I was born in Texas in the United States of America. My parents were fairly okay as my dad was a plumber while my mum was a fashion designer. We might not have been rich but we had everything we needed as well as some wants. I was brought up to be respectful, avoid poke nosing into other people’s affairs, mind my business as much as possible and not to get into fights and quarrels with people. So far, I had learned anger management and self-control. So I always tried to stay on my own. All of however made me become shy around people with time as I kept to myself as much as possible.
While I was in elementary school, I was fairly okay. Went to school in the morning, sat in class, stayed on my own, was able to learn quickly and I was doing well. When teachers ask questions in class, even when I knew the answer, I preferred not to rise up my hand or attempt to answer. I never wanted to be embarrassed for any reason whatsoever. I had seen my classmates being booed when a question is asked and they attempted to answer but couldn’t get the answer right. This is especially when the question seemed to be a very easy question. I was, however, able to pass through elementary school comfortably as I had a routine. I join the school bus to school in the morning, I stay in class all day, at the end of school I follow the school bus back home and then I am at home most of the time. Things, however, started to change when I was to start high school.
When I started high school, I noticed that things were a bit different from elementary school. Everybody was in one clique or the other. I always wanted to join a clique, but I was so scared. What if I was not accepted? What if I was accepted and I was not good enough and then got kicked out. I decided that instead of being embarrassed or disgraced out of a group, I would rather stay on my own. At this point, I neither knew I was having any issue that I needed help with because I believed it was normal. So just like elementary school, I tried to develop a routine for myself. Get to school in the morning, attend my classes, close from school and then go back home. On getting back home every day, I tried to study hard so that I can get good grades in school. I was thus doing very well in school too. The fact that I hardly go out also means I don’t get to have assignments I didn’t do or fail any subject. I, however, knew deep down that I was not living the best life, that I was miserable. I always knew I wanted to have friends like most of my other classmates, be able to do a sport or 2 as well as belong to 1 or 2 clubs in the school. I was, however, not confident to start any of this and I really lost a lot.
Social anxiety made my life miserable in a number of ways. These ways include: Not relating to family members I hardly spoke with any of my family members at home. This includes my parents and my siblings. Even in cases where they tried to relate to me or try to get me to open up, I answer their questions in monosyllabic tones and always preferred to be alone. In most cases, I felt I could be more open to them, but I was also scared of being rejected. This worked for me in a way but I happened to lose more. This is because I only open up when I have very pressing concerns, like payment of school fees and school dues as well as other very essential needs. When I, however, have other wants, I just kept quiet about it and tried to sort some out of my pocket money. So I do get anything I requested because they knew I hardly asked for anything in the house. I however also did not have many other things I wanted because I did not even ask.
There are instances where I would need to get to a place I have never been before. In some cases, it is difficult locating the place as the description or idea I have might not be enough. I would, however, never stop anyone to ask for directions as I was scared. In most cases, I spend hours trying to locate the place myself.
There are days I end up locating the place only after the event is almost over or already over as well as other cases I could not even locate the place at all. The few times I have tried to ask however, I have been surprised at how easily I got help. But still, I tried to avoid asking as much as possible.
I am very tall and I believe I would have done very well in basketball, football or running. My social anxiety, however, made me avoid all form of sports.
I did not have any social life whatsoever during most of this period. I only go out to school and other events that I must go to. I stayed on my own and came back home. I had hardly ever had more than 2 friends at a time. Lost some of them for not coming to their birthday party or several other events they invited me to, which was important to them, but I couldn’t make due to my quiet life.
In my final year of high school, I was surfing the net and I happened to stumble upon an article on social anxiety. While I was reading through the article, it was just like I was being described. From the article, I understood it was a psychological condition and I would need help with it. Even though it took me a few months to make up my mind, I decided to seek help. I didn’t, however, want anybody to know, so I searched the Internet for psychologists in my area, I was able to locate some, read some review and decided to narrow my choice to 1.
From what I had read about psychologists while searching the Internet, they were said to be very nice and cool people, who were always willing to help. I was however still surprised at the way I was received. I was booked for a therapy and a schedule was drawn up for me. I was also registered in clubs and I got tickets for musical concerts and other social events around. During the therapy, I was taught how I need not be scared of people. Why I should always approach people, how to go about it. I was also taught that it is okay to be turned down. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t attempt to meet others. All of this boosted my confidence and I started to socialise better. I started to become happier and even the difference was noticed by other members of my family. I started to make new friends, who sometimes come to visit me at home. My family had hardly ever seen friends visiting me at home. I also got to go out more frequently. I didn’t have to spend hours looking for a place, as I was not confident to ask, even when I get an answer that is not too encouraging, I asked the very next person I saw. Generally, there was an improvement in my life and I was happy I sought help.