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Restaurant Anxiety, Etc.


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#1 libellule

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 03:06 PM

Hello. :] I would just like advice about something:

I have been suffering from anxiety for many years & last October, I finally made the decision to go on ADs to regulate myself. I have been on Zoloft since January & it's working beautifully. The only problem I seem to have is that I cannot get rid of the fear that used to keep me from suffering anxiety. Meaning that is was a defense mechanism to not do certain things to "protect" me, so to speak. I used to be very introverted (I felt like I was agoraphobic to some extent), not wanting to get out of the house. I was afraid of any type of social situation. After being on the ADs, I had no more anxiety, but my courage wasn't rebuilt. I feel like even though I have no reason to be anxious, I am still dealing with the day to day feelings of fear surrounding where I go, what I do, just because it was a habitual thought for so long.

Lately, the main thing has been venturing out of my comfort zone & going to restaurants. I've always disliked going ever since I was young but when my anxiety hit, I was petrified of going there. I feel like this is having a huge effect on not just my life, but my husband's. He loves to go out & do things but because I am still trapped by fear our time together isn't as fun as it should be. We're both in our early twenties; there should be no reason for us to be cooped up in the house, watching television.

I really want to change my thought processes, but I don't know how. I know that it's about just doing it, even while feeling fear, but I can never make myself just get up & go.

Do any of you have any advice about this? What are some ways to overcome fears after dealing with anxiety?

Thank you for listening. :]
"...our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds."

death cab for cutie.

#2 duggie

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 04:18 PM

I have the same problem. I do not feel comfortable around people I don't know. I avoid putting myself into situations like that. I can handle temporary things like elevators and stores, but not church or concerts or restaurants.
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#3 crystallic

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 07:35 PM

Hmm....I've never had to deal with anxiety on that level so maybe this will just sound stupid.......but what if you changed the focus of what going out to a restaurant means to you? I understand the thought of being there with a bunch of strangers is daunting, but maybe you can let that be secondary to the fact that you're "treating" yourself, so to speak.

Remember when we were kids and we'd find out we were going out for dinner? It was kind of exciting, lol! I don't know if you'd be able to do it, but I'm just wondering if you could focus more on the enjoyment of getting to go somewhere where someone else has set the table, you get to choose from a bunch of different meals whatever you'd like to have, someone else is going to make it just for you, someone else is going to serve it to you and be sure that you have everything you'd like......and the best part, leaving with a full tummy and no dirty dishes to wash! You get to just sit back, relax, chat with your hubby, and enjoy your meal. Maybe make yourself aware of everything else other than the people around you......notice the decor, what's on the table, what sort of dishes and flatware they have, whether or not the chairs are comfortable...lol!

Like I said, maybe that's just a useless suggestion, but it's what came to mind when I read your post.

:hearts:
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Diagnosed with: Dysthymia in 2001, age 30
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Medication: Effexor 225mg, Wellbutrin 150mg

#4 libellule

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 08:32 PM

Hmm....I've never had to deal with anxiety on that level so maybe this will just sound stupid.......but what if you changed the focus of what going out to a restaurant means to you? I understand the thought of being there with a bunch of strangers is daunting, but maybe you can let that be secondary to the fact that you're "treating" yourself, so to speak.

Remember when we were kids and we'd find out we were going out for dinner? It was kind of exciting, lol! I don't know if you'd be able to do it, but I'm just wondering if you could focus more on the enjoyment of getting to go somewhere where someone else has set the table, you get to choose from a bunch of different meals whatever you'd like to have, someone else is going to make it just for you, someone else is going to serve it to you and be sure that you have everything you'd like......and the best part, leaving with a full tummy and no dirty dishes to wash! You get to just sit back, relax, chat with your hubby, and enjoy your meal. Maybe make yourself aware of everything else other than the people around you......notice the decor, what's on the table, what sort of dishes and flatware they have, whether or not the chairs are comfortable...lol!

Like I said, maybe that's just a useless suggestion, but it's what came to mind when I read your post.

:hearts:


This was a great suggestion! Thank you for taking the time to listen. The solution seems so obvious, you know, but it's really much more easier said than done.
"...our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds."

death cab for cutie.

#5 crystallic

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 10:06 PM

Ah, I'm glad you liked it, lol! :flowers:

I know it might be hard getting there, but maybe once you're seated and really focus your attention on your husband and the table you're at, it might get a little easier to become less conscious of everything else around you.

Plus, we do sort of forget and take things for granted.....like what a treat it really is to go out for dinner! Heck...all kinds of things to choose from that I sure wouldn't be making, lol! I think we tend to just go through the motions of things like that and don't appreciate the experience. And don't forget, it's very highly unlikely that anyone else in the restaurant is paying much notice to you at all. They're talking to whomever they're with and shoveling the grub in their yaps too, lol!

One other thing I just thought of.......just to contrast the gravity of your experience....imagine what it would be like to be in the shoes of the server! How many strangers do they have to approach each day and take care of? Kinda makes it seem a lot easier to be the one walking in to enjoy a meal and then going home!

:hearts:

P.S. Remember, the more you go out to do things like that the easier it gets because it becomes a more familiar feeling.....just try to keep your focus on the positive aspects!
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Experienced several major depressive episodes
Medication: Effexor 225mg, Wellbutrin 150mg

#6 Irish_Eyes

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 12:56 AM

Hello. :] I would just like advice about something:

I have been suffering from anxiety for many years & last October, I finally made the decision to go on ADs to regulate myself. I have been on Zoloft since January & it's working beautifully. The only problem I seem to have is that I cannot get rid of the fear that used to keep me from suffering anxiety. Meaning that is was a defense mechanism to not do certain things to "protect" me, so to speak. I used to be very introverted (I felt like I was agoraphobic to some extent), not wanting to get out of the house. I was afraid of any type of social situation. After being on the ADs, I had no more anxiety, but my courage wasn't rebuilt. I feel like even though I have no reason to be anxious, I am still dealing with the day to day feelings of fear surrounding where I go, what I do, just because it was a habitual thought for so long.

Lately, the main thing has been venturing out of my comfort zone & going to restaurants. I've always disliked going ever since I was young but when my anxiety hit, I was petrified of going there. I feel like this is having a huge effect on not just my life, but my husband's. He loves to go out & do things but because I am still trapped by fear our time together isn't as fun as it should be. We're both in our early twenties; there should be no reason for us to be cooped up in the house, watching television.

I really want to change my thought processes, but I don't know how. I know that it's about just doing it, even while feeling fear, but I can never make myself just get up & go.

Do any of you have any advice about this? What are some ways to overcome fears after dealing with anxiety?

Thank you for listening. :]

Hi there libellule :flowers: ~

I can completely understand the shut-in type of anxiety, and even agoraphobia to some extent.

Let me see if I understand---I think you mean you have a sort of fear of the agoraphobic anxious feelings coming back if you do follow through and go out to a restaurant? Or that you are programmed to an extent to automatically follow the old behavior patterns minus the anxiety (like Pavlov's dog experiment), or both?

Either way, my thoughts are that if the agoraphobic anxiety is now absent, that your body can do whatever you put your mind to. After re-reading your post, I tend to think that the anxiety has not been completely relieved by the Zoloft, which is to be expected and normal, because magic pills do not exist, therefore there is no magic cure. I don't mean to sound glib, it's just the best way my ADHD wired brain can put it. I think that if you aren't seeing a therapist, you should really, REALLY look into seeing one. What kind of anxiety disorder do you have? I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder (without Agoraphobia). I have been there and done that, so I speak from experience. :hearts:

The reason I ask the type of is that different anxiety disorders have totally different treatments. Anti-depressants don't work long-term on most folks anyway, if they work on them at all. Anyway, I get situationally bound panic attacks and I have agoraphobic avoidance of certain places and situations because of that, but I don't know if yours is more of a social anxiety disorder, or something else. Also you could have anehdonic depression symptoms where you are unable to feel much joy at getting up and out and doing "normal" stuff other folks like us in their twenties are doing. Not that I want to do ~~"NORMAL"~~ stuff anyway, like get drunk, forget where I am, pass out, and get frost bite in an alley where they have to amputate my fingers and leg (really happened here this winter) because I was doing the "NORMAL" binge drinking with my college buddies.

Anxiety disorders are very treatable (PTSD not being one of the "easier" ones though).

Anyway, take care, and let me know when you've got a psychologist as a therapist, or I'll help you find one in your area.
-Irish Eyes

#7 libellule

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 10:28 AM

Hello. :] I would just like advice about something:

I have been suffering from anxiety for many years & last October, I finally made the decision to go on ADs to regulate myself. I have been on Zoloft since January & it's working beautifully. The only problem I seem to have is that I cannot get rid of the fear that used to keep me from suffering anxiety. Meaning that is was a defense mechanism to not do certain things to "protect" me, so to speak. I used to be very introverted (I felt like I was agoraphobic to some extent), not wanting to get out of the house. I was afraid of any type of social situation. After being on the ADs, I had no more anxiety, but my courage wasn't rebuilt. I feel like even though I have no reason to be anxious, I am still dealing with the day to day feelings of fear surrounding where I go, what I do, just because it was a habitual thought for so long.

Lately, the main thing has been venturing out of my comfort zone & going to restaurants. I've always disliked going ever since I was young but when my anxiety hit, I was petrified of going there. I feel like this is having a huge effect on not just my life, but my husband's. He loves to go out & do things but because I am still trapped by fear our time together isn't as fun as it should be. We're both in our early twenties; there should be no reason for us to be cooped up in the house, watching television.

I really want to change my thought processes, but I don't know how. I know that it's about just doing it, even while feeling fear, but I can never make myself just get up & go.

Do any of you have any advice about this? What are some ways to overcome fears after dealing with anxiety?

Thank you for listening. :]

Hi there libellule :flowers: ~

I can completely understand the shut-in type of anxiety, and even agoraphobia to some extent.

Let me see if I understand---I think you mean you have a sort of fear of the agoraphobic anxious feelings coming back if you do follow through and go out to a restaurant? Or that you are programmed to an extent to automatically follow the old behavior patterns minus the anxiety (like Pavlov's dog experiment), or both?

Either way, my thoughts are that if the agoraphobic anxiety is now absent, that your body can do whatever you put your mind to. After re-reading your post, I tend to think that the anxiety has not been completely relieved by the Zoloft, which is to be expected and normal, because magic pills do not exist, therefore there is no magic cure. I don't mean to sound glib, it's just the best way my ADHD wired brain can put it. I think that if you aren't seeing a therapist, you should really, REALLY look into seeing one. What kind of anxiety disorder do you have? I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder (without Agoraphobia). I have been there and done that, so I speak from experience. :hearts:

The reason I ask the type of is that different anxiety disorders have totally different treatments. Anti-depressants don't work long-term on most folks anyway, if they work on them at all. Anyway, I get situationally bound panic attacks and I have agoraphobic avoidance of certain places and situations because of that, but I don't know if yours is more of a social anxiety disorder, or something else. Also you could have anehdonic depression symptoms where you are unable to feel much joy at getting up and out and doing "normal" stuff other folks like us in their twenties are doing. Not that I want to do ~~"NORMAL"~~ stuff anyway, like get drunk, forget where I am, pass out, and get frost bite in an alley where they have to amputate my fingers and leg (really happened here this winter) because I was doing the "NORMAL" binge drinking with my college buddies.

Anxiety disorders are very treatable (PTSD not being one of the "easier" ones though).

Anyway, take care, and let me know when you've got a psychologist as a therapist, or I'll help you find one in your area.


Thank you for the food for thought. I am actually seeing both a psychiatrist & a therapist. I've been in therapy for almost a year & I've been seeing my psychiatrist for as long as I've been on ADs. The therapy has really, really helped me to be where I am today. I still go, about once a month & I see my psychiatrist once every several months. I don't feel like I need to go to therapy as often (I used to go once a week, sometimes more); I definitely feel like I've made heaps of progress.

I was diagnosed with general anxiety... nothing more or less. I have basically diagnosed myself with agoraphobia, just putting 2 & 2 together.

What you said in the beginning about Pavlov's dog; I would say that it's a mix of both. You're right; ADs are magic pills & I know that they tend to fail on people. I don't feel they have; I feel like that have given me so much more than what I had a year ago. I feel like I have made a lot of progress, but I am still having issues getting over the hump of these habitual though processes. When I think about restaurants, I don't feel anxiety... at least, not the extent I used to feel. I just feel nervous, (which I personally think are two different things). My body goes in defense mode because it's so used to being like, "Whoa, don't go there. You might get hurt." It's just the same old thoughts coming up amongst different situations, you know.

I hope that makes a bit more sense. :]
"...our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds."

death cab for cutie.

#8 Irish_Eyes

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:50 PM

Thank you for the food for thought. I am actually seeing both a psychiatrist & a therapist. I've been in therapy for almost a year & I've been seeing my psychiatrist for as long as I've been on ADs. The therapy has really, really helped me to be where I am today. I still go, about once a month & I see my psychiatrist once every several months. I don't feel like I need to go to therapy as often (I used to go once a week, sometimes more); I definitely feel like I've made heaps of progress.

I was diagnosed with general anxiety... nothing more or less. I have basically diagnosed myself with agoraphobia, just putting 2 & 2 together.

What you said in the beginning about Pavlov's dog; I would say that it's a mix of both. You're right; ADs are magic pills & I know that they tend to fail on people. I don't feel they have; I feel like that have given me so much more than what I had a year ago. I feel like I have made a lot of progress, but I am still having issues getting over the hump of these habitual though processes. When I think about restaurants, I don't feel anxiety... at least, not the extent I used to feel. I just feel nervous, (which I personally think are two different things). My body goes in defense mode because it's so used to being like, "Whoa, don't go there. You might get hurt." It's just the same old thoughts coming up amongst different situations, you know.

I hope that makes a bit more sense. :]


Hiya!! That sure is interesting... I never thought of anxious feelings and nervous feelings as two different things, but I do follow your meaning. I think that with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which I have too, which you have--occurrs on a spectrum of continuity. So it's a large range, from lower anxious feelings, to high anxiety states, and triggers and worried thoughts are different for everyone. Mine isn't restaurants.... but, it is possible to develop Agoraphobia as a completely distinct anxiety disorder. I have the DSM-IV-TR online through my college. It's too bad I can't send it to you because it's password protected. I think there might be whole versions online for free though too.

My line of thought is that the more I understand about the clinical disorders, the more I learn about the treatment modalities and the clinical research, the more in control I feel about the anxiety disorders I have (Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder without Agoraphobia). What does your therapist say about your new thoughts over the restaurant thingy?
-Irish Eyes

#9 libellule

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 06:19 PM

Hiya!! That sure is interesting... I never thought of anxious feelings and nervous feelings as two different things, but I do follow your meaning. I think that with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which I have too, which you have--occurrs on a spectrum of continuity. So it's a large range, from lower anxious feelings, to high anxiety states, and triggers and worried thoughts are different for everyone. Mine isn't restaurants.... but, it is possible to develop Agoraphobia as a completely distinct anxiety disorder. I have the DSM-IV-TR online through my college. It's too bad I can't send it to you because it's password protected. I think there might be whole versions online for free though too.

My line of thought is that the more I understand about the clinical disorders, the more I learn about the treatment modalities and the clinical research, the more in control I feel about the anxiety disorders I have (Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder without Agoraphobia). What does your therapist say about your new thoughts over the restaurant thingy?


My therapist says that it's understandable that I'm having these struggles because it's been programmed in my brain for such a long time. She says that it may take some time to overcome these hurdles... but that's okay. She does think that it's something that needs to be addressed. That maybe I need to start slow & work my way onto bigger things. I agree with that too. I just wish it would happen already.

Mainly, I just wanted tips, tools or advice on how I could better overcome these issues. =] Therapy is helping me a great deal but I feel like I need a mantra or something to take with me on my endeavors.
"...our memories depend on a faulty camera in our minds."

death cab for cutie.

#10 thegirlshateher

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 12:14 AM

Your story resonates with me so much.

Even the thought of sitting in a restaurant makes me short of breath.

I think its the fear of having an obligation to sit down till its over that scares me.

#11 Ajumbledmess

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 10:43 PM

This was them worst part of the panic for me. I would be like that before we left the house.

Posted ImageAjumbledmessPosted Image

"Sometimes we need to hurt in order to grow we must fail in order to know we must lose in order to gain some lessons are learned best through pain."










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