My story of Social Anxiety and what it did to me....


New member
I really just wanted to talk about what ive gone throught living with social phobia for 3 years and I wanna know if you think im correct on my own diagnose. Well im pretty sure the cause of my problem is pretty much being made fun of... it seems like alot of my childhood was a daze. Maybe thats normal. Well anyways I think it started mainly with a fear of people in school where I would miss so many days. Walking down those halls trying to avoid as many people as I could. Being scared of saying hi to people thinking I might mess up when I did. I remember trying to talk to people and I would mess up talking and get laughed at and called stupid. Which that one moment would follow me all day, which it shouldn't have. I eventually began isolating myself as much as possible sitting in my room. Avoiding leaving my house lying to friends. I seriously got addicted to an online game called EverQuest which is all I thought about in school. The friends I had on there ment more to me than anyone else. People I could talk to without being scared of hearing laughter and sarcasm. Going shopping was plan hell walking past people sometimes getting an uncontrollable twitch. This all lead me to bad deppresion which I went to drugs to try to help my SA... which alcohol did help for the time it lasted. After sneaking out one night and comming home to find my parents had noticed I was gone. Maybe I was waiting for this moment that I could tell my parents everything how bad I felt. Intoxicated I broke down and told them everything... which got no where but its not that big of a deal. And its hormones. Which I thought maybe they where right but... they weren't. Im still trying to deal with it. One thing I really hate is when I say something and its like a tape recorder in my mind and I keep playing what I said out loud in my mind. And I my concious kicks in and says that was stupid what you said and I fell like crap. Also when im walking and cars drive by I feel like they are staring right at me and saying things. Its gotten so bad that I had to talk to my own grampa on the phone and almost puked. I have little to no relationships with cousins,aunts, grandparents. They try to talk to me, they'll ask me a question and ill awnser fearfully than just lock up not knowing what to say. I usually act overly nice. I can get used to some people, the few I can are usually probably not the best crowd to be hanging around with. They make me feel like im somebody though. And not the nobody everyone treated me like. Though I never show it I hate people that can do stupid stuff without fear of being rediculled. I daydream alot and I dont always feel like im all there. Well if you read this thanks alot I just had to tell someone who would listen instead of not believing what I said. I wish all of you good luck in defeating SA or SP


hello a1soad

thank you for sharing your story. it takes a lot of courage to post.
from your description, the symptoms sound very much like social anxiety.
you mentioned many characteristics common to sufferers of social anxiety. i used to believe that i was the only person in the world who thought and behaved the way i did. when i discovered that others went through the same things and it was called social anxiety, it was a shock.
the thinking you describe and the mental beating yourself up is an integral part of social anxiety. the most widely-recognised therapy programs for it involve attacking those irrational thought patterns.
with social anxiety, you are a harsh and severe critic of yourself and you torture yourself in a way that you'd never do to others. the rational thinking that you apply to others, and the compassion you apply to others is the opposite of the way you treat yourself.
you mentioned moments that follow you all day following interactions and your perceived failures within them. what those thoughts do is entrench themselves deeply and 'failures' become bigger than they really are and provide 'proof' for your thoughts. irrational logic and negative thinking have a fertile breeding ground in the socially anxious person. it's a vicious circle. every perceived 'failure' and negative thought makes it harder to put yourself in the situations where those 'failures' potentially take place and so avoidance strategies become our defence for that. isolating yourself away is your way of avoiding the 'failures', but your negative and irrational thoughts don't go away. they remain fully-functional, always ready to tell you terrible things about yourself and to remind yourself that you are a 'failure'. your avoidance strategies become further evidence of your 'failure'. the immediate benefits of avoidance outweigh the terror, anxiety and negative thinking of facing the situation, so we choose them.
the friendships you established on EverQuest must have been so comforting and wonderful for you. they offered you friendship in a medium where your social anxiety could take a backseat. you didn't have to be yourself. you didn't have to contend with your speaking voice or your physical self and the physical symptoms of social anxiety, allowing you comparative freedom, greater confidence and a chance to engage in communication with others despite the negative things you perceive about yourself. these online friendships can also provide our negative thinking with further fuel with which to mentally beat ourselves up, and they can provide us with another avoidance strategy while also giving us a chance at human contact.
the drugs and alcohol were probably another effort to escape from yourself. self-medication. depression is a frequent companion to social anxiety. many people who suffer from one mental illness are prone to suffer from others. considering the impact of social anxiety it's hardly surprising to think that depression co-exists.
your parents were probably ill-equipped to offer much advice. they may or may not have been trying to be helpful, or at least hopeful that their simplistic explanations might make it all go away.
you talked about the tape recorder in your brain. that is such a typical part of social anxiety. the other thing that's typical is the negative self-talk - telling yourself it was 'stupid' or whatever. you'd never think that of others, or at least to the degree you think of yourself. that is a good indicator that your thinking is irrational and you are being overly cruel to yourself. in 2001, circumstances took place which brought me to (aborted) therapy with a psychologist. one piece of homework she asked me to do was to come up with 3 positive things about myself to share with her at my next appointment. i was paralysed with anxiety about being asked to do that, and i remember even asking her if i could make them up (she said no, that would defeat the point of the exercise). i drove home in tears and spent two hours that night telling myself out loud all the things i hate about myself while i cried and cried until exhaustion took over. i cancelled appointments for the next four weeks to avoid the homework task. therapy ended for me soon after that and i never did have to share the non-existant list of positive things.
do you regard your inability to talk to family members as being freakish? i did. i thought i was the only person in the world who was paralysed with fear and shyness about having to talk with family members. when i discovered that it was a reasonably common characteristic of social anxiety, i was utterly shocked. in my family, the only two people i can talk to without being completely tongue-tied and fearful are my mother and one of my sisters (although that is becoming increasingly difficult as the years and circumstances, including her own family commitments and the chasm of normality that separates us, affect my ability to communicate with her). my mother has been chronically ill all my life, and has deteriorated rapidly in the last little while. i'm terrified of what will happen when my mother and my dog (who is now 14 years old) are no longer alive.
i can also relate to your comment about not feeling like you're 'all there'. for the most part, i feel separate and apart.
i want to thank you for sharing your story, and i hope you can find a way to release yourself from the shackled future that this illness might cause you. i hope you find a way to overcome it or at least deal with it, be it through therapy, medication, personal strength and strategies or something else.

take care. i hope you post again. and i hope someone else might answer your post. i see lots of people have viewed it, and no doubt they are nodding quietly about the things you wrote.



Yes I am definitley shaking my head. So much of what you said sounds so much like me I couldn't believe it. When I first read it my mind tripped for a second and I wondered did I post this then just forget about it. For example what you said about when you say something to somebody and you feel that was a stupid thing to say. That kind of thing echos in my head for the rest of the day. Also I don't have a car right now and have to walk whenever I go out. I too feel like people are driving by me and thinking why is that guy always walking. I end up going out of my way to take the routes with the least traffic and I'm always trying to figure things out like what time of day is traffic the lightest and that's when I'll go. I think I first started feeling social phobic was around the first or second grade. And it seems like it got a little worse each year. It finally got so bad that I ended up dropping out in the middle of my senior year in high school. I would always dich the classes where teachers would call on me. I ended up missing so much that I was failing half of my classes. I was able to get a diploma through adult school. Then I went on to give community college a shot. It was there when I first heard of a thing called social phobia. I was 19 when I finally heard a name for what I have. All through elementary school teachers would always comment to my parents saying I spoke very seldom and when I did my voice was so quiet nobody could here me. And if I had a nickle for everytime a kid would come up to me and ask why don't you ever talk I would be a billionare. Teachers would also recomend to my parants that I see a psychologist but I never did. I wish now that I had. I think it would have been easier to overcome as a kid then now at 30 years old. College went ok until I started running into classes where I had to speak up then I would start dropping them. So for the last ten years I've bounced around different colleges taking a class here and there. Still don't have enough credits for even an Assoicate degree. The same went for jobs. Jobs would only last from as short as a few hours to the longest job I've ever had which only lasted 5 months. During these last ten years I've done a lot of self medicating with drugs and alcohol. It did help at times I thought I'm totally cured from this. But big problems can with it. I would slip into a pychotic episode 4 times and each one lasting about six months. At age 23 they diagnosed me with schizophrania and signed me up for disability and put me into and boarding home with other schizophrenics where I stayed for 5 years taking antipyschotic meds among other things. I haven't used any drugs in the last 2 and a half years and have had no more problems with psychosis even without the antipsych meds. Anyway I'm still on government aid living with my brother. I've started seeing a therapist and getting the antidepressant Zoloft to help. I realise this is going to take a lot of time and effert on my part but I think there might be some hope yet. Anyway thanks for listening I know I got a little long winded there but I felt I should share a little of my story instead of just reading your guyses all the time. I'm glad I found this sight where I feel I really fit in as part of a group for the first time in my life. Thanks to all and good luck to all of you.


Well-known member
Well well, im wondering if im going to actually submit this but in the mean time i will at least write. Im being blown away with what im reading.First, im quite a bit older than others on here, and danged if we dont have the same stuff going on. Mine has just somewhat disabled me though in the past months. Im a stuborn one so have fought to stay in society for many more years than most of you but just cant do it these days. Im figuring just too much stress of it all, and NEVER have i known anyone who acts like i do. Shy, yea, but all that other stuff is what just amazes me. No matter what i say, at one time will be absolutly rediculous, BUT, when standing up for someone else, i can be just as clear with words as the best of them. I feel like a split personality. Or something like that. It's incredable to me to read ALL about myself on here. It cant be real that you people feel the same....well, think i'll post...but please no one be not ready to leave this site yet.......was it hard for you all to submit response once written? I just am shaking.....but ah ha i'll not leave any evidence...yet.......but still please dont be mean


New member
Wow, this is like reading about myself! I also find it hard to talk to family members (except parents - kind of) let alone anyone else. I always thought speaking with family members was supposed to be the most natural thing in the world. I also seem to spend my life thinking of things I've done wrong in the past and keep going over them in my head, spiralling myself into a pit of depression where I am the most stupid person on the planet. I too feel like I'm not quite connected with everyone else, like life is going on around me and I'm stood outside watching through a window.

Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone! :D


Well-known member
No, your not alone, and apparently neither am I. I am a bit anxious to join a board concerning social anxiety, but I guess everyone making real posts here is looking for help at some level...maybe i'll post again as a user (if the anxiety subsides) Anonymous


Well-known member
:lol: this just tickles me. And other "guest" I may sometime give a name to myself too... :wink: Who knows, right now anyway, it feels safe. I think fayester is so brave to use any name and it gives a bit of courage...I posted on, fayesters post too, and this one only but these responses give me deep breaths of reliefe. It's absolutly an amazing note on "watching the world through a window" I mean, im just spazing realizing these are things that SOMEONE ELSE is saying not me and how It could be me...Well anyway, im gonna stop right now, but whew, thanks, and somehow, odly enough, i feel ok in my phob. Course, tomorrow when i have to go face something i dont want too, i'll be yucky,but right now, im happy. guest...still


Well-known member
I just came across this site last night and am very glad I found it. "Watching the world through a window" describes me perfectly too. I sometimes feel like my life is nothing but a string of one humiliating event after another. I'm a college student and I have to say that being in class is one of the toughest situations for me to endure. I'm constantly on guard, knowing that if I get called on by the professor, I'll end up blushing like crazy (along with all the other horrid symptoms of panic) and feel that I've made an ass out of myself.
It feels so good to be able to share these fears with all of you. I wish you all luck and will probably be posting here more regularly.


wow, just want to say thank you to all you people suffering with social anxiety. I have realised I have had it all my life, i think but recently has been getting stadily worse. I am happy now, for the first time in ages, from just reading this, but i know tomorrow when i wake up all the old feelings will come back. But thank you!


Well-known member
Been there done that the T-shirts in the post.
Its amazing to find out how many people have gone down similar routes.
Hope everyone posting on this site, gets a little push of reasurrance to keep going,that SA is merely a label and there is more to life.
I believe there is, got to go get what you want in life, if you want it bad enough nothing should stop you. :D