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Herbs acting on social inhibition?

 
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I'm wondering if there are any herbs anyone knows of that act on social inhibitions?

I have often used alcohol to decrease my social inhibitions enough to enjoy and participate in social situations. The social lubrication alcohol provides helps me to get my words out and add to the conversation. It helps me to move freely tending to my own needs and the needs of others.

Without alcohol, I'm just so exhausted afterward, and rarely have rewarding interaction during the event. I am consciously forcing myself to speak and move. It takes many more mental steps and energy to perform socially. It feels like when you are trying to run from a train in a dream and your body is just so heavy and lumpy and won't move...If that's a universal dream experience...

I tend to avoid social situations and alcohol lately, since having a baby. I want to participate in more community activities and, in future, school related activities, but they are so exhausting.

Has anyone noticed increased sociability, gregariousness, decreased social inhibitions when using a certain herb? Or have you heard of any? 

EDIT: If you read this and think, "Oh I know a good treatment, but it might not be legal everywhere and could be a hot button topic." Please respond to this sister thread in the cider press, where we are talking about the more controversial treatments for social inhibition and anxiety.

If you don't have enough apples to post in the cider press, but really want me to know something, feel free to PM.

Thanks!
 
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Thank you for this post.  I have extreme social anxiety, and would love to know of a safe herbal remedy.  I take antidepressant for my bipolar depression, which helps some with the social anxiety, but the anxiety is still there to the point that it makes interacting with people difficult.
 
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This is an interesting question that I've never really heard anything about. The only thing I can think of at first glance is to maybe try a tea made from the roots of the sassafras tea. I have never tried it in a social setting but it gives a pleasant and easy going feeling that is somewhat reminiscent of a light alcohol buzz. Also, it supposedly contains alkaloids that are similar to the active ingredient in ecstasy, so that would imply that some level of social inhibition could be an effect. I know the tree grows all over the southeast but I'm not sure if herbal supply shops sell the root?
 
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Hello Amy,

Treating anxiety with drugs or herbs is a temporary bandaid, but can certainly be used when needed. Getting to the cause of the matter is important and the only way to really realize the change you seek.

First to give you the answer you requested: There are herbs used for anxiety and they are called anxiolytics or  calmatives. They have been found to act in a variety of ways, but the most common mechanism of these herbs is act to increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which is thought to quiet an over active nervous system.

Although people can get immediate affects from herbs, they often need a couple months to see true changes and some research studies have shown positive changes can continue over the long term of even a year.

Examples of anxiolytics:
• Black cohosh - Cimicifuga racemosa
• California poppy - Eschscholzia californica
• Cat nep - Nepeta cataria
• Chamomile - Matricaria recutita
• Cramp bark - Viburnum opulus
• Ginkgo - Ginkgo biloba
• Hops - Humulus lupulus
• Kava kava - Piper methysticum
• Lavender - Lavandula officinalis
• Lemon balm - Melissa officinalis
• Linden flower - Tilia spp.
• Mother wort - Leonurus cardiaca
• Pasque flower - Anemone spp.
• Passion flower - Passiflora incarnata
• St. John’s wort - Hypericum perforatum
• Skullcap - Scutellaria lateriflora
• Valerian - Valeriana officinalis

The smell of lavender essential oil is helpful and can be added to a handkerchief or to the cuff or your sleeve and sniffed during a social situation if you start to feel anxious. This is my favorite essential oil to use for this reason, and it is easy to find in stores. There are also many studies to support the use of this herb in this way. Get good quality essential oils. They are expensive but go a long ways as only a little bit is needed. If you don't like lavender, try Vetiver essential oil.

Which herb or herbs you use depends on what matches you. For instance Skullcap will help decrease anxiety, but also will help decrease indigestion if used at the beginning of a meal. So, if you tend to have trouble eating in social situations from anxiety affecting your digestion, this might be a helpful herb for you. Here are some specifics for this herb: Skullcap is indicated when there is nervous fear, restless sleep, cardiac irritability and spasms. There may be inability to pay attention and a dull frontal headache or headache at the base of the brain. Symptoms are worse with noise, odors and light and better at night and with rest. This bitter plant is perfect for the person who has a nervous stomach and has digestive stagnation.

One of the most well known herbs used for anxiety is Valerian. Although it does help many people, it can have an over-exciting effect on some people, so if that happens, it is not the herb for you. Valerian will help ease anxiety, stress, and muscle spasms associated with stress. If the anxiety keeps them up at night, Valerian helps with this too. Does the person get dull, persistent headaches? If so, it may be from cerebral insufficiency and Valerian is specific for support of atonic and functional nervous disorders and situations arising from cerebral vascular insufficiency.  The individual may feel intoxicated, have a tendency to be weak,  pale, have personality changes, be agitated, feel light, as if floating in air, oversensitive, and experience hallucinations at night. There may be symptoms of itching and muscle spasms at night and rheumatic pains in limbs with sciatica and jerking.

If the person has nervous anxiety with depressive episodes, a mix of Valerian, Passionflower and Saint John’s Wort, might be the ticket for them.

Another herb that has been shown to be useful in practice is Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). I would especially think of it if a person thinks their anxiety is caused by environmental toxins and mitochondrial dysfunction relationships. Ashwagandha  is an adaptogenic herb that has also been shown to increase dopamine receptors in the brain while reducing the anxiety-producing effects of norepinephrine. Several studies have shown that Ashwagandha has anxiolytic effects.

Some people find marijuana is helpful for them in a social situation, while others find it just exacerbates the situation.

i suggest taking a look at a materia medica and reading about some of these herbs in the above list to see if any of them seem to describe you specifically.

Now for a few things I think need to be addressed:

Anxiety can have both physiological/chemical reasons for it as well as learned behaviors.

Even something as simple as disrupted gut flora can cause mental/emotional issues such as anxiety or depression. If someone has any gut issues, I attend to it to see if that will take care of the issue.

I like to look around a person and see if there is reason for them to feel anxious that stems from their environment or a physiological cause. Are there environmental toxins around them that would make their body feel ill at ease and leave them on the edge of physical anxiety? Toxins in the body are a physical assault and a real reason for being anxious.  
Has the person had a traumatic brain injury? Are they under assault from a chronic pathogen harbored in their body?
Anxiety can also come about due to the way we perceive our reality. Does a person see the world through the eyes of worry and concern, expecting the worse, or do they see the world through eyes of possibility and positive engagements, expecting the best. Is there something they are saying in their own self-talk that sets the stage for anxiety? Have they learned patterns of being in the world that taught them to feel anxious? If so, there are ways to retrain yourself. Some people use meditation/prayer, some use various biofeedback type tools, some use limbic system rehabilitation methods.

To get to the cause rather than placating it with drugs or herbs is helpful. There are a variety of retraining exercises that help people stop being anxious if it is a learned behavior or he body/mind has gotten into the habit of being anxious.

Here is a list of causative factors to consider:
Nutrient deficiencies
Food sensitivities
Use of caffeine, drugs and alcohol abuse
Chronic stress (distress)
Hypoglycemia
Gut Flora disturbance
Enviornmental Toxins
Trauatic brain injury or Post traumatic stress disorder

I am going to give you a list of common nutrients supplements that are found to be useful in treating folks with anxiety - besides herbs.

Things that enhance GABA or GABA itself
Amino acids: Glycine, Taurine, lysine and arginine – all found in protein sources of course
Magnesium
B vitamins - b6 especially in menstrual anxiety, although you need to be sure to have enough magnesium too if taking b6 - I usually suggest dark green leafy veg for bs or bakers yeast or low multi-B (don't over dose on bs)
Inhibition of excitatory neurotransmitters with GABA, glycine, magnesium, glutathione and n-acetyl cysteine
Omega-3 fatty acids help support the nervous system and decrease anxiety as does supplemental phosphatidylserine
L-theanine is found in tea (Camellia sinensis) – has been shown to generate a relaxed state. Tea also contains caffeine though so people usually take the theanine by itself.
5-HTP - If you find you tend to be constipated and depressed besides having anxiety, this may be of use. It will help make serotonin which will help in these situations and may be low in your body.
Additionally lifestyle factors are helpful such as exercise, meditation, Qi-Gong, Yoga, and relaxation in general.

A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial by Carroll et al found that men who took a multivitamin and mineral formula had significant reductions in anxiety compared to placebo. This shows us that lack of  nutrients for the nervous system is a significant cause of anxiety. Just eating a high sugar diet could use up your magnesium and b vitamins and add to an anxiety situation.


Suggestion for social anxiety specifically:
Anxiety exists in an environment of worry about the future. What will happen in the future is a primary activity in the person with anxiety. If you learn to be in the moment, anxiety disappears. If you are thinking, "What will happen if...?" then you are not in the moment.  Watch your mind during the day and see how much time you spend thinking about what could happen in the future. That may be the future of tomorrow or even the future of a few seconds from now. Bring yourself back to the moment and what is taking place right now. If you find you have trouble being in the moment, focus on your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths which will both help you focus on your breathing and will actually calm your body at the same time. This powerful tool that is always available is more helpful than people realize. Once you make this a habit, you can do it during social situations also. When you are with other people in a social situation, pay attention to them. People are fascinating, watch them, study they, ask them questions to help you know who they are. Being in the moment and focusing on learning about the person in front of you at a social gathering will go a long way to disappearing your anxiety. Don't expect big results. The results are slow but continual. Just keep doing it and positive change will take place.


We are all pure spiritual consciousness in imperfect human shells, using these shells to experience and realize our true state moment to moment. It is meant to be fun and entertaining and if we see it from that point of view, while focusing on the moment, anxiety disappears.

 
pollinator
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The list Sharol provided is quite complete from my experience. Where there is financial incentive to stigmatise some herbal remedies, there is sometime a lack of scientific information due to that stigma affecting the ability of researchers to study them. This, thankfully, is being remedied in some cases.

In general, it is ultimately necessary to understand the source of the stress that leads to the anxiety. Otherwise it is really just a patch on the hole in the dyke. When the water rises, the patch will pop off, and the levee might even break.

One idea that is coming to light, pharmacologically, is that of the "entourage effect," where a number of different pharmacological actors combine to produce an effect that changes based on the different ratios present. I wouldn't be surprised if a variety of different but compatible herbs used for the purpose of alleviating stress and anxiety had different specific therapeutic strengths when used in different ratios.

-CK
 
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I have two bits of info that I hope may help.

Re. social anxiety.  The physical symptoms of this seem quite debilitating.  I have never had this but, if it starts with being self-conscious then there is something that can be done to shift gear mentally.  It entails first realising that heightened self awareness is a personal exaggeration, i.e. people are busy wrapped up in themselves so give yourself a break!  Then the trick is to focus on others - sounds simple?  You can't maintain self-awareness if you are concentrating on others e.g. become interested in them (their appearance, mannerisms), ask them questions about themselves.  I found this trick useful when doing stand up comedy (focusing on my delivery to the audience rather than on myself).

Something I have good experience of relates to being more outgoing when you might be mentally tired/exhausted.  Whilst I do have good social skills, nevertheless if I haven't slept well = likely to be irritable/tired, then I have found that taking Vitamin B Complex (about 1½ hours before the event) is greatly beneficial!  It's recognised as a nerve tonic (useful in treating depression).  It gives me energy and allows me, effortlessly, to enjoy easy interactions.  

It's important not to get just one Vitamin B since they are synergistic i.e. all interact together so taking one can lead to a depletion of the others.  Also, if you have a related yeast condition (e.g. athletes foot, thrush, dandruff, candida etc) then get one that's yeast free.
 
pollinator
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Great topic! First I love Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). It's slightly bitter, but the powder mixes great with smoothies. It can be grown in arid desert or at least places with longer summers. As it's frost sensitive.

Annie Collins, you may have been looking for Sassafras albidum. It's the sassafras tea.
 
Amy Arnett
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Thanks everybody! Lots of great advice and lots to look in to.

I agree that social inhibition and anxiety is a symptom with many possible causes, and it's good to address them. It's also nice to have a break sometimes from the "work" on yourself and just take something that forces your body to chill.

Since having a baby, 2 and a half years old now, there is not much time to work on myself and more and more stress and worry just from being a mom. Not to mention I haven't really slept in three years...anyway...it's not forever and I like the idea that some of the herbs and supplements mentioned might help make my life easier until I can seriously resume self care. So thanks everyone.

Sharol, Thank you for a thorough and detailed response. 

You mentioned gut flora. Since I started taking probiotics, I have noticed most of my digestive symptoms disappear. I didn't notice any change in my mental state really, but I will say that I don't worry about my gut reacting anymore. So It's one less thing to worry about, which is nice.

I've noticed this new product on the shelves lately. GABA "mental balance chocolate" marketed as improving sleep. Maybe I'll check it out, although chocolate tends to keep me awake...


I will be looking into all the other herbs and supplements mentioned, and record my experience with any I try here. It may take some time of course. Thanks again!
 
Amy Arnett
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I thought I would talk about the big C (Cannabis) in a separate reply. Then I thought I would read the permies policy first. Then I thought, to be safe and not make work for the mods, I would start a thread in the cider press for the Cannabis side of this discussion.

So to read my response to Cannabis for social inhibition and anxiety, and to discuss further, let's go here:

https://permies.com/t/133827/Cannabis-treatment-social-inhibition-anxiety  
 
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Holy Basil-Tulsi- is a wonderfully calming herb that is great as a tea or glycerite.  It is easy to grow, even in the NE as an annual and smells great. I make a lemon balm/tulsi tea every evening and it mellows me right out.  For high anxiety, I have found that Ghost Pipe really helps to give me some perspective and distance from whatever I am anxious about.  It  works for mental and some physical pain. As far as I know, it cannot be cultivated, only foraged in the late summer/early fall in wooded areas.  You only need the aerial parts, so if you are careful and respectful when harvesting, there will be more when you come back the next year.  I tincture it in alcohol and only take three drops at a time.  I have taken it before going out into the world and found the experience to be like psilocybin "light", calming deep and colorful.  There is some controversy over it being over harvested.  Like psilocybin, it is not addictive.
 
Chris Kott
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Holy Basil/Tulsi seeds are available here.

-CK
 
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Wow, what a great thread.

Bee dee , I agree about gp. I will add that being pregnant might pose a contraindications and dosage and frequency really matter with gp. Its not a subtle effect for me. A single dose alters my anxiety for weeks/months.
 
BeeDee marshall
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J Davis I agree on the caveats for pregnancy and dosage on gp.  What I like a lot about it (for me) is that I only think about it when I really need it.  Otherwise, it sits in the cupboard and minds its own business. :^)
 
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Amy Arnett wrote:Without alcohol, I'm just so exhausted afterward, and rarely have rewarding interaction during the event. I am consciously forcing myself to speak and move. It takes many more mental steps and energy to perform socially. It feels like when you are trying to run from a train in a dream and your body is just so heavy and lumpy and won't move...
I want to participate in more community activities and, in future, school related activities, but they are so exhausting.


All that I put in bold can be linked to Asperger's, which becomes more openly talked about, but still underdiagnosed, especially in women. It is often misdiagnosed as bipolar or other conditions.
it took me a few years between my first hint and being told I had this. It is typical that it takes mental energy to be social, and to feel exhausted afterward.
It becomes easier nowadays to find groups to check with others in social media, and to answer tests on-line, or there are videos... I rediscover myself and understand myself better!

http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php



 
Xisca Nicolas
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I an happy to read this, as I have been protesting in the trauma healing world about not akcnowledging enough that even though we can have past traumatic memories, 1st let's look at "micro-aggressors"!!
I know people who have results by doing both Somatic Experiencing / Organic Intelligence (SE / OI) sessions and a program of nutritional balance with mineral hair analysis.
I aso know a person who had zero results with SE but when she got her diagnosis of ASD/Asperger's and changed to a carnivore diet, got much better (intolerance to so many plants chemicals!)

Sharol Tilgner wrote:Are they under assault from a chronic pathogen harbored in their body?

Anxiety can also come about due to the way we perceive our reality. Does a person see the world through the eyes of worry and concern, expecting the worse, or do they see the world through eyes of possibility and positive engagements, expecting the best. Is there something they are saying in their own self-talk that sets the stage for anxiety? Have they learned patterns of being in the world that taught them to feel anxious? If so, there are ways to retrain yourself. Some people use meditation/prayer, some use various biofeedback type tools, some use limbic system rehabilitation methods.

To get to the cause rather than placating it with drugs or herbs is helpful. There are a variety of retraining exercises that help people stop being anxious if it is a learned behavior or he body/mind has gotten into the habit of being anxious.

Anxiety exists in an environment of worry about the future. What will happen in the future is a primary activity in the person with anxiety. If you learn to be in the moment, anxiety disappears. If you are thinking, "What will happen if...?" then you are not in the moment.  Watch your mind during the day and see how much time you spend thinking about what could happen in the future. That may be the future of tomorrow or even the future of a few seconds from now. Bring yourself back to the moment and what is taking place right now. If you find you have trouble being in the moment, focus on your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths which will both help you focus on your breathing and will actually calm your body at the same time. This powerful tool that is always available is more helpful than people realize. Once you make this a habit, you can do it during social situations also. When you are with other people in a social situation, pay attention to them. People are fascinating, watch them, study they, ask them questions to help you know who they are. Being in the moment and focusing on learning about the person in front of you at a social gathering will go a long way to disappearing your anxiety. Don't expect big results. The results are slow but continual. Just keep doing it and positive change will take place.


We are all pure spiritual consciousness in imperfect human shells, using these shells to experience and realize our true state moment to moment. It is meant to be fun and entertaining and if we see it from that point of view, while focusing on the moment, anxiety disappears.


I agree with meditation, breathing and even limbic retraining like DNRS, but I insist upon the fact that the main place where it all takes place has to include the SOMATIC brain!

Anxiety is not only about the future and habits. Habits come from the limbic part if the brain. But they also have some source in the felt-sense of the ANS, as does spirituality. I view spirituality as a way to manage our ANS, because it cannot be managed from our cognitive brain. The kundalini is even now viewed as possibly be the vagus nerve, and it matches seriously well what is called a kundalini awakening.

It is really a good idea to be present in our body through our senses, but the advise is often a source of shame for those who cannot, for various traumatic reasons. So anxiety has more source in the past than in the future. We should better say that the events are in the past, but energetically, something has been stuck in the nervous system, and the alternance of yin and yang, parasympathetic and sympathetic, does not flow in nice fluid waves. The yin and yang symbol is really wonderful, it has the wave pattern and shows that each phase contains the other one and generates the movement. Except when traumatic events sometimes disrupt the synchronisation. We can resync.

So there can be 2 more useful tips: try somatic methods, and they work very fast when we know the before and after a certain event. I mean between 1 and 3 sessions sometimes! The second point is to consider neurodiversity and to see if we fit in it or not. When we are fundamentally different from most of our pairs around, and misunderstood, we can lack the necessary amount of social support we need for co-regulation. Neurodiversity can teach our society a lot about the truth of how much we are different one from another, and how much we need to respect this, and believe people when they share how they feel (however impossible it can seem sometimes). And indeed, the best thing in the world to regulate any somatic anxiety or depression etc, is peer support. Science is not very romantic to speak about this, but it says that the ventral branch of the vagus nerve that also travels the inner ear and the face, gives our voice prosody and our face expression. Just looking at how we regulate babies says it all... We need something similar during all our life.
 
Amy Arnett
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Xisca, Thanks for your suggestions!

I suspected Asperger's in the past, but the social symptoms never quite matched. While I do become exhausted, I don't have trouble understanding or reading social situations.

I took the quiz you linked to anyway, because quizzes are fun.

Your neurodiverse (Aspie) score: 101 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 140 of 200
You are very likely neurotypical



What seems to fit my symptoms overall the best is being "highly sensitive". About 20% percent of the population have highly sensitive, overactive nervous systems. This thread talks all about highly sensitive people: https://permies.com/t/129619/personal-care/purity/Hyper-awareness-Exhaustion-Depression-Anxiety

There is also a fun quiz here: http://hsperson.com/test/highly-sensitive-test/

I guess you could say that is a form of neurodiversity. I discovered this about myself at about 30 years old, and it just explained so much. While things are easier with this knowledge of how to care for my sensitive self, I still get drained easily, more so since becoming a mom.

There is an anxiety aspect to my social inhibition for sure, and there are many great suggestions in this thread for helping with the anxiety side. Thinking about it more, and Amy Francis' suggestion of B vitamins kind of sparked this train of thought, I am pretty low on energy in general lately. I feel burnt out; my nerves are frazzled. Some of the herbs suggested on this adaptogen thread sound promising.

For example:

Rhodiola, Rhodiola rosea is helpful for individuals who are exhausted, anxious, depressed and burnt out or show early aging. It is used to decrease fatigue, enhance energy production, physical work capacity, coordination and increases endurance during exercise. It enhances memory and cognitive function and helps maintain a positive outlook on daily life with less mental fatigue and situational anxiety.



Maybe with more mental stamina, resilience and energy, combined with anxiety work, I could more easily handle social situations. We'll see.
 
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Great responses - so thorough.

May I add 5htp and L-Theonine.      Ooops - missed that they were already mentioned.

Edited to add - With GABA - make sure to get one that passes the blood brain barrier.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Edit: and congrats for the book! I have ordered mine !

Amy Arnett wrote:Xisca, Thanks for your suggestions!

I suspected Asperger's in the past, but the social symptoms never quite matched. While I do become exhausted, I don't have trouble understanding or reading social situations.

I took the quiz you linked to anyway, because quizzes are fun.

Your neurodiverse (Aspie) score: 101 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 140 of 200
You are very likely neurotypical




I suspected Asperger's 5 years before getting to know where my neurodiversity was! Amy, yes quizz are always attractive! I have done quizzes that gave me NT as well, and some questions were too difficult to sort out until I had the best idea... I took the test again but thinking of me as a child and teen! Then the ND score went up so much! I took it seriously only when I was told to be an Aspie by 2 different bodyworkers that are also friends (and don't know each other). So just in case, it can be worth it to have a better look!

As both NDs and NTs can have some similar answers to tests, it seems that the separation NT/ND is made when a certain level of divergence is reached. So in a way, we are all different and the more we are different the more we are likely to not understand each other. So I believe that more consciousness about what is ASD, and more consciousness about our limbic and somatic brain, can help all humans to reach more mutual understanding! If only we could believe others instead of thinking "This is impossible, this person cannot experience this because nobody would".

I disgarted  Asperger's because I did not have certain traits. I have no eye avoidance and not much sensory issues and no meltdown... I also read social situations very well, and I know now that this has 2 reasons: I am fond of anthropology and observe humans like from the outside (I loved the book the human ape!). I have a form of sinesthesia that enhances my mirror neurones.

Look anyway at the polyvagal theory and all that is about the vagus nerve, because it has to do with our ease with social situtions. One thing overlaps with ASD and this is having some form of trauma, in our present physiology or from a past event. What did not match trauma for me was that I always remember being a very good pupil at school but in terror with other children because I was so slow at adapting to situations and speak up, and I have such a good familly that I really have no developmental trauma there! Imagine that I am trained in Somatic Experiencing and that they did not see my ASD.... They have a bias and so they see everything as trauma!

I will go on explaining myself in hope that it can help somebody to make the difference and anyway it helps me to be clearer myself. I have the way Temple Grandin has to think in images and she is the most famous ND for me! And so linked to our permies goals... So I think in images and videos but several at a time, making flashes of new understandings that people never understand when I explain, as talking is linear. I can describe best when writing.

What I know of me that are and were signs of ASD:

when I am alone and hesitate in doing something, like now for writing, I balance back and forth, rocking myself. The only sensory issues I have are the very typical blockage to enter the shower, but then have difficulties to go out of it, and I had migraines from going to malls, from the light and noise. I also could not stand eating at school because of all the noises. I would just be over my plate and eat. I still cannot understand how children can be so noisy! I also thought I had some chemical sensitivity, but I mainly have a sensitive olfact.

As an adult, my ways to interact is to have very little small talk but to speak of the last thing I have learned and I tend to "info dumping"... I have also gained confidence by being a specialist people had to listen to, and wanted to. But as a child and teen, I had to preparare my sentences in my head and was too slow to keep up with conversations, except in language classes where I could answer the teacher before others. I was overwhelmed by all the agitation out of class and was a mini adult. As I was not taking the bus with others and had not much interaction, I grew up thinking "My parents did not teach me how to be social and did not give me enough opportunities". Haha now I know that we are not supposed to learn this but to get it subconsciously from others.

I have eventually learned enough to be super good at reading people and interpreting behaviors, but I first went through animal behavior and a lot of study. I have indeed the common focus and passionate study of the spectrum. Mine focused on life and behavior, thus seemingly changing with time, but I make a big puzzle out of all my learnings. I am still fooled very easily because the concept of liying is a mystery. I have found a way to identify lies though... I noticed I always have a shock, like a sensation of big surprise when you learn about something that seems impossible. I have to be very quick at catching my surprise, or else I get coated in the lie, because my mind quickly reorganise the new information to make it fit. My niece made what was a joke for her but a lie for me, about my other niece, and the information changed how I viewed her, and it is very difficult for me to come back to my former take of who she is. But my view of the lying one is also changed and she made a big mistake!

So it explains why social lies and masking is what made social interactions difficult and tiring for me. It is like always changing the puzzle and the understanding of the situation. As what makes social interaction comes from the unconscious parts of us (actually the autonomic nervous system), confusing information from the environment makes it impossible, because illogical, to choose the right way to behave. As I would take things litterally, then I would answer accordingly, and then would feel people having fun in a way that was not logical, and coherence fall appart until it all appeared to ne a joke. So when I asked my niece by whatsapp (we don't live in the same country) if my other niece was back from her year in Japan, I believed her when she answered "No she went to New-Zealand".

Another frequent point is to have no sense of hierarchy, which make people unconfortable because I have the same distance or proximity with everybody. It gave me problems with some teachers who thought I was not considering them enough as teachers. I actually see only humans though I respect the quality of knowledge and the difference I can see there. I also look quite harsh, and even sometimes in my writing transmissions! So people are often impressed or made unconfortable by my ways and face. I have to make an effort to not have a neutral face, or to have a full smile.

Feedback from others can reveal very well the social issue in ASD. Here are a few examples of what I have been told:
- The problem with you is that it is impossible to know what you feel because you always look the same
  (and me very proud to not have bouts of anger and to be very acceptant and able to cool my reactions to others)
- The problem with you is that when you say something, you are too often right, there is nothing to answer.
 (yes because I need to be quite sure in order to speak)
- Oh I can see that you are the kind of person that it is better not to mess up with.
 (and me so astonished!)
- From a monitor when I was the director: We were afraid to go and tell you something that happended. I don't know why because you never reacted bad. You just impressed us.
 (she said this only 20 years after...)
- In professional trainings: you have to work on your face and look as soft as you really are. You look too harsh/severe.
  I feel studied by you as if you were an entomologist and I was an insect.
Not to mention a lot of "I was not expecting that" in cases when people knew me better, but in personal interaction Vs group interaction.

Flow is difficult in social interactions, but not with animals for example because they are just direct and easy to read. As flow is difficult, rupturing any sense of flow is also difficult, thus a difficulty to start and stop interactions. So for example I don't know how to leave or stop a phone conversation. And if people are too polite and don't dare to tell me they want to stop a conversation, and just try to make it felt, it creates a discomfort in me. I used to feel paralysed until I learned to interprete, but I still thank people who can be direct enough.

I also feel it is difficult to ask people something when the answer might be no and the people don't want to say no. I have learned it is better not to ask when you think it will be a no. As it makes me feel uncomfortable, I have found ways to say something like "I know people don't like to say no, but really, this is an opened question and I welcome any answer", because I need to be sure and not to stay with doubt about having understood or not.

I grew up thinking that I was missing something that everybody found pleasant and wonderful: social interaction pleasure, like in parties! For me, it is like when a child does not like veggies and are told that they will like them later, when they will be used to it. So, even if you don't like it, you have to eat it until you like it. And of course, same as we like eating anyway, I did like social contact and friends! But I could not understand that a person I liked on a personal basis, was acting so differently in a group! They were like 2 different persons and it would upset me a lot. For me, people were just acting crazy when they were numerous. The more people, the more crazy.

Of course in social situations I was told "but just be natural" so many times! But I thought that for me people in groups were not natura at alll... As I was good in languages, when I went abroad I found out this was very interesting, because people would be very tolerant of my ways! When after high school and 10 years with the same children, I started to have more interactions with new people, I noticed that people who did not know me acted more normal with me than people I already knew. Then they would take some distance and treat me differently than others. So I started to go to new places on purpose, and be with unknown people helped me a lot. They would treat me "normal" and I decided to learn how to behave and what were the right and not right ways in society. This is why I have to think about my childhood if I want to know more about my ASD!

In social situations, let's say going to a birthday party with people playing music, I go from person to person, spotting the one that is having a rest alone, so that we can make a bubble that makes me feel appart from the big picture. I just have a problem in case of surrounding noise: I have issues to let the noise out and pick up the voice. This feature happens in both ASD and trauma because in trauma there is a need to stay vigilant to the outside world, to not be taken by surprise. So for example I cannot understand somebody talking at a quite short distance if I am washing my hands under running water.

The last feature I have about social interactions is being split between being alone and being with people. When I am alone I want more people around, and when I have people around, I want them to go away! The only exception to this is when we are really doing things together. Contrary to appearances, this has nothing to do with control, but I need to know what people are doing and why, because I need a world of a very high level of coherence. So in social interactions when there are a lot of people and we don't know each other well, my disconfort comes from not knowing enough of their background, and having too many surprises about what is happening and what people are doing.

So I can feel I am not fluent and others can view it as such, while in reality I find that THEY are not fluent! They are fluent in their bubble, but not with the world. Or else how can they have a party and let all the plastic on the ground? No wonder why I have always valued tribal social ways and living with people who are known since ever! I also value living with animals and in nature, because I can find there the logical patterns that make things change as smoothly as the weather and interactions between all parts. Even a storm fits well, but I find that humans who do not live in a certain environment are behaving as separated from it. My conclusion is that a lot of social behaviors are just trying to create a social bubble that compensates being out of tune with the non human world.

I have learned in Somatic training that people socially behave the way they do for "co-regulation" and that they need small talk and parties and also things that I value more such as helping each other, but I cannot understand that we can stay at the level of just copping mechanisms without tackling the real deeper issues. The paradox is that though ASD people are said to be socially inhibited, and often suffer more trauma and bully, they want much better social interactions, but ones that include all the environment and more acceptance of diversity in general.
 
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And as a second source for herbal seeds and plants, most grown by the seller, check out 'Strictly Medicinal'  (formerly 'Horizon Herbs') in Williams, OR
https://strictlymedicinalseeds.com/medicinal-herb-seeds/
 
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I take Zoloft which helps with my social anxiety.  I know it's not an herb but my brain requires medicine.  Some of us are chemically different and not all anxiety or depression is derived from our subconscious.  Sometimes it's just too much or too little of a certain chemical.  Low serotonin can cause anxiety or social anxiety, for example, along with other things.  

I know of two herbs that help with social inhibition: kratom and kava.  Kratom is similar to an opiate.  In lower doses, it acts as a stimulant and will make you more talkative and social.  It can lead to physical dependence, though, if done long enough.  It isn't an opiate but it acts on the opiate receptors (I think).  It can also be mentally addictive because it feels good, like an opiate.  It comes in powder and can be capsulized.
Kava is similar to alcohol, minus the inebriation.  You make a tea out of it.  It comes in powder or capsules but most capsules are bunk.  It can cause nausea and it tastes horrible, leaving a numb feeling in your mouth.  Both are legal, though kratom is being banned in certain states and areas now.
 
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Hey Cody, it does seem everyone is wired slightly different.
From experience, I wouldn't recommend kratom. Because it acts on the same receptors as opiates. The dependency part is real and there is a real crash when a person starts. My husband has severe back pain all the time, because of several  degenerative discs in his back. He really liked kratom, when he stopped it was a hot mess. Detox set in, vomiting, sweats rather unpleasant. This may not be the same for everyone, it's what we went through.

Kava we do like, it has a reverse tolerance. The more often one drinks the tea, the lower er a person's tolerance becomes.

Just some things to consider.
Thanks for mentioning these two powerful herbs.
 
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