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Avoid casual social situations due to unemployment

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Well, I don't have an official dx of social phobia, but I'm going to a pdoc in a few weeks and frankly I would be really surprised if I was not dx'd with it.  The worst part of it for me is that I get so afraid that if I go out people are going to ask me "So, what have you been doing lately?" and I will have to tell them that I am unemployed.  It's not the fact that I am unemployed that is so terrible, because that happens to everyone, but the length of and reason for my unemployment.  I have been unemployed for 2 years largely because of my out of control MI which I refused to treat properly until recently.  I guess I am afraid that they know somehow that I have been unemployed for that long and will shun me for it (because I am relatively young, 25, and at my age most people are busy building a life for themselves, full of hope for the future and yada yada yada.)  To be unemployed at this age is just bizarre to people (I think anyway.)

I get so uncomfortable because I REALLY don't want them to ask me about myself, so if I see anyone that I think might do that, the fear builds and builds until I get the urge to run out of the room (and sometimes do.)  In fact, I hate the prospect of this so much that I pretty much avoid social gatherings whenever I can.  This basically closes off an entire aspect of life for me and thus feeds into my depression.

What do you think the best method is for combating this fear?  I tried large doses of Xanax a few times, which helps the feelings of anxiety but doesn't make me any more willing to be open and relaxed with people.  Basically, it doesn't help.  What should I tell people if they ask me about myself?

This weekend I am supposed to have dinner with my boyfriend's parents and sister and her husband and I really don't want to go.  They *do* definitely know how long I've been unemployed and I'm sure they are baffled by it.  I'm kind of tempted to explain that I'm nuts and I'm getting help for it and all that, but that is such a scary prospect for me.  Rejection is my biggest fear and telling someone you're mentally ill puts you at a pretty high risk for being viewed negatively.

Does anyone have any advice for me?

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As far as social situations, if you want to be in one. If someone asks about you, say you are doing freelance computer work. They wouldn't understand half the time anyway. And then turn the tables on them, People LOVE to talk about themselves.

As far as the boyfriend's parents, you could say you have a medical condition that is preventing you from working at this time. Most people will not ask what it is. I am out on disability and not one person in my husband's family has asked what for. If they do, tell them it is internal.

Best of luck! And hang in there!

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For advice...

Most of the time when people ask "How are you?"  Or "What are you doing?"  it's a conversation maker.  You don't have to say more that you want to or give out a ton of information.  You might want to have something to say as a set piece.  You could even say "Not all that much, How about you?"

For the 'been there done that response'

I quit working when my son was six, so i've not worked for 4 years, and the house still looks like hell

Take Care


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