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I feel like a phoney at times

Community Member
I’ve been accused of faking having anxiety. I struggle badly with social activities and being around large group of people. It’s rear for me to go to social events as it’s difficult for me. I worry all the time about everything. I use to exercise regularly by myself and would shop for food and stuff regularly by my self or with 1 other person who also needed stuff. Because I’m capable of doing that, I’ve been accused of lying by people who are trying to prove I’m a phoney. My understanding is shopping isn’t a social activity unless you are doing it for fun with another person. That, I really do. At times I do wonder if they are right about me being a phoney since I know anxiety can stop people from being able to shop, but I still manage to.
13 Replies 13

Dear rainynight11,

Thank you for finding the courage to post your confusion around anxiety and maybe being a phoney. We are a very supportive, and largely nonjudgmental community who want to help.

We understand that many people find it quite difficult to understand anything that they do not experience directly. These people can often react to their fears of that which they cannot understand. We would ask you to please try and be true to your knowing of yourself.

We understand that anxiety is a continuoum, not a specific set point. This means, people experience it quite differently, and at varying levels of severity.

If we may ask, how might you describe your experience of anxiety?

We are always here for you.

Warm regards,

Sophie M.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Dear rainynight,

A very warm and caring welcome to our forums...

I am really sorry that your struggling, with social anxiety...anxiety unfortunately has no patterns or rules..it affects people differently...some more then others...and like our lovely Sophie mentioned.. that many people find it quite difficult to understand anything that they don’t experience directly”...

I have anxiety...and I now go to a volunteer job 2 days a week...do my shopping with after after work, sometimes alone and sometimes on my own....Thats my limit to what I can do on my own with a feeling of being safe....

I have a support worker, that takes me to my Drs appointment in another town..when I need to go..,and a best friend that comes with me at other times...

Their is no way, that I could attend a large group of people on my own...I have tried a few times..but end up either in tears or having a panic attack, feeling trapped and needing to get out of that situation..I leave.....in big crowds I feel unsafe and scared...I try as hard as I can to avoid large crowds...

Rainynight...I’m wondering if you’ve reached out to your dr in relation to your social anxiety?...if not is it something that you might consider?...

I find it really sad, that some people in your life or who you know are trying to prove your a phoney....they are being very disrespectful and uncaring towards you...Are they your “friends” ?....only answer if you feel you want to...

We are all here for you lovely rainynight...please talk here anytime you feel like it...

My kind thought with my care dear rainynight...


Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi there,

Welcome to the forums! I am sorry to hear this. Invalidating your feelings is not okay.

I can attest that I too struggle with anxiety but I am perfectly fine doing most social activities...even going out to events. I have learned the tools necessary to mitigate my anxiety and do things even when my heart is pounding, my knees are weak, and palms are sweaty (haha). So you are not alone...and you are NOT a phoney! Do not listen to what others say and let it get you down. YOU know who you are and what you need to do to manage your anxiety.

I hope this helped,

Jaz xx

Community Member

Thanks everyone for your kindness and replies. I’m new here but already feel accepted here. Thanks for letting me know that anxiety affects people differently. And sharing how it affects use. And also that not everyone understands unless they have lived with it. I need to start reminding my self that. I’ve have been diagnosed with severe anxiety and have gotten a lot of help over the years. I had come along way before these problems started. They aren’t my friends. I’m currently not made to work which they have noticed by watching me. They are nosey neighbours with heaps of friends. I have been and still am focusing on improving my education and managing my anxiety with the help of professionals. And learning some new life skills I hadn’t learned. The bullies don’t approve and believe I’m capable of working, and that I should be. They have been photographing me when out shopping and stuff to try and prove that I’m a phoney based on how often I go out. I think a lot of them may be on Newstart. When I’m out by my self to shop or just going for a walk, I use over the head, ear phones with music to cope. With out head phones, I couldn’t do as much as I do since they help me stay calmer. Due to anxiety attacks, there has been times I’ve been worried about my legs giving way as they become so weak and shaky. I have lost the ability to stand up and walk once during a severe anxiety attack. Sometimes my whole body will shake, some times I can’t wright as my hand will shake that much from it. I also get lots of heart palpitations. To be involved in most things, I can’t do it by myself as I’m prone to losing the ability to talk. Having someone to talk for me is very important or I just can’t go. I’ve missed out on a lot of things over the years due to it.

Community Member

Hi rainynight!

It's great that you reached out and thank you for sharing your story with us.

I have GAD, depression and OCD and first off, I want to say that not everybody experiences things in the same way. The way my anxiety acts or how I deal with it might be quite different to how another does. In my case, for example, I have people too who sometimes think it's put on (they haven't said but it certainly seems that way from how they react) simply because I do have good days amongst the bad days and on those good days, it can seem like I have things together or that I can at least do some "normal" things (I don't really believe in the term normal as what is considered normal when we are all so different?).

One thing I have come to understand is that sometimes people will criticise what they don't understand and that came come from places of fear or confusion. Sometimes I feel like no matter how hard we try others just simply might not understand our circumstances and what we are truly going through. The important thing to remember is that you know yourself and it shouldn't matter what others say when it doesn't come from a good place e.g care or love (I say that although have struggled with this a lot myself).

You're not a phoney and I'm glad you're here because I think you will come to see that there are others feeling similar to you and those you can relate to.

Take care of yourself. 🙂

Aline SM
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi rainynight11, sorry to hear that you've been feeling all these.

As mentioned above, anxiety manifests in a wide variety of symptoms and has different triggers for each person. In fact, only you know what and how you feel and sharing in this community will help you navigate your feelings and even learn how others deal with their anxiety and even recognise better your own triggers.

We are all here to support each other and make anxiety's rollercoaster easier to navigate 🙂

Take care and let us know how you're feeling!

Hi rainynight11,

Firstly, I am SO sorry to hear that those people have been doing and saying that. That is truly unfair and to be honest, extremely unempathetic. As someone who has anxiety, I truly see anxiety as being on a spectrum. Some things I can do completely fine and something that may not be anything at all to someone else might give me anxiety. I think it is so awesome that you are very introspective with yourself and do things that suit you in the way that you can do them. I really think that's great. I really hope that being here on the form has made you feel supported and comforted because what you are feeling is completely valid and your experience.

We are here for you!!

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Rainynight, there is not much I can say from these other lovely people have already said, but basically no one can pretend to have anxiety, although people may try to do this just to get out from doing something, however, what they may do next can show that it's all 'put on'.

Going shopping by yourself may indicate that you do so at certain times, when there aren't many people in the store or you go to another place.

These people making out that you are a phoney, are bullies and only saying as well as acting out the role, which only adds to your anxiety.

Shopping is a necessity that each one of us needs to do and not classified as a social activity, so their definition and understanding is completely off the point.

Take care.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi rainynight11

First, I wish to acknowledge how impressed I am. To have developed ways of better understanding yourself and working hard on developing ways to manage your challenges is something to be incredibly proud of. Second, I feel compelled to put it out there that it's important to dismiss the triggering and degrading attitudes of people who can't relate to how we experience life. Closed minded people can often be the most triggering of all.

As everyone's mentioned, anxiety's experienced in different ways for a lot of different reasons. Put me in a circle of 10 friends and I'm fine. Put me within a group of 10 strangers and I can feel and hear my own heartbeat. Put me in a packed food court at a shopping centre on my own and my nervous system will be triggered by the din of the collective noise. Similar scenario but with a friend and my focus on them talking can help drown out the triggering noise of the food court. Btw, the headphones are a great way to manage certain situations that involve sound being a major trigger. Glad you've got that one in your toolbox. Get me to drive hundreds of kilometers to the next state and I'm fine. You'll never get me to drive in the city. Never. My nervous system can't tolerate it. Give me 10 challenges (for example) and I'll cope. Give me an 11th and it can tip the scales toward a debilitating level of anxiety.

So, to an outsider who sees me functioning within a group, calmer than usual within a food court, driving without a problem or managing 10 challenges at once they may say 'Of course you can manage. You're full of rubbish!'. What they don't understand is we can only manage certain things under specific circumstances. They also don't understand the intense power behind certain internal dialogue and how that dialogue can impact us physically (through our nervous system, lung function, vascular system/heart rate etc). Take a situation they fear and stick them in it and then say 'So now you know how it feels'.

To 'a feeler' come certain abilities that can appear as a kind of curse in a way. Managing how we feel our way through life and at what volume we feel it is skillful. You are an incredible feeler who's gradually becoming more and more skillful. To those who can't relate perhaps you could say they don't feel enough 🙂