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Anyone going to college with this shit?


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I think about going to school and I flip my shit. I really panic, like I know I'd fuck it up because I'd be so nervous about all the people around me.

I kinda hate having a lot of people around me, I kind of panic and can't focus well on even something simple, like pulling mac and cheese off the shelf at the store and putting it in the cart.

So, does anyone with Social Phobia attend a college and do well? If so, how do you do it?

I'm 23, and I really want to go to school, but I'm scared shitless of it, the people seems to be the biggest issue, though there are more.

I don't know, just wanted some input from anyone who has been there done that and all that shit.

Thanks a lot.

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THE EMPEROR

I managed/manage by going to intensive therapy. I recently went back to school to enhance my degree with further training, and so far it's going well. I have been an active, willing participant in therapy for much of the past year, and I'm also on meds. Both help me such a great deal I no longer really see myself as having social phobia or as being socially anxious. Therapy in particular has taught me to be much less self-centered and focused on myself and also much less fearful of judgment...these things are huge factors in social phobia. another of my issues was a strong fear of attack/assault (I have PTSD) and feeling like if something like that happened I couldn't protect myself. The result of intensive therapy is that I am afraid of people less and much more confident about myself, both in self esteem and feeling positive that I can protect myself.

my next step is a DBT group which I am joining in March or even as early as next month if my psychosis issues get smoothed out then.

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If you are going for a specific degree in mind, you may be able to do some of it online. Minimizing the in person classes might help with some of the overwhelming anxiety, although you probably ought to take some.... for the practice.

I had panic attacks while in school (since gone) I learned to sit my way through them. I've even had a panic attack while running sessions and got through it with nobody noticing (those days are over thank GOODNESS).

Point is, it can be done. Continuing therapy and meds would probably be a good thig.

Anna

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Thanks, Anna. I'd really like to go, but in the past I've suffered A LOT in school. I hate being this way and find it rather pathetic, but I don't know what to do.

T-doc insisted that I take online courses and I kinda said that I'd like to get to the point where I can actually sit in a classroom with other people and take classes that way, I suppose it's a point of pride, and also for practice.

But when I think about it, college really isn't a time to "practice" I need to do WELL in college, and at this specific point in time, I cannot imagine going without having anxiety over every little sound some other person makes, wondering what the fuck people think of the back of my head, or how fidgety I am, or whatever the fuck would happen. The panic attacks, those two. I don't think, right now, I could focus in a classroom, so I guess if I want to get on with this college shit soon, I ought to start with the online courses first. I don't think I could handle a panic attack well enough for anyone not to notice SOMETING is wrong. I wish though, I used to be able to. Heh, funny how that shit changes.

Thanks a lot for the input, this is a major issue with me because I'd like to learn, really, and maybe get into social work or something of that nature, so I don't know, I just want to get started. I'm 23 now, it will take an eternity to finish, but I'd like to go.

This sucks, but at least I can do SOMETHING, right? Ugh, I don't know.

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Could you at first take courses that are not towards an actual degree, but just to get you used to being around other students, and to get you into the habit of participating? Small classes, where you could approach the teacher after class for extra help, if you are too shy to speak up in front of others? You don't have to love the other students, you just have to be engaged enough to follow the material.

OR, would a large lecture, where actual interaction with other students is at a minimum, be better for you? Ironically, the HUGE classes I took were the most isolating, because everyone was doing their own thing. I took a Shakespeare class with 1200 people in it, and cannot remember a single interaction with another student.

You could also get an AA as a type of degree, and then get a BA in a totally unrelated field, so it *would* kind of be like practice. It will never hurt you to have more than one degree.

Sorry if I am being utterly clueless.

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I'm sorry I didn't see this thread sooner.

Online schooling is the only reason I've been able to make it through the classes that I did. It's a great thing to research. Around me the state schools offer a lot of online courses and it's a great way to start to get into schooling.

Personally I think that just throwing yourself into a total traditional college environment could be kind of stressful.

If you've got a community college or something nearby you can try taking an online course there. Being a student (even an internet student) usually also gives you access to the different happening on campus. So for exampe, if you wanted to try to get more exposure in social situations, you could join a club, see a play or concert (if they have a music or drama program), go to a game (if they have a sports team you might be interested in) or just check out any random on campus activities. It would give you the practice aspect without hurting your grades plus if you find that being on campus is too much for you then you can stop and just work on your online course. If you can slowly break yourself into being more comfortable on campus you wil stil have the option of trying out taking a class in an actua classroom.

All states are different so I don't know if this would be a viable option for you but NY offers a few 2-4 year degree programs that can be completed entirely online.

Honesty, I think that online school is a wonderful thing with some of us that have MI.

If you've got any kind of interest with the internet learning thing and have any questions, feel free to PM me. I've taken a lot of courses online and really enjoyed them.

~ May

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  • 2 weeks later...

I go to college and work and have bad paranoia. I think what makes me do it is 1. I hate to be doing nothing all day, I feel worthless, and 2. I know that despite my illness, I need to get up and get out and live my life like an adult. I'm almost 21 but am still living at home. I can get away with it now since I'm going to community college, but I am TERRIFIED to leave my home permanently. I'm too fearful. School is okay though, you can sit in the back close to a door. It's not easy, but it's do-able.

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I was just reading last night that even really good law schools are staring to accommodate their MI students by taping lectures, and allowing them to view them online. This would have totally rocked for me, because I had trouble getting up, but I could have watched the lectures in the afternoon or early evening, when I was more with it.

If ABA certified law schools are doing it, I am sure you can do a lot of undergraduate work online. I do think it would be important to experience one or two courses where you are physically present, just because it might push your boundaries a bit. But even in those classes, you can always ask for them to tape lectures, or have someone else take notes so, you have a backup for if you start freaking out in class.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I dropped out of nursing school because my social anxiety and just anxiety in general got so bad I started to self injure. It was just a way for me to not cry in front of a class of people basically, but it was horrible.

So two years later and I just applied to school again. Not nursing, because one of the reasons I had such a hard time with it was the clinical skills class required our exams to basically be and acted out scenes in front of the class and a few teachers (!!!). Obviously that wasn't happening.

So instead, I had applied for a baking and pastry arts management course. I love to bake and I actually would come home from my bad nursing school days and bake to calm down, lol. I am still really nervous, but it think knowing that this just WON'T be set up like that, and that the school already knows me and my problems- I know that disability services will have to help me. Now if anything comes up I have major trouble with, they will set things up to help me using other options.

I have found the more I isolate myself, the worse my social anxiety gets, so I have to really work on it and force myself to do things. So if I am having a particularly hard day, I will force myself to say, walk down a main, crowded, road instead of taking all the back streets like I normally would. I think school is the same, but we do need extra help to get through some stuff, but that is why they have disability services set up at schools anyway. ;)

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This may be a moot point since it's difficult for you to attend class at all.. but when I was at UNF, I registered with the Disability office & was able to take tests by myself in a quite room away from it all. That could help to keep the anxiety from affecting your grade. The office also offered free note-taking done by someone else that would sit in class with you. If you could do that without attending, I have no idea.

Also, a large majority of my teachers did their lectures with powerpoint. Most didn't make the file accessible, but it doesn't seem a reach that an exception could be made.

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Thanks you guys. I've heard about the disability services, they probably have them at the local school. I wish I was at a point where I didn't need them, but it doesn't really sound like a cop-out, it sounds like it would be something to help me get through it all, so maybe I'll look into that or online courses, it's still scary!

I am isolated most of the time. I try once a week or so to socialize, and I manage, usually. Sometimes, depneding on mood and whatnot, it's impossible though.

I appreciate all the advice, sorry I haven't updated, there just wasn't anything to say. I could have said:

"still scared shitless to go to school and have made no move to do so whatsoever at this point, but I AM taking an unrelated Spanish course online so I can learn something" Yay me, fuck.

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Huh, I wish I would have noticed this before.

I had social anxiety that didn't resolve until I was well out of school. I wasn't diagnosed, and I suffered through a lot of things because I didn't seek help. I'd have panic attacks while giving speeches in front of classes.I used to dissociate in the grocery store because there were so many people around. My blood pressure would get so high at the doctor's office due to being in panic mode, I'd get sent in for various lab work. You get the idea.

I found that a lot of teachers are actually willing to be accommodating if you have a social anxiety diagnosis. They might be kind enough to not put you on the spot or have you do speeches. Depends on the teacher, of course. Getting in touch with disability services is a good idea.

Like it's been said, the largest classes are the most isolating. There is no interaction at all. The person next to you might say hi once in a while, if they aren't busy taking notes or sleeping. The small-small classes weren't bad because you got to know one another and the teacher. So it was like everyone was friends. The classes that were in the middle were the worst. When I got to the university (started at a community college), I started seeing some of the same people over and over because we had the same major. I'd try to pair up with those people during group work. A lot of times they were nice enough to be the speaker for the group.

I don't know. I managed, and I got my degree. After a lot of therapy and finding medication that worked, I've gotten better. And a lot of practice. Now I speak in front of groups at least three times a week. It's possible to get through it. It takes time...

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Oh, sorry! I didn't see this! Thank you so much for replying, rowen. You all have given me some kind of hope that this is possible. I really appreciate hearing your stories and how you got through. I hope I can do as well as you all did, probably not, but maybe I'll try.

Again, thanks a bunch!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I did it by wanting to be employed badly enough to go through the horror of socializing. Srsly, it was awful, but in the end, socializing is like one of those things where "the more you do it the easier it gets".

At 23 I was so socially fucked up that I couldn't even respond if someone talked to me. I couldn't bring myself to even open my mouth and say "hello" or "good afternoon".

At 27, now, I am employed gainfully and I can socialize well enough to get by. I can easily say "hello" and I can say "good afternoon" and sometimes I can even have pretty good casual/small talk type conversations.

For me, going to school was the necessary step involved in getting a job. I did it so I could get a decent paying job, and I'm glad I did, because now my social phobia is ten times better and I have a marketable skill. Two birds one stone.

You just have to tell yourself: "it sucks now, but it will suck less if I do it often enough". After awhile, you get used to the feeling of being near people and having to talk to them. It becomes a lot less intense and less anxiety provoking when you do it every day. Ain't no cure for it but exposure, IMO. If you have an underlying mood disorder, fixing that to a tolerable-ish level is also essential to being able to make any progress with the social stuff.

If I take a few days off of work, the social shit is way way worse.

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I did it by wanting to be employed badly enough to go through the horror of socializing. Srsly, it was awful, but in the end, socializing is like one of those things where "the more you do it the easier it gets".

At 23 I was so socially fucked up that I couldn't even respond if someone talked to me. I couldn't bring myself to even open my mouth and say "hello" or "good afternoon".

At 27, now, I am employed gainfully and I can socialize well enough to get by. I can easily say "hello" and I can say "good afternoon" and sometimes I can even have pretty good casual/small talk type conversations.

For me, going to school was the necessary step involved in getting a job. I did it so I could get a decent paying job, and I'm glad I did, because now my social phobia is ten times better and I have a marketable skill. Two birds one stone.

You just have to tell yourself: "it sucks now, but it will suck less if I do it often enough". After awhile, you get used to the feeling of being near people and having to talk to them. It becomes a lot less intense and less anxiety provoking when you do it every day. Ain't no cure for it but exposure, IMO. If you have an underlying mood disorder, fixing that to a tolerable-ish level is also essential to being able to make any progress with the social stuff.

If I take a few days off of work, the social shit is way way worse.

That kinda sounds like "suck it up and it will go away".

Is that what you meant?

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I don't know. I think OW is partially right because my t-doc agrees that exposure is the only way I'm really going to get over the shit, but I hate exposure, even to my friends, it's hetting worse with the mood stuff, I've even started to lie to get out of doing things with my friends and I HATE lying, it makes me feel like a horrible person.

I don't think I'll ever be able to do it. I'll just have to be pathetic the rest of my life. It's unfortunate, but probably true. I want to do something with myself very badly, but I'm a fucking trainwreck right now and can't imagine that happening. Thanks to everyone for all the advice though, I wish I could be more positive really, I hate this side of me. Ugh.

ETA: I doubt somehow that STARTING the exposure AT school is the greatest idea either, I'd probably flunk out. So I don't know what to do, I plan on trying to go to "mommy and me" shit to get me and the little one both a little more socialization.

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i went. granted it took about ten years to finish, but i went. i got lots of f's for not going to class (so many people) so it took awhile. didn't register w/the disibility office until the second to last semester...didn't even know they existed. i was in pretty intensive therapy the whole time i was in college so i'm sure that helped...but all this said, i wasn't nearly as bad off then as i am now.

i really want to get my masters but know that i can't...at least right now. it sucks. taking online courses is out of the question too because without structure (of a teacher, etc), i know i wouldn't do it. add.

life's hard.

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That kinda sounds like "suck it up and it will go away".

Is that what you meant?

No I meant to say to stop fearing the fear... because the only way to get anywhere with social anxiety is by exposure.

Social anxiety is considered very treatable and the treatment is exposure, gradually working on it by doing more and more socially to challenge yourself until you lose that conditioned fear/aversion / inability to do anything socially.

As long as you are "fearing the fear" and catering to it, by avoiding it, social anxiety will get worse and worse.

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I don't know. I think OW is partially right because my t-doc agrees that exposure is the only way I'm really going to get over the shit, but I hate exposure, even to my friends, it's hetting worse with the mood stuff, I've even started to lie to get out of doing things with my friends and I HATE lying, it makes me feel like a horrible person.

I don't think I'll ever be able to do it. I'll just have to be pathetic the rest of my life. It's unfortunate, but probably true. I want to do something with myself very badly, but I'm a fucking trainwreck right now and can't imagine that happening. Thanks to everyone for all the advice though, I wish I could be more positive really, I hate this side of me. Ugh.

ETA: I doubt somehow that STARTING the exposure AT school is the greatest idea either, I'd probably flunk out. So I don't know what to do, I plan on trying to go to "mommy and me" shit to get me and the little one both a little more socialization.

Emporer if you are presently in a mood episode, you need to work on that first before you can make much progress with the social stuff. Maslows heirarchy and what not. Mood episodes are like a basic foundation need (food shelter safety etc) whereas social phobia is more of a higher level problem (affection social relationships self actualization). You can't work on your social stuff until you're only mildly depressed or dysthmic, if you are moderately depressed or worse you won't be able to work on it much.

Also, if your social stuff is worsening now it might just be a temporary sign of your worsening depression. True social phobia is there regardless of mood state, if it is worsening with your depression then it is just a symptom of depression.

If you have social phobia that is moderate or worse, to the point where you are avoiding going outside and socializing because of it, it's important to start gradually. Take ONE class, at night, for example. Going out at night is easier than going out in the day. One class is easier than several. WHen you get more used to the feeling of being near people, you can attempt more and more.

I started out by walking down the block. Then, I went to the store. Then I got a job close to the house which did not require being near people other than coworkers. Then I got a job near customers. Then I went to school. Etc.

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