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The social anxiety friend meeting thread! Watch

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    (Original post by AmyBurge)
    Hey! I am self studying A-level psychology what about you?
    I did think about psychology and sociology as well as a few others. In the end though decided to go for History Maths and Eng Litt. As well as studying art on my own.
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    #5

    (Original post by moutonfou)
    I really feel for you. Please don't lose hope. I was in your position at your age. They were so mean to me at school and I had come to think that's just how people were. I struggled to make friends with new people, even if they were nice, because I was so sure they wouldn't like me anyway that I just gave up. I struggled to stick at jobs, because if they asked me to do something a bit differently, I would hear "you're rubbish", or if I heard somebody laughing nearby, I would be sure it was me they were laughing at.

    But I've stuck at it, and now I have a nice job, with some nice people, and I can talk to people I don't know and not feel like crap, and when I see bullies from school in my supermarket I think "*** you. You don't matter to me anymore." Because they really don't.

    School is a tiny, awful little bubble where for some reason people act like animals, forming packs and kicking the weakest out of the pack. And you come to think that's normal, but it's not. But thankfully school is where it ends. You're 17, you never have to go back there. I think you should perhaps get a part-time job, volunteer, or perhaps try an evening course at college, where there are likely to be more adults than people your own age. Maybe set yourself a target to stick it out for a certain amount of time - even just a month - and promise yourself some sort of nice reward for doing so. Get somebody you trust - a parent, etc. - to help you stick at it.

    Yes, it will be awful, because if you're anything like me, school has taught you to instinctively feel threatened and unsafe in new situations (or just generally) - and what's the response to feeling threatened? To run away! I quit so many jobs. When I had my first jobs I felt terrified and breathless, constantly - even though all I was 'threatened' with was having to make a bit of small talk with my colleagues! But you don't need to feel threatened anymore. I promise you that most adults are lovely, accepting, respectful people - and if they aren't, people generally don't like them. In the adult world, nice people get ahead. Just look at how many leading comedians, writers, actors etc were bullied at school! You have an opportunity to be part of that now. Start slowly - lord knows when I started my first job I was bricking it and could barely talk to anybody! But you'll grow and get better. You'll learn to trust people again. As long as you make sure to smile, people will realise that you're quiet and might need some encouragement. Nobody will judge you or hate you for it.

    I know if you're anything like me it seems like a mountain to climb. But I promise you if you manage to stick out a college course or job for long enough, you will see that it's so different to school. You don't need to be that scared person anymore.

    Think of your situation as being like toothache. Do you want to sit around in pain because you're scared the filling will hurt, even though the filling could make the pain better?

    Think of a goal which scares you. Completing an evening course, sticking at a voluntary post for a month, etc. Call it your 'filling'. Yes, it's going to be hard and you might want to quit just for the instant relief, but you'll be back where you started. If you stick it out, however, you might find that it doesn't hurt anymore.

    Hopefully this thread can continue as I'm still by no means perfect with myself - I still worry every day about something or other - and I think it's great to have a place to vent and help others - and just simply to feel not alone.
    Thank you so much for replying to my post, honestly :). My only problem regarding seeing people I know is that I know they will say something horrible to me no matter where I am. I've seen one or two particularly nasty people halfway across the country (by pure coincidence) and being in a non-school environment hasn't stopped them from being mean to me. I still don't think I'll ever be able to stay where I live now because it's not like I live in a big city or anywhere where it'd be unlikely to see anyone I know, if that makes sense.

    I have actually considered doing a BTEC course in acting - obviously not starting next month, but hopefully starting next September. My only problem with it is by that point I'll be 18 - i.e. 2 years older than most of the people also doing the course, which I find very intimidating. The bullying at school wasn't just by my peers, as there were some people in both older and younger years who picked on me. Also, there were some extremely rude people in my GCSE Drama group who ruined the entire course for me. I know it'll be different as hopefully there'll only be a select group of us who won't treat Drama/acting as a doss-about lesson, but it worries me all the same. On the same note, I'm kind of afraid of the course teachers themselves. I didn't like most of the teachers at school - most were polite to you, but I think most of them labelled me as shy and just thought I was weird as a result, so there's another group of people I'm afraid of. On a more positive note, I know colleges have policies on giving extra support to students with mental health conditions - so I can tell the staff at whatever college I go to about finding socialising very difficult, which was something I couldn't do at school.

    In the meantime, I did find a distance learning proofreading course online, which is extremely boring and unexciting, I know, but I'm good at correcting people and spelling and grammar has always been ma tassé de thé as it were, so I'll give it a shot. My concern there is that I've now got a year of doing nothing with a course that'll probably take me 5 months at most.

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply to me, it's nice to hear advice from someone other than CAMHS, lol. :)
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    Hello! I saw this thread a while ago and read every post, and wanted to post myself, but put it off due to anxiety. I'm trying again now, though! Sorry about the length; I've bolded some bits so you can just skim it!

    I'm 26, and have been suffering from social anxiety for years. I've always been shy, nervous, and sensitive, though it became a severe condition following my first panic attack which, unfortunately, was right at the end of my final year of school. To make things even worse, with my anxiety consuming me, my family and I moved country - I was born in the UK but spent my teenage years in Australia, then moved back to the UK when I was about 18 - which meant that I lost connections with everyone and everything I knew.

    I'd been making online games in my spare time, and the few I'd released were well-received; I had fans basically begging me to make more games, so I thought I should stick at it as a job as it would allow me to work from home rather than interacting with scary humans in the real world!

    Years have passed since then, and sadly I'm still very much in a similar position. I saw a therapist for the first time a couple of years ago, and after a year of CBT, I'd developed enough confidence to go to university to get a degree at long last.

    I spent the last year there and made no friends. Not a one. It was miserable. I don't drink, you see, and I can't stand the partying/clubbing scene at all (to the point where I've literally never been to either). I stayed in the student halls, but I specifically requested a 'quiet' section, and was put together with international students and we all just avoided one another. I used to wait until the kitchen was free before getting something to eat, that kind of thing.
    I didn't get along with my coursemates, either... I did a Games Art course, so we were all nerdy artists, which should have made friend-making easy... But they all seemed so much more socially savvy and experienced than I've ever been, and all they talked about were the parties they'd all been to together... while I sat quietly alone.

    It's largely my fault, though; I do something that someone else here already mentioned, which is that I basically feel I'll have nothing in common with people, which makes me just want to avoid them completely. It feels as if everyone is happy in warm, cosy houses with other people, talking about which bed is the comfiest and what's on the telly and such, while I'm out wandering the streets, talking about objects I can take shelter from the rain under, or which berries I can forage to survive. Or something. Like we live in different worlds.

    I actually made efforts to see if others were in a similar position. I sent out a mass email over the university's intranet thing asking anyone if they were shy, didn't drink, etc, and it got a few replies... but ultimately nothing much came of it. I also saw one of the counsellors, and we got together a group for 'shy' people... which only attracted me and two others, who were, uh, alright, but we didn't exactly become friends or anything.

    I've spent the holidays sitting in my bedroom in my parents' house, feeling trapped and miserable, and now the second year approaches, but I don't have anywhere to live because I had no friends to find accommodation with, and the idea of living with a bunch of 'normal' strangers, typical students, terrifies me completely. I don't know what to do, and it's probably too late now anyway. Do I even want to go back to university to endure loneliness and frustration again? I excelled at the work, but a degree is meaningless in the art field anyway - it's the portfolio that matters - so staying for the full three years is not crucial to secure a good future in my field of interest. Especially since I've already had some success as an independent games developer and want to carry on with that.

    It's tough to concentrate each day, though, as currently I have zero friends, I never go anywhere, have no way of meeting people at all... I really wish there was somewhere I could *go* to find others like me. If there was, then I'd go there eagerly, tomorrow! Instead, I just spend my time cringing at fragments of past conversations I've had, going slowly mad!

    I do have something to offer that I hope might be of some interest or even help to people, though!
    I don't use Facebook, you see, because it seems to be all about showing off your Life, and I don't have one. I do however wish there was a social network of sorts for people I could actually relate to.
    So I made one!
    I called it 'Soultome', as it's designed to be about writing what's on your mind or in your heart rather than what *things* you've been *doing*. Even people who sit inside alone all day have thoughts to share! It's specifically for shy, sensitive sorts to support and sympathise with eachother; bullying and insensitivity are not tolerated at all.

    Venting there helps me a lot, and I've met some interesting people - often with similar issues - through it, though I've had difficulty promoting it due to my own anxiety. Perhaps someone here might get something out of it, though? You can find it at http://soultome.alorafane.com, if you are interested! I'd love to see it grow into something that could really help people get out of this awful situation, myself included!
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    (Original post by Pseudolonewolf)
    I used to wait until the kitchen was free before getting something to eat, that kind of thing.
    Basically my entire time at uni summed up lol.

    A lot of what you've said rings true for me. Unfortunately I don't have many good suggestions - I still look back on uni with regret, because I didn't even really try to reach out to people like you did - I just accepted my lot and waited (largely in my room) until it was over! Only the fact I needed a degree to do the job I wanted to do kept me there.

    On the other hand, I do like to think of the positives. I didn't spend £50+ on booze and taxis every week, so didn't finish uni overdrawn, and I whilst I by no means studied 24/7 (although everybody thought I did - why people presume introverts must be self-disciplined and don't waste hours procrastinating on games I'll never know! ), there was no social life to get in the way of my uni work so I did quite well. Small silver linings!

    I would motivate yourself by thinking of the positives: you're going to have a degree, which will always be with you giving you a little boost whatever you decide to get into; the government's basically paying you not to have a job for three years (yay, avoidance tactics!), and you've clearly got enough interests and hobbies to absorb your attention. I mean 200,000+ hits on your website - you must be really proud!

    I like to think introverts have a great quality: conviction. We would rather be alone doing something we enjoy than in company doing something we're not enjoying. That means that despite our worries and anxieties, we're actually pretty happy people. We're not dependent on others for enjoyment, we know how to entertain ourselves, we know what we like and what we don't like, and we don't sacrifice our happiness to feel accepted. Yes, the social pressure to have lots of friends and, more depressingly, to have a job, as well as the massive anxiety caused by not feeling 'normal', get in the way of that sometimes. But we shouldn't have to feel this way just because we're a minority. So I think anything that connects people and makes us feel less abnormal is great!
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    #5

    (Original post by Pseudolonewolf)
    Venting there helps me a lot, and I've met some interesting people - often with similar issues - through it, though I've had difficulty promoting it due to my own anxiety. Perhaps someone here might get something out of it, though? You can find it at http://soultome.alorafane.com, if you are interested! I'd love to see it grow into something that could really help people get out of this awful situation, myself included!
    I can't really offer any advice apart from that I like the idea of your social network thing, and I like the inclusion of the Myers-Briggs personality types. The coding stuff (?) you must've done for it is very clever.
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    Hi everyone,

    I've only just noticed that this thread exists and I thought I would introduce myself.

    I have Asperger's Syndrome and social anxiety goes pretty much hand in hand with that. I'm much better than I use to be and I'm actually starting a medical degree this September. I love medical sciences and I enjoy interaction with patients (I did a lot of work experience) but it still makes me very anxious. I'm nowhere near as social as I would like to be. I'm not the kind of person who wants loads of friends, but I would like significantly more than I have now. I just find it so hard to go out and meet people as social situations make me anxious. I also stop myself from doing things I'd really like to do (hobbies etc) because I'm too anxious.

    Anyway, I'm rambling now. It's nice not to feel alone in this.

    xx
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    (Original post by WednesdayAddams)
    Hi everyone,

    I've only just noticed that this thread exists and I thought I would introduce myself.

    I have Asperger's Syndrome and social anxiety goes pretty much hand in hand with that. I'm much better than I use to be and I'm actually starting a medical degree this September. I love medical sciences and I enjoy interaction with patients (I did a lot of work experience) but it still makes me very anxious. I'm nowhere near as social as I would like to be. I'm not the kind of person who wants loads of friends, but I would like significantly more than I have now. I just find it so hard to go out and meet people as social situations make me anxious. I also stop myself from doing things I'd really like to do (hobbies etc) because I'm too anxious.

    Anyway, I'm rambling now. It's nice not to feel alone in this.

    xx
    Congratulations on getting into university.
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    Ugh, I'm starting a PGCE in September, and as if I'm not nervous about that enough, on the FB group for our course, everyone is talking about meeting up before the course because we will all need friends to support us throughout the year. I know it's going to be a repeat of what happened during my degree - me constantly making excuses and getting out of social events, and singling myself out.

    I feel sick about it
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    (Original post by Arketec)
    Congratulations on getting into university.
    Thank you
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    (Original post by moutonfou)
    A lot of what you've said rings true for me. Unfortunately I don't have many good suggestions - I still look back on uni with regret, because I didn't even really try to reach out to people like you did - I just accepted my lot and waited (largely in my room) until it was over! Only the fact I needed a degree to do the job I wanted to do kept me there.
    While I wouldn't wish my university experience on anyone, really, it is always nice to know I'm not the only one who went through it! I wish it were easier to find other people who were hiding away, though, as I'd rather hide away together with someone I could relate to than be around 'normal' people!

    The fact that I really don't need a degree in my field is what makes me so hesitant about returning; we've basically been told that employers don't even *look* at any degree you might or might not have in art fields and the gaming industry, just the portfolio, and I'm more interested in remaining my own boss anyway than becoming a hireling (which seems terrifying)... The main reason I went to university was for connections, but since the very idea of talking to other people scares me, and everyone else was so much more 'normal' than me, maybe that's a bit hopeless really.

    And I still don't have a clue what to do about accommodation even if I did decide to go back. What did you do? Did you live in the student halls for the whole time, or did you know people well enough to get a house to share with them in the second and third years? I'd be curious to hear what anyone who reads this did for accommodation, actually.

    I was never short of money and I think I got the highest marks in the class despite not doing much work, which was affirming in that it made me aware that I have some skill... but it felt empty and meaningless because while I do like being by myself, I've been alone for many years, and I suppose more than anything I'd like just one person to share my life with, or someone to form a games development team with or anything like that. I hate the thought of having a bunch of casual acquaintances to 'go out' with (ugh), and the pressure that society puts on people to behave that way, but I also don't like being entirely by myself forever either, especially since it's so difficult to excel in my line of work (games development) without connections. I'd love to find a fellow hermit I could hide away from the world with!

    I did like the whole "I can avoid the expectation of getting a Real Job!" thing though! Since the idea of sharing a workplace with well-adjusted people terrifies me! I've been making games and websites for years, getting money from that, but not much (I'm proud that my Soultome site has over 200,000 views, but I'm more proud that my games site has over 26 million!)... I do love the idea of making a living without getting a 'normal job', of carving my own path through life, but it makes it harder and harder to find people I can relate to, unfortunately. It's bizarre, actually, because I not-infrequently get fanmail from people who loved my games, saying they consider me an *inspiration*... But then here I am, sitting by myself all the time, without a friend in the world. SIGH!!!11!1

    Would you be happy spending your entire life entirely by yourself? Or do you have at least someone already, like family or a boyfriend? (I notice most girls with social anxiety have a boyfriend.) While I have no desire to adapt to the masses around me, or to seek widespread acceptance, I don't like the idea of living and dying as a lonely hermit either! But finding people who don't react to the whole anxiety and isolation thing with revulsion is really difficult!

    ACTUALLY, to anyone who's bothered to read this far... Though talking to 'normal' people is difficult, how do you feel about the idea of talking with someone who shares your anxieties? Personally I always hope to find people like that, but for all I know other anxious people might not even be interested in the idea. I suppose the fact that people are posting in this thread shows that they are interested though... maybe.
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    (Original post by Pseudolonewolf)
    While I wouldn't wish my university experience on anyone, really, it is always nice to know I'm not the only one who went through it! I wish it were easier to find other people who were hiding away, though, as I'd rather hide away together with someone I could relate to than be around 'normal' people!

    The fact that I really don't need a degree in my field is what makes me so hesitant about returning; we've basically been told that employers don't even *look* at any degree you might or might not have in art fields and the gaming industry, just the portfolio, and I'm more interested in remaining my own boss anyway than becoming a hireling (which seems terrifying)... The main reason I went to university was for connections, but since the very idea of talking to other people scares me, and everyone else was so much more 'normal' than me, maybe that's a bit hopeless really.

    And I still don't have a clue what to do about accommodation even if I did decide to go back. What did you do? Did you live in the student halls for the whole time, or did you know people well enough to get a house to share with them in the second and third years? I'd be curious to hear what anyone who reads this did for accommodation, actually.

    I was never short of money and I think I got the highest marks in the class despite not doing much work, which was affirming in that it made me aware that I have some skill... but it felt empty and meaningless because while I do like being by myself, I've been alone for many years, and I suppose more than anything I'd like just one person to share my life with, or someone to form a games development team with or anything like that. I hate the thought of having a bunch of casual acquaintances to 'go out' with (ugh), and the pressure that society puts on people to behave that way, but I also don't like being entirely by myself forever either, especially since it's so difficult to excel in my line of work (games development) without connections. I'd love to find a fellow hermit I could hide away from the world with!

    I did like the whole "I can avoid the expectation of getting a Real Job!" thing though! Since the idea of sharing a workplace with well-adjusted people terrifies me! I've been making games and websites for years, getting money from that, but not much (I'm proud that my Soultome site has over 200,000 views, but I'm more proud that my games site has over 26 million!)... I do love the idea of making a living without getting a 'normal job', of carving my own path through life, but it makes it harder and harder to find people I can relate to, unfortunately. It's bizarre, actually, because I not-infrequently get fanmail from people who loved my games, saying they consider me an *inspiration*... But then here I am, sitting by myself all the time, without a friend in the world. SIGH!!!11!1

    Would you be happy spending your entire life entirely by yourself? Or do you have at least someone already, like family or a boyfriend? (I notice most girls with social anxiety have a boyfriend.) While I have no desire to adapt to the masses around me, or to seek widespread acceptance, I don't like the idea of living and dying as a lonely hermit either! But finding people who don't react to the whole anxiety and isolation thing with revulsion is really difficult!

    ACTUALLY, to anyone who's bothered to read this far... Though talking to 'normal' people is difficult, how do you feel about the idea of talking with someone who shares your anxieties? Personally I always hope to find people like that, but for all I know other anxious people might not even be interested in the idea. I suppose the fact that people are posting in this thread shows that they are interested though... maybe.
    About uni accommodation, I tried twice to move into halls but I was just a mess and had to come home. Even when I locked myself in my room I was on edge every single time I heard a noise outside! So yeah I've pretty much just lived at home. Regretfully.

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    (Original post by Pseudolonewolf)
    ACTUALLY, to anyone who's bothered to read this far... Though talking to 'normal' people is difficult, how do you feel about the idea of talking with someone who shares your anxieties? Personally I always hope to find people like that, but for all I know other anxious people might not even be interested in the idea. I suppose the fact that people are posting in this thread shows that they are interested though... maybe.
    Do you mean in real life? I meet up with my support worker who suffers with anxiety. That's actually been quite helpful. I don't feel very comfortable talking about it with anyone in real life, really. I do feel a bit more comfortable talking about it with people that understand. I think people with anxiety would be happier to talk about it. They get it and it gives them a place to vent. It's also confirmation that they're not alone.

    I'm far happier to talk about it online, but that's the same with most things. I wouldn't bring it up to people in real life. Unless they specially asked me about it.

    In regards to uni accommodation; it's the exact reason why I chose to stay at home. I'm pretty certain that I wouldn't have stayed if I lived on campus. Home is my safe haven. At that point in time, I knew that I wouldn't have been able to deal with it.
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    Social anxiety is absolutely horrible. It made me drop out of uni once. The second time round it made my first yr depressing as hell. I had suicidal thoughts and felt extremely hopeless and worthless. Thankfully it got slightly better afterwards and i made two close friends at uni and im still in touch with them after uni. Id still say im a very shy person overall. if anyone wants to talk im here
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    (Original post by Airfairy)
    Ugh, I'm starting a PGCE in September, and as if I'm not nervous about that enough, on the FB group for our course, everyone is talking about meeting up before the course because we will all need friends to support us throughout the year. I know it's going to be a repeat of what happened during my degree - me constantly making excuses and getting out of social events, and singling myself out.

    I feel sick about it
    I'm starting PGCE too and have SA, I was wondering what uni you were starting at?
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    Hii,

    I thought I'd post here as well seeing as I'm having a bad time with my SA again.

    I'm just about to start a masters course at UCL and I'm starting to feel really anxious about it (mainly because I don't have anywhere to live yet and the thought of having to deal with talking to other students to live with fills me with dread!)

    My SA started when I was around 16 and I went to a different college from all my friends from school because the local one wasn't very good and I wanted to try and get better grades, so I ended up going to one in the next town on. I made a couple of friends but they weren't around all of the time so I found myself alone quite a lot, which is when I started getting quite down, spending a lot of time in the library by myself (and the classic of all those with SA, hanging out in the toilets at break!). It was during this time that I convinced myself everyone thought I was stupid/weird/a freak, and that they were judging me for whatever I did or what I looked like. I think what was most crushing was that I felt like an outsider to everyone, even the outsiders. I always seemed to be observing everyone else getting on with it, without ever really being part of it. It was a pretty grim time.

    By the time I'd got to university, it because full of Social Anxiety Disorder. The idea of freshers terrified me. I already felt low because I missed my offer for medicine (probably because all the time I spent in the library was not on studying but trying my best to not look weird!).

    This meant that I was starting out in a new place (London), miles away from home, not knowing anyone, with the mindset that I was stupid/an idiot/a failure/a disappointment/worthless. It was pretty much full on depression.

    I don't really know whether I was caught up in the moment, but somehow I managed to pull myself together for freshers and made some friends who I have stayed with for the past three years.

    I did start to see the university counselor, who was really good. He wanted to start CBT with me and made me keep a diary of all the times I felt anxious, but then I stopped going to my appointments because I was worried I was wasting his time and that I was being stupid/pathetic. I ignored his emails and then I was too scared to ever go back, which is something I think I will regret for a long time.

    Half way through the first year I relapsed into some not very good habits (not sure if anyone would need trigger warnings...).

    I spent most of the second year doing very little, alone in my room a lot. It was quite isolating and conflicting because on the one hand I could see everyone going out and having fun and making the memories you're supposed to have from university and I longed to be with them. But on the other hand whenever I did go out I spent the whole time wishing I was home, alone, because all of the people wherever I was were probably judging me for the way I looked or if I'd said something stupid.

    Third year was alright I guess, I immersed myself a lot more in my studies and my dissertation and did fairly well.

    I decided to post here because I'm going to be starting a Master's in September and I feel like the whole cycle will be starting again - it's a new place and they'll be new people and I'm worried about everyone thinking I weird.


    I decided to post this here, partly because I'm fed up, and also because it would be nice to talk to some people who are in similar situations!
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    Hi everyone

    I'm Anne, 18, living in London. I haven't been diagnosed with anxiety as I have never seen anybody about it, but I believe I may suffer from it.
    It is ruining my life and leaving me feeling down all the time. I've tried talking about it a little bit to my husband but he doesn't understand, and I am too embarrassed to tell anybody else about it.
    I'm thinking of starting a course with the Open University so I can study from home
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    (Original post by FluffyKitties)
    Hi everyone

    I'm Anne, 18, living in London. I haven't been diagnosed with anxiety as I have never seen anybody about it, but I believe I may suffer from it.
    It is ruining my life and leaving me feeling down all the time. I've tried talking about it a little bit to my husband but he doesn't understand, and I am too embarrassed to tell anybody else about it.
    I'm thinking of starting a course with the Open University so I can study from home
    You're already married?! (Sorry I think I am treading on a sensitive and possibly irrelevant topic)
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    (Original post by Airfairy)
    About uni accommodation, I tried twice to move into halls but I was just a mess and had to come home. Even when I locked myself in my room I was on edge every single time I heard a noise outside! So yeah I've pretty much just lived at home. Regretfully.
    I lived at home during my first time at university when I was the normal age (17 or 18ish), but it meant that I missed like 90% of my lectures because it was so much easier to not endure the short walk there...

    Returning at age 25, I hoped it'd be different... but while I did live in the halls, and attended most of my classes as a result, I was also unnerved by every little sound I heard and imprisoned myself in my room.

    I'd love to live at home for the second year, but annoyingly my home (which is where I am now) is in North Wales, and the university is in Surrey! It takes like six hours in a car to drive there. I chose that one because I'm doing a Games Art course, which are hard to find... though I wonder whether I should just look for other places to go to that might be nearby. It'd allow me to restart with a clean slate... but I get the feeling that I'd still end up distancing myself from everyone else, and I'd be even older too...

    I've been looking at accommodation options, shared housing and such (my university doesn't allow second or third years to live in the halls), and it's... bleak. There are student houses, but they're surely full of friends, loud music, constant parties, and tons of drugs... considering what I heard from other people in my class who house shared.
    There are also spare rooms in houses owned by 'professionals', looking for more mature, sensible people, but many of them want 'sociable' people, and make a point of explicitly saying 'no hermits!'
    I'd hate to move into a place like that only to do the whole hiding-until-the-kitchen-is-free thing again, making everyone else awkward and frustrated because, well, who'd want to live with a socially incompetent recluse?

    But I really don't know what I can do, and it's getting so late...
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    (Original post by amyyy24)
    Hii,

    I thought I'd post here as well seeing as I'm having a bad time with my SA again.

    I'm just about to start a masters course at UCL and I'm starting to feel really anxious about it (mainly because I don't have anywhere to live yet and the thought of having to deal with talking to other students to live with fills me with dread!)

    My SA started when I was around 16 and I went to a different college from all my friends from school because the local one wasn't very good and I wanted to try and get better grades, so I ended up going to one in the next town on. I made a couple of friends but they weren't around all of the time so I found myself alone quite a lot, which is when I started getting quite down, spending a lot of time in the library by myself (and the classic of all those with SA, hanging out in the toilets at break!). It was during this time that I convinced myself everyone thought I was stupid/weird/a freak, and that they were judging me for whatever I did or what I looked like. I think what was most crushing was that I felt like an outsider to everyone, even the outsiders. I always seemed to be observing everyone else getting on with it, without ever really being part of it. It was a pretty grim time.

    By the time I'd got to university, it because full of Social Anxiety Disorder. The idea of freshers terrified me. I already felt low because I missed my offer for medicine (probably because all the time I spent in the library was not on studying but trying my best to not look weird!).

    This meant that I was starting out in a new place (London), miles away from home, not knowing anyone, with the mindset that I was stupid/an idiot/a failure/a disappointment/worthless. It was pretty much full on depression.

    I don't really know whether I was caught up in the moment, but somehow I managed to pull myself together for freshers and made some friends who I have stayed with for the past three years.

    I did start to see the university counselor, who was really good. He wanted to start CBT with me and made me keep a diary of all the times I felt anxious, but then I stopped going to my appointments because I was worried I was wasting his time and that I was being stupid/pathetic. I ignored his emails and then I was too scared to ever go back, which is something I think I will regret for a long time.

    Half way through the first year I relapsed into some not very good habits (not sure if anyone would need trigger warnings...).

    I spent most of the second year doing very little, alone in my room a lot. It was quite isolating and conflicting because on the one hand I could see everyone going out and having fun and making the memories you're supposed to have from university and I longed to be with them. But on the other hand whenever I did go out I spent the whole time wishing I was home, alone, because all of the people wherever I was were probably judging me for the way I looked or if I'd said something stupid.

    Third year was alright I guess, I immersed myself a lot more in my studies and my dissertation and did fairly well.

    I decided to post here because I'm going to be starting a Master's in September and I feel like the whole cycle will be starting again - it's a new place and they'll be new people and I'm worried about everyone thinking I weird.


    I decided to post this here, partly because I'm fed up, and also because it would be nice to talk to some people who are in similar situations!
    I can relate to a lot of what you said, though you were much luckier when it came to making friends than I was! I had the same kinds of thoughts as you, but it prevented me from involving myself at all (though the fact that I don't drink and hate loud music is probably a big factor too).

    I know what you mean about feeling like an outcast amongst the outcasts... My course was about video games, and it was entirely full of weird-looking nerdy people; the sorts who freely admit to their social awkwardness and who are shunned by more 'normal' people. But even amongst them I felt like a weirdo, like I didn't fit in at all, while they all got along fine.

    I also know what you mean about really wanting to be forging happy memories like the others are, but the actual experience of going out and doing so is so wracked with dread that it seems so easier to just hide away and avoid it...

    I'm looking for accommodation myself at the moment, though I'm similarly scared of having to interact - or live! - with other students, so I really don't know what I'm going to do there... Interesting to hear that I'm not the only one still looking, though. I just hope there's enough time left! I keep putting off doing anything about it due to fear and doubt...

    Anyway, sorry I haven't said anything inspiring or helpful, but I can at least say "I know how you feel!"
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    ^ You have to make them understand. Sadly, with the lack of social skills you probably can't. To be fair though, how can they possibly believe that all sociable people are sensible and "hermits" aren't?

    By the way, the OP comes from Surrey, if she comes back here anytime soon...
 
 
 
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