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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those who don't want to read the following wall of text, here is a little bit of information about myself.

I've been struggling with SAD for the past 6 or so years, and recently I had to present something for school and I decided to write a little story about it afterward. This is not only my introduction topic, but I also enjoy writing and would like to improve, so if anyone has some advice or positive criticism please don't hesitate. Also, if anyone can relate to parts of my story I would love to hear about it.

Hello everyone and thanks.

(post too long, story in next post)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
19 year old male, Canadian, 6'2 280lbs (overweight now, but just a strong, big guy in general), living with my Mom (parents separated when I was 11) and 3 siblings (1 younger sister, 2 older brothers), attending an adult high school after dropping out of normal high school several times because of my social anxiety. I have OCD, social anxiety, ADD, and psoriasis. I think someone must have been playing a cruel joke when I was created, with this combination of medical problems.

There I sat; in my safe chair, in my comfortable sweater, at the back of the class. I preferred this sweater because it didn't show sweat marks on my armpits, as my other (more stylish) shirts do often. Sweating is one of my social anxiety symptoms. And I always made sure I was at class on time so that I could get a seat at the back, I was always worried people would be looking at me if I sat in front of them, and I also have some psoriasis on the back of my neck.

From the presentations thus far, I was sure I could do a better job than most, I knew my project was good, and I believed the class would find it (somewhat) interesting. I knew the content, and, to a certain extent, I knew everyone I would be speaking to.

None of this helped, of course, as I could not rationalize with my anxiety.

So there I sat; in my safe chair, in my comfortable sweater. I pondered- my social anxiety and OCD going to work. Would my volume be loud enough for everyone to hear? What if the chair was squeaky? What if I panicked and couldn't remember the information? What if nobody found my topic interesting? What if they asked questions at the end, and more importantly, what If I didn't know the answers? What if there was a problem with the computer or network and I was stuck there stumbling with everyone staring at me, waiting on me? "You can setup now if you like, before they come back from break," She told me. "That's fine," I replied, terrified.

I rarely went to break. Usually the entire class (20 or so students), excluding maybe 2 people, would pile out the front doors and smoke and talk to each other for the duration of the 15 minute break, and often times longer. Because I don't smoke and I didn't have anything to say to these people, I wouldn't go outside with them. If I needed to go to the bathroom it would be during class time so I had a better chance of being alone; sometimes I can't go if people are around, this isn't an issue, however, if I'm at home.

Break was almost over by now, with less than 5 minutes left. I counted the other people in the room; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5- including the teacher. That's not so bad, I tried to convince myself, maybe everyone else decided to skip the rest of the morning. I had a drink of water, grabbed my pen, and got a fresh piece of gum.

I found having things to focus on distracted me from my anxiety, and helped me maintain if I started to panic. The pen was surprisingly effective. I had learnt this from my junior high school English teacher: Mr. Y. He was probably one of the most interesting teachers I'd ever had, and he always told us these crazy stories about bad decisions he made during his youth and adolescent years. Now that I am older, I realize these stories were probably fabricated in an attempt to steer us in the right direction. But I divert.

He told me about the pen trick (it worked with anything small and discreet, really), and how it helped him when he used to debate in high school and college. This was when I was feeling anxious for the first time about a presentation I had to do on a song and an analysis of the lyrics. This was a new thing for me at the time: being anxious. Up until that point I was a relatively popular kid, and a bit of the class clown; I aimed to draw attention to myself in attempts to get a few laughs.

I was surprised that I found myself being so concerned about what my peers would think of me, if they would agree with my interpretation of the lyrics, and if they would like the song choice.

I knew they would indeed like the song choice, though, as it was popular at the time and it was common to hear it coming from the headphones of my friends. I had actually first heard the song when It was playing on the cd-player of a girl that I liked, and I thought by doing this song she might grow some interest in me, or at least we could start a conversation about it. If you are wondering at this point, I ended up not presenting the song, and I never started a relationship with the girl. In fact, I don't think I've ever had a serious relationship that didn't start (and end) on the internet- but of course, how serious could a relationship possibly be that is strictly online...

I was at the computer now, hoping that the fire alarms would go, or home would call with some emergency and require me to leave immediately, but nothing such. I pounded in my login information with my now sweaty hands, and waited while the prehistoric jumbo calculator loaded. I couldn't wait to get out of here and use my own computer. I went to my student directory and opened the Power Point: "King James, Guy Fawkes, and the Gunpowder Plot," the title page read.

I waited as the last few students wondered in- my hopes of everyone leaving class early swiftly began to fade. The lights were off now and everyone was back from break. I waited for the class to quiet down, but it became obvious this wouldn't happen on its own. As I looked around, about half of the class were staring at me with a 'What are you waiting for?' look on their face, while the other half hadn't realized they were in a classroom yet, and continued to talk amongst themselves.

After a moment or two I started to get anxious about the half of the class who were still staring at me, waiting. So I began: "King James, Guy Fawkes, and the Gunpowder Plot," I read. I waited a few seconds and tried to gage if the volume of my voice was appropriate. Also, much to my relief, the students who were previously talking quieted down and turned their attention to me (as much attention as I could ask for, at least).

I clicked to go to the next slide. -Nothing -. The presentation stayed on the cover page. This is one of the things I had been afraid of. I clicked again, and tried a few other methods of progressing to the new slide. Nothing. I began to panic: I could feel my face turning red and I started to sweat. My heart beat increased, and I'm sure, if I was to talk, I would be short of breath. I knew the entire class was waiting on me now.

Relax. Stay calm. This isn't your fault; nobody should be impatient with you for this. You know a lot about computers- fix this.

While I did know a fair bit about computers, the problem here was rather simple and your average computer user could have figured it out. For the last 3 years, about 95% of my free time has been spent online: playing different online games with my online friends, reading, watching videos, ect. I had known most of these friends for 4 or more years, and I first started playing online games when I was 10, this was the same year we got our computer.

I didn't really have any social aspects to be anxious about online, I think the same time my anxiety started getting bad in real life, I started staying online more. The only times I can recognize my anxiety online is when I'm reluctant to play leadership or important roles in team games, because I'm afraid I'll let my team down or fail. Our computer actually ended up breaking up my parents; a combination of my mother 'e-cheating', and my father's excessive porn surfing.

The logic part of my brain took over for a moment and resolved the problem; I hard shut-down the program and re-opened it. This time the presentation moved on correctly and I started going over the topic. Overall, it wasn't so bad. Whenever I misread or mispronounced something, I would fiddle with my pen, correct myself, and keep going. I kept a steady pace, tried to seem enthusiastic, and attempted to maintain an appropriate amount of eye contact.

Eye contact. This is one of those things that may seem simple for a normal person, but in my case, Isn't such. Whenever I speak to someone, whether it is buying something, talking to a stranger, or my own family, I'm always trying to maintain the appropriate amount of eye contact; enough to make them know I'm listening and show them respect, but not enough to make them or myself feel uncomfortable. Sometimes I focus so much on this, that I actually start to lose focus of what the speaker is saying, and as a result I tend not to learn very well 1 on 1 with a person.

My presentation was nearing the end and I was feeling rather confident: the audience seemed to be moderately interested, I felt I was presenting it well enough, and there weren't any major catastrophes yet. I closed everything down, and returned to my seat- my seat, not my safe seat. For the first time in a long time, I felt a rush of positive emotions: proud, strong, confident, capable, normal. This was followed by a few questions from the class (which I hadn't forgot to ask for, I was simply pleased with the presentation, and didn't want to chance the day by staying up there any longer), and a small discussion- that I was, for once, willing and eager to take part in (more so than normal, at least).

I also noticed that during my afternoon class I was more willing to answer random questions from our teacher (addressed to the class); often I would know the answer but was not confident enough to say it, then she would give us the answer- usually confirming my thought answer.

Today was a good day.

If you read this far; I hope you enjoyed it and thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Not so much, it is something that I find helpful though. I just surprised myself and was able to do it.

Thanks for your response :)
 

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Good job man. I'm convinced that anyone that deals with the amount of anxiety as someone with SAD ranks among the bravest people in the world. You should be proud of yourself for facing that situation.
Are you getting any type of medical help for your SAD? Though the exact cause of SAD is different for everyone(childhood experiences, disease, and genes), some people can only be treated with medicine. I kept facing mine head on thinking it would get better. I took jobs that put me around a lot of people, I took a public speaking course, and I went out as often as possible. But it never improved any. so last October I turned 25 and decided that I needed to start looking for outside help. I haven't found the solution yet, but I'm still looking. Just something to consider.
Thanks for posting your story. It made my day to see someone else facing this thing like you did. Keep it up pal
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, DanCan.

And no, I am currently not receiving any help for my SAD, or medication. When I did seek help (3 years ago), I had several meetings with some sort of therapist that I was sent to from my family doctor. She asked me questions and I did some tests for her over a month or two. At the end her evaluation of me, she agreed that I had SAD and some slight depression, probably a result of the SAD she thought.

At this time I was not comfortable taking medications(I am still skeptical), and it was decided that the best option would be for me to take part in group sessions with other SAD suffering teenagers. The group was set to have about a dozen people, and she expected some of them to not show up. I was signed up for the group and the date was set, this was the last time I heard from her.

Things were going well back then, but as a couple months pasted my situation deteriorated and I decided not to go to the group, in the following weeks I began slipping in school and eventually dropped out.

I regret not going to the group back then, and I feel that I have wasted a lot of time and my SAD has probably worsened since then (progressed).

At this time I am just trying to overcome my SAD by myself; educating myself with books and documentaries, and pushing myself when social situations arise.
(I am currently reading Triumph Over Shyness: Conquering Shyness and Social Anxiety. By Murray Stein and John Walker.)
 

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Hey Laorma welcome. :)
 

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Welcome, Laorma! :)
 

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Congrats!
 
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