them during this benzo w/d-recovery experience, since the artificial sound was pretty unnerving to me. Fortunately, I use the "I'm sorry I don't have my hearing aids in" excuse if I can't understand what someone is saying, and they just nod in understanding.

 

There is one of the baggers who has been there for ages. He's always kind of looked psycho to me. I went through a checkout line last week and I was anxious and just wanted to get out of there as fast as possible and I grabbed my bags from him and just bolted. He gave me his usual psycho look, but this time it terrified me, kind of like: "He knows..." It's silly, I know, but it bothered me for several days and I can still see in my mind how he looked at me.

 

I think all this is a normal part of w/d. At least a LOT of people have commented about it. I'm sure it will get easier in time. I sure hope so, at least.

 

Tucson

 

Me on Day 47 of my final c/t:  :o

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That is so much like my biggest fear that I have become agoraphobic. I try to grab a bite to eat somewhere sitting in a far corner with my husband and I'm freaking out. I send my husband to the grocery store because no way can I check out my groceries. if I'm in any type of store, I dodge down the isle with the least people. I can't explain it any other way than to say my overeactor is overeacting. I'm six months out today and I am terrified that I'm never going to calm my emotions. It feels horrific. Please keep this thread going. If we all keep helping each other, then we will find a way to hang in until this nightmare is over. I wish had one of those rubber bandlets with the message " SURVIVING BENZOS"  it would be a great reminder all you BB are with me.

 

Lucy

 

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Wow. I was just getting ready to post about this very subject.

 

Tonight I went out with a friend of mine. I have known her for close to 10 years. We were even a little more than just friends at one time.

 

I should be completely at ease around her but I felt clumsy and awkward. I tried my best to maintain eye contact and keep the conversation moving on my end but it all felt wrong. Everything I hate about social anxiety reared its ugly head. It was frustrating to say the least.

 

Toward the end of dinner I finally loosened up a little. We stopped at a lounge on the way home and after one drink I felt a lot more comfortable, but still awkward.

 

I feel like I am over 80% recovered but when I get into social situations I feel like I am starting from the beginning. Things are completely different when I am in a window so I am hoping this will all go away once the wd finally lets go, but until then I am going to have a hard time with this.

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Sam,

 

Thanks for bumping this thread.

 

 

Tucson, Lucy, Florida Guy,

 

I'm soooo hoping that other BBs chime in here and offer us some words of encouragement because this is one of the worst sxs for me, if not THE worst because it's hindering me in every area of my life.  While I know I have to admit to having a certain amount of social anxiety regardless of benzos, I am sure it wasn't this bad before benzos because I was able to work, socialize, and have a life basically. 

 

I am especially frustrated right now because there is this film studies course that's being given in my area on a topic so interesting to me and I'm afraid to do it because of this horrendous social anxiety.  I feel like this sxs is robbing me of all the joy in life.  I'm hesitant to sign up for this course because it runs for 4 weeks, meeting every Tuesday from 6:30 to 9:30.  I don't know if I want to spend the money if I'm going to be a bundle of nerves the whole time--what fun is that?

 

I also wanted to comment on how so many people mentioned grocery shopping and how anxiety-producing that is.  It is for me too and I can't quite figure out what that's about.  There's something about the checkout line that's especially bad for me.  Like you Lucy, I have to sometimes get my boyfriend to do it because I can't handle it.  I have this weird performance anxiety thing too like I never had before.  If I have to do anything in front of other people or while they're watching me it makes me soooo nervous.  I feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin and that I'm getting these little electrical "zaps"--adrenaline surges I guess.  And forget about making eye contact.  I hear you, Florida, I can only do this consistently when I'm having a window, which isn't too often. 

 

Hoping for more feedback.

 

Thanks,

 

Mal

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Hi everybody,

 

I just wanted to let you guys know that I'll be away for the next few days and won't be on my computer at all, so that's why I won't be responding to any posts.  I'm taking a sorely needed break to the beach to visit family members who are staying there right now.  Be back Friday. 

 

May everyone have an anxiety-free week--well, at least somewhat peaceful.

 

Mal

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This has been a nightmare for me since I started tapering. I have only told close family and one close friend what I am going through.

 

Pre' retirement, my professional life involved a lot of talking, so communication skills were paramount. I can hardly believe what I used to do. Most of my work involved speaking to groups of people, sometimes to a lecture hall full. Now even talking on the phone is difficult. My daughter tells me I am a mere shadow of my former self.

 

Agoraphobia kicked in a few years ago, even when I am going to the Doctors or the Hospital I was shaking and sweating. I still print out all my latest info' so my Doctor can read it otherwise I just can't remember all the things I want to tell her.

 

When my grandchildren come to visit I try desperately hard to keep the conversation going, then when they leave, I am totally exhausted, the sheer effort it takes drains me of all mental energy. There is no way I can maintain a conversation with others whether I know them or not.

This is certainly a terrible symptom of benzo' withdrawal, the fear is overwhelming. Makes me feel dried out, can't get my head right, can't concentrate or remember things. I feel numb in brain and body and all the time new symptoms seem to add to the pain.

Lets hope we can all find ourselves again in the future. Were it not for SPELL CHECK this post really wouldn't make sense. I would like to think I will have some pleasure in my retirement instead of wave after wave of  benzo' horror.

At least we have each other now due to the website.

.Tiggy

 

 

 

 

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Mal, Going to the beach sounds heavenly. Enjoy every minute. Not much hope of me doing that is Wisconsin. Hope it gives your mind some much needed tranquility. Since you won't see this until you get back, I hope you did some meditation. Watching the water lap on the shore and disappear into the sand is just what all our symptoms should do..... Disappear!  I see you are very early in being off Benzos so don't be too hard on yourself. The intensity of your symptoms will subside. I had social anxiety before benzos and being on them for most of my life certainly didn't do wonders for my brain. I never knew the intense anxiety that I had during acute withdrawal. But it is very, very very gradually going down. Could it be the fear of those feelings that keeping this alive? I am so discouraged at myself because I love people and I'm basically fearing them now. BB have been great to me.

Thanks all of you.

Lucy

 

 

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