- Mar 9, 2020
I've grown up with social anxiety my whole life. Ever since I was a kid I could never walk into stores without panicking and crying. Just a few years ago I couldn't walk into stores or order my own food. I remember one time my mother said if I wanted to go to my favorite restaurant I'd have to order and I cried and continued to refuse. One day when I was 8 I left my favorite stuffed animal in the store and my mom told me to go get it by myself and I freaked out and left my stuffed animal in the store. I've had depression and suicide attempts in the past due to middle school trauma, which led my parents to sending me to residential treatment centers. My first two treatment centers didn't work and I only got worse. My third and final treatment center saved my life. I was there for 11 months before I graduated 8 months ago. I loved it there, it was my safe place and I learned to help myself there. I no longer fear going into stores or restaurants, but one big part of my social anxiety remains. I can't talk to people or make friends with people my age. I'm 15 and I recently moved over to a small private school that is more like a tiny college. There isn't a lot of kids and they even have a school support dog. I came from a school of 2,000 kids to this one and I feel safe but I'm still so scared. I'm so lonely and crave socialization, but I'm so afraid. I recently did a bad behavior and my therapist and family have come up with this plan for me to earn my privileges back. They want me to take steps to socialize in order to get my privileges back. I've challenged and faced many of my struggles but this one has been here my whole life. This fear of socialization with people my age has been reinforced through all my bullying in middle school and societies pressures. I'm so lonely and I really want to have friends, but I physically cannot. Even thinking about talking to teens my age causes me to shake and my chest to tighten. At this school I only have 2 public classes, all my other classes are just me and the teacher. Both public classes I can talk just fine in, there is only 2-3 other kids in the class. Nobody at this school approaches me first like I want, and I understand why they don't. I constantly glare and sit alone to make sure people don't approach me. I want more than anything to have a relationship and friends, but I don't know If I can face it this time. My mother thinks it's simple and easy, but to me It's really hard. It's even harder this time because I'm not at my treatment center with the mentors that are my best friends. I really wish I could visit my old self and ask how she did it. I always listen to music that talks about fighting fear, but I can't fight it myself. Please give me advice on how to talk to teens at school. I'm really lonely and I want my stuff back, but I physically cannot approach anyone. Whenever I think about approaching someone or talking to somebody my chest becomes heavy and my legs freeze. For the most part I've dealt with all my anxiety, I don't get anxious around teens or anything else really, but only when I think about making friends or walking out of a store without buying anything. My mom keeps telling me, "ask people if they want gum, you'll make friends," but she doesn't understand that I CANNOT DO IT. I really want to face this, but I don't know what path to take to challenge this.