Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

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

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

When I was suicidal and had extreme anxiety and extreme social phobia, I could still shop. Because food gives us a dopamine hit.. a reward so no your not a phoney, and forget people who judge you at all. Only god can judge you. Here’s the key, in life it only matters what you think of your self. We don’t have to justify or defend to people.

i would read the power of now by eckhart tolle asap. Will help you a lot.

I’m guessing you probably have been raised in a negative enviroment and now as a adult your finding it hard to navigate because your conditioning has a lot of worry doubt and negativity due to people who raised you or the experiences you have faced.

And so to change we have to change our thinking, and self development books are a Great way to learn. Our thoughts create feelings felt in the body,

anxiety is a message that deep down we are not ok with something, we have chronic thoughts that create anxiety which creates stress hormone

Sometimes we fear fear itself. When really we need to treat the cause not the symptoms.

sometimes we don’t even know what’s causing it. We are not aware of it. The power of now is a life changing book in understanding how obsessive thinking creates the life we have and how to reverse it

Anxiety is a story we tell ourselves, it’s not who you are. And you can change who you are.

Community Member

Thanks for all your replies. I’ve been struggling today and it’s really helped rereading the old posts and reading all the new ones. The people accusing me, it definitely isn’t coming from a place of care or love.

Food giving a dopamine hit makes sense. Recently I met up with a friend at a coffee shop. She was running late. My anxiety got that high that even with my head phones one, I almost came close to running off a few times and just cancelling with her. Once she arrived, I wasn’t fully calm but I was a lot calmer and had no more thoughts of running off.

I know with Anxiety, you can only handle so much but it’s important to not avoid everything. Early this year, I barely left my home unless absolutely necessary, even lost the ability to grocery shop on my own. That was caused by bullying, the same bullies that believe I’m a phoney. I was lucky to have a friend that helped to take me grocery shopping during that time as I could have ended up back in hospital if it wasn’t for her help. I ended up in hospital due to problems partly associated with my low weight.

It’s really helped me knowing now that anxiety affects everyone differently. Thanks for sharing your stories. I probably looked normal shopping with my friend during the time I had lost that ability. But to the outside world, they wouldn’t have known that I had lost that ability to do it on my own, or the extreme panic attacks I would experience before, during, and after the shopping. I can now understand how looking normal can basically cause people to miss judged you. As well as not understand.

Thanks for the book suggestion Steven K, I’ve found the audio book version on YouTube. Will check it out. I did grow up in a negative environment, I think you may be right about how my brain has been conditioned and how it’s affecting me.

Hi rainynight11

Destructive conditioning is definitely an interesting and a major factor, especially when it comes to our feelings or how we feel life. I think people can lead us to both suppress and misinterpret our feelings or what it is where actually feeling.

Just say you're born a natural introvert. I think being a natural introvert is something to be respected, as natural introverts have many unique and admirable abilities. You can imagine how life may go for a child who's a natural introvert if they're constantly pushed into going to big social events. Btw, personally I wouldn't subject such a child to this kind of lifestyle. If it was absolutely necessary to go to an event, I'd take them to such an event with key strategies in place for managing. A natural introvert, under such circumstances, may naturally experience a heck of a lot of stress/anxiety/high energy in motion throughout their entire self. If they're conditioned to believe 'There's something wrong with you' or 'You're being over dramatic' or they're 'faulty' in some way, this is destructive conditioning that can lead to destructive internal dialogue. All kids begin life open minded, therefor there's a tendency to believe just about every that's put in there. Being careful with such an open mind is so incredibly important.

On the other hand, ask an introvert who's been raised to respect their ability to feel and it's a different story. For a start, they're self respecting. They may say 'Absolutely I can feel my limits, how many people I can tolerate in one room. I can feel my limits when it comes to the amount (volume) of sound I can tolerate. I can feel, in a room full of people, exactly who triggers me to stress and who triggers me to pure inspiration or a sense of peace. I will simply walk out of a stressful room if I can't tolerate it. Why would I stay if others are being difficult/agitating/abusive/degrading/stressful?'.

The difference between the 2 introverts comes down to one not being led to respect how they feel their experiences and the other fully respecting their ability to feel their experiences. They're both feelers with different mindsets, based on 2 different forms of conditioning.

It's said that the key to better relating to our feelings comes down to experiencing them, exploring them, understanding them and fully respecting them. Suppression and degradation will often bring about sufferance for someone who feels so intensely, so brilliantly.

Community Member

Hi There,

I’m really sorry as well that you are having to deal with people like that. That’s so awful and I can only imagine how much that just adds to your anxiety.

I agree with everything everyone else has said. I have struggled with SAD since I was about 12 years old (now 37) and what I have noticed is that it is different for everyone and very much like a spectrum with different fears and different degrees of severity. So being able go shopping does not mean that you don’t struggle with SAD. Not everyone’s symptoms are the same.

I am able to function quite well without anyone realising but I have definitely heard of others who really do find it so debilitating and impossible to do a lot of everyday things. But just because they’re symptoms are more severe than mine it doesn’t mean I’m an imposter.

I can also go shopping and do quite a lot. I do panic if I see people I know and will actively avoid running in to them even if I know they are nice. I just fear having to stop and have a conversation and I won’t know what to say or what they might think. But if I am out shopping and I don’t see anyone I am fine to go about my business.

I can also go to work everyday and talk to people on a professional level but it is extremely difficult for me to have friends or socialise outside of work. I feel so sick before going to anything and more often than not I will cancel at the last minute or decline invitations all together.

I struggle to talk to supervisors or people I feel inferior too. I get hot and sweaty and can’t get words to come out of my mouth but to colleagues at my own level I’m ok and almost confident even.

My 2 year old son has a birthday party to go to this weekend and I honestly cannot think of anything I would rather do less. The thought of having to talk to other parents terrifies me and I really just do not want to go. I know my unconscious fear is that I will have nothing to say and will feel awkward and go red and look stupid or stutter. at the same time though, no one would ever know that I struggle with this because I am so used to masking it.

I think you know yourself and your anxieties better than anyone else and you don’t need to listen to anyone that is trying to drag you down or prove you are an imposter. They likely just do not understand and lack the empathy or compassion to leave you be.

Again I am really sorry that you have had to deal with bullies and people like that.