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Suffering from Social Anxiety

Ashleydane

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I realized I suffered from Social Anxiety early in High school. While I was always shy in class and preferred to avoid public speaking as a child, I never thought I was any different than anyone else. When I first started high school, I started to realize that I acted very differently around people that I knew well and strangers. I think my friends and family would describe me as very outgoing, some would even describe me as an extrovert. I started to notice a major gap between my interaction with those close to me and strangers when I started high school. I dreaded the first day, especially in small classes where we would introduce ourselves. As we went around the room, my anxiety would grow. What would I say ? Would people notice my nervousness ? Would I say something dumb ? As soon as we received our syllabus for a class, I would look through it to find how much participation and presentations counted as apart of the grade. I just wanted a class where we could take exams or write papers, I wanted to avoid presentations at all costs.

In my school we have elevators, and it’s over a thousand kids in my school, If the elevator is too packed which is often, I will not get on. I have a elevator pass, so I am allowed to go on the teachers elevator, which is rarely ever packed unless the student elevators are broke down. If the bathroom is too full, I won’t go in. I would always try to get to school on time, so I wouldn’t have to walk in class to a bunch of eyeballs on me. I would avoid eye contact, because it makes me feel anxious. If I have to discuss something with any of my teachers, I would come really early or wait until class is over and everyone is out to talk. I have gym three days out of the week, I have to change into my uniform in order to get credit. My gym teacher allows us to get dressed 5 minutes before it’s time to leave, I literally rush to get dressed so I wouldn’t run into anyone leaving school, I try to be the first one out the building so no one would see me. When my parents go food shopping, I go with them, but I sit in the car and wait for them to come back. This has intervened with me even getting a job, because I am fearful of being around people.

I have two medical conditions, that are very severe that I can’t make it to school majority of the time. So my parents were considering doing Home Instructions, however my guidance counselor said that Home Instruction wouldn’t work in my favor, and all my classes are not covered. Our next option was Home School, which was good for me, but my father didn’t want me to get a GED, he said “A high school diploma is much easier to get than a GED”. A big part of me knows that my parents want things to work in their favor & not mine.

I have prom & graduation next year and I am already dreading those days. I’m even contemplating on going, the fact that I have to walk pass hundreds of people, makes my
stomach queasy. I know my dad wouldn’t be upset if I didn’t go to prom, but my mother & brothers would be. I tried explaining to them my anxiety & sometimes they act like they understand & then majority of the times they don’t. My mother feels that this is something I can overcome with a snap of a finger, she believes that I am “weird” because she’s such an outgoing person. She wants me to be outgoing and free spirited like her, but I don’t have it in me. It’s so hard to explain to people what’s going on with me, because I know they wouldn’t understand. I just keep everything to myself, thinking one day I won’t have to suffer with this anymore.

Struggling with Social Anxiety hasn’t only negatively impacted me in life, but also academically. I’ve noticed that since I’ve been suffering from this, my grades have drastically dropped, I failed two classes last marking period, because I dread the fact of going to class everyday, my way of dealing with this is not coming to school or leaving early. It has also stopped me from making friends, I feel that people believe that I am “snobbish” or “stuck up” which is not true, I just get really fearful of talking to people & being around a large group of people.

In life I want to become a Fashion designer, eventually I want to open my own business. My goals are to create clothing that is for all sizes, ages, and genders. In my clothing I want to show a creative side of my art ability and I want to make my clothing affordable for all as well. Anxiety has intervened in that as well, I’ve bypassed so many opportunities to start my own clothing line because meeting new people makes me panicky. Scared of being judged. I feel that even talking to my family about it, they don’t feel like anything is wrong with me, their favorite saying is “everyone goes through that”, completely disregarding my feelings. Little do they know, I’m suffering day by day.

The first person I opened up to about my struggle with anxiety was my father, he told me that this is something serious and I needed to seek help. He also said that if I don’t correct this problem, it will affect me later on in life. We looked up online for therapists, and finally we found one, what was even better was the fact that it was close by. We scheduled an appointment. I missed that appointment. I made up an excuse on why I didn’t wanna go, since my dad totally forgot that I had an appointment, it was even better. I don’t think he knew I was dreading the fact of going outside.

One day we had an assembly in my school, and this lady who is a counselor was talking about depression and anxiety, she offered her room number and her email to all. At that moment, I finally decided to address the problem head on. I went by her office, and let her know what I was going through. After the first visit, we scheduled another visit. To say the most, a lot of those visits that were scheduled were pushed back because I didn’t want to go to school. I told her that too. She gave me assignments to do at home, she told me to get journal and write down when that feeling of anxiety comes on and what triggers it. I usually see my therapist once a week, if I come to school. While there’s still a lot of work for me to do, I still struggle with approaching situations that may cause anxiety with a logical, effective approach.

I know this is almost equivalent to an essay lol, but please read & help ❤.
 

triceps

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Hi and welcome Ashleydane. Yep, I've been in your shoes. I somehow made it through high school but back then (in the 60's) there were much fewer introductions or mandatory presentations. I didn't know I had anxiety but was damn sure afraid of any public speaking or being called on in class. In college, I only took classes with no public speaking possibilities and ended up with an Earth Science degree. I do agree with your father that it is easier to get a high school diploma than a GED. That test is very tough and shouldn't be looked down as an indicator that someone isn't as smart if they have a GED.
My only advice: do whatever you need to do to get the counseling help instead of doing a ton of unnecessary suffering.
 

Ashleydane

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Thank you so much for the feedback. I forgot to add that I’ve been seeing a psychologist, and I feel that it is working, also with the use of medication

I have a question,
I’m considering online schooling, because I really don’t want to interact with anyone at my old school. Do you think it’ll be a good idea ?
 

triceps

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Are you going to be a senior or a junior? I think it might be good for your junior year until you can get past this very uncomfortable stage. If you haven't progressed enough with the treatment of your social anxiety where you can go back for your senior year then you made the right choice. If it's your senior year coming up, my suggestion would be to tough it out now that you've gotten some help. Your psychologist would have a more informed opinion than the ones I just gave.
 

Ashleydane

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It’s my senior year, but honestly I’m tired of school lol I like working at my own pace, not to mention I’ve failed 2 of my classes from a previous course. I think working at home, I’ll be a lot more focused.
 
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