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Hi, it's taken a LOT of, I don't know, courage, to post here but I'm forcing myself to now because I really have no other option.

I'm not sure if I'm writing the right thing but I'm gonna do it anyway.. I'm 17 (female) and I really need some help. I don't know what to do. Where to start... Well, I think I have some kind of social anxiety disorder. I can't go out of the house. As in, I can only manage to walk out the door if I think it's extremely necessary and even then I have to psychologically prepare myself to do so (I can't really explain it, but I have to plan things LONG in advance, and organise everything, go over what I'm going to do, how I'm going to walk, what to do if something bad happens etc). I go to school (sixth form college) 5 days a week and I absolutely detest it. I can barely get out of bed in the morning, dreading the day ahead of me. I feel physically sick at the thought of having to walk out the door, walk to school (and I live literally the street down from school, it's a very short walk), walk past the other students into class, sitting through lessons before running back to my safe home. And don't even get me started on assembly. Being in a room with 200 people. I have seriously considered quitting school many times, but my parents would definitely not let me, plus I don't think I could take the humiliation of my peers discussing how pathetic I was dropping out (not that I'm popular or anything- I doubt and hope 98% of them even know I exist). I NEVER speak out in class, I literally shake while sitting listening to my teacher (I try to hide it but I think the person next to me notices). It's a constant battle.

If it weren't for school, I would not leave the house at all. I don't go out with my friends (I have two close friends, I have no contact with anyone else, even if someone, for whatever bizarre reason, says 'hi' passing me in the corridor). I'm constantly afraid that if I'm walking on the street, or wherever, all of a sudden someone will yell out, pointing at me, "What do you think you are doing? How dare you walk amongst us. How dare you breathe the same air as us." Etc etc. I'm also afraid that people will think I'm too ugly and fat (I will mention here that I am the healthy weight for my height, but I think I am too fat) to walk the streets amongst normal people. Sometimes, on the RARE occasion that my friend asks me to do something with her, I agree but spend the next week (or however long ahead it is planned for) worrying about it, going over it in my head, and, just when I think I can do it, I last minute say I can't go, which is frustrating for me and my friend. I am just so terrified of what people think of me. I know that that's incredibly vain and self-centered, and I know- how dare I even THINK that people actually care about me, a random stranger on the street? But yet I still worry.

There is also one other thing you probably should know- a few years ago I was very close to committing suicide. I gave most of my possessions away to my best friend, and was almost mute (I barely talk anyway). Then the practice exams began (Christmastime) and I was careless (I am usually punctual and a generally 'good' student) and I showed up late, forgot my materials, and literally sat in the exam hall colouring in the exam paper and writing nonsensical words. In one exam I wrote an open letter to one of my teachers about how much I hated them. After this, my head of year arranged a meeting with myself and my parents to ask me what was wrong. I didn't talk so they just left me. However, my mother took me to a neurologist to see if my brain was working properly (yes really) and it said it was fine I believe. But then the doctor told us that I was depressed. My mum asked for medication for me but he refused (said I was too young) and told me to see a therapist. On the car journey home (this hospital experience was HORRIFIC for me by the way) my mum said she didn't believe me or the doctor and I was fine, I just need to 'get out more.' So all was forgotten to everyone except me.

So the reason I'm posting this now is because I honestly have no idea what to do. I don't know what's wrong with me, and I can't talk to anyone because I simply CAN'T, I cannot physically do it, and if I did, no one would believe me. So does anyone have any thoughts on what I should do, or what I might have? Anything?

I'm so sorry this is SO LONG, I tried to include as much as I could. Plus I've never spoke about anything like this with anyone ever, so this is kind of like a "dear diary.." situation. Congratulations if you actually read any of this, I'm not expecting any replies..

PS I'm not actually a goth.. If anyone watches South Park, I used to have hair similar to the "Red Goth Kid"..

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So, I'm pretty sure you aren't in the US, but I don't know a lot about the schools/colleges/universities outside of the US so bear with me.

Is there any kind of health center or health resource center at your school? Some place to go to get any kind of information if you get sick?

I *think* college=highschool but I'm a little fuzzy on that because it depends on the country.

If there IS such a resource at your school, I really recommend you print out your post, and try to make it to that place and get an appointment with someone, and show them the post.

If not, I'm not sure where to go from there quite yet.

I CAN however, try to find you something like breathing/calming exercises if that's something you would be interested in that maybe you can use in class.

Would that be something you might like to try in the meantime?

Has there been any other attempt to talk to your mother about this?

Do you feel it might be easier to write a letter to her?

Have you tried writing a letter?

Your grades must be suffering, in the very least the participation portion but likely other parts as well and you sound miserable.

I'm sorry you feel so cruddy.

I have social anxiety and it used to be really really really bad. I didn't leave the house barely at all.

It has improved a lot, though.

Therapy and meds have helped, as have things that have improved my self esteem.

Write back ok?


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I'm really glad that you found us and decided to post - sharing things like this can be hard at the best of times, but with social anxiety to boot, well, it takes a lot of guts.

I agree with what Luna said.

Is there any guidance counselor or anything at your school? If not, is there any teacher you can trust to talk to about this? The reason I'm asking is because people like that sometimes know of places where you can go for help without involving your parents.

I know that talking to other people, especially people at your school, can be hell at the best of times, and if you have social anxiety it can feel impossible. If you can't talk at all, can you write a letter or a note explaining what you need to say?

Do you think that there is absolutely no point in talking to your mother again, or is there a chance that she might eventually be willing to help you?

I suffered with terrible social anxiety when I was in high school (14-18). I had a list of teachers, students I would hide from and if I saw them I would have to run into a stairwell. Also I used to hide in the stairwell and peek out to see if anyone was outside and not be able to leave the stairwell until it was quieter. Other stuff too. Anyway, just wanted to say that there are a lot of us here that can relate.

I hope that you post again and keep talking to us, no matter what you decide to do. As Luna said, there are self help books and techniques out there that you can try that might help a bit. And everyone here is very friendly and supportive.

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I was also thinking that writing out what you're going through and taking it to a counsellor might help....that way you wouldn't have to talk if you weren't comfortable. Do you think a doctor would be comfortable prescribing you medication now? Maybe you could do that along with therapy? I know it must be very difficult to get that kind of thing organized and go do it though.

I'm glad you posted, welcome to the forum! Looking forward to seeing you here ;)

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I have social anxiety and NO self esteeem, you sound a lot like the things I think.

I think Luna's advice was pretty good. I'd love to give you more, but the best things have already been said.

My therapist and i have found that it is helpful to be EXPOSED to social situations in order to get over this.

But I barely leave the house anyway. I'm still afraid.

Heh, I love your avatar! I dye my hair too, it's blue right now.

Welcome to CB, I hope I see you around too! It was really hard for me to post at first as well, but most people here are helpful and nice. It's an awesome place. Start up a blog if you have posting anxiety!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi there - I'm new to the board too and from what you wrote I felt like I was reading so much of my current life and even more of when I was your age. I know what it is like to be SO scared all the time and not really understand why. I too can barely make it out of the house and have times in my life when I wasn't able to. I got through school years and even started a professional life but how I did it is a little hard to explain. Mostly, I faked it. I know that sounds weird, but I had a very unreasonable (that is one major understatement) family life that gave me no support, yet expected me to do a lot. I didn't realize when I was your age how messed up my family life was - how would I know? - it was what was around me every day and I didn't really know anything different. I am not trying to guess at your life outside of you - but I suspect there may be more going on than you really want to look at??? That's not very helpful is it? Sorry. I just know to the outside world even today - most people have no clue about the level of fear I am living with everyday. I became a master at masking it all. This is not a suggestion because in the long run I don't think it did me much good, well I guess I did survive it. Is there anyone you trust and can talk to? Just because a dr says your brain is working fine doesn't mean you aren't still suffering. I can understand your mom's reluctance to put you on meds because of your age, but she needs to understand that living with this kind of stress is every bit a threat to you. You need to see someone who specializes in psychiatry and hopefully start some therapy. I know that probably scares the hell out of you - but the sooner you start, the sooner you can hopefully get this fear in check. I wish I could fix it all for you and make the world less scary. You did a good thing by reaching out for help here and getting some support. Please keep in touch. I'll listen.

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Oops, I just read your post again and realized it wasn't your mother, but the dr who didn't want you to start on meds. Have your mom get you into therapy and have another evaluation from a different doctor. I know your mom probably thinks this is just a "phase" but you need some relief. Talk to her and get yourself in the door to someone who can help you. There is someone who can help. It will take time, but it will get better.

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The only thing I can add to the sage advice already given is that if you are put on meds, please do not forget to take them.

If its an AD, some of them have short half lives which means you feel even crappier if you miss a dose. That's possibly one of the reasons that so many ADs have warnings that they can cause suicide in teens. That may be why the doctor doesn't want to medicate you...but sounds like you do need some help.


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