Social Anxiety Support Forum banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I have to be honest: this is pretty difficult for me to put into words, much less post publicly. I'll try to be as brief as possible, but I also want to give a full background, not only for myself (because I think I need to get this stuff out), but also so that my problems are better understood.

I'll just begin with the first thing that comes to mind: For at least all of my teenaged years (I'm 20 now), I've suffered with variations of social anxiety disorder. I didn't recognize them as such until the last couple years or so. I can pretty easily figure out why I have these problems: when I was young, my family moved often. This created problems for my self-esteem: I went to public school in the UK when I was 6 or 7, and I remember even back then the other kids making fun of me because I stood out with my American accent. Kids have no sympathy about stuff like that. I'm pretty sure I began developing security issues then. I was homeschooled through middle school because we moved back and forth from country to country; it was also a religious thing, since my parents were Christian (which is ironic, since I'm now agnostic and my parents live decidedly non-religious lives).

The second time we moved to the UK, when I was 13, my parents decided to continue homeschooling me. I was inside almost all day every day, began spending lots of time online, watching lots of movies, etc. I guess on the upside, I developed stronger writing skills; but it pains me to think of the far superior life I could have had if I'd been in school. Then when I turned 16 we moved back to America -- only two weeks before the start of the school year. I had to jump through a lot of last-minute hoops to get into the school (it was very "esteemed" for the area). I didn't have a U.S. driver's license; I was the only senior to ride the bus, which was humiliating. And though I made a few friends and eventually began getting rides in the morning with a couple girls, I found it really difficult to meet people and make friends. I always felt awkward trying to engage in conversations because i just felt...out of sync with everybody. In some ways, I felt 'wise beyond my years'; in others, I felt out of my element. Not only was I having to adjust to a new school, I had never been to a high school at all period, so even the basic dynamics were new to me. And it was a small conservative preppy town where all the kids had known each other since preschool - I was a complete outsider.

Let me just say now, without sounding completely vain, I consider myself to be pretty good-looking -- I've been approached for male modeling a couple times, and whenever I go out, girls often check me out. (It's hard to say this sort of stuff without sounding like a pompous jerk, but really, I'm not saying this to make myself feel good or anything -- if anything the fact that I still can't talk to any of them makes me even more pathetic.) I feel like this is worth noting because I do believe it is related to my issues, because I recognize a lot of the starting points for what I go through and can tell when my comfort level is decreasing. No offense to anyone here who may fit this description, but I think we usually associate the 'socially inept' with the stereotype of a meek, 'nerdy' or at least unusual person. What I'm saying is, the fact that I didn't fit this typical misfit 'image' made it even worse for me, because people expected me to be normal based on my relatively normal appearance. Not only that - because I'm so self-conscious, I hate when girls are checking me out. It's flattering, but it makes me feel far more self-aware. Sometimes i wish I were really ugly just so people wouldn't look at me -- is that a weird thing to say? I guess so, but it makes sense in a strange way.

I think a common problem for shy people such as myself -- at least shy people who don't look obviously socially inept -- is that their shyness is misinterpreted as snobbishness. I was perceived as that uncommunicative jerk, even though in reality I felt vastly inadequate and inferior to people and didn't talk because i was sickly shy.

I went to community college for a year after graduating, while keeping up a fulltime job. Community college is hard because people already have their friends since they're local, so I basically gained no friends. I was, looking back now, very depressed, I think -- probably in a dangerous place.

Last semester I finally transferred to a state college. However, I transferred mid-year (spring), as only one of 12 students, so there was virtually no orientation (most new students arrive in fall). I had a single room in a two-person suite, so no roommate to meet people through, and my suitemate was a junior who took zero interest in me and was never there. The first day I ate lunch in the dining room by myself. I was told that college atmosphere is totally different from highschool, and that if I sat down next to a group of people they'd be welcoming and I'd meet people instantly; this didn't happen. I remember sitting down next to a group of guys and as soon as I did, they all got up and left, and I was sitting there at a big table in the middle of the room by myself, looking like a complete weirdo. I stopped eating in the dining room and began taking food back to my room.

I'm back this semester and while my suitemate this time has made more attempts to talk to me, I mainly sit by myself in my room when not in class. I haven't been invited to any parties or anything, even though I've tried to be more active about 'putting myself out there' this time (I've been adding more people I meet on Facebook, too). I don't really know anyone in my dorms yet they all seem to know each other from last year, and they look at me weird when they see me. (You have to be a sophomore to live in the dorms I'm in, so they all probably wonder how it's possible that I've been going to this school for two years and don't know anyone on campus -- of course, it's because I transferred from another school, but they don't know that). Sometimes you can just tell what people are thinking without knowing...

I could go on forever. I can't believe I've already written so much while saying so little. I haven't even really touched upon my social issues, just my issues at school. This is the tip of the iceberg. Basically, I'm socially weird, I find it hard to meet people. I worry too much, I get mini-panic attacks. When I'm called on to speak in class I get flush, my hands shake, my voice doesn't work right, and I can't control it at all. It's ridiculous. It's gotten worse than it used to be. I never got these things when I was younger. This is pathetic to admit, but I don't think I've felt consistently happy for many years...probably not since I was before my teens. I think it was innocence. My whole outlook on the world has changed drastically - due to my experiences over the years, I've developed thick skin, cynicism and emotional guards, all of which cause me great pain. I'd love to be carefree, but for me, it's not free -- I have to work for it. When I go out in public, I feel scrutinized and self-conscious at all times.

I just feel really bummed out. I want to make friends but every time I try, I just end up looking weird and I feel like my problems intensify. I don't know anyone else to go to events with, so when I hear about events, I never go out. It's easy to say Just show up, you'll meet people -- never seems to work. I show up, I feel like a million eyes are on me, I act sort of awkward, people stare at me, I meet no one. I did it in high school, I tried it last semester. It's a nightmare for me with no payoff. I want to join some clubs this semester, but everyone else shows up with their groups of friends, and I literally know no one.

I won't get into the relationships aspect -- suffice to say I avoid commitment or intimacy beyond drunken one-night stands. It's also worth mentioning that I have easy vices. I take a lot of sleeping pills. I began drinking when I was about 15 or 16 (laws in the UK are lenient) and am a pretty heavy drinker now. Once I turn 21 I'm sure I'll become some type of alcoholic if I don't get help.

This is probably as good a place as any to stop. I could really write a book of all my life experiences. I feel like going to therapy would help because there's so much deep-rooted stuff from my childhood, but...I don't have the money or the time, frankly, to even seek out any type of help. And since i'm still on my parents' insurance, they'd know, and I try to conceal almost all of this from people. I'm just looking for advice or...anything, really. I know I have problems, I can pinpoint most of them myself, and I know the logical steps in how to fix them (e.g. "go out, try to talk to people") - but it's easier said than done. I've skimmed some how-to confidence manuals, etc., but their advice is often impractical. I just feel really drained lately, and it takes its toll upon my motivation both socially and in terms of my schoolwork.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
The Eskimo Boat

I went online to find people that have SA and also moved often and then I came across this article. Almost everything you wrote describes my life to the teeth, except I moved around in the states and 3 countries. I definitely believe my underlying problem of SA started from all the moving around. It hurt a lot when I made good friends somewhere and then had to move. My SA really started in high school, I just wasn't good at adapting to new places anymore. I still value my friends that I've made in the past, but it angers me that I couldn't have been able to stay in a stable location and just have a normal childhood where moving around (at least 9 times since I was 7, I'm 22 now) wasn't part of the equation. I promise myself when I have my kid I will never move him/her unless they wanted to. I remember begging my mother in tears to not move, but I guess life has other plans for me. Now I live in a city I hate and have no meaningful relationships. I get tensed up and way too conscious over everything whenever I'm anywhere. Alcohol is the only thing that helps me feel better. Just wanted you to know that I'm on the same boat and I'm glad to know that I'm not on it dolo. Good luck with your journey bro and I'm pretty sure things will get brighter for the both of us. I'm slowly learning to just not care anymore for friends or any social interactions anymore. I'm just focusing on other things that make my life interesting with just myself.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top