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Social Anxiety Disorder Ruining My life!!!

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Social Anxiety Disorder Ruining My life!!!

Postby maddyissad » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:24 am

I've been an introverted person since I was a small child. Never in my life have I ever enjoyed other's company to a great degree. I've never been social. I've always been quiet. I ended up leaving high school my freshman year to become home-schooled, because I am so "anti-social". I couldn't make any friends in school. I had one friend, who wouldn't talk to me as much as she used to. She was moving on. And, well, I think choosing to be home-schooled made everything worse for me.

I am 22 years old. And since I was 14, I have not had any close relationship with any human being. I've lost the ability to know what to do or what to say around others. I cannot "connect" with other people. I don't know how to be myself. I can do it online, but when it's in real life, I just can't.

Recently, I went to visit this guy I'd been talking to for five years. Long distance relationship. We met online. We'd talked on the phone a few times, but even then I wouldn't say much. We would Skype, just to see each other. He would never call me or Skype with me often enough in order for me to really feel comfortable talking to him. Mostly, we just IM'd or texted. All this time. Yep, for five years. We were pretty "inseparable" so to speak. And were committed to one another as a couple. He said he was in love with me, and I him. So, last week on July 18-21, I went to visit him. On the first day, I couldn't even look at him. I was so afraid and anxious. I think I had focused too much on my fear. The entire time I was there, I hardly spoke a word. I just couldn't talk. Nothing would come to my mind. He tried to talk to me, but all I could do was smile at him or say yes or no in response to his questions. Long story short, after I came home, he told me he isn't in love with me. He said I was bad at conversing and too negative. I ruined it.

It's left me to a lot of thinking about my life. And I realize how dysfunctional I am socially. I feel as if it is beyond repair. And I feel as if I have thrown away so much of my life because of this disorder. I think all the time about how my life would have been different for me if I'd stayed in high school, had one or two friends all the way through, had social experiences, maybe even had boyfriends or went on dates. Because up until this past week, I'd never been on a date with anyone. Few boys had asked me, in the past when I was younger, but I always declined. I've never given myself the chance to meet people, make friends, or try to have a boyfriend. I locked myself away because of my social anxiety.

Part of this is just letting some of this stuff out. And the other part is, how do I overcome this problem? I will never be an extrovert, it's just not in my nature, but how do I "fake it"? For any of the rest of you dealing with social anxiety, how do you deal with day to day social situations?
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Re: Social Anxiety Disorder Ruining My life!!!

Postby Zen » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:50 pm

maddyissad wrote:I think all the time about how my life would have been different for me if I'd stayed in high school, had one or two friends all the way through, had social experiences, maybe even had boyfriends or went on dates.

If it's any comfort, I can say that staying in high school (well, almost, there were some months remaining until graduation before I quit due to issues) didn't do much to help me socially and only made me grew very, very tired of it. Of course, it would be different if I actually enjoyed my few friendships and tried to get out of my safe zone, but that was not going to happen. Perhaps high school life was too idealized in my head, as I hoped things would change in this new stage of life, but failed horribly at trying to "fake it" to socialize.

Anyway, ramblings aside, the point is that there's no use dwelling over the past. I'm very sorry to hear about what happened to your relationship, but I think you've made a correct step trying to get out of the shell, it's just that you've tripped. I've found that a lot of situations are harder for me than for others simply because I'm too afraid to even try them, so practice (and plenty of motivation) is what's necessary. A constant cycle of trial and error, learning with mistakes, one step at a time.

As for how you can keep failing and not giving up, that's when some support comes in handy to remind you that it's okay to fail. I've had some traumatic experiences with job interviews, but at least I know what to expect... though it will take a while before I try again.
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Re: Social Anxiety Disorder Ruining My life!!!

Postby crazy_cat » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:24 pm

I'm so sorry for what you're going through, I really do know how hard it is. As humans, we have the natural need for companionship and community but as social phobics we are afraid of it, it's a horrible internal battle that leaves us frustrated, confused and lonely.

I stayed in high school though at one point I asked about taking night classes, that didn't happen, I ended up coping by skipping a lot of school and drinking heavily, I don't recommend that. I wish I could have been home schooled, I'm certainly intelligent but my high school transcripts don't reflect that, luckily I did so well on my SAT's that I did get into college, though I ended up dropping out because of the anxiety, which broke my heart.

It's been a long, bumpy ride for me and I've never become "normal" but, the anxiety has calmed and I have learned to accept who and what I am and conform my life to it. I've been married and divorced, have a daughter and am going to be a grandmother in 4 months. I look forward to the little things now and don't have unrealistic expectations of myself. It could always be worse. I've gained and lost friendships, had several jobs, had several humiliating experiences, been in a psych ward after a suicide attempt, let my home go to hell; I've been through a lot but I'm still here, a little wiser.

Acceptance is really key, and self awareness. Focus on taking care of yourself, doing things that you enjoy and are important to you; gain a new perspective on life. Easier said than done, I know, it took me a long time to get there but it is possible. Ease up on yourself, you're only human.
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