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Topic: Social anxiety and phobia of staying in others house

18 posts, 0 answered
  1. YHY89
    YHY89 avatar
    10 posts
    11 May 2021

    Hi everyone,

    I've had anxiety for as long as I can remember, but social anxiety has only started making appearance in recent years. My sister in law and her family hired a cabin for the upcoming June long weekend. My mother/father in law also own a cabin and it was assumed that the rest of the family would stay in their cabin. The cabin sleeps 6 people (1x Queen and a room with 2x bunk beds). My husband and I would be sharing the bunk beds with my other sister in law and her husband. I've always avoided staying at other people's houses and I'm worried about spending an entire long weekend in a tiny cabin. There's is minimal space/privacy, one bathroom to share, and my worst nightmare is sleeping in a room with other people! I also have OCD and have a very structured routine. Plus, I feel like I'd be in everyone's way and take too much time with showering/getting ready (I hate being rushed).

    With all this in mind, my hubby immediately told his Mum that we wouldn't be going. His Mum is apparently disappointed we're not coming and said "then, we'll have to organise another family get together to celebrate your Dad and sisters' birthdays". I feel so upset for being a disappointment & letting everyone down, compounded by the fact it's their birthdays. Part of me really doesn't want to go because I'll be uncomfortable the whole time, but I don't want to disappoint his family. What seems like an easy thing to do is giving me so much grief. I've taken the day off work and haven't been able to stop thinking about this situation. What should I do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. james1
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    james1 avatar
    2945 posts
    11 May 2021 in reply to YHY89

    Hello YHY89,

    Welcome to the forums, it's really nice to meet you here.

    I'm sorry to hear you are feeling so upset about this situation with the long weekend. I also have a really strong aversion to a variety of different social things for the simple fact that I just need a lot of time to myself. That frequently means I am in awkward situations where I don't want to attend an important event, but feel like I'd be letting them down if I didn't.

    So perhaps I'm not the best person to give advice because I haven't quite figured out what to do, but perhaps I can suggest that your personal needs are just as important as his family's. While there is probably a bit of compromise that can be reached practically, I don't think you should ever feel the need to say "yes" to something you don't want to do. After all, their original suggestion actually let you down and didn't meet your needs.

    So perhaps you could find an arrangement that works for everyone - your husband and you could live somewhere else or only be there for one night. The arrangement should work for everyone, including you. It might be worthwhile discussing with your husband to see what he thinks, if you haven't already. It sounds like he understands how you feel which is great.

    I hope you can work it out. It sounds dreadful to feel that way and I don't think you've done anything wrong at all - you simply have different social needs to some members of his family, and I hope they can also learn to accommodate that.

    James

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Croix
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    Croix avatar
    10343 posts
    11 May 2021 in reply to YHY89

    Dear YHY89~

    I'd like to join James in welcoming you here to the Forum and agree with what he says -your feelings are as important as others.

    If you look at all the negatives of that cabin stay they are all things you find difficulty with, lots of other people on a continuous basis with no retreat, a confined space, sleeping near others, lack of bathroom facilities you can use without pressure, lack of privacy plus all the rest - it's not in the least surprising you did not want to go.

    Personally I think it sounds a horrible experience, being cooped up in a tiny cabin with others.

    Other people, who have different outlooks and habits, might not understand however it is really great your husband was completely on your side and cancelled your and his joining in. It's unfortunate a future alternative -probably as bad -was proposed as a substitute.

    May I ask if you have medical support for your anxiety condition and OCD? In my own case I found I simply could not make myself improve without both personal support and the correct medical help.

    I'd imagine you have the personal support from your husband like I had from my wife who wanted to look after me, even if she may not have understood exactly all that was in my mind.

    Do you think it is possible to meet small numbers of you in laws in circumstance where you feel reasonably comfortable? If so what sort of get-together might be best, maybe only with one or to others?

    That way they will not all feel you are not interested in family, and hopefully will come to accept you as you are.

    I know you feel you let others down, however I think you are judging yourself too harshly. That's a trap, to judge yourself as if you were completely well, rather than accepting that mental health conditions do impose limitations.

    They simply assumed you had the same capabilities and likes they did, which was probably a bit presumptuous on their part. You can only do what you can.

    We would realy like it if you felt like coming back to say how things are going now

    Croix

    .

    1 person found this helpful
  4. YHY89
    YHY89 avatar
    10 posts
    11 May 2021 in reply to james1

    Hi James,

    Nice to meet you too! Thank you for your advice and suggestions, it's greatly appreciated. I tend to say Yes all the time as I don't want to disappoint others, but I end up socially awkward and mentally drained by the end of the social gathering (I also like spending time by myself). I find it a lot easier to compromise, and I'm still working on saying No (telling myself if it's ok to say No and putting myself first). As you suggested, we're planning on staying in the cabin for one night and fingers crossed I can get through it.

    Thanks again,

    YHY89 :)

  5. YHY89
    YHY89 avatar
    10 posts
    11 May 2021 in reply to Croix
    Hi Croix

    Thank you for welcoming me here and nice to meet you.

    As I was reading your response, I got a bit teary as you made some really valid points. It's difficult for others to understand what I'm going through, especially when I keep everything to myself. I always try to please others rather than putting my needs first. I am incredibly lucky to have a supportive husband who is always there for me. I did see a psychologist for my anxiety in 2013 but I've never been formally diagnosed for OCD, although I feel I have a lot of symptoms (which get worse when I'm stressed). Ive been considering going to a GP to get a referral for a psychologist but I have been putting it off. I guess I need to look after myself a bit more.

    This morning I spiralled out of control and shut down which I haven't done in a long time. However, I'm feeling a lot better now after getting some rest throughout the day and reading your comments. It's really helped me, so thank you very much.

    YHY89

  6. Croix
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    Croix avatar
    10343 posts
    11 May 2021 in reply to YHY89

    Dear YHY89 ~

    I'm glad James' and my replies have helped, it is good to have others who can relate.

    It may be that easy relations with your in-laws may take time, and be in circumstances where you can feel comfortable so you can actually interact with them, rather than having your thoughts distracted by your own discomforts and fears.

    One thing I do when I'm stuck with my anxiety making me think on a loop of unpleasant useless thoughts is to use a free smartphone app called Smiling Mind. I found with practice it leaves me better, having broken the chain of thought and in a calmer state. Even the 2 minute demo is helpful and there are a ton of different routines to try, I found one that nagged me often enough to keep even my mind concentrating:)

    https://www.smilingmind.com.au/smiling-mind-app

    Might be useful for the upcoming night in the cabin

    I'd suggest that 2013 is rather long time ago and think seeing your GP with a view to being diagnosed (and having your anxiety condition treated) is a very good idea. You deserve a good life without being under a shadow all the time and that comes from looking after yourself in this sort of way.

    It would also be excellent to be able to say a reasonable NO without guilt

    I guess today's events would seem to underline the need for assistance.

    Hope to talk with you some more

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  7. geoff
    Life Member
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    geoff avatar
    15268 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to YHY89

    Hello YHY89, and a warm welcome to the site and thanks to James and Croix for helping you out.

    It's easy for someone suffering from OCD to make plans well into the future, but as time approaches all they want to do is find an excuse not to go, this isn't your fault, it's this illness that is caused by anxiety and it's happened many times with myself.

    This can create us to panic, producing 'intrusive thoughts' that dominate our mind and keep reoccurring and would make it too difficult to even consider having a pleasant time.

    Even seeing a doctor it's possible not to tell them that you may have OCD, sometimes they can discover this themselves by what we say or any actions we may be doing, unintentionally to diagnose us with OCD.

    Does your husband feel comfortable, with your agreement, to tell his family that you're going to see your doctor to get a diagnosis on whether you do have OCD and how they would react.

    Another option is, are you able to hire a caravan close to the huts so you can be by yourselves, one that has a shower in it or perhaps the caravan park has its own facilities, then you can come and go as you please, then this situation could be rectified.

    Can I please encourage you to visit your doctor, many people do also have this illness like I've had it for 60 odd years, so please don't feel alone and hope to hear back from you.

    Geoff.

    2 people found this helpful
  8. YHY89
    YHY89 avatar
    10 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to geoff
    Hi Geoff

    Thank you for your warm welcome.

    I have taken the last two days off work and I made some progress today. I finally visited the GP who referred me to a counsellor and my husband (who has been a great mediator) told his Mum that I was going to get some help. I didn't tell the GP about my OCD which I feel a bit stupid about. I just mentioned my anxiety and panic attacks.

    I find it really difficult to open up to others and speak about personal issues, but I find it easier talking to others with mental health issues. It's been nice talking to you, Croix and James. I think it will be really good for me to speak with a counsellor too.

    My in laws have always been very supportive and caring, and after chatting with them, they now understand why I dont want to stay at the cabin. We tried to book a separate cabin as you mentioned, but they were all booked out. So it looks like we will stay the day or maybe 1x night. Trying to figure it all out one step at a time.

    Thanks again for all your support.

    YHY89

  9. YHY89
    YHY89 avatar
    10 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to geoff
    Hi Geoff

    Thanks for your warm welcome.

    I wrote a long reply but it must not have posted properly. I made some progress today and saw a GP who referred me to a counsellor. Im not sure why, but I didn't bring up my OCD with the GP, which I feel stupid about. I only mentioned my anxiety and panic attacks. Maybe I can bring up my OCD when I see the counsellor.

    I also spoke with my in laws (whom we are living with) about the cabin situation and they now understand why I don't want to stay. We were going to see if we could hire a separate cabin, but as they are all booked out we might just go up for the day. I'm still deliberating whether I can stay overnight (one night be a good compromise). But I am feeling relieved that there is no pressure to stay.

    Thanks again for your support and advice, it's greatly appreciated.

    YHY89

  10. YHY89
    YHY89 avatar
    10 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to Croix
    Hi Croix

    Thanks for your reply.

    I've downloaded Smiling Mind (thanks for sharing). I will let you know how it goes.

    I finally visited the GP today after putting it off for months, and they referred me to a counsellor. I've only ever seen a psychologist before and I'm a little apprehensive about seeing a counsellor (not sure if there is any difference). Either way, I'm happy I made some progress and in some ways looking forward to seeing the counsellor to unpack and go through all my issues.

    I'm definitely trying to be more open, especially with my in laws who are supportive and caring. I guess everything takes time and I need to be patient with myself.

    Thanks again for chatting and being supportive.

    YHY89

  11. pawsy
    pawsy avatar
    186 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to YHY89
    Oh my heart goes out to you. Staying over and sharing space with others is difficult for many of us, and you sound so thoughtful and caring for these other family members. I'm so glad you came and shared, because your post makes me feel less alone in my own worries. The advice given here, and your constructive planning seem certain to support you on your weekend away. Best wishes.
    1 person found this helpful
  12. YHY89
    YHY89 avatar
    10 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to pawsy
    Thank you Pawsy. I'm glad my post helped. I also feel better knowing that I'm not alone in this and we can support each other through the hard times. All the best to you too
    1 person found this helpful
  13. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    10343 posts
    12 May 2021 in reply to YHY89

    Dear YHY89~

    What a lovely post, I'm so pleased you have taken action and are now about to see a councilor, which is just fine. Do you mind if I suggest you tell either your GP or counselor about possible OCD straight off? That can then be diagnosed and if positive incorporated in your therapy, after all it is not that ideal a situation to be helped on only part of the problem when you could be helped on all of it.

    If you are mistaken and it is not OCD that's not a problem, it simply means you cannot professionally diagnose yourself:) The symptoms you report will still have a cause and it still need addressing.

    Your in-laws sound pretty good, lucky to have ones prepared to rethink their assumptions and be understanding. I'm sure that in itself will be a help.

    You are also finding out that your presence here and frankness are a help to others - a good feeling and the whole idea of this place (I think Pawsy has found the cutest avatar of them all:)

    If you would like please let us know how the overnight stay and your counseling session go, we are all hoping these things go well for you.

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  14. james1
    Community Champion
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    james1 avatar
    2945 posts
    14 May 2021 in reply to YHY89

    Hello YHY89,

    I'm so glad to see the community come and share their own experiences. As you mentioned in your last post, you're certainly not alone in this and your post has clearly resonated with a lot of people - there are many more who haven't even posted, but would've read your post and felt a little less alone.

    I'm glad to hear your in-laws were understanding - sometimes it can be really hard for us to express our own wants and needs because we're afraid people will respond badly. I'm the same and, to my pleasant surprise, most people respond better than I expect. For now, all the best with the counsellor!

    James

  15. YHY89
    YHY89 avatar
    10 posts
    15 May 2021 in reply to Croix
    Dear Croix

    Thank you for responding!

    I am thinking of calling the GP to change the recommended counsellor as they are only available two days a week which would interfere with work. So it will be a good time to let the GP know about my OCD so that it can be incorporated into my sessions. Hopefully I can change counsellors easily (I hate changing plans and inconveniencing people).

    On a positive note, It's been really good to reflect on the past week and see how far I have come within a short period of time. With the support of my husband and his family, I've managed to get back on track and into routine again.

    I will definitely keep you and the community updated on the cabin stay on the June long weekend, and my first counselling session.

    Thanks and take care,

    YHY89

    1 person found this helpful
  16. YHY89
    YHY89 avatar
    10 posts
    15 May 2021 in reply to james1
    Hi James

    I hope you're well. I'm so grateful I can speak with you and others in this community. It's been great to share my experiences and receive advice/suggestions from others going through similar issues.

    My in laws have been very supportive and accommodating to my needs this week. I realised that I shouldn't assume the worst in others (as you mentioned, their reactions were so much better than I expected).

    Thanks again for responding to all of my comments.

    All the best and take care.

    YHY89

  17. geoff
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    geoff avatar
    15268 posts
    16 May 2021 in reply to YHY89

    Hello YHY89, thank you for getting back to us, not only does it help us but it certainly helps you to talk with other people who may be suffering from the same fate.

    If you tell your GP you are struggling with anxiety, there's every chance they will be trying to find out if you have OCD, but I remember sitting in a session with my psychologist who I had been visiting for 20 odd years, only because it was paid for by w/cover, and asked her if she knew I was doing a 'habit' while talking with her and her answer was no, she hadn't noticed anything, because I did it while she looked away.

    You can't feel silly by mentioning it, it's not your fault, and besides, they may also have a family member who also suffers from it and know exactly what it entails, plus a psychologist would have spoken to many other people about all sorts of different issues, that's only kept between you and them, no one else will know, it's a patient privilege they are sworn to behold, so please don't be afraid.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  18. YHY89
    YHY89 avatar
    10 posts
    17 May 2021 in reply to geoff
    Hi Geoff

    Thank you for the suggestions and reassurance.

    I've been meaning to call the GP to see if I can change the recommended counsellor and update them about my OCD. I tend to procrastinate when it comes to the important things, but plan to call the GP tomorrow.

    Thanks again,

    YHY89

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