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    Negative thoughts and social anxiety
    kittykat90 posted:
    Hello, I am new to this site and joined because I've been having severe mood swings and have just been very emotional. This could be coming from a number of things, but I'm not sure how to handle it or what to do. I will start off by explaining where this is probably coming from...

    To start, I am a 23 year old female and I live with my boyfriend of 3 years. I am a student pursuing my B.A. and am going to graduate next year. Earlier this year (January) I found out I was pregnant and after a lot of thinking and talking about it, sadly we decided to have an abortion. It was a very emotional time for me and after it happened I didn't really talk about it much because I needed to move on.

    Well, I never told my parents. And one night my sister and I were out drinking (we both are aggressive drunks) and she was very drunk and out of anger blurted out to my parents about my abortion. Don't remember much after but we got into a physical fight and I broke my finger. This happened July 3 and I still have a bandage and pins in my finger from the incident. -- I've had a lot of extreme fights with my boyfriend and other bad, crazy situations that have been alcohol-induced and I haven't drank since this.

    We've moved on since then but lately, for the past few months I have been having feelings of sadness and have been emotional. Last night I went out with my boyfriend and I just felt extreme anxiety... I think people would say I'm a very pretty girl but when I was there I was worried about if I am pretty enough, worried that I'm not "fun" enough. I guess since I don't drink anymore I feel like the boring one and I''m so busy with school/work I don't do things too often so I feel like I have nothing interesting to say. And most of the times when I laugh, I feel like I'm forcing a weird, fake laugh.

    I used to be the most confident person, always lighting up the room. But now I feel awkward, like I don't know how to act and hold a conversation with people. I'm not sure what to do or how to handle these feelings and negative thoughts... Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Any feedback would be very much appreciated. Thank you in advance, xo
    kittykat90 responded:
    I must also add -- the feelings of anxiety last night aren't the first time this has happened. This has been happening very often when I'm not around people who are very close friends of mine.
    Reid Wilson, PhD responded:
    Hey, Kittykat90-

    I can only give you some light feedback here, and some hunches, since I hardly know you and have very little information. First off, it is quite common for people with social anxiety to cover up their feelings through alcohol and drugs. Very common! And you can probably imagine how they return to drinking when they start noticing these uncomfortable sensations and insecurities after a period of abstinence. Hang in there! Don't run away from this new experience! Gather up some grit and decide to work through it instead of run away from it.

    One way to frame up this situation is to consider yourself going through a transition: you are recovering from a significant loss, you're about to graduate from college and move on to the next phase of your life, and you are attempting to reintegrate into your peer group without the crutch of alcohol. It is no surprise that some "demons" start to float up and cause you to feel insecure. There is no magic pill here for this transition time. In addition, you may have some predisposition for anxiety (you did not mention any family history of anxiety, so I'm not sure.)

    If you would like some further advice on social anxiety specifically, you can look on my free self-help website: .

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