20 y/o in college and social anxiety is tearing my life apart

C

chris__

Member
Joined
May 18, 2019
Messages
5
Location
Florida
#1
Yeah so my life is in scrambles right now please someone help me out or at least tell me they relate to what I'm going through. I guess to try to give some background to understand my situation: I've been dealing with social anxiety for years. It used to be so bad in high school that I pretty much lived in isolation. But once I graduated with a fresh start I was able to move past it sort of and formed a solid social circle for the first time in my life. However, pretty much all my friends were introduced to me through my roommate at the time who was extremely outgoing. 80% of my socializing was from getting plastered at parties as well SO I guess technically I didn't really do anything to fix my problem. Instead, I had friends handed to me and learned how to drown myself in alcohol. My friend group at the time was filled with toxic drama and really it was pretty forced and people didn't get along. It wasn't a healthy circle for me to be in and it was giving me more problems that I just didn't need on top of other things I already struggled with. I didn't know how to step out and make connections and was scared to so I just kind of accepted it. This ate away at me as I was thrown in the middle of all these fights and stupid situations I did not want to be a part of when all I wanted to do was make memories and enjoy life. This along with not being passionate about what I was working towards caused me to not do well academically so I got dismissed at the end of the year. This ruined me and put me in depression over the summer blah blah blah fast forward to later that decide to move down to Florida in the fall to enroll in a 2-year college for music production. My thought process basically was "fresh start again, put everything in the past, live your dreams." Basically I got down here in October and my roommate (who I'm stuck on with on this lease for 4 more months) turns out to be the strangest, most awkward, and creepiest dude I've ever met in my entire life, its been over half a year of living with him and I've only seen him out of his room like 5 times (not exaggerating). The school ends up being harder than I thought, In a new environment and just overall, not anything like I expected it to be. This caused even more stress I had to try and step out to make connections in a field that is very intimidating everything just became overwhelming. I didn't know where I stood friend wise still had a few friends that kept in touch but they are all the way up in Ohio, roommate stresses me out because we can't communicate on the tiniest of things. I've been passionate about music for years and know I have talent (other people have told me I'm really good) but it started frustrating me that I didn't know how to step out and make connections. Everything got overwhelming plus I got thrown into more dramatic situations that I didn't ask to be a part of. Grades started to slip just like the first time around. My social anxiety got so bad that it threw me into a rut of depression I started to get passive thoughts of dying lost motivation to everything but anxiety gets so bad I can't even go to the grocery store without going through like. 3 panic attacks beforehand. Basically, for half a year a vision I had of what I was gonna do to work towards dreams crumbled, I've been living in a pit of loneliness and sitting in my room for over half a year now while my friends live their lives and thrive and move on without me. I'm withdrawn from classes to get help because I don't want to give up I'm just tired of feeling like this. It just feels like I had progress then everything came crashing down I've lost my personality I go days without conversating with a single person. Almost every little thing causes me to overthink my life and It's just painful to live like this and I'm tired of it I'm too strong to let this take over my life.
 
F

Fallingfromthetop

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 16, 2019
Messages
152
Location
Slipperyslope
#2
Start exercising. You like music so intense dancing can be a good start. Shadowbox, do kicks, push ups, go for runs etc. I know its hard to motivate but trust me a good physique really helps curb social anxiety, while not a complete solution it is a step in a direction that will give progression to your state and feeling progression and an increase in confidence really helps. It also releases hormones that are beneficial and reduces stress hormones. So a workout in morning or afternoon before going to store will help. If your body feels strong, agile and in control off it, its much easier.

Try to get a new place to live when you can, last thing you need is a awkward person in same house.

Alcohol can help for the moment but it doesn't help you grow as a person at all. I would advice not drinking at all, not smoking weed either. The cleaner the easier it is.

Lastly you just gotta do and keep on doing. If you need to have 3 panic attacks, and a workout for 45min before going to store so be it. Keep going to the store. Just force your way into it with a brave heart and don't care if fail or succeed, over and over. Don't linger on fails, revel in successes. Don't compare with others. This is about building you the way you want. Imagine how you wanna be and work everyday to become it. Step by step you will become it, yes it can take a long time to get all the way there. But right now you only need to get there 1-2%.

I guess therapy, group therapy, meds and shit all can help. But I prefer solutions that work no matter what.

Also practice your voice, you make music. So just start rapping, singing to it. It will sound terrible at first but with practice it will sound ok then great. Imitate others you like and just grind. If you have confidence in your voice and expressing yourself, it really helps. Think James Brown expression, do that shit at home until you own it. Then saying hello to someone feels way less terrifying.

Use your music to impress or take you places, i know as a fellow producer this can be hard but put it on your list. Develop new hobbies you can feel proud off. It can be dancing or anything else, its good if it can be shown off and take you to people places, some dance you feel you wanted you could do? Potentially even dancing to your own music. Develop it and practice, practice, practice. Then when you feel confident and good with it, go to a club and dance away. After some rounds on a club start dance flirting with girls and get through the ice that way. Yeah you will stammer or make an ass of yourself at times, maybe you will trip on a bottle on the dancefloor. Take it all with a smile of how silly you can be and then move on. Try take everything as a win, it didn't become the way you wanted, but you still did it and that is the win, to do the things despite your anxiety trying to hold you back.

If you just grind enough the anxiety will let go eventually. Worst thing doing is barricade up and let it win and not challenge it.

Challenge it everyday, small steps. Give cashier a smile. Say something to cashier in store that is a bit longer then usual. Instead of just thanks, add "have a wonderful day" with a smile. Maybe saliva flies out your mouth, just laugh it off as you leave. It doesn't matter, no one will remember that in a year. This is all about your progress, there in lies to success, not to do a perfect store stroll run.

I challenged myself a lot in various ways. I went up to a girl in a store and asked her out. I walked funny in the street for as long as I dared. Hummed and sang in public as much as I dared before someone got to close. everything you can do to constantly challenge it. Now if I'm feeling real good about myself I reckon I can be embarrassing to hang with in public because at times I can revel in the anxiety being gone and just act nutty.
 
O

OCDguy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2016
Messages
689
#3
Just to add regarding increasing your social circle and getting noticed, have a look at what social activities your school offers. For example what made a huge difference to my anxiety and confidence was taking up a contact sport. For me it introduced a whole new way of thinking :) but this is just one example. If it's a good school they probably offer something for everyone. We are, after all different :)
 
C

chris__

Member
Joined
May 18, 2019
Messages
5
Location
Florida
#4
Start exercising. You like music so intense dancing can be a good start. Shadowbox, do kicks, push ups, go for runs etc. I know its hard to motivate but trust me a good physique really helps curb social anxiety, while not a complete solution it is a step in a direction that will give progression to your state and feeling progression and an increase in confidence really helps. It also releases hormones that are beneficial and reduces stress hormones. So a workout in morning or afternoon before going to store will help. If your body feels strong, agile and in control off it, its much easier.

Try to get a new place to live when you can, last thing you need is a awkward person in same house.

Alcohol can help for the moment but it doesn't help you grow as a person at all. I would advice not drinking at all, not smoking weed either. The cleaner the easier it is.

Lastly you just gotta do and keep on doing. If you need to have 3 panic attacks, and a workout for 45min before going to store so be it. Keep going to the store. Just force your way into it with a brave heart and don't care if fail or succeed, over and over. Don't linger on fails, revel in successes. Don't compare with others. This is about building you the way you want. Imagine how you wanna be and work everyday to become it. Step by step you will become it, yes it can take a long time to get all the way there. But right now you only need to get there 1-2%.

I guess therapy, group therapy, meds and shit all can help. But I prefer solutions that work no matter what.

Also practice your voice, you make music. So just start rapping, singing to it. It will sound terrible at first but with practice it will sound ok then great. Imitate others you like and just grind. If you have confidence in your voice and expressing yourself, it really helps. Think James Brown expression, do that shit at home until you own it. Then saying hello to someone feels way less terrifying.

Use your music to impress or take you places, i know as a fellow producer this can be hard but put it on your list. Develop new hobbies you can feel proud off. It can be dancing or anything else, its good if it can be shown off and take you to people places, some dance you feel you wanted you could do? Potentially even dancing to your own music. Develop it and practice, practice, practice. Then when you feel confident and good with it, go to a club and dance away. After some rounds on a club start dance flirting with girls and get through the ice that way. Yeah you will stammer or make an ass of yourself at times, maybe you will trip on a bottle on the dancefloor. Take it all with a smile of how silly you can be and then move on. Try take everything as a win, it didn't become the way you wanted, but you still did it and that is the win, to do the things despite your anxiety trying to hold you back.

If you just grind enough the anxiety will let go eventually. Worst thing doing is barricade up and let it win and not challenge it.

Challenge it everyday, small steps. Give cashier a smile. Say something to cashier in store that is a bit longer then usual. Instead of just thanks, add "have a wonderful day" with a smile. Maybe saliva flies out your mouth, just laugh it off as you leave. It doesn't matter, no one will remember that in a year. This is all about your progress, there in lies to success, not to do a perfect store stroll run.

I challenged myself a lot in various ways. I went up to a girl in a store and asked her out. I walked funny in the street for as long as I dared. Hummed and sang in public as much as I dared before someone got to close. everything you can do to constantly challenge it. Now if I'm feeling real good about myself I reckon I can be embarrassing to hang with in public because at times I can revel in the anxiety being gone and just act nutty.
I really appreciate your response and I'm definitely gonna try some of your suggestions it's crazy how the answer is so simple just do the opposite of what anxiety and depression tells me haha. I guess part of the reason its so hard though because I really don't like the school I'm going to but I'm stuck going to it and a lot of my anxiety is from that and living with some awkward creepy stranger that doesn't know how to put a damn dish in the sink is frustrating as shit he makes me feel crazy. I can't go in my kitchen without worrying about some kind of weird confrontation. I definitely tried getting out of the lease and was almost successful however the people I was gonna live with did some really messed up shit to me. So I think that's a big part of it. But I guess I came here for music so just take advantage of it and use it to get over my problems which is kind of what I did with it in the first place. I also identify with being embarassing to hang out with in public when I'm confident I can be an annoying goofball I just haven't been like that in over half a year and kind of forgot what my personality was like. I appreciate you and thanks for motivating me.
 
C

chris__

Member
Joined
May 18, 2019
Messages
5
Location
Florida
#5
Just to add regarding increasing your social circle and getting noticed, have a look at what social activities your school offers. For example what made a huge difference to my anxiety and confidence was taking up a contact sport. For me it introduced a whole new way of thinking :) but this is just one example. If it's a good school they probably offer something for everyone. We are, after all different :)
I appreciate your response and I 100% thought about doing that but this school is like an entertainment industry and arts school they even have a video game design major. The amount of clubs is small and the ones they do have are coding, cosplay, dungeons and dragons club, I'm just not into any of it. That's why it's frustrating. They do have networking events every month but I procrastinated going to them for so long I developed an anxiety about it so big the thought of it kills me. But I'm gonna get over my fears. Again thank you for your response!
 
L

LivingWithX

Member
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
17
Location
Bay of Plenty
#6
Good on you man. A lot of people don't have the foresight or self-awareness to ask for help or advice until much later. I didn't until I was late 20s, and I lost a lot of great years and experiences as a result. It sucks. But honestly, coming out the other end is so amazingly joyful it's worth fighting for.

I'd do a few things. Firstly, always challenge your thoughts. Scared of a social situation? Three-step process. 1. Think of what the worst-case scenario could be (and most times it's they might think ill of me, which is not the life-threatening scenario the fight or flight response was engineered for) 2. Accept that scenario is going to happen. Honestly, once you see the vision of that scenario, it removes some of the power. You've accepted that's going to happen. It's no longer a 'ooohh I dread that it might happen'. Then 3. Get out and do it. I said in another thread, it's going to be hard...but when you're in the fire pit, a few more flames won't make much difference, right?

And I'll always advocate having a long-term plan. Incorporate exercise, meditation/breath work/mindfulness, healthy eating, gratitude, and anything else you might read about (and read, LOTS) so it becomes a routine, not a reaction - ie trying 20 breaths before facing a typically stressful situation, which actually feeds the anxious mind and reminds it a source of worry is coming. I battled away for several years with short-term strategies and only got there when I took a longer-term view. It's hard, honestly it is but it will work.
 
L

LivingWithX

Member
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
17
Location
Bay of Plenty
#7
That's only a short reply, if you want to know anything more - like I used to drink exactly like you, and I don't have a blanket 'no alcohol' rule and I don't think you should either - then please message me.
 

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