Hi - I'm 60 , so you're a couple of years older than me. It looks really strange when I write that down and it sounds weird when I say it - because I don't think most of the time I feel like that old. I think when I'm feeling okay I feel like I'm still in my 40's or so - until I see myself in a mirror of course.
I feel like my life's been seriously affected by SA - but to nowhere near the extent of many of the people I read about on here. I had a reasonably normal younger life with friends, girlfriends and work - the main thing for me was that I found it really hard to hold down a job for any decent length of time. And I couldn't go to Uni until I was older. I started in my late 30's. I know for a fact that if I hadn't has SA I would have been able to do something much better than the sort of jobs I had.
My wife and my son know about my anxiety - I feel like I can tell my wife (ex really) most things. I know that at least she's not going anywhere no matter what I do - let's put it that, because I've pretty much already done it. She's a pretty amazing person and I'm very lucky to have her. Fortunately she still cares a great deal about me - otherwise I would find things very hard indeed.
I don't think my son likes to talk about the anxiety - but the bipolar is okay. I think that's the case with most people actually and it's how I feel too to a large extent. I would be far more inclined to tell someone I'm bipolar than to admit I have anxiety and especially social anxiety. I know most people have no idea what you're talking about so I just wouldn't do it unless I knew them well and had started to really trust them. Admitting to fear is not something that comes easy to me - and I don't think that's at all surprising considering the sort of blokey/sporty stupid culture I grew up in. It's gradually changing though but in reality I think it's changing extremely slowly and most people would still just think it's weird. So I don't do it.
Your ex sounds lovely. That's all we want I think - acceptance. My son, who also has SA has been lucky too and all his wife's family understand, accept and make efforts to make him feel at ease - for instance at family get-togethers they say he can go and read in a bedroom if it all gets too much.
I too missed out on a career. I went to a good school where nearly everyone is high achiever which makes me feel even more ashamed. I tried university and couldn't cope at all. I feel I had opportunities and failed to make the most of them.
Strange , how bipolar is more accepted than SA. I dream of a world where one could just explain it like any other handicap. As if I said "look I'm deaf" and others understand, accept and support.
Part of me would like to put an ad in the local paper suggesting meetings or social events for anyone with SA.