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Scared of talking and doing things wrong

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Everything in life is stressing me out, and I have been avoiding a lot of things for a long time. But I think and worry a lot, and I think maybe avoiding isn’t the best strategy. I just don’t know how to get back into things. I’m so scared, and I have all these thoughts that things have to be right and I have to do things in the right order. It’s just that having all these restrictions and limitations makes me so nervous and scared to do things the wrong way, and I get paralyzed and end up not doing anything at all.

The main thing I have been avoiding the last year, is communication with others. I have been very isolated and not talking to anyone for many years, but two years ago, I joined a forum and got to know some people, whom I talked to on a regular basis. I never got to the point where I could talk to people without being nervous though, and that combined with a physical illness I have, which makes life very hard, the anxiety and exhaustion got too much last year, and I had to take a break from things. Which meant I stopped talking to people. And getting back out there proved to be way more difficult than I thought. When I don’t do things for a while, I always get scared of doing it again. All these anxieties shows up, and I get more and more scared, and now a year after, I’m still stuck.

I feel scared and nervous most of the time, so scared of going back to talking to people, but at the same time thinking it might be just what I need. Maybe especially because I am so nervous about it. But then there's the order of things … That I have to do this first, and then I can go there, then I can talk to this person, then that person and so on. A set of rules that make me so scared and nervous. I did intend to do all of this stuff last year, but I guess because of these rules, I was too scared, and didn’t get anywhere. I’m just as scared now, but I want this anxiety to go away, and I think the only way to get out of it, might be to do all the things I’m scared of. I have a brain that tries to convince me that I am supposed to go through things alone and not talk to people, and I have lived that way most of my life, so it’s hard to convince myself otherwise. And I don’t really trust myself either.

I don’t know how much sense I am making, I just feel like I need to do something, and I thought posting here might be a step in the right direction.

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You've identified not only that there is a problem but what the crux of the problem is and that's a good thing.

You're not the first person to have their mind filled with silly rules about having to do A before B can happen. Your belief that things must be just right before you can do something is not uncommon. It's a theme within OCD. These rules can really drag your life down and prevent you from doing normal, everyday tasks. It can suck the enjoyment out of life.

What you need to realize is these rules are made up in your head. There's no basis in reality for them. Things are rarely perfect for anyone before they go to do something. That's just the way life is. You believe they must be right first but they don't have to be.

What I would suggest is that you make a list of some of the common rules you adhere to. Then rate those items by how much anxiety you think would be created if you didn't follow those rules. Then start with the least anxiety producing items and work on them. You work on them by purposefully not following the rule. Yes, your anxiety will rise because you're used to following the rule and your mind will try to tell you that something bad will happen if you don't, but you have to practice. You let the anxiety come, you let the doubt come. Eventually it will pass. Do it again and again and eventually that rule won't have any power over you. Then you move on to the next rule on the list.

I hope this helps.

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You make perfect sense. I get very nervous speaking to people and often if im left alone with someone i feel i have to talk which raises the anxiety more.

Everyone i know knows that i have anxiety so if i am on edge or shaking i just tell them...be honest.

It would help you to start mixing with people, but only when your ready.

Do this for you and not for others

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Thank you both.

I have been really determined to get out of this for a long time now, but when it comes down to it, I get too scared. Not that I haven't tried, and I have done stuff, I challenge myself almost every day or just go do something without feeling secure at all about it, but it seems so small and way too little. Because I haven't really managed to get further. At least not in the "socializing" area. And that is what is causing me the most anxiety right now, and has been for a long time.

PolarBear: I know what you mean about the rules. That it's just my head throwing all these things at me, and makes it all seem so important. It's quite incredible how a thought you have never had before, just can come in and take control like that. I'm trying to see it for what it is, but it feels so important, so I'm having a hard time just dismissing it. I know this is how it is though, and that it's not easy for anyone.

I have been thinking about it, and made a list as you suggested, and I am definitely going to work on things. The anxiety to go back to socializing like I used to a year ago, is really high, even without the rules, but the reasons why I'm so scared, is uncertainty, fear that it will impact other things in my life in a bad way, fear of ruining things and stuff. Pretty much OCD reasons I would think. Connecting everything with each other, if I do that, then this other thing may get ruined and so on.

I'm also not completely sure what I should do, because talking to people on the internet (which would be my way of socializing because I don't get out much due to bad physical health), isn't something that is required of me, so it's kind of easy for me to avoid it. And it causes so much stress for me, that it often seems tempting to just keep avoiding it. And I'm scared of the consequences if I don't. If I go back and start talking again. But again, that's probably just OCD fears. And I have learned that avoiding is a compulsion, so that would tell me that I need to stop avoiding and doing the things I'm scared of even if I don't know if it's the right thing to do. Thinking out loud here, correct me if I'm wrong :D

Thanks again, your advice is highly appreciated.

Edited by Alyssa

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You are righ, avoiding is a conpulsisons. So you should try to not avoid all these things. Thoghts of things connecting and can be ruined is just ocd. Im struggeling with ocd issues like this too. And to do things im right order ( a before b.. And sometimes b before a. There are no logic) sounds to me like you do alot of magical thinking.

Thank you for your post Polarbear, helped me too!

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