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So I'm going to do an introduction and tell a little (okay, it's a big long and I apologize) story.

I'm a 20-year-old female and I've always known that I'm "shy" and "bad with people" but I realized lately just how extreme this really is and it's broken my heart.

I always had one good friend and a couple other friends all through middle and most of high school. I never really had a problem, for whatever reason. When I was 17, I met a guy who lived on the other side of the country. I was in my senior year of high school, and that's where I literally stopped making friends. Aside from my boyfriend at the time (we were together for two years) I met no one. I went to a community college during high school for college credit, and went there for two years. I made zero friends. For college, I moved across the country to be with my boyfriend. I lived there for a year. Also, no friends. I came back home for financial reasons, got a job... no friends. I started classes a new school, but left after three weeks because of difficulties and social anxiety. As you may guess, no friends.

I am very, very lonely. I consider myself nice. I'm not terribly social, meaning that even when I had friends, I appreciated nights to myself greatly. I don't go out of my way to make conversations, and my self-esteem during the last three years has plummeted to as low as I can imagine it. I've gained some weight, went through a "natural/hippie" phase which left me feeling very unattractive (I'm trying a bit harder now). I am sure that whenever people see me, they're just thinking how ugly I am. I usually get up in the morning, and just stay in bed, because I don't want anyone to see me.

Like I said, I am so lonely. I knew another guy who lived across the country from back when I was 16, and as I say, "normal". I've been craving any sort of human attention, just a real connection, as I felt completely unable to make. I watched the film Heavenly Creatures recently and grew jealous of the bond the girls had. I couldn't even imagine being close to someone like tat at this point. So one night, after work, I got in my car and drove 2200 miles to be with the old friend, to see if I could forge a connection, if there'd be something there. I should say here, I'm generally okay in situations where I have to interact... where there's a set rules of what to do, and I know them, for example, the grocery store. But the second where I don't completely understand the situation, I drop into a burning red shaky sweatiness and do everything I can to leave. One example, trying to get a hotel that first night. I didn't know protocol and my stomach churned for over an hour until I felt I was literally going to fall asleep driving and had to figure it out. I was okay after that point.

When I first arrived, the guy and I hit it off. Let me remind you, I've known him for about four years, so it wasn't new, but this was the first time we'd spent any substantial time together. When we were in his room, talking, things were perfect. I was at ease, and happy. But he expected, as he said, to incorporate me into his life. He was taking classes, etc. couldn't spend all his time with me. First things first, I was there for three days. I couldn't not eat the entire time. First, I was sure he thought I was disgusting if I ate. I was sure anyone that saw me would dry heave and think, "Why is she eating anything at all?" I'll give you some perspective, 5'6" and 154 pounds. Not huge, and I'm aware. I doubt anyone really thinks about it, at least not most people, but I can't shake the thought. Another thing I was afraid of... paying. This seems bizarre, but because it was a school, I wasn't sure if I could use a credit card and I didn't have cash and I just got too embarrassed to ask. Every time we walked in the lunch room, my stomach would twist up and I'd say, "I'm not hungry." I'm fairly certain that after the first day, he didn't believe me anymore.

Then, he expected me to be friends with his friends. Group situations are the worst. I can generally tackle someone head-on given the circumstances, but more than two people? No way. So for several different lunch sessions, I sat there, staring, looking away, in silence. He'd glance over, squeeze my hand. I would think, "I should talk, I should say something," but the more I sat in silence the more I was aware that I simply couldn't.

Finally one night, he and his friends were playing cards, and I sat in silence, just brooding, thinking "Why do I suck so much with people? Why can't I talk to these people? Why can't I just be normal?" I finally left to go back to his room and dissolved in tears, resolved to commit suicide because I clearly wasn't normal, and never would be. I sat on the floor of his dorm and shook, sobbing, thinking of all the people around me that I couldn't connect with, people I couldn't talk to, even though I wanted nothing more to. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted someone to invite me somewhere, to laugh at something I said. I hadn't had it for so long. I started doing some research on social anxiety, took a few tests and stared blankly at the screens that said "sever social anxiety/phobia". That seemed intense. I'd always been "shy", but this was bad. I had not made a new friend in 3 years despite being young and in all the right situations. I felt at this point, I genuinely couldn't deal with life. What followed was a full blown panic attack where I felt the deepest sadness I can remember feeling in a long time. I remember when I moved to college the first time, after going out with my boyfriend and his friends, going back to his apartment and crying until my nose bled because I felt so inadequate in public. It happened a lot. That night, I got to sleep in the same bed with my friend that night, him rubbing my back and comforting me, but the next day I had to make the drive home. I left on Wednesday. The entire drive, a solemn sadness overwhelmed me.

I know that I have to do something. I drove 4500 miles total to feel close to someone and left more alone that I've ever felt. I have no friends. None. I can't imagine making any. I don't know how to deal with this. I don't know where to start, how to stop hating on myself, how to allow myself to relax in the presence of other people.

I don't have health insurance, so I can't just go see a doctor or a psychiatrist. I tried to apply for the state health insurance, but they wouldn't accept me. I want to do anything I can. I am leaving for a trip to Europe with my family on Tuesday, and then starting school later that month, or later in the summer. A new school. I am terrified. I want to make friends, so bad. I don't want to drive three days in a sad attempt, six lonely days total to find out I am incapable of being a part of any social activity. I need to get over this, I know I do.

Please, anyone, help?
 

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:wels
 

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Hey mausnonny welcome. :)
 

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Wow as I was reading your post it seemed so much like my story which I dearly need to post. My SA started when I was about 12, I stoped going to school and feel into many deep depressions as the year went on. My parents after many longs months later of testing me for anything that could possibly be wrong put me in therapy I have to say in short term until now I am 19 it works for a week or so and medications not that much help to me, I understand when you say you just dont know what to do or how to get help. I have had the advantage thank goodness for doctors and the support of a therapist but that doesnt always help, going to the appointments are almost harder than living with SA to me. I wish I could help you or explain more, depending on which state you are in their is a place called Vocational Rehabiltation that can help you get the things you need such as help getting a job you can handle help with college and also getting health care. Try meeting with someone in your state that handles health care and see what they can do it could really help you or just make a lot of phone calls it cant hurt. I hope that you can find some peace and happienes as I know how hard it can be to find. If you would like to talk more as our stories are so simliar please message or pm me anytime I check pretty much daily. Welcome to SA and trying joining the chat board its a lot of help to me.
Good luck.
 

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Welcome, Mausnonny! :)
 
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