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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I've been struggling with my Social Anxiety for a while now and I can't talk to my parents or best friends about it because they don't understand... so I found this board and read some other posts and everyone here seems really nice :). I have written a long(!) and detailed "story" I guess you could call it it about my SA, so if anyone is interested in reading it let me know and I'll post it. It took me a long time to gather all my thoughts and experiences together into this story, and I really just want to get it out there to people who will understand, so if anyones interested lemme know and I'll post it asap :).
 

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Welcome, Lawry! :)
 

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Hey lawry :wels
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alright here goes nothing


I've been extremely shy all my life and never really thought anything of it until I turned 11 or 12. I had taken dance lessons at this studio for a long time (7 years I think) and I had known most of the girls there for a very long time, but never spoke to any of them, which made going to each dance lesson very difficult. The year round lessons were awful for me because I had no friends (of course I brought that upon my self by not speaking to anyone, but I was too nervous to) but I stuck with it because I LOVED the year end recital. I loved the costumes and wearing makeup and just showing off my flexibilty and dance skills to the parents (who I felt comfortable around). One year I had 4 dance classes a week (2 ballet, modern and jazz) which meant seeing these girls that I could not talk to almost every day. Once in a while the girls would come up to me and say, "Why don't you ever talk?" Yeah, they actually did. And that made me so sad I went to the bathroom and cried (I remember this day). I went home and cried to my mom about how I didn't like anyone there and how I never wanted to go back there again because I had no friends. She just told me it was my fault because I didn't talk to anyone. I dealt with dance for a few more years. I started to feel more comfortable around SOME of the girls and sort of maybe wanted to talk to them, but didn't because I knew they would be like, "you're actually talking to us? You've never talked to us before!" I couldn't handle it. So I quit. My mom was heartbroken because she loved that I was "her little dancer", but she couldn't understand the anxiety I felt there everyday. Those were probably the worst years of my life. Dropping dance may have been the best choice I've ever made.

I began to notice my "shyness" again in middle school. Of course it was a new school with new kids so naturally I would be shy, but I wasn't making any friends. I only got to talking to people if my best friend was there with me, otherwise I would NEVER talk. I know I felt very anxious and nervous when someone would speak to me and I would have to build up A LOT of courage to speak to others. When I graduated middle school I lost touch with my best friends due to my lack of communication. I wanted to hang out with them but I was always too afraid to call because I was afraid I would be calling at a bad time and they wouldn't want to talk to me. Or they would be busy. And as a result they no longer asked me to hang out and we were no longer friends. I entered highschool with two friends from middle school who were really outgoing and whom I felt comfortable with, they became my best friends. But when they panned out and met TONS of new friends I just sat there feeling anxious. At that point I realized that there was something wrong with me. Everyone else in this school was making friends everyday and I couldn't even gather enough courage to speak to one person... I started to feel really badly about myself... I don't look approachable... I'm awkward no one would want to be friends with me anyways... What if I try to talk to them and I stutter or lose my breath? (which happens. and I hate it). By the end of ninth grade I had a core group of four friends plus me (the other two I had met through my first two outgoing friends, obviously). During the summer they would have their many friends to hang out with and I would have none other than them. Sometimes when I would be hanging out with them, their other friends whom I was not comfortable around would be there, and I would completely shut down. I would not be able to talk to anyone because I was so afraid of these other people. I was afraid of what they thought of me, if they knew I was nervous, etc... It was frustrating and I began to hate myself for not being able to make friends. In my head I wanted to be friendly and meet new people and just hang out, but in reality I knew that it wasn't that easy. Anxiety ALWAYS got the best of me. And always, to this day, even though I KNOW it's not realistic, I still think I can make friends somewhere. But when I meet potential friends I shrivel up and put up my walls (you know those flowers that snap shut once you touch them? Think of me like that). I absolutly hate it, but I absolutely CANNOT help it. Can you see my frustration?

So I realized that I must have some kind of disorder, illness, problems, ANYTHING. Because this was not just shyness. All through grade 10 I suffered and then one day I was watching a reality television show and a person mentioned that they had social anxiety. The term stuck in my head and at the commercials I ran to my computer to google it and sure enough all of the symptoms were there. It was a relief to know that I was not alone, SUCH a relief. I read other peoples stories about their struggles and watched videos on youtube, and all the similarities to my life made me cry. I think they were tears of joy, since I finally knew about people exactly like me, and sadness for them because I knew exactly what they were going through, and it was hard.

To this day, I still suffer from Social Anxiety. I haven't been diagnosed with it by a doctor or anything, but I know I have it. Even if it's a milder case than others. One thing I strongly wanted to mention is that I especially feel anxiety when I am clothes shopping. I LOVE SHOPPING, and I am very into fashion, but when I am walking around the store I feel like people are watching me and talking about me, saying "why is SHE shopping in here?" I know it sounds stupid but it's actually how I feel. And that's what makes this disorder so strange is that I know what I am thinking/feeling is irrational but I CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL IT. I am also very intimidated by the staff at stores and am afraid to ask them for help.

I am too shy to tell my best friends because I know they won't understand because they are all very outgoing. And it's an interesting situation with my parents - my mother is very outgoing also and she does not understand things/misunderstands things very easily. I don't go to her with my problems ever. And my dad is very shy like me, which is where I think my Social Anxiety may have sprung from? Possibly? My dad has no friends, does not like to go to social events, and only communicates with the family. But I don't like to talk to him about my problems either because I know I will start crying if I do... and this may sound weird but I don't like to be really emotional in front of my dad. I think it's because he never displays emotion towards anyone let alone me.

Anyways, that's my story. If anyone has any advice how I could possibly overcome my Social Anxiety, please, PLEASE let me know. If you read this whole thing, thanks :) In case you were wondering, I am now 16 years old, going into grade 11 this coming school year, and am petrifyed. Lol.
 

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My advice is to just start by trying to interact with your aquaintences a litte more, and if they're mature enough they would accept your invitation to try to reach out to them. In my experience, most people are usually really nice. Even if you were right and you are rejected, at least you tried, and you'll notice you're taking steps into recovery. For me, I've started noticing I'm having thoughts more like "dang, I totally let my social anxiety take over me that time" or "hey, I handled that pretty well, better than usual, I just need to keep it up" instead of "what the heck is wrong with me!?". Hope this helps...
 

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Hi lawry, apart from the dance classes, that story could have been mine over the last 15 years. I totally understand what you are going through, and know how hard it makes life.

Its hard to know what advice to give as I still have difficulty making friends and talking to people, but I am now trying to do the things that make me most anxious. I'm doing this now i'm 31, but really wished I had done it at your age, but I didn't know social anxiety existed until I was in my late 20s so didn't know what was wrong with me. I just thought I was introverted and accepted it. I'm glad you've realised you have social anxiety at the age you are now as you can now start the road to recovery and hopefully become a confident young woman.

I'm sure you'll find lots of good advice on these forums from a lot of nice people :)
 
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