I figured out that I had social anxiety disorder (SAD) when I was 13, I was always questioning if people were judging me. The thoughts never left me either, even when I was with people I trusted completely. But they were always worst when I was trying to go to sleep, it had caused me insomnia and for a few weeks, I was having breakdowns/ panic attack every night for two weeks.
It got increasingly worse the next year, it might have been to do with my GCSE’s or just not being comfortable in certain classes(French and English) I would freeze in any social situation and hated to contribute in most classes with few exception. I was scared of being wrong and then being laughed at so my response to all this fear was to be quiet. I remember in English we once have to write a pet peeve down, the teacher then collected them to swap them randomly, I had apparently spelt it wrong and they felt the need to tell the whole class this. I nearly had a panic attack right there, I think that the only thing that stopped it was because my fear of having one in public was more than my fear of being laughed at.
When I was a 15 I went through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) it worked in the short term, but for me, I quickly relapsed even when going to see my therapist. Now I find that I cope best just talking my feelings out, it works best if they have gone through similar things, they are more understanding and can share their coping methods with me.
This is where I found my only escape from my mind… the fandom, especially the Harry Potter one. It was the only thing to calm me down after an episode and even in some circumstances make me smile or laugh. Fanfiction works the best as I can get emersed into the story, which in a way turns my brain off.