I’ve always been kind of quiet, but I wasn’t extremely shy until I was about twelve. I guess I developed it because I had a string of bad experiences with people (betrayal, rejection, negative comments about my appearance, etc.). Ever since then, it’s continuously gotten worse.

I first saw a shrink when I was thirteen. I had been cutting myself. She really bothered me and I dreaded going there. I couldn’t articulate answers to her questions and I ended up just crying in frustration. So I quit after just a couple sessions.

My fear of people continued to grow. I would do nothing but sit in my house all day. I was afraid to go out anywhere where people would be unless a parent or family member was with me. My mom wanted me to go to camp or take a pottery class, but ideas like that made me cringe. I stumbled upon the description of a disorder called avoidant personality disorder. I haven’t been officially diagnosed, but I am convinced this describes me better than anything else, even social anxiety disorder (which I HAVE been officially diagnosed with).

I remained invisible and anxious throughout the rest of high school, losing sleep over every presentation, and eventually developing ways to get out of them (which I know isn’t the best thing for me, but…oh well).

I don’t have any hobbies or friends, though I do have a serious boyfriend. In the beginning it was a real struggle letting him get close to me, and I would often lock up and try to distance myself from him. But every time he was so patient and sincere in reassuring me that I got through it and let him in a little more. I don’t know what I would do without him. He keeps my head above the water.

Right now I am trying to accept social anxiety disorder as a part of who I am that I’m going to have to learn to live with. Honestly, I doubt I’ll ever improve. My current counselor asks me every session if I WANT to improve, and I don’t know what to say. The idea is so foreign and scary to me. I mean, I would like to be able to live without the anxiety, but to have a bunch of friends?

“I have no need of friendship;
Friendship causes pain.”
-“I Am A Rock” by Simon & Garfunkel.

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