Author Topic: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?  (Read 431 times)

Martinba

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Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« on: March 30, 2020, 07:18:24 PM »
Losing my job due to severe social phobia made me fall in financial dependency, but Im calmer.

I was already on the meditation path when I got a job I really liked, so I had to move to a big city and for a couple of weeks it was working for me.

But the information I had to memorize, the timetables (it was a transport biz) and the huge amount of rules, restrictions and everthing was too much for me. I remember that after failing the last 2 exams I felt pretty sad and frustrated and also start comparing myself with my coworker's scores.

I keep meditating at home before going to work, my expectations were having a calmer and relaxed day. I laugh too loud right now as it was something that would have never happen. Meditation deepens your awareness and as I was (am) really depressed it was going to make those feeling come to surface.

My last 2 weeks at work were a brutal fight with myself. I started to take little corrections on my drafts way too personal and finally the feeling that made me runaway from workplace came to surface: a sudden and strong urge to cry.

I think I had 9 hours (the whole workday) of panic everyday in the last two weeks at work. The most subtle (even friendly) critic on my work made me feel panic because I wanted to cry so bad and I refused to be seen by others (maybe 80 people at office). One day, during my break time, instead of going to a cheap restaurant to get my meal I went home (4 blocks apart) and desperately cried. As my eyes were irritated and I knew I was likely to cry again I lied I had diarrea and I didnt go back. I explained my problem (by whatsapp) to my boss and go back to my hometown, living with my mom, cleaning the apartment to gain my right to eat.

Now Im still practicing Samatha meditation everyday, Ive already accepted I failed and that the situation was overwhelming and too much for me. (A 15day panic attack is not a piece of cake). But im worried because Im conscious I need to work. I know these feelings are somewhere and if I get a job I will have to experience them again, I clearly find myself unable to perform a task like that.

So, I have a couple of questions for you:

1) if I keep meditating, will I ever be able to be calm even if I feel an urge to cry in public? Or Will I feel the panic, the agoraphobia and the urge to cry even if I meditate everyday?
2) is there anything I can do to release all the blocked emotions I experienced at work? I have tried talking to my relatives and close friends about my vulnerabilities but there's no crying, it feels like the situation has to be potentially humillating to me to have the urge to cry.

Any suggestions and perspectives will be great appreciated. Kind regards and keep it up.

Guillaume

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Re: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2020, 09:00:04 PM »
2) is there anything I can do to release all the blocked emotions I experienced at work? I have tried talking to my relatives and close friends about my vulnerabilities but there's no crying, it feels like the situation has to be potentially humillating to me to have the urge to cry.
Have you tried physical activity? It's a very good way to release emotions, tensions, and get a clear mind.

raushan

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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2020, 09:34:00 PM »
Hi Martinba,

Sorry to hear about your situation. What Guillaume said is true you should add some physical activities in your daily routine like simple running or gym workout or some outdoor sports, yoga anything.

Apart from that meditation does help in these situations but meditation alone won't help you. You have to come out of your comfort zone again and again slowly and keep meditating. So, it doesn't work like this that after 1 year of meditation you will be completely fearless. Keep meditating and keep having social interaction. And have faith on yourself that this too shall pass.

There is a line in Vipassana meditation This too shall pass so nothing is permanent.

What you are feeling is some long time accumulation of negativity towards you. For some reason you seem to criticize yourself a lot but as you will have more social interactions you will see that every body has flaws. Every body is insecure for some reason. No one is perfect. When you want to run away from a situation try not to,  meditation may help you there it will make you aware that you want to run away.

I would suggest that instead of leaving your job completely find an in between solution like talk to your boss and ask him that everything is too overwhelming for you so Ask him to assign you less work with which you are comfortable. Most likely your boss will agree with you. Do as little as you can. But try not to quit.


All the best.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2020, 09:52:09 PM by raushan »

Martinba

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Re: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2020, 11:47:55 PM »

What you are feeling is some long time accumulation of negativity towards you. For some reason you seem to criticize yourself a lot but as you will have more social interactions you will see that every body has flaws. Every body is insecure for some reason. No one is perfect. When you want to run away from a situation try not to,  meditation may help you there it will make you aware that you want to run away.


Thank you. How about self criticism? Considering that criticizing myself is the main trigger of my urge to cry, will meditation help me releasing all that feelings? Because fear is manageble to me, crying in public is my problem. I feel I get frustrated pretty easily not only when Im with people.

raushan

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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2020, 01:40:12 AM »
If you want to cry in public then cry. Why you want to control that urge? Once you done crying get back to work again. People do lot of shitty things and tells no one. Why you feel bad about crying? It's not a crime.
Meditation done correctly can help you with lot of things. You can be aware of your thoughts and feelings. But it takes effort. You have to be aware of your breathing even in your day to day life. Try to be aware of breathing sensation when in office. Try to be mindful when you want to cry. If you can do this then you will able to resolve many issues.

But I will say don't depend entirely on meditation. Focus on day to day work not so much how other person sees you. Let it go. If you feel you are behaving awkwardly then instead of getting uncomfortable about it just let it happen. It's fine. What ever the worse you can do in public do it without any embarrassment.

The thing is instead of self criticizing try to be comfortable with who you are. Once you start accepting yourself without any judgement you will start improving. So goal here is not to not cry in public. Goal here is that to be fine even if you cry in public.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 01:45:56 AM by raushan »

Dhamma

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Re: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2020, 05:19:58 PM »
Dear Friend (OP),

I offer you much love and compassion.

Always remember that we *cannot* fight our feelings. Just let them be and watch them as best as you can as a neutral observer (hard to do, but you can learn to do so).

With social phobias comes the embarrassment. That's why many people never overcome them. So what if you embarrass yourself! You should learn from your meditation practice that we are all the same (equanimity).  Learn to accept all, even the embarrassment.  You will only learn to retrain your mind by stopping the internal battle.  Go into the flames of embarrassment, not with anger, but with acceptance. You carry such a big burden - now learn to let it go.  You may have to embarrass 1000 times, but this phobia will pass. Everything is impermanent, and you know this from meditation practice.

Keep up your meditation practice - never stop! Face the fear, no matter how awful it fears. If you cry for 100 hours in front of everybody, so what? In the end, no feeling or thought exists inherently. They are all transient and produced by the ignorant mind.

Also, perhaps do some walking meditation and yoga/breathing exercises. You may get a lot of benefit from this.

With the holy love of the Buddha,

Dhamma :)

dharma bum

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Re: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2020, 07:01:57 PM »
Good advice from Dhamma. The way I deal with embarrassment is like this - there have been thousands of times when I have felt embarrassed. However, these moments disappear soon and are forgotten. Nobody remembers them, and even if we did, who cares? Do I remember all the times somebody else might have reason to feel embarrassed? No, nobody cares. Literally, nobody cares. I have coworkers who have cried at work. Nobody cares. I have coworkers who have farted loudly at work. Nobody cares. Nobody has yet come in to work having forgotten to put their clothes on, but when that happens nobody will care. Everybody forgets and moves on because it's nothing. Life is full of suffering and people are too busy worrying about their lives.

Dealing with criticism is hard, everybody has trouble with it. But it gets better. Be kind to yourself just the way you are kind to others. You could also seek some help from professional counselors.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 07:04:02 PM by dharma bum »
Mostly ignorant

Thanisaro85

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Re: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2020, 04:29:24 AM »

[/quote]

May you overcome all obstacles with growing wisdom.

I extracted these from members here which is also my thoughts + add on.

1.
Always remember that we *cannot* fight our feelings. Just let them be and watch them as best as you can as a neutral observer (hard to do, but you can learn to do so).

2. Everything is impermanent, and you know this from meditation practice. 
And instead of thinking too far like tomorrow, coming weeks, coming years and keep worrying, live in the present( watch your thoughts now and see it goes away, worry thoughts arised and go away).

3.  Take meditation as an brain exercise instead of a cure for what you are facing. Using meditation as a cure can sometimes lead to disappointment if one did not do it or understand it correctly, especially during the initial stage when the meditation foundation is not strong.  Watching your body and mind in every moment all day long is important, not just the sitting session. Again, watch feeling, sensation, thoughts( non happening thoughts) arised and let it go)

4. Be realistic but be nice to yourself, train your mind not to self criticising. We can make some changes to our body to certain extend. Like Body builders build up their muscle, kick boxers who keep kicking punch bag to tougher their shins, and the list goes on.
If you cry easily, "maybe" cut down on caffeine( coffee, tea, chocolate)sweet stuffs? This is my own experiences only and may not be apply to other people, just one of the method i help myself.

5. Different people start off meditations at different points. And everybody mental stages are different, some are naturally stable or reasonably stable before they even start meditations. So the result yields can be different or even astonishing between meditators. This is obvious but as we are practicing and when it yields differently to what we read, we often neglect this fact and feel hopeless if the result are not positive.

Try to read up a lot in this forum, sometimes there are anecdotes to your problems in one of the many lines.
A Mind Unshaken, when touches by worldy matter, sorrowless, secure and dustless, this is the ultimate great blessing~ Mangala Sutta

Thanisaro85

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  • When thoughts, sensations, feelings arise,know it
    • Reverend father Jaran, Pramote. Theravada
    • Still breathing.
Re: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2020, 06:47:30 AM »
My bad, should be antidote instead of anecdotes...
A Mind Unshaken, when touches by worldy matter, sorrowless, secure and dustless, this is the ultimate great blessing~ Mangala Sutta

Ysa@29

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Re: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2020, 12:03:20 PM »
Hi Mertinba,

 Sorry to hear about losing your job because of social phobia. Meditation is enough but it depends on how your mind and body will adopt it and how it improves you from the inside. But honestly, it is much more useful to practice mindful focus during conversations and other situations around people in which we are uncomfortable.

For example, you're starting to panic because of your work or your boss, try to focus your mind with an image that will calm you or think of the rhythm of the music that makes you calm and push an annoying thought out of your mind. Most of the time, listening to healing and relaxing music is helpful to keep our mind present and refocus our attention on the conversation, persons or situation at the moment. 

Here's a sample of healing music, this is only 6 mins but amazing music.
https://youtu.be/Mwr-32CyINk

Dhamma

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    • I practice Vipassana meditation + mental noting (mostly Theravadan)
Re: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2020, 08:47:46 PM »
My social anxiety has led me to shut down on certain kinds people. In fact,  it still keeps me away from some people. It is what it is. I accept it.  I just go with it. That's what the greatest Buddhist teachers say.  It might take months or even years to heal. But time doesn't matter.

The fear of the embarrassment is the big issue. I literally choke up around a few people at times, even though I am not a shy person. I don't have time right now to go into details.

But I stay faithful to my practice. I am not waiting for things to get better. I just go into my body; I let things go. I meditate and observe. Let yourself detach from clinging; from expecting; from wanting certain outcomes. Part with all desires and aversions. Just be with your feelings, day in and day out, as they are in the present moment.

All of us are humans. We all experience pain and suffering.

I am with you, dear Martinba. I have embarrassed myself countless times in the past 12-13 years from choking up around certain people (I don't cry, but rather "freeze up" and shut down...need to run away). But, again, I still fear the embarrassment because I still have to see clearly. I get glimpses of truth but still have plenty of delusions to look past. It's part of the past. Just be with whatever you feel.  Feel it all without judgment.

Things are a little better for me at times. I would be lying if I were to tell you otherwise. :)

With the love and compassion of the holy Buddha,

Dhamma

Martinba

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Re: Social Phobia vs Need to work. Is meditation enough?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2020, 03:03:33 AM »


I am with you, dear Martinba. I have embarrassed myself countless times in the past 12-13 years from choking up around certain people (I don't cry, but rather "freeze up" and shut down...need to run away). But, again, I still fear the embarrassment because I still have to see clearly. I get glimpses of truth but still have plenty of delusions to look past. It's part of the past. Just be with whatever you feel.  Feel it all without judgment.

Things are a little better for me at times. I would be lying if I were to tell you otherwise. :)

With the love and compassion of the holy Buddha,

Dhamma

Yes, I think Ive judged myself way too much for being financially dependant and as my embarrassment sensations are way too intense I don't think Im getting employed soon. If I judge my self subconsciously doing it consciously doesnt help at all so Ive just stopped doing it.

Thanks for your support.

 

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