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Social Anxiety....people Don't Get It. [EDITED]

I've never been popular. Never looked very girly. Was a tomboy when I was little. Been made fun of in every grade of school. Even though school was a hassle, it was a reason to get me out of the house and to deal with being around people. Now that I don't have school, there's nothing making me get out in the world.

 

I'm 31. Never had a boyfriend (only had a few dates and one first kiss). [EDIT: I started talking to someone online at the end of 2009 and we've been in a relationship since February 2010, have met once and really hit it off, yay!]I live with my parents [EDIT: Dad passed away in June 2012.]  I feel bad when they have to tell people I live with them and only work one day a week. I've worked with a friend before, just the two of us. That was fine, but she kept most of my pay for herself (I have a problem confronting people). I worked in a small office but got fired for missing too much time. That's about all I've done.

 

I have one friend offline from childhood that I've seen 3 times in the last 12 or so years. My 'true" friends are online. The ones who don't use me, judge me or insist I go out somewhere with them when I don't want to.

 

I go to the store with my mother and have her pay for things. I hate walking around by myself because I feel like people are staring at me. I know they aren't, but my brain thinks they are. I know I'm being irrational, but I can't help it. My mom says I look grouchy at times and maybe that's why people don't want to talk to me. It's not that I'm grouchy, it's just me trying to mind my own business and get through whatever I'm doing without incident. Walking by a bus stop makes me paranoid. I need something to fidget with to keep my mind on something.

 

I've talked to guys online who "just wanna be friends" and know how I feel about things. Later they reveal they want more than a friendship and insist that all I need to "just get over" my anxiety is to meet them and hang out. Telling them no only leads to them getting rude, calling me names, saying "no wonder you never had a boyfriend" and telling me that they think I'm lying about being so shy. As if it's a game or something I can turn off.

 

People claim they know me better than I know myself. They say to just get over my shyness and get out in the world. Or they tell me to go on meds. I've seen what meds have done to members of my family and I don't want to risk it. I just wanna be myself without having to be chemically altered. I don't want lectures from people I've "known" for 2 minutes online. I don't want people telling me "Yeah, I was like that once but I got over it." I don't need people telling me I need to take chances. I HAVE taken chances. I've met a few people offline, I've talked to people in the store, I've taken chances. Each one ended with me being rejected, semi-stalked, pushed around and used. I have a fear of it happening all over again because it has ALWAYS happened. I'm not a negative person, but I base things on experience. [EDIT: Did agree to meet a girl offline the other year. We got along great and were even on the verge of dating --my boyfriend and I were split up at the time for a few months but luckily got back together-- but she hooked up with someone else and when we reconnected as friends, she passed away shortly after.]

 

I've been told I don't SEEM shy on the computer. That's because there's a backspace. I'm more shy in chatrooms because of the pressure. I can hide my anxiety in some situations.

 

Being in the store, I can get a pain in my chest that radiates to my ears. I can feel short of breath or light-headed, on the verge of passing out. I passed out in a building before with my mother right beside me. I didn't even feel it coming on. It just happened because I was standing so close to other people. I can get frustrated to the point of tears if I can't find my mom in the store. I'm 31, but it's like I'm a little child some times.

 

I can't get close to anyone. I don't like giving/getting hugs. I'd like to be "normal." I feel like my anxiety has kept me back at a young age and I'm getting older while not really aging on a mental state. It's not going away and there are times I feel exteremly depressed and hopeless. A waste of space. A burden. I used to have suicidal thoughts, but I know now that that's not the way at all. I'd never kill myself, and I think that's a reassuring thing to know.

 

I'm so thankful for family members who know how I am and who accept me. But I wish I could do better for them.

OckGal OckGal 31-35, F 30 Responses Jun 20, 2009

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I experience many of the same symptoms as you. Such as anxiety walking in stores and Supermarkets, even walking down the street. But I have found one remedy. If you lift your head up high, take a deep breath and continue that way, the anxiety disappears. You have to practice though, until it becomes part of you. Once it becomes part of you, you won't be thinking about it any more

Your story made think a bit about my life. I'm shy and i think i'm afraid of people. I don't talk much and don't any close friends. I go out sometimes, with a friend (always the same one), she and i have not much in common but she's one of the only person who accept to do things with me. i feel very lonely because no one really understand and as i avoid people, it's hard for them to know me. I'm afraid of what people think of me and also afraid to say something wrong to a person. This is probably one of the reason why i don't talk much. Like you said, online it's a bit easier. Actually, i've met some people offline but it's never worked. I've never really had a boyfriend. I don't know what love is. I'm not very familiar with cuddles, it's not something natural for me. Maybe i'm weird. There're so many i'd love to do but i don't because i'm afraid of people. If i had a friend, a close one, who'll not judge me or anything that would be great.

I didn't think I'd ever find anyone I could be close with but I did, even though it took 32 years. I think I'd rather have met the right person (like I feel I have) than to have had to go through a lot of bad relationships. I know we learn from those, but I think it really woulda made me more afraid to try. I used to mind not having friends, but I dunno. Now it's like, I don't wanna put all that effort into a friendship and find out the person wasn't who I thought they were. You know how when you first start talking to someone and they seem great but the closer you get, the more you realize they have WAY different views and some times you get stuck having to put your opinions to the side and just agree with them so you don't start an argument. I've always just gone along with people and I hate when I do it because I don't wanna live my life keeping my thoughts to myself. But I also don't wanna get into an argument with someone. Some people are okay with differing opinions but others aren't and you can never tell which is which. The only thing I miss about friends is having someone to go the movies with or whatever. Even friends I've known since childhood, I rarely speak to. I feel like I have nothing to talk about. They talk about their spouses, jobs, kids, home and I just try and give support and all, but have no idea what any of that's really like. So I kinda end up being a listener for the most part. Which is fine, but it can get depressing if you hear people going on about a full life when you don't have one. I keep telling myself, people don't seem to like me anyway. I guess I don't give them the chance to. But I can either be fake and say what I think they wanna hear in order to gain their friendship and then be miserable leading a secret life like that, or I can be myself and hope someone will come along and accept me that way. If I'm not making any friends at the moment anyway, might as well just stick to being myself. Now if I could just DO that, I'd be all set.

I have almost the same issues, but not as bad. People tell me I will get over it one day, but this is the way I am and I will never change unless i've known someone for a long time. I am never comfortable in new situations. Good for you for not taking medication. Many people only depend on them and that is not good either.

New situations are a nightmare. I had to update my story a bit. Have been blessed with finding a great guy (started out online) that's just as goofy as I am. He lives in another state, but we've met and really get along. I took another chance and met someone offline near me and she ended up passing away. Figures, I meet someone I hit it off with and lose them just as fast.

hi, i 18 this year, people say i dont act my age, i act younger. i dont know why but i just cant get along with the people in my class. i have maybe one or two friends in class but they dont help me... they use me.. i wanted to lead a normal life like other girls but i dont know how... others girl my age go shopping have bf and best friends to listen to their problems which i envy. my life is very boring.. in the morning, i got to school and after school i go home and use computer to watch dramas and surf net. i dont like to get near to popular kids but deep inside me i wanna be one of them. my friends who is not so popular aint interested in me anymore after a while.. How Can I Change To A Better Person? And Lead A Normal Life..

must i medicate myself so that i wont get nervous around ppl??

lastrawberry, I'd say "You're still young so give it time" but I always hated when people me that. Some people actually do grow out of the anxiety. Others just went through too much with it and let it take over. That's where I'm at. I HATED school, but it was the only way I was actually forced to interact with people. Once I got out of school, I didn't have to. I know some people say medication is NOT the way to go. All depends on the person and if you wanna take them. I never had any bad side effects that I recall. My insurance is crap so I could only afford the ones Wal-Mart offers for $3/$9. That cut out a lot of ones I could try. I started talking to my doc, she put me on Prozac. That didn't work. She sent me to a therapist. She had me try half a dozen over 2 years. Nothing worked. I was sent to a behaviour therapist where I just talk about myself. I thought I'd hate it, but it's nice to get stuff off your chest. I asked to stop meds this year and went through HORRIBLE withdrawals for about 3 weeks cos my doc didn't wean me off it well enough. Some people take meds and it works GREAT! Others (like me), it doesn't work at all. My brain is pretty much conditioned to have anxiety now. I'm trying to change that, but it's not at all easy.

I only had a couple friends growing up. I lost touch with them pretty much. It's weird hearing people talk about their jobs, husbands, kids and life while I don't have anything related to discuss. A lot of friends I had used me as well or only wanted to talk and never listen. You just have to weed out the bad ones and get closer to the good ones. Don't EVER give in and agree to things because you don't have the courage to say NO because it gets you into situations and then you lose control of them. People realize they can use you and will continue doing so.

Use school to help you out. It's your chance to be social. You can be picky about it, but still be social cos it's harder when you lose the opportunity like a classroom. I figure if you're popular, you'd have more expectations to reach for people. You don't really need that pressure. Be popular with a select group of friends who treat you well.

As for a boyfriend. Well, I didn't get one until I was 32! I don't expect you to wait around THAT long, but it's not the worst thing. I have a lot of trust issues and have only met two people who I really felt I could be comfortable around in that way. (Still a virgin at 34 but whatever!) I'd love to say that goign to school and coming home, watching TV and surfing the net are great things cos that's what I do (minus school), but to others, it might seem like we have NO social life and are pathetic. After having ****** friends, I CHOSE not to make more. It was such a hassle to me. BUT if you aren't happy with how you're life is going, just take baby steps. Talk to your counselor at school or a therapist. They're paid to listen and don't judge. I go in there and just let my thoughts flow and am amazed at what comes out, lol! Feels good, though.

Good luck with everything!

I understand the anxiety. It sucks. I get paranoid that everyone's judging me. I'm not sure but I believe this develops from several factors. As a child I was a tom boy as well as bi-racial and I got really good grades. <br />
Because of this I was constantely made fun of and you would think that when I got home I would get some relief but no... nothing was ever good enough for my parents. If I got an A it was always like why didn't you get an A+, if got an award it was always like just one or only second place, my parents brutally made fun of me when I was at home and shot my self-esteem hell. I was constantely being compared to everyone else which was the last thing I wanted, I just wanted them to love and accept me for who I was and not who they wanted me to be. I hated being at home so much I would hide myself in the closet where I could be alone without being judged. After I left home my anxiety got worse, I tried to get over it and force myself to social but it never went well. <br />
I ended up skipping classes alot because I didn't want to be around people. I'm back in school but it took me a long time to get over my fear of the classrooms, the different clubs, and the professors. I often try to fake being social but inside it kills me, I shake, I have heart palpitations, and in my head I just think that nothing I do will ever be good enough. I constantely feel preasure to be perfect. I'm currentely married and it causes problems in my marriage. My husband is very social and loves being around people and I often tell him to go out without me. <br />
People often think I'm being mean or rude but it's just I constantely feel judged. I don't want to see a doctor. I don't trust doctors and quite honestly I would just feel judged even more. I don't talk about my issues because I would hate to burden anyone else with my problems. Nobody sees what I see and if they did they would all just judge me as being crazy or something. It's a humiliating thing to admit to. I can't be perfect but for some reason I feel like I must.

Oh, wow. I'm so sorry about that, especially the home situation. Home was the only place I felt safe so I can't even imagine not having that haven. Glad to hear you managed to get married, though! That's better than I've done. I'm seeing a therapist but she mainly just gives me medication. Haven't found any that works yet but I do feel a BIT better. Managed to get out and meet a new friend while on it. I had a fill-in doc say I should try psychotherapy and he kept asking to put into words how I feel. I had no idea how and the focus on me was annoying. I do know that some people I'm online friends with have had good luck with it. And it gets a bit more easy to talk to a doc after the first time. Still feels weird, but they get paid to listen so why not take advantage of that? lol! Hope you get through everything okay.

Hey, silksta!<br />
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Thank you for the kind words. I've been having vertigo and ear fullness problems for the last week and had to go to the doc. I brought up getting put on meds for my anxiety. I figured I might as well give it a go. She started telling me I was pretty and all this stuff that made me feel even weirder, lol! I'm supposed to call and set up a meeting about it with someone before getting the meds, but she said I can have an interview with her first, get the meds and THEN make the meeting. Not sure if I'll go through with it, though. Funny, doctors usually put everyone on pills right away and I have to go through all this to get on them.<br />
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I like being with people I know but if I have to talk to people I don't know in front of them, I clam up for fear of saying something stupid and having a witness there that will remember it.<br />
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Nothing much has changed except I met a girl online and we became friends, I fell in love with her personality, she loved me back and we're in all-around love now. May seem silly because it's only online at the moment (she'll be visiting this Summer hopefully), but I think it's easier to get to know someone that way rather than meeting them in person in the mall or somewhere and just jumping into things. That never worked for me, anyway. She's outgoing and I think she's great for my shyness.<br />
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I hope you find something that makes you happy as well! Stay in touch!

You seem like a very nice person with a lot of potential (whether you believe it or not) That's what people tell me too and I, for the first time am only just beginning to believe it, but not enough to get me away from home.<br />
My situation is very similar to yours. I live at home with my parents still (I'm 24) and never really go anywhere or see anyone and I don't work or have any idea what to do with my life due to my anxiety. You're really not alone. Im slightly different in the sense that I am not anxious to go to the grocery store or shopping mall, just as long as I don't know anyone. My anxiety is with people who know me or want to know me. This makes me sad because I am quite lonely as a result.<br />
Seeing that this post of yours was from last year, how are you doing at the moment?

Thanks for the tips retr0kate. There's not much to volunteer for in my area, sadly. And I don't drive.<br />
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I do a few odds-n-ends crafts. Never thought about trying to sell those. Trouble with that is having to get to the post office each time I need to send them out (IF people buy them) and it wouldn't really be bringing much in.<br />
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Will have to think harder! Thanks for the ideas!

Hey, I know this is really an old thread, but I noticed how you ended your entry. I just wanted to say that I think you really can do better for your family. I'm not sure where you are now, or maybe your situation has changed. I get stuck in my head quite often too. I never quite knew what I wanted to do with my life. But I got married and had a family when I was 19. It sort of kept me from having to make a decision about what I want to do with my life -for work at least. Now my kids are older, and I have to figure it out. and it terrifies me. But maybe part of what I have to learn is to accept my self for who I am. Like, I will not go on meds, in fact, I don't need them. I don't want to be someone else anymore. I like myself this way, and it sounds like you do too, for the most part. So it makes you more interesting. So my thought is to find something I can do where I don't have to change or pretend to be something I am not. Where I don't have to perform (isn't that all some people's lives are, anyway- performances?) So I think I can do that- even if it's something as stupid as selling my crap on ebay. at least i will be generating an income. but yeah, find something you can do if you haven't by now, and I know you will feel SO much better. even if it's volunteering- like maybe organizing the shelves at a food bank. Someplace where people will leave you the heck alone. It will make you even more thankful for your family, too! But these are just suggestions. I find that when I do something I am less in my head (as opposed to how I am now on the computer, and when I do this too much I am not happy).

TrgdyAnn, thank you. I hope you're coping okay.

So true, Spectre822! Like, "Sure, I love feeling like I've achieved nothing in my life and that my parents get to say I'm their daughter and I still live with them, still single, no kids, no job, etc." I guess people would look at me and think I'm lazy, but I'd love to be able to be working and making money and going out and having fun. I'm 31 now and missed all the young party days people were having years ago. No prom, no trips, no clubs. Yeah, this is the life! :-S<br />
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Back in the day (eek, old sounding), you didn't hear much about anxiety or anything. Now it seems like every other kid is on meds for something. I remember having to get failing grades on reports that I did just because I couldn't get up and read them to the class. I heard a teacher (years later) say they don't make kids do that at some school now because it's too much pressure!

I get that crap from people offline, actually this is the first online place I've ever shared this side of me. Or any side of me, really. :) As for those people, it's gotten to point where I just want to grab them by their shirt and scream "IF I COULD JUST 'GET OVER' THIS, DON'T YOU THINK I WOULD??? DO YOU THINK THIS IS FUN FOR ME???" The thing I'm discovering about SA and emotional abuse, is that there's a sense of relief when you can define it, and name it. Kind of like, if there's a name for it, and other people have experienced it, then maybe I'm not crazy. Which was a huge relief to me, I have to tell you. :) Like I said before, I'm still hopeful. Maybe this doesn't have to beat us. I have to stay hopeful, I lived without hope for a long time, and if I go back to that, I won't survive. Anyway, enough babbling on my part. As always, I'm here for you of you need to talk. :)

Spectre822, do you get a lot of that offline or online (or both)? I wouldn't mind it AS much offline with people I actually know, but to have someone you've "known" for 2 seconds online tell you something like that, it's a huge slap in the face. I know some people are just trying to be helpful, but telling someone how to overcome something they don't deal with just seems silly.<br />
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Thanks for the comment!

I'm going to add my $0.02 here too. :) I have SA myself, and I feel the same way. And it annoys me to no end when people insist that I just 'get over' my 'shyness'. You're right, people just don't get it. I wish I could get past it, and I try to keep up hope. Anyway, I just wanted to say, like the others here, you're not alone. :)

gerrynchappster, thanks for the support! I think if I was already a member of something, it would be half the battle, but getting started is where I'd have trouble. I always wanted to get involved with a retirement home or something. I guess I feel like older people wouldn't judge me as much and would be glad I was there to spend time with them. I can't bring myself to get going, though.<br />
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I hope your son (and you) are doing better now.

You sounded just like me with the cashier's small talk deal. That is me in a nutshell. So if it's any consilation - you are not alone in your experiences. <br />
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I get the faintness and hot flashes, start sweating - feels like someone turned up the heat, as soon as I get into a social situation. I wasn't always like this, but something just switched and I started getting worse and worse. I am a mom and I know that I don't want my kids to suffer because I can't socialize. <br />
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For awhile my oldest son was doing the same thing I did, never called his friends, didn't come out of his room much, and it made me realize that I had to do something about it and right then and there. So I had to go on meds myself, and it's the only way I have been out of the house. Therapy I tried - seem to actually make it worse for what ever reason. But meds aren't for everyone, and I understand your wishes to not take them. I never even liked to take an aspirin before, but it came to a point where I couldn't change it myself so I had to take the meds and it has helped tremendously, but I am no way close to an average person.<br />
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Hanging out with other more outgoing folks helps but I know what you mean about being irritated and not wanting to always go out. It is so hard to maintain relationships with people who don't understand what your're feeling.<br />
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Maybe you could search for a support group. I don't know where you live, but you can search google for meetup groups. How about exercising or art class? I started running and have felt this has helped with the anxiety and my self-esteem. You can also meet some pretty decent people at a running club or 5k racing event. Volunteer for others helps too and can lead to a job helping others. <br />
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Hang in there...and keep smiling, it's contagious...

FateCantDecide, you really do sound like me! What's with friends who just don't wanna listen? I'll listen to mine go on and on about boyfriends and blah blah but they can't listen to me when I have a problem I wanna discuss. And I hate feeling like I have nothing to talk about with people. Everyone talks about their boyfriends/husbands, kids, jobs, etc. I don't have that stuff, so I can't talk about it. I can't very well go on about websites, lol! I've tried, but nobody cares.<br />
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yojez, you're in good (?) company. I always thought I'd get over it, but I guess not.<br />
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What irks me is when people say, "Well, if you got bullied in school, it just makes you stronger." Like that happens in every case. Certainly not in mine. Listening to people tell me I was nothing stuck with me. Those people got to get on with their lives. Even if I did get over it, I'm surely not gonna thank people who were mean to me! All this time and people still don't learn. People push others to a point of violence and then wonder what happened when they bring weapons to school for revenge. If it was harmless bullying, these things wouldn't happen and a lot of people with self esteem issues wouldn't have them.

Oh wow, you sound a bit like me. Or I sound a bit like you, lol.<br />
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I'm 20 and feel pretty pathetic most of the time. I live with my mum, I don't have a job because I'm too scared to get one. I have virtually no friends. Not real ones. A 'best friend' who doesn't know me at all HARDLY counts, if you ask me. Plus I never see her, and have never been able to speak openly about the problems I have. As if she'd listen. Anyway...<br />
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I have heaps of online friends too. Some are people I've kept in contact with for years. I really feel like I 'know' them. Still, there have been chances for us to meet and I've never tried all that hard to make it happen. I worry they'll meet me and think I'm weird, or a loser or whatever. Or just a shy weirdo, I guess. At least they know about my anxiety & depression. At least they sort of understand it (some more than others).<br />
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Funnily enough I've had random people online claim they 'know' me too and have tried analyzing me, and claiming they know the answers towards me improving myself. **** off, I say. They don't know me at all, and have no idea what the panic feels like.<br />
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I guess I'm just scared to move forward, but why? Going backwards makes no sense. Backwards would mean spiraling back down into my old life, which was even worse. I mean, at least I'm not severely depressed anymore, but I feel like I could very easy go back there. Sigh.

Thanks, guys.<br />
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I forgot all about weed. When I turned 18, I tried it for the first time. My body has a very low tolerance for it so it didn't take much before I was really high. One time I freaked out my friend because I had the shakes and couldn't feel my mouth. I said I thought I should go to the hospital. We ran into her friend who thought I was on acid. I made it to my room and was having an argument with a photo of Bob Dylan on my wall (after I thought a guy my friend knew WAS Bob Dylan and insisted he sing for me). A day later, I was still high. My friend said that was really unusual and it should had wore off by then, but it wasn't something I could help. Anyway, if I had smoked it without taking TOO much, I'd start talking to whoever was around and not feel the least bit anxious. I stopped smoking it, though. But it was cool to know it made me feel like myself for a while.<br />
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I find I'm a bit better in public if I have something to concentrate on. A goal or incentive. If I'm at the store to get something I really want (video or something), my mind is so focused on that and I don't have as many problems. I even went to California on my own (I'm on the East Coast of the US) and people asked how I managed that. It was partly because nobody there knew me and I HAD to rely on only myself to do things. And it was partly that I really wanted to go there so my mind was concentrating on that and left little room for anxiety. I had to carry a notebook around with me and write in it wherever I went. I was ready to tell people I had a friend in Sweden that wanted details on my trip. I'd walk and write, not looking up at people and just keeping my mind on writing and it helped a lot. Luckily I didn't fall over anything, hehe!<br />
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For some reason, I've noticed there are times I start feeling anxiety when I'm in my own house. I don't understand that. I can only guess that it's because I'm trying to do too many things at once, or trying to be quiet and not wake my parents and the thought of making a big noise or something puts pressure on me.

That's the thing people don't understand about social anxiety. It's not being "shy" and "just get over it". It's something deeper and harder to deal with, especially when you have to deal with people to help you cope with it (ie, therapists, doctors, friends, etc.). And yes, it IS an irrational fear, but that doesn't make it any less real. If its real to you, then it's real. <br />
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I agree with you on wanting to be "normal". I know some people would say, just be happy with who you are. But if who you are is depressed, angry, scared and hopeless all the time, then it's hard to be happy with that. I want to be normal too. I want to be able to talk to people making eye contact and not think that they are judging me. I want to be more successful in life. I want to be able to get the job I want and the friends I want and the happiness I want, but it seems if you can barely talk to people sometimes, then how can you get ahead in life? There are a lot of us out there it seems, so you will always have someone to talk to about this.

I have bad anxiety....But it has gotten better over the years...Most of the time, once i feel it coming on, i find the nearest door out, or a ciggerate, or a quiet place away from everyone. Walmart makes me have panic attack everytime, makes me feel cloustrophobic(yes i know i spelled it wrong...). I moved to FL and the new high school had over 3,000-4,000 kids...i couldnt take it...my old school had only 400 in it(if that)..i would have cold sweats, heat flashes,dizziness, shake,vision blur, disorientation, and a whole bunch of other slight tiny side effects ALL DAY LONG!...drove me insane...so this year...i started smoking w e e d again...i am ashamed of it...but it helped me through the worst of it...could laugh and giggle and smile when i truly felt like screaming and crying and running away from everything and everyone...but now...i have been drug free for about 3 weeks now...and i am just glad my relapse didnt last long or go hardcore this time...(hadnt doen drugs since summer of 2008)....NOW all i gotta do is find a way to sleep early at night without drugging myself up with tylenol every night!....lmao...nightmares sucks...well...I wish you the best! good luck! and if u wanna talk i am here for ya too.....ttyl hunn<br />
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Mindy

insomniasux- your sucha smart ***!! Get lost.

knockitoff - I don't really like to burden others with my problems. Some times talking about things (like on here) helps when I know others are like I am, but then other times talking about it makes me realize how messed up I am. :-) Thanks for your concern, though. I appreciate that a lot.<br />
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Dropbear - I have a friend who has a house with a huge basement semi-apt (kitchen and all) and I always fantasize about my folks and I living there with me in the basement. I'm about as close as I'll get to my own place, I think. I have the two rooms in the attic (though no bathroom or kitchen). Got my privacy and all up here, which is nice, but wish I had a bathroom, hehe!<br />
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If the anti-depressants are keeping you safe, then it's definitely a good thing to be on them. I've had moments where I felt horribly depressed but I assume I don't have depression or I'd not be feeling much like getting online or whatever. When I feel unhappy thoughts coming on, I try to think of something else, or I think about how I'm lucky to have a supportive family. I had a friend who moved out as soon as she turned 18 because her mother was so strict and over-reactive to everything. I can't imagine not having my mom as my best friend.

It’s certainly hard when the world around you makes you anxious. I’m sure if I wasn’t full time employed I’d be living with my folks still. The only way I can live away from home is by living by myself, I can’t share rent on a place. I have done it a few times in the past and it was horrible. I own my own house in a reasonably quiet area now and live in it alone. Nice and peaceful, mostly.<br />
Being able to avoid meds as you do is a good thing I think. I take too many pain killers for a bad back (mishap playing soccer as a kid) and have been taking anti-depressants for about two months. I guess I’d be a stronger person if I could stop the anti-depressants but depression and in more recent times, the anxiety have become too much. I felt I knew exactly how you feel as you described your trips to the store. I hate going shopping for food etc. I become self concuss and fear everybody is looking at me and judging me. Reality crushes in around me leaving me short of breath. It’s good you have a home where you can stay, dealing with the world at large on your own when you suffer anxiety is not easy.

Arthur2...I'm really sorry to read all this and what you're going through. Well, I'll be here to listen any time you need to talk. You can send me a private message if you like.

luckypickle (I had a dog named Lucky and one of our current dogs is nicknamed Pickles, hehe) - I tend to avoid all medications in general. I went 5 years before having to give in and take Tylenol a couple months ago because I had a fever of 102, then had strep throat and had to be on antibiotics. I don't even like taking anything for headaches. The only meds I missed was Aleve once a month, but they were replaced by natural PMS pills I can no longer find in the stores (eek). I never know how much is too much with an herb.<br />
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Dropbear - I always feel that if I were dropped (haha) into a job, I could handle it better. Something I liked doing. Working in a video store or something that wasn't terribly busy. It's just getting hired and getting used to being there around my coworkers and working the register, etc. I don't think I could handle all that coming at me, and I know people wouldn't wanna waste time giving me the space to learn it. I always wanted to learn to drive but that's certainly not gonna happen with the way people drive these days, lol!<br />
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Thanks for the comment. :-)

The outside world is very intimidating when you have social anxiety. I work a regular five day week and get out of the house to go to work without too much trouble, but weekends are horrible. It is rare for me to step outside my house on a weekend, I hate weekends. I live alone and spend almost all of my free time inside with the blinds drawn and with ear plugs in so I can’t see or hear the outside world. I’m 39 and can see life passing me by, such a waste. Most people my age are married with children. I’m single and living alone in a mostly empty house.

herbs can be just as powerful as meds, and have as many side effects. i've seen shrinks that have put me on so many meds that i didn't feel human. it's nice that friendly people put you at ease. keep your head up. *hug*

Thanks, luckypickle.<br />
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I'm not too comfy around doctors (as you can imagine) and found most of them will say you have one thing when you have something completely different, so I don't put much faith in them. I've had family members go on meds and go on just about every possible brand with not much to show except trips to the hospital because of side-effects so I'm more than concerned about all that.<br />
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I've heard about certain herbs or vitamins that might alter the chemicals in the brain and make things better, but then I also hear about herbs not being good for people either, so I'm never sure what to believe there.<br />
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Oddly, it helps when I'm around someone who is really outgoing. If I run into a chatty cashier or someone who has a really good vibe about them, it's so much easier to talk to them. Sadly, there aren't a lot of people like that out there from what I've seen.<br />
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Thanks again for your nice comment!

the light headed feeling, facial numbness, tight chest, are all signs of a panic attack. i've had many in public and it felt like i was going to die. meds worked for me but some people would rather do it alone and i respect that. i won't tell you to talk to a doc because honestly doctors don't know how to fix things as well as they say. all i'm going to say it that if you ever need a friend to scream at, talk to, get mad at, laugh at, or confide in...i'm here. i've been there and you're not alone.