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I'm 27 and I had SA/shyness for most of highschool and college. I didn't go out, didn't date, didn't really have a "normal" experience. I fell into the trap of worrying what everyone thought about me, worrying about what I'll tell a girl when she finds out I have no experience. Over analzying everything and under living.

Like alot of you, my childhood was actually pretty normal. I went to birthday parties, I had friends over to my house. When I was 9 or 10, one of my friends asked if I had a gf yet. My childhood wasn't perfect, but it felt alot more normal than my highschool years.

I think the biggest problem for those with SA/shyness is the transition period between childhood and being a young adult. It's extremely, extremely, EXTREMELY important for your self esteem, your confidence and the direction of your life. My guess is that most of you had a tough transition period. And then it carries over into your teens and 20's.

I've thought about it alot, and I've been able to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong. I didn't latch onto a really great peer group after my childhood. I wanted a peer group that was smart, funny, kind, talented, and just a bunch of nice people. Otherwise, I'd rather be on my own.

In highschool, I saw a world that was glass half empty. I had little in common with the people I hung out with and I fell into this trap of the "shy guy that doesn't go out." Then it got even worst.

Something that I've realized is that no matter how down and depressed you get, the world is still a beautiful place. The weather can still be nice. Kids keep laughing and playing in the front yard. There's hobbies and activities. The world doesn't stop. The world is always bigger than your problems.

I could imagine a childhood friend seeing me when I was 20, and ask..."what the he** are you doing man?" What happened to the old you?"
That would have been the litmus test to see if something was wrong in my life.

There's so many things that you can do to change your life around. You can become involved with kids, you can volunteer, you can expand your comfort zone, you can help others, you can suprise your family with something nice. You can make someone laugh. You can have an impact in someones life. You can redesign your room. You can have a pet. You can watch the birds outside.

The only way your confidence comes back is by living in the real world.

Take an inventory of everything going on in your life and ask yourself, "is this adding to the quality of my life?". I cut out alot of TV, internet, pointless news stories, talk radio....things that are just a waste of time and energy.

My happiness came from a combination of growing up emotionally/psychologically and not taking everything so seriously. You'll know when you've hit it. It's not just a temporary thing. It sounds so corny and so cliche, but you feel more loving and more of a closeness with people. You can feel love from someone else (really, in your body). I don't want to turn this post into an Oprah Winfrey, find your spirit kind of thing....but it's really going to feel different for you.

Much success everyone!

-Jon
 

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JB2002,

Wow! This should be in the First Step forum. You are right about the differences we experience in high school and stuff. I was going through stuff the majority of kids my age would never have thought possible in their family. Take into account what has happened to me in the last three years and that alienates me even more. The further I go into my own life, the further away it seems I am from other people. :stu

Anyway, I wish you all the best and a warm welcome to SAS!
 

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This is exactly what I have been thinking over the last few weeks. I, too, was quite happy and had lots of friends in elementary and early on in middle school, but the transition must have just scared me into a shell. My dad passed away when I was in the seventh grade and I retreated even further from the world. We got a computer and I spent most of my time on it by myself. Went on like that through high school.

I graduated in 2004 and have taken a year off from school. I've become so much healthier mentally and physically in the last year. I lost 60 lbs. and I'm looking great and I talk to many people. I tell my friends that I feel like I'm back in elementary except with greater responsibilities. I guess that's all it really comes down to. There comes a point when you realize that the world isn't as serious as you thought it was. There aren't "grown-up" things that you are supposed to be doing. Everyone does the same things and you are allowed to do those things; such as hanging out over at a friends house or going to the movies or whatever. These aren't childish things to do. Only, this time, you have more responsibilities (bills, work, college, etc.). This summer has been great for me. I've gone to several parties and met many people. I actually went on a few dates and am pursuing one of them, we're just friends right now. It's as if the truth was revealed to me and the fear vanished. Now, of course, there are just some times when you don't have much to say and that is ok. You should, however, try your best to comment on things and ask questions. Introduce yourself to strangers and don't treat the ones you know as strangers.
 

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The whole transition idea is great. I think it applies to me. I'm a slow learner when it comes to socializing with people due to the lack of experience I have with people. If I just got out there I'd learn a lot faster than sitting in front of the computer. Too bad I love my computer. :lol
 

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I agree with you JB2002. I discovered I had SA 1 year ago and I was determined to fix it. I have definitely improved and my SA is very mild. At first, I wanted to get rid of my SA for selfish and empty reasons like being popular and all that other superficial crap. Now I want to be a good person who helps and loves people. SA holds me back from doing this thus I work hard to get rid of it. When you don't think of everything revolving around yourself and thinking more of the big picture, life gets easier and happier.
 

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wow thanks for sharing, i totally get you.
u gotta get out into the world and just practice not sit around tv and computers, be with people and you'll learn it all.
i agree weith the transition period it totally added and is a lot of why i got SA. getting out there makes you see the big picture, the cycle of life and feel better about yourself as a part of it.
 
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