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Orwell1984

Worried about people’s perception of me

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I worry I appear deformed, fat and come across as stupid and inarticulate when I speak. I get tongue tied and this probably makes me look inept or dumb. Because I worry and try to appear normal, I use a lot of mental energy and make mistakes, which makes me look dumb etc. 

Can anyone help with intrusive thoughts of this nature?

Anyone else here overcome this before?

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Most of us most of the time seek to pass as ‘normal’. It is especially powerful in the teenage years. But remains through life. The more you know a person the more ‘unnormal’ they appear.

Your concerns are very widespread. We ‘present’ ourselves to the world everyday by putting on appropriate clothes for the workplace or leisure. We ‘present’ ourselves at interviews and other social occasions. I have made many mistakes in my presentations of myself. As I think we all have. Like all things of this nature do not ponder. Though I do ponder at my social embarrassments. Though I should not.

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But I get these intrusions of being watched . I’m always aware of my own behaviour, my tone of voice, the words I use, my posture and how it might appear to others. I feel like I am under my own microscope all the time when I’m public. It’s so energy depleting at work, it really is. I always have this feeling, how do I escape it? How do I make peace with it? 

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2 hours ago, Orwell1984 said:

how do I escape it? How do I make peace with it? 

Assuming its OCD related you escape it like you do other OCD intrusive thoughts, by applying CBT techniques.  Working on accepting the doubt "well maybe I do look weird to people, oh well, thats life".  Avoiding the compulsions you are engaged in, as you say trying to "appear normal".  The more you treat these situations as important, the more the OCD will feed on it.  The more you can do to treat them as unimportant, the less strong the OCD will become.

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6 hours ago, dksea said:

Assuming its OCD related

Dksea you say this, but could it be anything else other than ocd? If so, should approaching it in an ocd remedying way make it worse?

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1 hour ago, Orwell1984 said:

Dksea you say this, but could it be anything else other than ocd? If so, should approaching it in an ocd remedying way make it worse?

Self-esteem issues can arise from a number of places.  OCD certainly would be one of them of course and I there would be benefit in trying to apply CBT techniques, for example identifying any compulsive behaviors you engage in to combat your anxieties related to these thoughts.  But it could also be related to our perception of yourself and feelings of self doubt.  Its possible that CBT would be effective for treating low self esteem absent OCD as well, I just don't know.  As I mentioned in the other thread, if possible talking to a therapist/mental health professional about your concerns would probably be helpful, they will have more experience in handling any issues that fall outside of the OCD sphere.

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4 hours ago, dksea said:

Self-esteem issues can arise from a number of places.  OCD certainly would be one of them of course and I there would be benefit in trying to apply CBT techniques, for example identifying any compulsive behaviors you engage in to combat your anxieties related to these thoughts.  But it could also be related to our perception of yourself and feelings of self doubt.  Its possible that CBT would be effective for treating low self esteem absent OCD as well, I just don't know.  As I mentioned in the other thread, if possible talking to a therapist/mental health professional about your concerns would probably be helpful, they will have more experience in handling any issues that fall outside of the OCD sphere.

The thing is I’ve been to so many therapists and literally am making enough money to be spent on rent, bills and food, no more to carry over to  new clothes or more expensive therapy at the moment. There is a 3yr waiting list on NHS as well. I tried to tackle this issue re self perception before but the therapist I saw for 6 months last year just laid out thinking distortions, not which behaviours I could change. So I have more faith in the forum’s responses.

Edited by Orwell1984

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16 hours ago, Orwell1984 said:

But I get these intrusions of being watched . I’m always aware of my own behaviour, my tone of voice, the words I use, my posture and how it might appear to others. I feel like I am under my own microscope all the time when I’m public. It’s so energy depleting at work, it really is. I always have this feeling, how do I escape it? How do I make peace with it? 

I suppose if you were to label your description it could be referred to extreme self consciousness.  There is a diagnosis called social anxiety. You can read about it on the NHS Choices pages. Do you think it fits your experiences?

Certainly the self monitoring will be exhausting. But as you say you are concerned by how you ‘might appear to others’. As you suggest by using the modal verb might, your interpretation might be wrong.

So as a general principle I would say stop being too analytical about your social behaviour. Be easier on yourself.

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First comes our self concept which is a rather stable set of beliefs we have about ourselves. Self esteem is how we feel about our self concept. 

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11 hours ago, Orwell1984 said:

 There is a 3yr waiting list on NHS

I waited 3 years to see a psychologist on the NHS, then another 3 years, 3 months to start specialist treatment. The good news for others (and sod's law for me) is that, as confirmed by Ashley, the new NHS service at the Warneford Hospital in Oxford doesn't have a waiting list. Just look how quickly Nadiya Hussein got funding and treatment with Professor Salkovkis!

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7 hours ago, Handy said:

First comes our self concept which is a rather stable set of beliefs we have about ourselves. Self esteem is how we feel about our self concept. 

Handy/Eric please refrain from posting on my topics.

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17 hours ago, Angst said:

Do you think it fits your experiences?

Yes- I’ve been diagnosed with social anxiety too. Hard to know if it’s that or aspergers. Between that and ASD social problems, it’s not fun.

17 hours ago, Angst said:

stop being too analytical about your social behaviour.

I will try :) 

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On 14/05/2019 at 19:32, Orwell1984 said:

I worry I appear deformed, fat and come across as stupid and inarticulate when I speak. I get tongue tied and this probably makes me look inept or dumb. Because I worry and try to appear normal, I use a lot of mental energy and make mistakes, which makes me look dumb etc. 

Can anyone help with intrusive thoughts of this nature?

Anyone else here overcome this before?

 

On 14/05/2019 at 23:36, Orwell1984 said:

But I get these intrusions of being watched . I’m always aware of my own behaviour, my tone of voice, the words I use, my posture and how it might appear to others. I feel like I am under my own microscope all the time when I’m public. It’s so energy depleting at work, it really is. I always have this feeling, how do I escape it? How do I make peace with it? 

Hi orwell

Just want to say I am also very aware of myself at times. I have got into a bad habit of being hyper aware of how I speak, I have ever such a slight lisp and I ways think people are watching my mouth when I talk... This leads me to also get a bit tongue tied... Or worse I completely lose my train of thought because I'm too focused on how I look and how I'm coming accross when I talk. I also have the walking thing too and one or two other things. It is draining and exhausting and I don't really have any answers, other than to say you aren't alone. Some days are worse than others, although I'm not sure why this is xxx

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6 hours ago, Saz said:

Or worse I completely lose my train of thought because I'm too focused on how I look and how I'm coming accross when I talk

Saz this is literally me too lol.  Thank you for posting to say I’m not alone with this :) it’s is so energy depleting isn’t it. 

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Hi orwell 

I used to feel very much like this but have made a lot of head way with this issue (just not others!) One thing I've been advised is when you're feeling like this, deliberately get out of your head rather than being focused on yourself and how you're coming across. You could deliberately focus on something external e.g. What you can see, what someone else is saying etc. And stop monitoring your own behaviour. What you're doing is not dissimilar to checking the door is locked over and over. At some point you need to accept maybe the door isn't locked and stop checking. 

You have a right to be, to exist, to take up time and space and other people's attention. This is something I used to genuinely not realise about myself. I get the feeling maybe you feel like that too? X 

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