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Hi all,

this may end up being a long post, but I had to get this off my chest because it's weighing on my mind a lot these days. I'm probably not a typical SA candidate. in fact, I think if anyone met me in real life, they would think the opposite, I hide the symptoms really well..

Basically, I'm 27 and an Asian American female. I had a relatively good childhood (in the equivalent of a 3rd world country setting) and moved to the US at age 6. Since then, my family relocated 5 times during my K-12 years, and these were all significant moves to different parts of the country. I know I was severely affected by this growing up; every new school I went to, I dealt with kids who already had friend groups and social activities together. Add my new-ness to the fact that I dressed and acted very culturally different, and you have a perfect recipe for SA, repeated over and over again every few years until I graduated high school.

At some point I learned how to cope with SA and sought out introverted friends who I thought would match my personality, and things were okay in college and the subsequent work years, though I still had pretty severe flares of anxiety here and there (to the point of panic attacks, and a phase where I didn't eat any other meals with other people for over a year).

But this year, I'm going to business school (hah) where EVERYTHING hinges on your ability to "network," aka socialize. I have avoided for the most part all the student organized activities that aren't mandatory (school itself begins in a week), and the few happy hours I've gone to, I've had to 1) excuse myself to the bathroom because I feel so socially nervous, 2) fight HARD with myself to not leave the event as soon as I arrive. I always feel like a floater, like no one wants to talk to me, and its just unbelievable to me how well-adjusted other people seem. I just cannot seem to meet strangers in a social setting without at least inwardly freaking out.

Outside of school, I have similar problems. I refuse to go to any social event with my boyfriend and his friends because I am scared and nervous to talk to any of them. Strangely though, with my own close friends, I am completely normal. My problem seems to be strictly limited to meeting strangers (albeit strangers who I know I'll be seeing again). I also avoid other social gatherings where I don't know a lot of attendees. My girlfriends think I am a flake, but it's because I try really hard to convince myself the social experience is worth it, then at the last minute I get scared and back out of plans.

I think I've always dealt with SA as best I could, but as I'm on the cusp of grad school, it is coming back with a vengeance. I am extremely worried that this anxiety will keep me from doing anything meaningful in school and will not allow me to develop the network that I need to. If anyone has any suggestions on things I could do to alleviate the crushing anxiety I'm feeling right now, I'd love to hear it. - thanks all for reading.
 

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Hi kiraa, and thanks for joining us. I just joined last week. It's a great supportive group, and a safe environment. I'm confident you will be glad to be here.

I relate pretty well to what you wrote. Starting when I was 9, every spring my younger brother and I were taken out of school and moved to a different town (different state) for the summer due to step-dad's job. We were always strangers. Brother and I either transferred schools for the final school weeks of the year or just skipped those weeks. It was a serious disruption to our developing lives. Not as rough I know as permanent moves as we went back home in September. There were other factors from my first 9 years that contributed to my SA.

I think the fact that your SA is not across the board is a big plus. I hope your boyfriend is supportive. Sounds like you would benefit from having friends that realize your challenges so they can support you. Maybe you should not hide the problem from all of them. Welcome.
Street Owl
 

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Hey kiraa, welcome to :sas
 

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Welcome, KiraA! :)
 
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