Do I Have a Mental Illness, Or Is How I Feel Normal? Do I Have Social Anxiety?

Hello there.

I am 16 years old, and over the last couple of years i have started to notice that i am a little different to others. I find it very hard to meet new people, but i really want to. Whenever i am in a social situation with a group of people who aren't my few extremely close friends, or someone new comes to talk to me, i freeze up. I find it hard to talk and contribute to the conversation, and find myself questioning everything i am considering to say 5 times over in my head, and most of the time nothing gets through those 5 "filters", this leads to me looking stupid and uninteresting. I often say i don't care what people think about me, but i think i do, and way too much. I feel as though i have made a reputation for myself, that I'm a dude that isn't really approachable or doesn't approach anyone, and i feel that if i try to change that, and start talking to new people, people will think badly of me because I'm being someone who I'm not. I'm in a horrible trap, and I see no way out except for going on as i am now, but i don't want to, i want to change!!! I just don't know how to. Is it normal to feel this way, or should i be seeing a psychologist or something, or if you have some, some advice on how to overcome these thoughts/fears?

Vrall Vrall
18-21, M
6 Responses Mar 3, 2009

Thank you so much, to all of you. I have decided that i will start seeing a psychologist, but even simply sharing my story has improved my situation. I have found that since reading your comments and realizing that i am not alone, that i have become more confident and have already made some new friends :D. Thanks again guys, you've made a big impact on my life.

I know exactly what you mean about the 5 filters....I do that think about what you want to say for so long, moulding it into what you think is something good to say and by the time you got it (and, if you're me...sorta wait for a break in the convo to say it)...the subject has passed and the conversation has moved on to new topics and you just start over...I hope you are able to find someone to help you. I saw a psychologist for young people when I was in junior high and he was so bouncy and in a good mood that I just couldn't take him seriously and so I never made any real progress...It is so frustrating to WANT to do things, but feel trapped in others' perception of you (I was the girl who never talked and people would actually gasp and say ' you talked!' when I said anything)...I have twice gone to places where no one knows me as that girl, but I still haven't been able to break out of the shell because, like you, I just don't know how...I've been this way for so long...HOW do you change? I wish you all the luck and if you figure out the secret...let me know :)

PS. You do Have social anxiety, NOT aspergers syndrome. Don't worry too much.<br />
Lovingangel.<br />

I have had your problem for MANY years, and have seen several psychologists and therapists. Eventually you will find one that suits you, and you will feel easy talking to, but you definitely need a therapist. You cannot do this on your own, don't even try.<br />
I wish you very good luck.<br />

I feel the same way and have since I was your age. I am 20 years old now and have only just acknowledged that it is definitely NOT normal. I decided to visit a psychiatrist about my social anxiety; my feelings of inadequacy, my inferiority complex, my inability to feel comfortable in social situations. <br />
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Social anxiety is crippling and I know it makes you feel like ****. I don't have the answer for changing because like i said i have been battling it since i was your age and am yet to find a solution. But I think it is really positive and encouraging that you have reached out and shared your experience. You are braver than i was; i just accepted that i was 'different' and severly lacking confidence but this not a healthy route to take. <br />
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I congratulate you for taking a step back and asking what you should do about your problem. If you are not happy with yourself than you should see a psychologist. Don't make the mistake i did and try and forget about your problems and convince yourself that you don't need professional help. Your self-esteem will plummet further and you are likely to become depressed.<br />
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Whatever you do, don't hide away from the world. Don't lock yourself up in the house and avoid social interaction. This was my way of coping and believe me it doesn't work. It is really really hard I know but it will only get worse if you don't try to beat it now.<br />
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Good luck to you.

I REALLY don't think you have Aspergers, it sounds like social anxiety.