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Old 02-03-2009

Hello everyone.

I have only just found this site. From reading some of the posts it has made me realise that I am not alone in the having the problems that I face.

Here is my story: I am a 28 yr old male, living in the UK near the border of England and Wales. I am unemployed, single and living with my parents. I suffer from social phobia.

I was about 9 or 10 years old when I can remember I used to get very nervous about certain social situation. It never prevented me from doing things, but I can definitely remember it being there. It was not until I was 12 or 13 that it started to become a problem. I would dread going to school. I used to get so nervous that I felt sick almost every morning. When I got to school, and met my friends, my anxiety would decrease. Certain lessons in which I had to stand up and speak etc would cause me alot of anxiety.

When I was 15, I played truant for about 2 weeks because I couldn't stand the fear I was feeling when I had to go to school. I was caught of course, and the school just punished me. I had to go to the teacher of every lesson and get an 'attendance book' signed in front of the whole class. I felt so humiliated. I never told anyone about how I felt, I never even admitted to myself that there was a problem. Anyway,I pushed my way through the fear and eventually gained several 'O' levels and then a couple of 'A' levels.

I then went to University to study for an aeronautical engineering degree with the plan of becoming an RAF fast-jet pilot - I was aiming high! In the second year of my degree I had to leave because my anxiety problem was getting worse. My whole day at Uni was virtually filled with fear. I eventually could not take anymore and so decided to leave.

I decided I would take a year off with the idea that the next time I was at university things would somehow be different. Within a couple of weeks of leaving Uni I had a nervous breakdown. It was only then that I admitted even to myself that something was wrong. I saw my doctor who referred me to a Mental Health Centre. I had a few lessons on how to relax and think positively. I only went to the place a few times and then I was just left to get on with my life. I just stayed at home for the next 3 or 4 years, very depressed and anxious, basically housebound. My parents didn't know what to do. I eventually made the decision to do something. I paid to see a hypnotherapist. I'm not sure to what extent he helped me, but I did manage to get off by backside and do something positve - I learnt to drive. Passed my test first time! I was so nervous! But I did it.

I then decided to do some voluntary work - working with people who had suffered head injuries. This really improved my anxiety state. I was at times in charge of the whole group! I still felt nervous about going there and doing some of things the manager asked me to do, but I did them. I knew that it would be ok for me to say no at anytime, which helped a lot, there was no pressure on me to do anything I didn't want to do.

I met a girl there, whom I started to go out with. These were good times.

Then came a big blow. The Department of Social Security called me in for an interview. I 'failed' the 'All Work Test' and so had to get a 'real' job. My benefit was cut almost in half and to get it I had to phone up or apply to at least 5 employers a week, otherwise, no money. This instantly increased my anxiaty state. I told the jobcentre that I couldn't just 'phone' an employer. I simply can't do that. They just didn't understand one bit. I knew that I couln't get a 'real' job. I used to look around the jobcentre at the jobs on offer and I felt terrified. Even if I saw a job that interested me I would not be able to get in the queue and ask for details of the job. All I wanted to do was get out of the place as quickly as I could. After six months of this and with the jobcentre threatening to stop my benefit, I basically had another nervous breakdown.

I was put back on Income Support. I was back to square one, staying indoors as much as I could, I was so frightened.

That was three years ago now. I'm still stuck at home, I have just lost my girlfriend of 2 years who I love so much. I feel terrible when I have to go out or meet someone or use the phone. I wake up in the middle of the night in a state of panic, worrying about the future. I can see myself forever being like this, with no friends, no job, no life, all alone. I'm seeing a psychiatrist who has put me on a mild antidepressant. I've tried several but I seem to be very sensitive to drugs. I usually have bad side effects. When talking to the doctor I seem to resist any ideas he has to improve my situation. He realises this and has said that I will only get better when I decide it is time to change. I hate the way my life is, but at the same time I am too scared to change it. Its somehow familiar, and so I cling to it with everything I've got.

This is the crux of my problem at the moment. Has anyone else been in the situation of wanting things to change but being too scared of trying to change? I hope this is making sense to someone! Its as if that when I change things, it will mean more anxiety. I'm just too scared to change. I lost my girlfriend because she had moved on in her life, but I had stayed where I was. In fact I had got worse, after the mess that the Dept. of Social Security had got me into again. I had seen her leaving me coming, but I was too scared to do anything about it. I can't leave home and get my own place. I just can't. I get nervous just thinking about. She wanted the sort of life that I can't give her, but which I desire so much.

By now I should have moved out of my parents house, have a job, have a wife and kids, all the things that 'ordinary' people do. I hate the way my life is, it is so frustrating. I'm a really nice person, good looking, intelligent, compassionate, sensitive, the world is out there waiting for me, but I'm just too scared to grab it with both my hands and make something of my life.

Well, this is the state of my life so far.

Sorry this is a bit long, its just nice to be able to tell other people about my life. Not too many people know that I even suffer from an anxiety problem. I always seem to be alone with my problem, just me up against the world. Finding this site has at least given me the opportunity to speak out, to tell someone that I am suffering, instead of putting on a brave face and saying everything is 'fine'. Because its NOT ! I'm hurting so much.

Thanks for reading this.
Chris, August 2003
Old 02-18-2009

I know how you must have been and even now feeling. Only a person who has sufferred the symptoms like you can understand what you must be feeling. Even a doctor,I think so, cannot fully understand the symptoms one feels unless he himself suffers from the same or has had gone thru it.
But, you are young and intelligent and I would like to tell you that you yurself, can turn it around by facing the situations head on. Because avoiding the situations makes them more monstrous and difficult to overcome.
I know personally that most people suffering from this type of , virtual disease-as it all is in the mind, are more than intelligent, but due to their inhibitions and shyness or social phobia are unable to achive what even foolish and average persons are doing with their lives. I dont think all these big people are more intelligent than people like u and me.
Keep that always in your mind that no one is more intelligent or superior, than you.
Rest in my next posting.Best of luck for yur future life.
I am from India.
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Old 03-02-2009

I know exactly how you feel. I too am 28 yrs old and still live with my mother. I work a fast food job and socialize with the people there in relative comfort, but get a little nervous if I have to meet someone new. Outside of work I do very little socializing, besides hanging out with some friends every now and then. Change doesn't seem to come easy for me. I know that I need to take that next step in life and find a solid career, but the thought of being trapped in something I might hate scares me and I don't know what to do. Why are we cursed with these indescisive, fearful minds? Anways, keep your chin up man and do your best, that's all anyone can ask of you
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Old 03-13-2009
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Expert User

Work hard on it & keep yourself occupied with activities that distract your mind from these negative feelings... Life aint easy & our job is to get used to the daily pressures and deal with the difficulties as part of life, many people dont have this fear we got but envy us for living a much better life than theirs, lets appreciate what we got that other cant have in life.. Everyone has a weakness and everyone feels fear and confusion in life but a man lives and deals with it...
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Old 08-18-2009
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Intermediate User

Hey, you are no lower then a man that dosen't have an anxiety disorder.Everyone has there own personal fears,flaws and weaknesses.I no what you mean i'm scared to make a change just one, and then to persist makeing that change on an ongoing basis is tuff and mind numbing.I wish you the best there is hope.
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Old 09-27-2009


you sound so much like me it's uncanny. I can always remember being nervous of certain situations as a youngster but my main bout of anxiety hit me at the beginning of my second year at uni. I can remember it like it was yesterday... I walked in to a shop, everything fine and then this huge panic attack, I felt dizzy, sick and full of fear. It was all down hill from there. I started to feel nervous around my own girlfriend who Id been with for over a year. I would panic going back to see my family at Christmas. Meeting new people was almost impossible and the thought of doing anything that involved me being the centre of attention was unbearable... This made things at uni impossible. I'd start my walk to campus and my heart would be bursting out of my chest as I got closer. seminars would scare me senseless and presentations I simply avoided. Despite all that, I persisted and graduated with a pretty decent grade. After uni, I chose to become self employed as a gardener, completely unrelated to my degree in order to avoid having to go for job interviews, work with new people etc, I knew I was selling myself short but my fear overpowered my yearning to live up to my potential. I did pretty well building the business and even put down a deposit for a house with the same girlfriend. None of it made me happy because I wasn't going for what I wanted, I wanted to hit the top, I knew I was capable of so much more but the anxiety was holding me back. Last year I decided it was time to do something drastic, I left my girlfriend, my home and my business in the hope that it would force me to me to sink or swim. I started going to job interviews etc and got a field sales job meeting new people the whole time... It backfired a bit... It was too much too soon and I had to quit. That's when I took a post in retail. My interview went well, i was eyeballed for management and I'm still there now trying to climb the ladder. I work with new people all the time.. I still feel I'm being held back but I've made giant leaps forwards, from hiding in peoples gardens to being out there working and interacting with others. My whole point is this... My anxiety led to aggrophobia, it was really bad.... Even I've found ways to make progress and start to achieve my potential and it is totally possible for you to start to do the same. You're clearly intelligent and have a positive self image, you need to use that to propel you forwards... One step at a time is progress, you don't need to dive in the deep end like I did. You will succeed. Begin to visualise where you want to be regardless of how far it may seem from you right now, then plan small steps to get there. Each step may be a challenge but if u could achieve a levels and uni, I'm sure you can achieve these goals too. Andy (26)
Old 01-18-2013

Our illnesses have ruined our lives.
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