Social Anxiety or Something More?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

For the past two years I’ve noticed my social abilities steadily declining, and I’m at a point where I don’t speak unless spoken to. My school life is being affected due to my fear and inability to ask for help on problems or such. I was diagnosed with social anxiety about four years ago, but this feeling is no longer the same. I’m constantly afraid in most all situations, and I shake like a small dog. I’m finding it hard to talk to some of my dearest friends due to my sentences being choppy, and they always have to ask me what I mean several times to the point where I just stop trying. I was also diagnosed with depression and ADHD four years ago. The depression has been awful for the past 2 years, a way that in never was before.. I started cutting myself when I was 10 years old. I hadn’t cut in 3 years last month, and the next thing I know, I’m hunched up in my bathroom holding a razor. When I went to use it, it was gone, and I was in the kitchen. I’m at submitting this right now because the other night, it wasn’t a frantic hallucination. I don’t remember a lot of it though, and I found pieces of paper on which I drew very disturbing images in my blood. I really don’t know what to think anymore. I avoid calling or talking to my friends, even when I’m aware that I like that person and would probably enjoy talking to them, I just stare at the phone while its ringing and wait for it to stop. There are also other, more minor, hallucinations that I’ve dealt with for some time. My vision is constantly obscured by a layer of static like..things, of which I was informed was incurable. At night I see horrible things in them. Lately, it doesn’t have to be night to see them. I just really want some idea of what’s happening to me- this is the only resource I have at the moment. Thank you in advance for your time.

A. You are very welcome. I’m not certain that I fully understand all of the symptoms you have described, especially the hallucinations. You stated that your vision is “constantly obscured by a layer of static like… things” which you described as being “incurable.” Are you saying that you were diagnosed with a vision problem? If so, it is possible that the experiences that you are referring to as hallucinations are associated with the vision problem.

You also described periods in which you lose consciousness. During those blackouts, you apparently engaged in disturbing behaviors of which you have no recollection.

There may be two potential issues. One is social anxiety that seems to be progressively becoming worse. The second may be a medical issue (i.e. problems with vision, blacking out, etc.).

The fact that you have been diagnosed with several mental health disorders means that you’ve been to see a mental health professional. Are you currently seeing a mental health professional? If not, it is important to be evaluated. If you are under the care of mental health professionals, inform them about the fact that your symptoms have become worse. An adjustment to your treatment plan may be necessary.

It is also important that you are evaluated by a physician, preferably an eye care professional if you have trouble with your vision. Problems with vision and losing consciousness might be signs of neurological problems. It may be best to consult your primary care physician, report all of your symptoms and ask for a referral to the appropriate medical specialist. Having a comprehensive medical evaluation is highly recommended at this time.

Please consider my advice. It is imperative that you receive the proper medical and psychological evaluations. In the meantime, if you feel as though you might harm yourself, tell your parents, go to the emergency room or call 911. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Nov 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Social Anxiety or Something More?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/11/19/worried-that-i-cant-socially-function-as-a-part-of-society/