I really don't know what to do - the last 3 years I have said almost nothing to my dad, step mum and her kids. When we have dinner I just keep my head down and try not to make eye contact. I am polite but I won't say anything unless spoken to. What is unusual is that I only have this anxiety around my family or in groups of certain people. I am fairly confident talking one on one.
It's like a cycle where if I try and contribute to conversation everyone will be so surprised that I spoke they will all look at me intensely and I will go back to not talking. I dropped out of school because of similar issues - luckily I was able to do the rest online and so next year I will be at uni.
I have a good relationship with my mum but similar problems with my stepdad. Both my step parents must think I hate them because they often say unnecessarily mean things.
What can I do? I don't think anxiety medication would be a good idea since I have a history of drug addiction.
I have a few friends i could talk to, however, from past experience of being young, male and having anxiety, I probably will be labelled "weird" or as my dad once called me, "piss weak".
I could back to the psychologist but he is very expensive and I am skeptical I will get my money's worth.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Hey @CookieDough (mm your username is making me hungry )
I'm sorry that things have been difficult for you lately. You mentioned that you find one on one conversations easier, have you spoken to your family in that way before? (as in talking to only one family member).
Did you find seeing a psychologist helpful? I totally understand being worried about whether it's worth the money but thankfully there are some free helplines that can offer support and help you figure things out. Places like KidsHelpLine and Lifeline offer over the phone, web or email counselling.
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That sounds like a frustrating situation, and I think a situation that would repeatedly sap self-confidence. What little bit of advice I can offer is that with the psychologist, they generally like to treat anxiety with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), and for a lot of people this has been shown to help a lot (that is, anxiety is one of the problems that tends to respond really well to CBT). If you are sceptical, I would suggest maybe researching CBT and what the whole point of it is, because if you're not going to be receptive to that sort of style of treatment then it's not going to be worth it and probably won't work well either as you do have to actively engage.
There is an increasing library of online resources, modules, and apps for CBT, so these may be worth looking into to "dip your toes in" before handing over any money to a psychologist. If you decide that CBT is not for you--that's also perfectly okay! General online resources on managing anxiety may help, so it may be worth to look up some anxiety tips.
I think with anxiety.... work on it slowly! Confidence is hard to build, but you can definitely get there, and learn ways to control your anxiety, and you'd be surprised by how many very loud, funny, and well-like people I know who actually do suffer quite severe anxiety but you'd never guess it!
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