Just wondering about personal stories with social anxiety

Hey i'm new and I would like to hear some stories about how you first experinced social anxiety and how it effected you in school. I'm in college right now and I feel like its crushing me at times just wanted to here some stories. i guess some inspiration, to help with my problems. a little history. i was diagnosed at 13 have been taking zoloft for 7 years and would like to hear about your personal struggles and success.


Well-known member
welcome, and boy would i love to write right now but only time to read quickly and off to sleep...But i did want to tell you that if you look under forums here, and then off topic there's a post for college students......looks good.. I just took a quick look but you ought to check it out......I hate youngins to hurt www.shyunited.com that's the site posted....Good luck and sure you'll get some other responses
hello, i was an intensely shy child, the last of four children in a family which consisted of almost two distinct families, two much older siblings and then my sister and myself separated by a five year age gap.
lots of serious dysfunction in the family situation which isn't the topic of this post, so i won't go into it.
i remember always feeling shy with my father and older brother and sister, and the wider family, although i remember a great love for my grandparents, despite my shyness with them. my happiest childhood memories were the school holidays spent on my grandparents' farms, alone catching turtles in the creek or playing with their animals, cloud-watching, trekking up hills. there was a sense of calmness and escape there.
my first memories of school were traumatic. incredible fear and school phobia, physical sickness brought on by the anxiety. a worst-case scenario of school refusal. i don't remember speaking to the other children but i remember them speaking to me. it was an emotional nightmare that my mother went through to even get me to school. i have vivid memories of regularly clinging to the underside of my bed while she dragged me out and holding onto doorways and wrapping myself around her as she attempted to extricate me from home and get me to school. the sobbing and vomiting preceded each schoolday for about 3 years, until eventually i collapsed into resignation that school was unstoppable. seeing chances to escape at recess times and running home. the attempts to bribe me into staying by putting notes or small objects in my lunchbox, alongside the food i'd never eat. when my teacher was absent, the deputy principal would have to keep me in her office drawing for her and doing little jobs simply because i couldn't function at all with an unknown substitute teacher. i'd spend my lunchtimes desperately miserable following my sister from a distance while she would hide from me and tease and taunt me with her friends. in the third grade i won a statewide art competition which provided a scholarship for weekend tuition and art classes at a university. i pleaded with my parents not to make me go. i only managed to complete 2 weeks before my parents finally relented and terminated it. the same year, i was hospitalised with what my family refers to as either a 'nervous breakdown' or in more disparaging terms which point out what a complete freak i am. i was seven and spent a couple of months in hospital seeing a series of medical specialists including psychologists, psychiatrists, speech pathologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. the hospitalisation was a nightmare and my time was spent in constant anxiety, unable to speak to the other children in the ward and keeping journals and scrapbooks in which i drew and wrote about all the nurses. my mother used to visit each night and when it would come time for her to go home she'd tell me to count to 500 and she'd be back. i'd count to 500 and she'd never be back, so then i'd start again thinking i'd done it incorrectly, punishing myself each time for not doing it in a certain way (one of the early OCD memories i have). when i returned home following the hospitalisation, i became even more withdrawn and used to sit alone on the top bunk of the bunk bed in the corner, escaping from the world, or riding my bike round and round the backyard in circles. my 'problems' were basically a taboo subject and an embarrassment to the family. following the hospitalisation, all the counselling and so forth stopped, and the whole period of my life was swept under the carpet. that was pretty much the last time i was taken to a doctor at all by my family and i've continued the pattern of avoidance of medical help to a large extent since.
the remainder of primary school was quite difficult for me, although other children seemed to like me and attempted friendship with me, in retrospect. that said, there was relentless teasing and bullying too and my own sister contributed to that with my emotional treatment at the hands of her and her friends, with the hiding and mental games she played. there were lengthy periods during my childhood when my sister would simply stop talking to me at all, for months at a time while i desparately tried to communicate with her and apologise over and over for whatever wrong i perceived i'd done to cause the silent treatment, and she would respond with only nods or facial gestures in a bid to punish me. we shared the same room. i was an extremely high achiever in terms of academic success. i made a friend in the 5th grade and some of the bleakness of school was lifted from me as a result of that. we had both been away the first week of school, so had to do an exam in the library. following the exam, she talked to me and continued extending the hand of friendship until a friendship was established.
high school was a resumption of the nightmare, the first year in particular being extremely difficult. i was desperately miserable. the structure of high school was so severely at odds with the comparative security and comfort of primary school - suddenly there was a range of teachers, a range of different classrooms, many more children and the added terror of young adults, a much bigger area, greater freedom with where to sit, being called upon by teachers, exposure to my peers suddenly involved in 'girlfriend/boyfriend stuff' and so forth. thinking about it, it's amazing that we cope at all with high school and the way it is so confronting in every way. my older sister resumed her teasing (with her friends) and mental games while i attempted to sit close to where she was at lunchbreaks in an effort to stop feeling so alone and afraid. there was plenty of teasing and bullying by other children too. my primary school friend attended a different high school, so again i was alone. by the 2nd year of high school, i made some kinds of 'friendships', but never experienced the sorts of activities that regular kids did - social events outside school, parties, none of that. my father did not allow a telephone in our home and friendship was discouraged to a large extent. in hindsight, what i regarded as 'friends' during high school were merely acquaintances in anybody else's definition. during both primary and secondary school, having to stand up in front of the class to present oral reports or even being called upon to give answers was severely anxiety-provoking. i still beat myself up over oral presentations i did at high school - 20 years later.
after high school, i was expected to attend university, but was not allowed to attend the one offering my personal choice of courses. i was only allowed to attend the university close to home, the same one my sister attended and to do the same course as her, regardless of the fact i didn't want to. but no debate was entered into, that would have been unheard of. i felt like an alien dropped into the university experience and hated every moment of it. i felt like a child and was terrified of all the 'adults' and all the 'adult behaviours'. the concept of the lecturers and professors being 'equal' in terms of the students calling them by their christian names and the familiar type banter that was engaged in made me uncomfortable. attending lectures made me uncomfortable, everything about university made me uncomfortable. it was the first step into an adult world, and i could not handle it. one thing i do remember being a shock to me was the fact that 'teasing' still existed, based on the fact i obviously didn't fit in and was very socially and emotionally immature, and the laughing at me and discussion about me by a group of females and their various male companions continued until the end of my degree. terminating the course was not an option, as my father would not allow it, so i completed the work required and eventually it was over. to this day i don't feel comfortable as an 'adult' and feel that some kind of mistake has occurred in the life plan that allowed me to reach this age.
hardly inspirational stuff, but that's a brief description anyway of my school experiences. the coping strategy i used most was avoidance.


Well-known member
I was abused and neglected as a child. I survived exposure to domestic abuse of my mother and brother by my father, who abused me sexually until I was a teenager. I've strugled with all kinds of problems ever since then. I became a selective mute when I went to kinder garden and I have been unable to overcome it ever since. It's been the source of a lot of anxiety, feelings of ridicule and inadequacy. I'm thirty one and I resent that I"m still so limited by it. It's humilliating to me. It almost feels like some one else is doing this to me. Other than social phobia, I have a diagnosis of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Knowing aobut this has been very helpful for me. At least I know now I'm not so (crazy, lazy and stupid.) This social phobia is a torture. I tend to get paralyzed, anxious and panicky when in front of authority figures and people I believe to be superior to me. It's crazy stuff. I realize my thoughts are irrational, yet I feel so unable to get out of this state. I think the worse time for me was in High School. I felt like the smallest and most insignificant creature there, especially because it's such an unhealthy environment where popularity comes first than anything else. I can be so self conscious of my body, and just about everything else. College wasn't easy either. I was able to make a few friends, but I've tended to be insecure, rigid with physical boundaries and very seclusive to save myself from the painful feelings of being seen. I was voted most shy in the university dorms. I hated that. I always felt I was not shy by nature. I am not that way around relatives and close friends. I'm getting my master's and it's sooooo frustrating that this thing is still controlling me in senseless ways. I feel so inadequate not to be able to function like a normal human being. I know I turn a lot of my anger inside and that does not help. Other wise I start seeing enemies all over the place. There seems to be no middle in my case. I'm expected to participate in classes since this is part of my grade. In high school and in college I've been told by a couple of teachers that they will drop my participation grade because they know I do the readings and know the material, I just can't speak. I'ts sad. Now there is a professor who told me that she expects me to participate more in class and take more risks. Some times I feel that just being there is the biggest risk I can take. I feel soooooooooooo self conscious, it's just ridiculous. I know I self recriminate and create all these limitations to keep myself safe from very painful feelings. I don't have much control of it and while I'd live it up to a higher power, I"m being pressured to get better by yesterday. While my childhood history has A LOT to do with this problem, I believe there is something genetic also. I mean just having ADD and coming from a family from hell says a lot about my genetic inheritance. I need to continue to learn to embrace all of me, and I'm trying I'm in therapy and I have a psychiatrist. It is still just sooooooooooo hard and painful. I'm glad I'm not alone though. Thanks for sharing and for listening.


Well-known member
Wow wacomtablet and lilita,

I was so touched by your stories. Thank you for sharing.

Wacom your 5th grade friend who kept on extending the hand of friendship, I am so grateful for people like this, they are wonderful. I've met a few in my life, but sometimes I was so far gone I couldn't respond.

Also sounds as if you might have been a gifted child, judging how will you did even though there was trauma for you. Being hypersensitive, and possibly suffering sensory overload can be part and parcel with giftedness. Social isolation is also common, because your age peers consider you strange, you imagination might have been too profound and complex for them.

Lilita you say you don't feel shy by nature, I feel excactly the same way. Sometimes when I've avoided social contact, or obssessed about a faux-pas, I have a huge cry and scream to my self "This is not me, this is not who I am". an example below

I have had a bad week , staying home and watching lots of DVDs by myself, I was on my way to return them when I bumped into an acquantaince. He is one of those friendly, open, warm types of person, I think he definately sensed something was wrong, my face was tensed and unexpressive, I felt so uptight by comparison, I've completely blank out the attempt I made at chit-chat. but as I raced away heart pounding I thought this is not who I am, I am not uptight, I love people in all their complex and variable glory. Hopefully there will be a time in the future when I'm not terrified of them.


Well-known member
Shining Eclipse

Please see the topic NEWBIE for my story. My case of Social Anxiety is probably the most recent recovery.