Well my story is a wild roller coaster... but I have had many successes... I still suffer from SA, but I've gotten it to the point where I don't feel like I'm living a crippled life anymore (at least not as much
I've suffered from SA as long as I can remember... in fact, in 1st grade my teacher demanded to my mother that I have special sessions with the guidance conselor because I was sooooo quiet... I basically didn't talk 99% of the time I was in public (hence the username!). I wasn't really aware of my SA up until high school, because I didn't really know what anxiety was.... I guess I just kind of assumed that the anxiety I experience all the time was normal and everybody felt that way.... so I never really understood why I couldn't make myself talk
To be honest things continued this way (boring I know) up until high schoool... this is where things got really bad for me. In 10th grade I developed cystic acne (the worst kind you can get) all over my face.... it was so bad that I was bullied and lost whatever little self esteem I had. Once again, I wasn't really aware of it, but my SA became unbelievably bad at this time. I basically didn't do anything. I would wake up EVERY SINGLE MORNING with the worst stomach aches because I was afraid to go to school. I would exaggerate these aches to my mom so that I could stay home from school as often as possible... when I did go to school, I would sit there in the morning staring at the clock, dreading seeing the minutes advance until I HAD to go to my bus. Outside of school I had no life. I would just play video games or sit on my computer all the time, and I didn't participate in any extraciriccular activities. In the summers, I'd go weeks at a time without leaving my property, and had very few weak friendships as a result.
Thankfully, I took accutane to clear my acne twice (that's the drug that has caused people so many health problems from it's side effects)... and luckily I made one very good friend in high school as well.... this helped me feel a little better about my life at the time as I went into college
Obviously I was nervous as hell about college. I continued the same life style my freshman year... if i wasn't in class or eating at the cafeteria... I was in my dorm room or at home every single weekend, since my college was close to home. I wasn't too depressed at this point
Finally, my sophomore year comes and this is a true turning point in my life... at this point, I started to see all the fun everyone else around me was having and realized that I dreaded every day of my life... this is when depression hit me pretty hard. I would just sit around crying all the time in my dorm room (even in front of my roommate) and at home in front of my parents... I struggled with this the entire year until I decided to see a therapist, which is where I officially learned I had SAD.
The therapist helped me with some basic confidence building exercises, which helped me to start doing basic things like driving a car, going to the store, etc... I still really struggled with SA and depression though and felt pretty hopeless... I tried several antidepressants but the side effects were too much for me, the therapist refused to see me if I wasn't on medication, so I was back on my own.
This next part is crazy lol... but during this time I met a girl who ended up playing an important role in my life... she was a very beautiful and popular girl (who i wasn't used to having any interest in me) and once I was assigned to work on a project with her in class, we started to become friends... as time went on, she would just go out of her way to include me in on things (i.e. she'd invite me to sit with her at lunch, ask me to join her with her friends in the library, etc.) and I was so moved! Unforunately, my complete lack of social skills effed me over... we were really tight, and I really wanted to ask her out but i knew I could never get myself to do it....
at this point, things spiraled out of control. while all this was going on I had some major problems with my dad. since I hadnt followed the career path he wanted, he would enter raging fits around me and call me a waste of life and a failure. I started having panic attacks and frequently thought about suicide at this point. meanwhile, while I was so torn over asking that girl out, of course she got a boyfriend and I just lost it... shortly thereafter, one time when I was around her I had a bad panic attack, and this caused her to say that she couldn't talk to me anymore at all
This was the low point.... but I'll never forget the moment she said that to me because it was like someone flipped a switch in my head... of course I felt terrible, but meanwhile I just said to myself, "Look at what your SA has done! I AM GOING TO END THIS ANXIETY BEFORE IT RUINS MY LIFE"
Somehow, motivation came from somewhere deep within me.... I applied techniques the therapist had taught me and started making myself confront every single social fear I had all the time... I had the philosophy, "If I'm afraid of it, I'm doing it"
You know what I found from doing this... all the perceived threats from social interaction that plagued me all of my life were in fact mole hills when I had treated them like mountains.... this is the one message I hope that my story can convey to everyone that reads this.
You know what happened the next year in college? I pledged a fraternity, joined the club baseball team, started going to parties (and danced like crazy when I could), and even went on a few dates with a girl that I met though all this fun
I still have to cope with SA every day, but now I have an idea of how to handle it.... it's not easy to keep up that philosophy I mentioned earlier, trust me, but I do the best i can. And most importantly, if I can come from where I was at my low points to where I am now.... I know anyone can. I also know someday I will find my true peace of mind