Social Anxiety Disorder Is Curable! I Did It. Here's My Story. :)

(I copy and pasted this from The I have Social Anxiety homepage)

So this is my Social Anxiety story (it has a good ending!):

I've always been shy since I was a little girl. In the 8th grade, I started to slowly get out of my shell and make lots of friends. But then I had to move to a new high school where I was in a new enviroment surrounded by people I didn't know. That's when my social anxiety kicked in.

When people asked me "hi! how are you?," I would tense up full of anxiety , stare at them, and shrug my shoulders. I couldn't even speak to people. Everyday was a struggle for me. I would beg my mom "please, can I just stay home? I don't have any friends and I just get really sad when I'm there." I was literally afraid of going to school. Especially when I had to do presentations.

Presentations sucked! I would get sooo nervous. My heart beat fast, my face got hot, I stuttered, and my face even twitched! After the presentation I would end up feeling so depressed because I know I did such a horrible job.

In the 11th grade, I ate in the bathroom stall because I didn't want people to see me eating alone. I was afraid that they were all looking at me, judging me, thinking that I was a total loser. So eating in the bathroom stall was a way for me to avoid people and to avoid them judging me.

I forgot to mention that in the ninth grade when I started having social anxiety, I also got really, really depressed. I was very hard on myself. I had thoughts like, "I hate myself" "nobody likes me" "everyone hates me" "I'm a loser" "Why am I so different?" "why can't I just be normal like everyone else?" (no wonder I was depressed, right? lots of negative thinking.)

I tried to see psychologists. I saw my first one the summer after the 9th grade. She didn't think I had a problem. She said that my shyness would go away by itself. (that damn idiot *****! lol jk!!!!) So I stopped seeing her obviously. I saw the second psychologist the summer after the 10th grade. She didn't really know how to help me.... I saw a psychiatrist the summer after the 11th grade and that's when I started taking Lexapro and propranolol. It actually helped and made me happy for awhile. I also met my boyfriend during that time and I had courage to ask him out on a date. :) We've been dating ever since. So 12th grade was actually a pretty good year for me. Although, in the middle of the year, I stopped taking the medication and my social anxiety did come back. But I was still okay since I had my boyfriend... oh, and my best friend! :)

So then I came to college thinking that when I got here I would be more social and I would make tons of friends. WRONG! My social anxiety totally came back. I couldn't make friends . I was nervous all the time. I stayed in my room pretty much all day writing stories on EP. =) I got depressed again and on December 1st I tried to kill myself. I thought that I would never get better, I would never change, I would never achieve my dream of being happy and making friends. I obviously failed since I'm here. So here comes the happy ending!

I started to see a therapist here in my school. She is AMAZING!!!! She inspired me and she believed that I could reach my dreams of beating social anxiety and making friends. She gave me assignments like: go ask people from your dorm for their number, go have a conversation with one person, and other stuff like that. Yes, I was scared of my mind, but I decided  that I was going to do everything she told me to because she knows what she's doing. Man, it was not easy. In therapy, you have to do all the scary work. She tells you what to do and teaches you how to have conversations, but you have to do all the work. You know what I learned: people like me when I am friendly. People are really flattered when you smile at them and ask about their day. I have not come across ANY mean people.

So now, I've practiced talking to people so much that I am NOT AFRAID anymore! :D I have friends in college now who actually WANT  to hang out with me. My life is beautiful and amazing.

Now you can have an amazing life like me if you can just believe in yourself. Work Hard! The first step is to make that phone call. I know it's scary to call people, but you can do it! I swear nobody will yell at you! You will not die! So get a phone book, call some clinics. Tell them that you have social anxiety disorder and ask them if they know how help people who have social anxiety. If they do, great! If they don't, try again! And remember, you need to be PROUD of yourself b/c you are couragious. You are a strong and you faced your fears! Good for you! The next step is to get you butt in that seat with your therapist. Trust your therapist and work hard. Keep your eye on your goal. Believe that you can do it! I did and you can too! :)

feel free to ask me questions. :)

minnie22mouse minnie22mouse
18-21, F
43 Responses Feb 12, 2009

Thank you for this story. I've also dealt with extreme social anxiety my entire life. I always felt like i was a bit "off" from everyone else but never understood what it was. My parents turned a blind eye to my depression until i started to cut myself throughout high school. They then threatened to put me in a mental home. You're lucky you have parents that recognized something was wrong and took you to therapy!!

Every disease or problem is curable. But it needs a perfect solution for it with our extreme desire of being better, that you already have. I also have anxiety, but I am good now because of Trivedi Effect, its gone now.

Mine has been botheing me for almost 15 years now evrn groeing in intensity nd complexity ovrr time. I havr really struggled in work places and the frightening expericences have really taken a toll on me. On days whrn anxiety would be severe id be totally worn out n exhausted by rvrning. But ive fought on and perservered all along. It is only in the last onre year thst ive bern able to ovrrcome the more severe panic attacks and have bern able to control them alot more than i previously could. Main advice you need
To learn relaxation techniques and how to regain your will power. dont fear it and never give in to it. There is ope at the end of the road

There was a reason for my thirty six years of social torment...who knew. Meds evened out the brain chems, but it goes deep from being so long before diagnosis. My coping tools are, by force of will over my psyche, effective for me. I will join and post in your severe social anxiety group. Though in my humble opinion, it is never "Overcome"...m'Lady.

Your story is really inspiring, I've only just come across it now. I know everyone doesn't experience the same but there are certainly aspects I can relate to, I thought I was just shy when it came down to social situations, I never wanted to 'self diagnose' and be someone who claimed to have anxiety when I knew there was people really suffering, I'm glad I'm not the only person who feels scared of meeting new people

My life was a hell caused by my panic attacks and anxiety. I tried everything: psychologists, psychiatrists, all kinds of pills and drugs. The only thing that helped me and cured me were these techniques I found online. I hope they will be useful. www.panicsolutionkey.com

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Mine was somewhat of the same experience, but I didn't know about social anxiety not until after college. I was aware of Social Anxiety because I learned it from school. But I was in denial, I thought social anxiety disorder are for those who have mental illness. I thought I was just shy. But after college I got more depressed, I thought I was just lazy because I couldn't go to a final job interview. But I find out that I am just afraid of criticism and rejection. I didn't cure my social anxiety disorder not until I was able to accept it. My constant worrying was because of some unhelpful thoughts that will creep in my mind every now and then. I was happy to see a blog that says that social anxiety is not something you have to live for the rest of your life. If only you know how to filter those uncomfortable thoughts and learn to think in a happier and healthier manner. You can read the article here: socialanxietydisorder.org.uk/how-to-overcome-social-anxiety-disorder-ebook-changing-the-way-you-think-will-change-the-way-you-feel/

This is really inspiring indeed. I have social anxiety disorder aswell, and it's not fun. I feel akward when I'm walking past people on the street. I feel akward when a car drives by if I'm a pedistrian, and I also feel akward when I'm with family and friends. I'm allways silent, and just can't manage to have a long lasting conversation with other people. I absolutely wish that I could be able to feel free and be happy, and just express my self, but it just dosn't work out for me. It's facinating to see that you managed to get rid of SA, and it puts a smile on my face :) I hode I can get rid of this ******* disease and be happy and live normal again.

Thank you :)

when i speak normally with my friends or even with my parents,emotional voice came out even if i am not nervous,my voice tone will become so low.these quiverness of my voice makes me loose my confidence n i start hating myself...do i have social anxiety...please help me!!!!

Yes I think you do. It is probably a habit by now to have automatic thoughts that you are not going to be able to have a good conversation or you will lose control over your voice. You should look for a therapist.

This made me cry :) You're a role model and I'm proud of you! (I hope I can be like you and face my fears)

This really made me cry. You are so lucky and happy. I have been suffering social anxiety for a couple years now, and it has gotten so bad that I can barely hold a conversation with someone. Every time I try, I make a fool out of my self or ill say something and they act like I am weird. I have been trying to get a boy friend and meet new friends for two years now but I have failed so much I feel like giving up. the "Face your fears" method doesn't seem to work with me, but maybe if I talked to someone or had some medication i'd feel like I could do it cause in a way I had support. I miss being happy and out going and never worrying about this. I mean social anxiety is so bothersome. Why do I have to be afraid to talk to someone? I know its foolish and all in my head but it still doesn't help. I have never gotten treatment and it seems to me no one really gets over it with "time" and by themselves. I think maybe I am wasting my time here everyday trying to get over it by by myself Because it doesn't work..One of these days I will have courage and take your advice and get help. But I don't know when that will be..One day, I want to be like you, and be happy.

did you go get help yet? Just go today!

You have no social anxiety what so ever now? And that's all because you faced your fears? I dont believe this, to be honest. I Mean good for you, Im happy! But, it does not go away that quickly.

I'm really happy for you that you have found peace with yourself and happiness! My husband has social anxiety and has a very very hard time relating with people and integrating himself with new groups of people. He refuses to see a therapist because he is in the army and it would look bad. I try to help him but I feel so helpless. He is even shy with my family which makes things very awkward between me and my family. Any suggestions would be greatly greatly appreciated. I love him and I want him to be happy. It's just hard feeling like there is nothing I can do.

Reading this gave me lots of hope. Thank you for your story.

Your story is so inspiring for anyone with SA! I became very anxious when my parents broke up when I was 12, I used to be such a happy kid that used to get in trouble for chatting with strangers when I was little but when they broke up I just closed up, for the first year of high school I was completely isolated from everyone in my class.<br />
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I tried going on chat rooms online to make friends, and it worked for a while, I made lots of friends, I could be whoever I wanted and everyone I knew on there loved me. But I became so eager to talk online in this make believe persona I'd made that I finally closed the door on what little I had of an actual social life, everyone in my class thought I was a freak and started bullying me and after about a year online new people came on and old people left and all of a sudden no one liked me any more, I became desperate to have 'friends' and resorted to 'cyber sex' with people online. At that time I felt really low in myself, I'd be about 13 at this point and I was having 'cyber sex' with 18 year olds and up. <br />
I ended up having a problem with a stalker who threatened to come to my house and.... well I'll not go into details on what he said he'd do but he was graphic about it and since then I wasn't able to talk to boys any more, I couldn't trust them. I started self harming, my parents only found out when I was 15 and sent me for therapy. Unlucky for me though my therapist was really incompitent and was very uncomfortable for me to be around because he was a guy. I left therapy after being sexually assaulted on the bus to therapy. After that I had to deal with being bullied every day in high school, my childhood friend (and my crush) tried to comfort me when he could but he also had his own troubles he had to deal with.<br />
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When I was 16 I almost killed myself through my self harm, but lucky for me my crush saved me. We got together and I managed to finish high school with his help (I helped him though it too, we both helped each other and gave each other a reason to shoulder the problems and carry on head strong). We started college together and everything was fine until one of the friends I'd made sexually assaulted me (thinking about it I haven't had much luck NOT being sexually abused/assaulted) I stopped coming in college out of fear of him which in turn caused my boyfriend to stop going in too.<br />
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I got lucky though and just developed a 'Screw-this-I'm-not-having-problems' attitude and just got over it, I started going in again, regardless of my fear of my classmate (I got by with that by just hurling verbal abuse at him whenever I got scared, lol). On my 18th birthday my boyfriend proposed to me and we're now happily engaged and just about to finish college.<br />
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I'm not entirely over my SA, I still have days where it's hard to go outside, but when I realise how I'm being I just think "I'm not letting myself keep me down" and just go anyway. And I'm not fully over my anxieties of males, I sometimes still get scared of my fiancee, but he's used to it now and knows how to help me through it. <br />
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Haha, sorry for posting such a long story in the comments, I feel like it help me to share my story and thank you a lot for sharing yours, I hope you're still going strong! :)

This is the most inspirational story ever!! Thank you so much.

This is the most inspirational story ever!! Thank you so much.

Thank you :) There is hope

Your story is inspiring, thanks for posting your journey, SA is such a horrible condition that people don't have a lot of compassion for, they tend to put you in the unfriendly box when deep down I would love to feel safe and sociable, I would thrive in this environment if I could get over my moodiness and negative racing thoughts... do you ever find it comes back full force... I feel sometimes I am ok and doing good and then I have really bad days or weeks and I'm not sure if it's hormones as well? I just can't shake the depression and self esteem issues for long enough to allow the optimism to kick in. Do you believe that its psychological over physiological?

This is what i am afraid of, suicide. Im sure if i dont get cured before going to college ill do something stupid to myself...............

:( I'm sure it's possible, funproject. You just need to find the right therapist. And if it makes you feel any better, I'm not completely cured. I'm still pretty shy. You just need to work on your anxiety so that it doesn't control your life. But it is okay to be shy if that's what you are. :)

It is not possible for me :( <br />
But im glad you did it.

Malayali: hi! I understand it's hard to just go and try to talk to people. My therapist made me start with the most simplest things first like just eye contact with people or just waving hi. And then even though you feel all worked up and anxious, you have to remember to breath and tell yourself that you did a great job. You cannot beat yourself up. All the bad stuff you tell yourself aren't true. So anyways, you have to keep working on waving to people until it becomes easy. Then you work up to something harder like saying "how are you?" to a person. Does this make sense?<br />
<br />
Also, you can try writing out the irrational thoughts you tell yourself. And ask yourself is this really true? Like let's say you think to yourself: "that guy must think I'm so mean because I didn't say hi to him when he said hi to me. He probably doesn't like me anymore." You can then realize that you don't know if this is true because you can't mind read. Maybe the guy knows you're shy and just forgave you. Maybe it really wasn't even that big of a deal. <br />
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I would recommend getting a therapist because they would coach you and give you LOTS of praise after you do every little assignment. And you start to get all sorts of confidence after you reach your goals.

misscrottsincjmr: How did therapy go? I hope it went well. I'm glad you're going to try to get better. :) Even if it's scary and hard, you have to do everything they tell you to do. :)

I'm going to a theropist for the 1st time tomarrow. I'm so scared. This post really made me feel better, thank you so much for sharing your positivity. You're like my hero of the day :).. i'v been battling anxiety for 12 years and i'm ready to take control of my life, only problem the set backs are taking a toll on me. Thank you again for your insperation, maybe we can chat sometime..

Alithinker: Sorry, I haven't been on this in such a long time!!! I got carried away with life. Anywho... I'm sorry you're sad!!!! :ummm, I'm actually in a hurry! I PROMISE I'll get back to you!!!

Xinthescene: I'm sorry. I wasn't ignoring you!! I haven't been on EP in such a long time!! I just got carried away with living my life. But my first assignment... hmm... I think it was to ask for phone numbers from the girls in my dorm. This was so I could get myself to be friendly. It felt very scary and awkward for me because I was thinking they must have thought I was weird. Especially since the first semester I was a hermit and didn't make friends with any of the girls there. Then all of a sudden I was talking to them. But honestly, it was worth the risk. And I'm pretty sure they weren't thinking bad stuff about me. It was good practice. These little assignments made me get used to being social when it felt so uncomfortable and it got easier and easier the more uncomfortable things I had to do. And even today, I still use many of the skills my therapist taught me. :)

Facing feared situations and doing fearful work has'nt worked for me...Its making my fears and embarassment worse....Why do i feel so..?????Pls answer....<br />
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Also if i go and try to talk to a person, i will star thinking about the way i performed and feel that i did it horribly and the person has already understood that i am anxious or in some way different or peculiar than the usual guys...<br />
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Did you also hav that feeling...???How to overcome thinking and analysing my behaviour too much in mind..???Pls answer

Hey, The hard work of having those assignments was most likely the best treatment, but did the medications for the social anxiety help at all. Also did you use them while work on those tasks? I just want to know if the medications help and continue helping. <br />
Thanks- Alexander

Hi. I suffer from sever social anxiety. I've been suffering for years, and my life just keeps getting worse. (I'm a guy by the way). And now I'm very depressed, and sometimes even suicidal. <br />
But my question for you is this: I tried therapy very much, and I'm sick of it. However, I have just recently started medication. So is medication gonna work? And by the way: why did you stop medication? Didn't you get better using it? Why did you bother seeing a therapist?

Hi. I suffer from sever social anxiety. I've been suffering for years, and my life just keeps getting worse. (I'm a guy by the way). And now I'm very depressed, and sometimes even suicidal. <br />
But my question for you is this: I tried therapy very much, and I'm sick of it. However, I have just recently started medication. So is medication gonna work? And by the way: why did you stop medication? Didn't you get better using it? Why did you bother seeing a therapist?

:( please answer...

Awesome. Man. I'm proud of you and I really hope I can beat this. I've been trying by myself and Ive been doing a bit better but it's not where I want to be. Ugh. What was your first assignment she made you do to get out of your shell?

Minnie, it is so interesting that you could overcome this trouble. I used to have the same trouble and it was decreased but I still feel having my social anxiety back in some occasions or in particular situation and I can't tell the reason.

you go girl! :)

Hi Minnie, I think your story pretty much shows the jist of how people with SA can recover, CBT and basically challenging negative behaviours and assumptions.<br />
<br />
i had the same recovery experience as you did, but i eventually got banned from therapy because i couldn't pay what i owed my therapist, who became my mentor, a brilliant women and the best and only social anxiety specialist in South Africa. - she was like yoda and i was like anniken. <br />
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Without the long story, she helped me get to where i am today, and for that i'm grateful. She helped me establish goals, but now i hafto reach what's left of them on my own.<br />
<br />
I'm sad because i could've reached them alot sooner with her help. Now i hafto do it all on my own. I'm 13 going on 26 and there is alot of emotional growing up to do and experiences to have to learn life/social skills.<br />
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i only hope i'm not too old before i reach my goals as i've always been late for most of the important things in life.

Thank you so much aurora for believing in me! Thank you so much! You are such a beautiful person and a good friend.

I bet you will sister! You are a true inspiration :) Im so proud of you :)

Thank you! :) I'm going to help lots of people, you watch!

You know I love your story Minnie! Shine on!!!

I am so proud of you. I am also so envious of you too. If you have time and wanna chat I would be very interested in knowing more and learning from you. I have already taken a lot of the steps you are talking about, but I haven't been able to completely get out of my rut. I have came a very very long way from where I was a year ago, but I've got a lot of work a head of me too. My biggest problem is I feel like I can't/don't relate to the people around me. Some of them I think it is just because we don't have much in common. But others I know I should be able to relate to, but I let my SA get in the way. Send me a message sometime if you are interested in chatting more. Your story is inspiring!!!

I just want to add that I have so many friends now. :) Like everyone in my hall is so proud of me. So proud. Everyone is. It's not easy to change a shy person, you know. But it is possible and you're life CAN be beautiful and amazing. I PROMISE. My little cousin who is a year younger than me also had social anxiety disorder and depression. She got help too and now she has so many friends in high school. It is absolutely amazing. Please don't doubt yourself. Life CAN be amazing. You CAN have ANYTHING you want. :) I promise that. I KNOW it.