View Full Version : School=Big Problem
09-11-2005, 09:32 AM
Okay, I'll try to explain my situation as well as possible, which means I'll probably go on and on so much that most of you will give up and go to another topic. I'm not exactly sure if I have social anxiety, but what I believe to be symptoms have been getting worse ever since school started back this fall, and that's why I joined this forum (of course). Firstly, whenever I'm at school, which is usually the only time I'm around a lot of people because I never go out, I feel nervous, and my stomach clenches. I avoid eye contact; I usually just speak when spoken to, unless to a very close friend; and I sometimes find it hard to smile or wave, for fear that the person wavling at me was actually refering to the person behind me. Sometimes I think people get the impression that I don't like them, especially when I really do, because I tend to treat them less friendly-like (too tired for good grammar right now) for some reason. I also tend to stumble over words (and just plain stumble) a lot, and I also noticed that someone else made a thread about that here, so that might also be a symptom of SA (which this thread is about, getting your advice on whether I might have it, and how to cope). For yet another thing, I tend to kind of shut myself off; you know, I get a glazed look over my eye and don't really see or hear what's around me. This might not have anything to do with my anxiety, but the way I figure it, I'm probably doing it as another measure to avoid people. What makes it worse is people sometimes get the impression that I'm stupid because I'm not paying attention, while I'm actually fairly intelligent for my age. Lastly: guys. Not the most pleasant topic with me. I have never had a boyfriend, and I think it's because of the way I act around other people (I've seen outgoing girls uglier than I am getting 10 guys a week, and don't worry, that's not what I want :P). I think it goes back to the avoiding eye contact, not waving or smiling, and only speaking to close friends. Also, I have this paranoid fear that if I somehow do get a boyfriend, he's just in it to trick me, to see what my reaction will be. I think that's because I used to have a crush on a guy who's manipulative and likes to lie to people just to see what they'll say, but I won't get into that. For an example of my guy situation, there is a really cute foreign exchange student I met about a month ago, and we have first period together, and he sometimes eats lunch at our table, but I can't hardly find the courage to talk to or look at him. He was friendly to me at first, and now it seems I've pushed him away, which makes me feel even worse. *sigh* My fingers are getting tired of typing, and my mind just went blank (big surprise), so I guess I'll stop here. What do you guys think?
I recognize alot of those feelings and actions from my own experiences, I totally associate with most everything you say. I've had SA ever since I can remember, though it really hit me most when I was a teenager.
People thought I was stuck up or somehow considered myself better then them just because I was quiet and avoided people and gave them a sort of expressionless face most of the time. And friends I made.. once I got to some point, I seemed to grow nervous that I wasn't interesting enough or that they would start to notice my faults and think of me poorly and I started drawing away from them and being less open and friendly with them.
Hehe, and that waving thing I have found myself wondering the same thing sometimes too.. and have waved back when it wasn't intended for me. It can be embarassing but sometimes it was like an automatic reaction.. I try to smile now or nod my head instead.
I have always been most timid and anxious around the opposite sex, especially those I find most attractive. For some reason the more prettier the more pressure would be on me. I suppose in some sense it has to do with the concept that they can have anyone they want, and I would have to live up to their expectations of people in order to be considered a likely suitor.
Anyway, I'm not an expert psychologist, but you do have traits that seem like social anxiety. Is this something you could discuss with your parents, or is there a school counselor you could discuss it with? Its better to try and get help as early as you can rather than try to hide it. There's books on SA that might help you, but I don't read all that many that I would have good suggestions.. hmm.. other than that, you could take those screening tests in the Resources section to see what they rate you as.
09-13-2005, 05:44 PM
What's so great about this forum is that I know that I'm not alone in my situation. :)
I tried talking to my mom about it a couple of years ago, and she said that she had been expecting it because that sort of thing runs in the family, and she hinted that she didn't want me to bother with treatment until it became urgent, like it did with my brother a few years ago. I think what I'll do is continue hanging out here for support, think of ways to deal with it and become more friendly, and talk with friends (especially my best buddy, who I think has SA as well). In other words, I'm going to gradually make myself face my fears and try to step out a bit. I think I'll start small by acknowledging my friends when I see them in the hall (like you do), and maybe being more friendly toward guys if I like them. *sigh* It doesn't sound like a big deal, but it's a step for me. Wish me luck. :)
sounds very brave of you AT. No matter how small the step may seem it does count in a very big way, and you should congratulate yourself with each effort you make because it takes a lot of guts to do things in the face of your fears.
09-14-2005, 04:40 PM
Status report: I haven't had a chance to talk to my friend about it much yet, but I'm about to call her about our lunch plans Friday, so I might bring it up then. Today I've tried to actually acknowledge that I notice people I know when I walk down the hall, though I haven't actually started waving or smiling much quite yet. Also, every time something potentially embarrassing happened to me today, I tried to tell myself to let it go, and when that didn't work, I distracted myself, which helped. Lastly, my math class is very casual, and everyone always talks while we do our work, and I usually just stay quiet and listen, but today I joined in on the conversation some and cracked a couple of jokes. Not bad for one day, eh? :P You're right that it's hard to face your fears, but I hate feeling the way I do all the time, so I'm going to do my best to make at least some effort each day.
EDIT: Oh, and I was actually able to crack a joke in front of a guy I like, and he laughed! I'm so proud! :P :D
A_T, Wow, thats great that you've done those things. How proud you must be :)
Keep up the good work!
by the way - smiling was hard for me to do, and still is.. Ive actually sat at home in the mirror and practiced doing it sometimes lol.
One book I read said that if you can't do it very well naturally (like, for someone like me who hasn't smiled much in his life) then to practice by doing these facial poses. lol, oh well.. it did help kinda but its sorta weird. Then again.. everyone makes faces and practices things in the mirror sometimes.. dont they? :lol:
09-16-2005, 01:05 PM
Congratulations AT!! Those are very hard steps to take and you should feel very proud of yourself!!
And yes, when you're not used to acknowledging people, even those you know and like, it is hard to make that first eye contact or give a nod of the head. But, as you work at it I think you will find it easier and easier to look at your friends and even give them a genuine, not forced, smile. It takes time, but you'll get there! I'm very proud of you!! :D
09-17-2005, 12:17 PM
I hate to brag, but I am pretty proud. :) Now for keeping it up. :P
Dude, I remember I used to practice smiling in the mirror before picture day and stuff, and I think I have making a forced smile look natural down pretty good, so I guess I'm set for working at being more friendly. :) (See? not forced! :P)
On the bus last night (went on a trip with an organization I'm in at school), I was talking and laughing a little bit with the people around me, which is unusual because they aren't my closest friends, so maybe I'm getting just a little better.
Oh, also, I just thought I'd say that one thing that made me feel really good was a conversation I had with a friend the other day. I told him basically what I told you about how I feel around people, and he said that I'm such a cool person it's too bad I can't show most people my true personality, and he also told me that not all guys are jerks like the one I knew. I almost cried when he said that; it made me feel really good. He is so awesome. :)
A_T, thats so great :) It must be nice having someone you can confide in, thats awesome - and a big step to come out and tell someone about whats going on inside.
good for you!
hehe.. and smile.. and relax..and again..and relax.. and 3 and 4.. :P
09-19-2005, 05:08 PM
Yeah, it's just too bad he lives in North Carolina, which is totally not within driving distance from where I live... We've never met, but he's one of my best friends. We've known each other for about 5 years now, and we're alike in a lot of ways and share many of the same interests, and that's why we're such good friends; we click. :)
Hehe, we should like start clinics in our local area for SA, and have one of the exercises be a smiling one like that; that would be funny, and it might loosen up the people because they would probably start laughing. :P Reminds me of breathing exercises we used to do when I started playing in the band in sixth grade... In: Oh-2-3-4, Ah-2-3-4, Ee-2-3-4, Hold-2-3-4, and Out: Poo-2-3-4-5-6-7-8... Smile-2-3-4, Relax-2-3-4, Wave-2-3-4, Relax-2-3-4... :P
hey, speaking of breathing exercises.. those should come in handy for anxiety ya know hehe. they always stress that its important to learn how to breathe properly when you are having a panic attack, to bring yourself down from that aroused state. maybe you've already got a coping technique there
09-20-2005, 05:50 PM
Oh, then I should make sure that stays permanently in my memory bank. *stashes it in the part of her head that actually works* Luckily for me, I can usually distract myself somehow to keep myself calm enough not to have panic attacks. :) But I'll certainly pass on the breathing thing to a couple of my friends who have trouble with that. :)
Hi Anonymous_Teen, I can totally relate to you when I was in High School, from my own experiences. I too recognize those feeling you are having, and I too am on the same page with alot of what Shoe said.
Here is a site you can check out on Social Anxiety Disorder.
02-13-2010, 04:18 PM
You know, I had similar experiences, especially when doing presentations in front of the class in high school. It was horrible but I try to deal with it and I think if you do more things to keep your mind busy it will be hard to remember the social anxiety and no pressure will build up.
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