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Discussion Starter #1
How many of your friends/family/co-workers/classmates/etc know you have social anxiety disorder (and/or other mental disorders)? Most of my family knows I have GAD and depression, but the only other people I have told are my doctors and therapist. And only my psychiatrist and psychologist know about all of my mental disorders (SAD, GAD, MRDD, PTSD).

I told a friend once because she was going through a hard time with depression and suicidal thoughts, and I wanted her to know that I understood how she was feeling. Well, people overheard and acted like most jackasses that don't understand mental disease, as you can imagine. After that, I haven't told anyone who isn't directly related to me. I feel almost as though I'm deceiving people, but I don't want to lose the few *friends* I have. The vast majority of people that don't have a mental disorder don't understand it, and make no effort to understand it. They would rather make jokes and call us all nutcases.

Anyone want to share their experiences/opinions?
 

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I've told immediate family all about my SA (I typed out my experiences, printed that out along with the actual definition of SA from this site, then handed that to them to read - it wouldn't have happened verbally).

They now understand me (somewhat).

I probably wouldn't do this with extended family or "friends" because I don't know them as well and don't see them as often. People are afraid of what's not normal to them, and "social anxiety disorder" is no exception. From what I've read on this site over the past couple years, it is not the greatest idea to tell friends about it because their reaction is usually disappointing or outright awkward.

(I might be inclined to tell someone about it if I know they've gone through some major hardship in their lives, ie. something like severe depression. I'd think someone in that position would be more open to understanding.)
 

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I told my last roomate after she had a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed as bipolar a few months into my sophomore year at college. She was having trouble with her mom understanding her and I'va had similar problems with my mom so we really connected over that.

My mom knows because I was diagnosed as a minor. But I'd have told her anyway just to prove something really was wrong with me.

My younger brother knows cos he's overheard me and my mom talking.

Yeah thats about everybody.
 

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My mom has no idea about anything. She's always emotionally checked out.

My sister has S.A. but denies she has it and when I tell her about my problems... she says it's all in my head and that I'm stupid. Ironically, she complains all the time about how she can't connect with people and whatnot but then she makes fun of me for coming on this website and trying to get help.

My dad just thinks I am a nervous person. I've told him many times that I hate people but he just says "nobody can live without people in their lives".

My friends think I've just shy and strange but sometimes I can hide my S.A. very well. My immediate family think I am stuck up, just really shy, or a recluse I think.
 

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My parents and sister know about it but I don't think they understand how bad it is, and I could never explain it properly/ fully. My parents were more concerned about me being prescribed antidepressants than my actual SAD diagnosis. My dad is very critical and self-righteous, and he has an answer to EVERYTHING I say. He has so much confidence in his own opinions that it seems pointless even trying to explain it to him. My sister is very caring and supportive, and my boyfriend is too. I rarely discuss it with anyone else because getting people to understand, even just a little bit, seems like an impossible task.
 

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I've told my mom, that was enough family for it to get to the rest lol. I have no friends to tell.
 

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My family have known me all my life, and are well aware of my odd tendency (well, to them anyway) of avoiding social situations, so I think they worked out long ago that I have issues in that area.

I suppose it's something I have kept from friends. I don't suffer from SA around them, so it's never really been an issue. My experience is that people who don't suffer from SA just don't get it, so I've always taken the line that there's nothing to be gained from sharing my issues with them.
 

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I told my boyfriend, brother and a couple of close friends who would all have seen how odd I can act in social situations. Telling anyone else, including my parents, would feel a bit strange. Sometimes I think it would be easier if other people knew so they'd understand me better, but who knows what they'd think of me if they still didn't understand.
 

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Nope.

I don't think people with SA should share their problems with anyone but a professional doctor. Telling your problems to friends and family is a total waste of time as they will not have the capacity to understand, they will get tired of you over time, and they could really care less.
 

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My mom was sitting in the councilors office with me when I first learned about SA and that I have it. The rest of my immediate family knows as well, but not from my tellings. They don't think it's any sort of a big deal, it's just me being shy and thinking it's some kind of mental disease. I'm a hypochondriac.

I have this friend-- the kind of friend that you don't like too much but you've been friends since early childhood so you keep in contact with them. She's very self indulged. I told her about it once and she really couldn't have cared less. "Really? Dang, that sucks. I talked to a cute boy this morning."
 

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I told my mom and dad. My friends are dumba$$es , so I will never have to worry about them finding out lol. Even If I told my friends , they probably still wouldn't get it lol.
 

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I've told my fiance and only because it sorta affects him. Everyone else just knows I have trouble socializing or thinks I'm rude or weird. I don't think I will ever tell anyone either because I'm tired of hearing "you'll grow out of it". I'm 30 years old when exactly is this growing out of supposed to occur?
 

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Oh, not until you're 40. :p
 

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I've told close friends and my parents, sort of. I've told my mom about my anxiety, but haven't used the name of it. I've tried to tell my dad in detail, but he doesn't seem to want to listen or care. He makes fun of me because of it. :/
 

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I've told my family and my gf, I told a friend once who ended up calling me socially retarted for years, so I kinda avoid talkin about it unless im close with someone.
 

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My family and friends know, and probably people I don't even really like know too. But I have SA with agoraphobia, so everyone knows I don't do anything all day.
 

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My friends and family think I'm just a bit shy; they don't know how bad it really is. I don't know how the hell I'd tell them, either. I've never been diagnosed with anything, so it's not like I can say "I have so-and-so mental disorder" and leave it at that. Even if I did know how to say it, I still wouldn't, because I doubt they'd be able to understand it at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wow, thanks for all the replies. It's interesting to hear the differing opinions! I think my current "status" on telling people is to only tell them if the person is someone I completely trust and will be in my life a long time. Otherwise, it's not worth the trouble as I see it.
 
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