Nov 13, 2007

I'm closing shop

I think that I will abandon my social anxiety blog. I love blogging, but I am so bored about blogging about my emotions and vents. I want to blog about computer systems and project management and databases and I feel confined in the title. I might get back one day and I will continue to read the blogs of my socially anxious friends.

I think I had some good posts and I hope I helped a person or two to at least not feel so lonely in their condition. I definitely learned a lot and found a lot of comfort in blogging and reading about others.

Here are my highlights for those that will get to my blog in the future:

  1. Diagnosing social anxiety - how to tell your doctor
  2. First step - therapy - find the right person, not the right therapy school
  3. For spouses, friends and family of people with social anxiety: Dealing with emotional people I and II, and helping them.
  4. How bad can it be. Also check my poll results.
  5. Keep in touch with family and friends from college and school because it will be more difficult to find new ones later in life
  6. A very popular post on emotional immaturity... My more recent opinion on this is that it is emotionally mature to occasionally be immature, just accept it, forgive yourself and apologize if needed and move on.
  7. About openness
  8. My big revelation
  9. ... and snippets for people with social anxiety to not feel like they are the only ones feeling this emotional: dreading the publicity, blogging anxiety, doctor's offices

Thank you all for reading my blog, and commenting every now and then! Thank you for joining me in this journey. I will post a link to my new blog as soon as I will have something there.

Nov 12, 2007

Another doctor story - part II

I have a development going on about my previous doctor rant. I am not sure I can describe it as being successful in beating social anxiety, but it surely is an important step toward it. Some moments were awkward, but I made my point and I was listened to.

On a subsequent appointment, I gave the doctor the book "If Disney Ran your Hospital" (see this post for more details on this book). He was very happy to read it. A week later he called and asked what exactly made ,e give him the book, what needs to be improved in his practice. We talked a lot, but my main points were that I wasn't clearly told what I have to pay and given options to accept or not and that the office was not as family-like as advertised. The doctor found something that I apparently was overcharged for and promissed a refund and then told me that they will try to improve by the time I go there again.

I was supposed to go today and on Saturday, I got a hand-written card from the doctor thanking me for the book, with the refund, and a gift certificate for a restaurant. Also, when I called today to cancel the appointment, the person answering the phone was very energetic and helpful.

I think this is "mission accompli". Maybe the right way was to tell the doctor what was wrong from the very beginning without venting on the blog, but one way or another, I helped a medical office give better service. I feel bad about my previous post now... It was great to talk to the doctor and realize that he really really wanted to do things better.

Nov 10, 2007

Alternative medicine

I'm alone at home, fighting a cold and drinking some wine to help with it... This has nothing to do with alternative medicine (hmmm, maybe a little ;) ). I got the idea from Paul Levy's blog, so go blame him and his daughter.

A number of medblogers posted lately about alternative medicine (Dr. Rob has a post with links, and Panda Bear had a number of posts over the last couple of weeks). I had an first hand experience with this earlier this year. I must agree with them on everything they wrote. Here's my story.

Earlier this year I decided that I need to fight the mild hypertension that I had after my first pregnancy and through my second pregnancy. I studied the DASH diet, made plans to start exercising and read about the subject. From a book on the DASH diet, I found a book - What your Doctor doesn't tell you about hypertension. It had great reviews and was written my an MD. He hypothesized that there are lots of studies that show how XYZ vitamin or supplement is lowering the blood pressure a little bit and that if you actually take all of them at once, you can significantly lower the blood pressure. He also recommends a modified and even more aggressive form of DASH.

I got that book to my doctor and he politely noticed that the author does not correctly quote the studies he's referring to, that he doesn't believe in nutraceuticals and that probably the die from all those supplements will cause an allergic reaction. This last argument actually won the fight. The book landed in the trash along with some bottles of supplements that I had. I saved any money on additional supplements and instead started to seriously exercise. Within 6 months my blood pressure decreased from hypertensive levels to normal (not even pre-hypertensive). I'm now not even exercising that much and the blood pressure is still low. Some of it might have to do with lower anxiety levels.

The irony is that if I actually followed the advice in the book and had the same result, I would say that it was that that did it. I would be a strong supporter of alternative medicine and would shout loud and clear that those supplements did it for me.

My doctor's argument that the author didn't correctly quote the studies seemed like he was stumbling on a technicality, but it is important though because if someone actually knows how to read a research study, they would quote them appropriately.

And it's scary that I think I did the right thing with the information I had at the time: this was an MD. And had great reviews on Amazon. This is scary... How are we supposed to find correct and reliable information?

Makes me also wonder about trusting any of the doctor rating engines out there. I am a great believer in reading the reviews for books... but I don't buy any more books with medical information based on their reviews.

Nov 3, 2007

It's new poll time again

My October poll was How much does social anxiety affect your life?

The answers were:

  • I don't have social anxiety 0 (0%)
  • It actually helps me to have a better life 0 (0%)
  • It doesn't affect me at all 0 (0%)
  • It affects me somewhat, but not in major ways 5 (12%)
  • It seriously affects me, but I still go on with my life 22 (56%)
  • I don't have a life, it affects me that much 12 (30%)

My heart is with you, people that responded that they don't have a life and that their life is seriously affected by social anxiety, which makes 86% of respondents. I wish I could do something, anything for you... I guess that as long as you came and visited my blog, all I can do is to keep writing about social anxiety and dealing with it, and encouraging you to participate in any way that you feel almost comfortable participating.

Thank you so much for answering my poll.

November's poll has to do with the form of communication and interaction that you find most comfortable and uncomfortable.

I prefer one on one interactions: having someone pay 100% attention to me, I like speaking to a group in a formal prepared presentation, but not in an informal one (being asked a question in class), I tend to lead in a group, or try to be really invisible. I hate speaking on the telephone. I am OK with email and IM, but I hate when the answer to an email never comes back (I never know if the other person is just busy, never got the email, had no time and forgot about it, or just didn't care or want to answer). I don't like i-chat, but I think that's just because it's so hard to communicate anything. I guess in the same category, I absolutely can't do small talk. I need to talk important stuff 8-p)

What about you? Feel free to answer the poll and comment anonymously or not if you need to say more. Here's a task of the month for the don't have a lifers out there: post anonymously! I will try to be supportive!

What I was told and noticed myself is that with anxiety you have no easy way, you need to face it and challenge yourself... always. If not, it gets worse. It only gets better if you challenge it. It's like exercise: you need to keep doing it, otherwise it takes you over.