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Hi. I'm Kaitlyn. 

When I was young, I can remember going camping and going down to the lake and sitting on the fake beach they built for us to go swimming. I remember just casually walking up to people and asking to build sand castles with them or asking them to race me while I was swimming. My goal each year was to make a new friend the week we went camping. Of course, I never actually kept in touch with those friends, but it was nice. However, as I grew older, things became different. In 6th grade, we had pen pals between us and the neighboring schools. I had two, since their school was larger than ours, and I remember literally bawling because I was so scared to write them. I was focused to make sure I didn't ask the same questions in case they were friends so that way if they read the letters to each other I sounded original and so they wouldn't judge me. I had a thesaurus and a dictionary next to me so when I wrote I sounded smart. When the day came to take pictures for us to send to our pals, I woke up at five to shower, blow dry, curl my hair, pick out the right outfit, and I stole my moms makeup to look good. I had to impress. After the picture came back, I cried because I thought I didn't look good and I was afraid of the judgement they would send back. I knew for a fact they'd judge me. The day everyone went to go meet their pen pal, I faked being sick so I wouldn't have to travel 10 miles on a bus full of people to meet two people I barely knew who I thought that hated me because I really wasn't a perfect pen pal. My parents told me I was just shy, and that I would grow out of it. But it seems that isn't the case. I'm a freshman now, and things seem to have gotten worse. We went to a job fair last year, and we had to approach the person at the job we wanted when we were older and ask them questions on a card they gave us about the job. I know everyone else was asking the same questions an that the people were there and happy to answer them (according to a friend), but I felt the people thought I was annoying, rude and that I was asking too much. When I went to the next booth (we had to ask questions about three different jobs), I just stood behind one of my classmates and filled out the questions he asked and the answers the job person gave. Its hard for me to talk to anyone who I haven't known since the beginning. I never approach any stranger because I can feel them judging the way I look or talk. When a friend asks me to go somewhere that includes someone I don't know, I spend a lot of time finding an excuse. I literally have panic attacks when I can't find one and am forced to go. However, I find an obligation not to just say no because my friends will think I am small and dumb for not going. I do not hold conversations with teachers or other figures of importance because I feel they think I'm stupid and weird for saying hi. I cant seem to finds words when I'm around them and I falter. The littlest situations cause me to have panic attacks. Ive had panic attacks in the middle of Walmart because I had to ask a store employee for something. I don't like going through the lunch line because the cooks think I eat too much. I avoid eating lunch at school as much as possible. I don't talk on the phone. I know people think the sound of my voice is dumb, and it scares me. I can't tell my parents, they'll just tell me I'm shy and I need to grow up. Sometimes I can't even walk up to blow my nose in front of classmates because I feel they judge me for the gross sound.

Am I crazy? Am I really just shy? Why is it so hard for me to do the simplest tasks? Every day I wake up and tell myself today is the day I'll put myself out there, but I always shy away.

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Hi Kaitlin,

Sorry it's taken so long to reply to this. I hope you see my reply and that you find it helpful!

I can identify with a lot of what you are saying. No, you are not crazy. I wouldn't say you are 'just' shy, either, as it sounds as though, like me and many others here, you suffer from social anxiety. But that does NOT make you crazy. Crazy people aren't aware of their own mentality, whereas you can describe and question your thoughts, demonstrating that you are very conscious of your condition.

There's no shame in being socially anxious, so don't feel afraid to seek help and please don't feel guilty for your behaviours. I remember a time I drove across town to go swimming, and then at the pool I saw an old acquaintance I hadn't seen in a while but didn't know what to say if she saw me too, so I immediately left and drove all the way home. There was no real danger, but I just didn't know how to deal with it, so I reacted anxiously. To many it would seem ridiculous, but to us anxious people it seems perfectly logical.

Us socially anxious times are terrified of what other people think of us. But we have to ask ourselves: "what evidence do I really have that this person is judging me? Have they actually told me I look ugly? Have these cooks actually told me I eat too much?". Often the answer is no, and it's just in our heads. When you find yourself assessing what others are thinking, challenge your thoughts in this way :)

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Hi. Joe.

Spot on! Crazy? Well, if what you call crazy is us anxiety sufferers look outside. Are the so called 'normal' people sane? Most don't give a damn about others and tell you so. They rob each other and behave badly. We, the so called 'mental' one's, care, or you would not be on here. No, you and I are sane. Very much so. Now of course, there are many people outside of anxiety that do genuinely care. They help when needed and that was demonstrated to me recently when my wife had an accident. I'm not that cynical. But, by and large on this site, and others, people are interested in people. We do our best to help and so often succeed. No, they can keep their so called social world of Facebook and Twitter, give me the 'crazy' ones anytime.        Jon.

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I think most of it is social anxiety/shyness but another part is your self confidence.  im sure people think you are lovely but you are thinking they don't like you when they have no reason to not like you. when we are younger we aren't as self conscious of what people think of us, therefore we can go up to people and easily make friends and just go up to anyone. we go through experiences where we are judged and that makes us second guess what people think of us.  when we are in school we always worry about what people think of us because its like we are in a bubble with all those people until you graduate.  I was very self conscious and had social anxiety while in school.  the longer I am out of school the better my self confidence is and the more I care less about what people think of me. 

try not to be so hard on yourself.  it gets better

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On 16/02/2016 at 3:04 AM, kaitlynbloemer20 said:

Hi. I'm Kaitlyn. 

When I was young, I can remember going camping and going down to the lake and sitting on the fake beach they built for us to go swimming. I remember just casually walking up to people and asking to build sand castles with them or asking them to race me while I was swimming. My goal each year was to make a new friend the week we went camping. Of course, I never actually kept in touch with those friends, but it was nice. However, as I grew older, things became different. In 6th grade, we had pen pals between us and the neighboring schools. I had two, since their school was larger than ours, and I remember literally bawling because I was so scared to write them. I was focused to make sure I didn't ask the same questions in case they were friends so that way if they read the letters to each other I sounded original and so they wouldn't judge me. I had a thesaurus and a dictionary next to me so when I wrote I sounded smart. When the day came to take pictures for us to send to our pals, I woke up at five to shower, blow dry, curl my hair, pick out the right outfit, and I stole my moms makeup to look good. I had to impress. After the picture came back, I cried because I thought I didn't look good and I was afraid of the judgement they would send back. I knew for a fact they'd judge me. The day everyone went to go meet their pen pal, I faked being sick so I wouldn't have to travel 10 miles on a bus full of people to meet two people I barely knew who I thought that hated me because I really wasn't a perfect pen pal. My parents told me I was just shy, and that I would grow out of it. But it seems that isn't the case. I'm a freshman now, and things seem to have gotten worse. We went to a job fair last year, and we had to approach the person at the job we wanted when we were older and ask them questions on a card they gave us about the job. I know everyone else was asking the same questions an that the people were there and happy to answer them (according to a friend), but I felt the people thought I was annoying, rude and that I was asking too much. When I went to the next booth (we had to ask questions about three different jobs), I just stood behind one of my classmates and filled out the questions he asked and the answers the job person gave. Its hard for me to talk to anyone who I haven't known since the beginning. I never approach any stranger because I can feel them judging the way I look or talk. When a friend asks me to go somewhere that includes someone I don't know, I spend a lot of time finding an excuse. I literally have panic attacks when I can't find one and am forced to go. However, I find an obligation not to just say no because my friends will think I am small and dumb for not going. I do not hold conversations with teachers or other figures of importance because I feel they think I'm stupid and weird for saying hi. I cant seem to finds words when I'm around them and I falter. The littlest situations cause me to have panic attacks. Ive had panic attacks in the middle of Walmart because I had to ask a store employee for something. I don't like going through the lunch line because the cooks think I eat too much. I avoid eating lunch at school as much as possible. I don't talk on the phone. I know people think the sound of my voice is dumb, and it scares me. I can't tell my parents, they'll just tell me I'm shy and I need to grow up. Sometimes I can't even walk up to blow my nose in front of classmates because I feel they judge me for the gross sound.

Am I crazy? Am I really just shy? Why is it so hard for me to do the simplest tasks? Every day I wake up and tell myself today is the day I'll put myself out there, but I always shy away.

Till 7 to 8 months back,i had the exactly same problem for at least 6 years but now im perfect.When u see people u get scared because ur mind starts thinking what the people r thinking about u,are u doing smthing wrong or akward etc.What u have to do is nothing but ONLY ONE THING THAT IS CONCENTRATE and when u concentrate on what im going to tell u,ur mind will get bound not to think what others think about u nd u will get a new perception.S ee pepole think and DO,man1 thinkingbad things about somone sitting on a chair and another man2 starts abusing the same person,that someone knows what man1 is thinking somthng bad about him,now to whome he will react?of course man2 cause he abused  that means hates more or is more angry on that someone see both men hates but absuing means more hate,now more feelings r important than less feelings ,u should focus on more feelings and more feelings will ALWAYS bring some DOING,now absuing is a kind of doimg,im saying that u should not focus on what others r thinking,the ONLY THING U SHOULD SEE IS WHAT THEY DO PHISICALY.If it helps you then PLEASE help others.

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Till 7 to 8 months back,i had the exactly same problem for at least 6 years but now im perfect.When u see people u get scared because ur mind starts thinking what the people r thinking about u,are u doing smthing wrong or akward etc.What u have to do is nothing but ONLY ONE THING THAT IS CONCENTRATE and when u concentrate on what im going to tell u,ur mind will get bound not to think what others think about u nd u will get a new perception.S ee pepole think and DO,man1 thinkingbad things about somone sitting on a chair and another man2 starts abusing the same person,that someone knows what man1 is thinking somthng bad about him,now to whome he will react?of course man2 cause he abused  that means hates more or is more angry on that someone see both men hates but absuing means more hate,now more feelings r important than less feelings ,u should focus on more feelings and more feelings will ALWAYS bring some DOING,now absuing is a kind of doimg,im saying that u should not focus on what others r thinking,the ONLY THING U SHOULD SEE IS WHAT THEY DO PHISICALY.If it helps you then PLEASE help others.

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On 2/15/2016 at 3:34 PM, kaitlynbloemer20 said:

The day everyone went to go meet their pen pal, I faked being sick so I wouldn't have to travel 10 miles on a bus full of people to meet two people I barely knew who I thought that hated me because I really wasn't a perfect pen pal. My parents told me I was just shy, and that I would grow out of it. But it seems that isn't the case. I'm a freshman now, and things seem to have gotten worse. We went to a job fair last year, and we had to approach the person at the job we wanted when we were older and ask them questions on a card they gave us about the job. I know everyone else was asking the same questions an that the people were there and happy to answer them (according to a friend), but I felt the people thought I was annoying, rude and that I was asking too much. When I went to the next booth (we had to ask questions about three different jobs), I just stood behind one of my classmates and filled out the questions he asked and the answers the job person gave. Its hard for me to talk to anyone who I haven't known since the beginning. I never approach any stranger because I can feel them judging the way I look or talk. When a friend asks me to go somewhere that includes someone I don't know, I spend a lot of time finding an excuse. I literally have panic attacks when I can't find one and am forced to go. However, I find an obligation not to just say no because my friends will think I am small and dumb for not going. I do not hold conversations with teachers or other figures of importance because I feel they think I'm stupid and weird for saying hi. I cant seem to finds words when I'm around them and I falter. The littlest situations cause me to have panic attacks. Ive had panic attacks in the middle of Walmart because I had to ask a store employee for something. I don't like going through the lunch line because the cooks think I eat too much. I avoid eating lunch at school as much as possible. I don't talk on the phone. I know people think the sound of my voice is dumb, and it scares me. I can't tell my parents, they'll just tell me I'm shy and I need to grow up. Sometimes I can't even walk up to blow my nose in front of classmates because I feel they judge me for the gross sound.

Am I crazy? Am I really just shy? Why is it so hard for me to do the simplest tasks? Every day I wake up and tell myself today is the day I'll put myself out there, but I always shy away.

Thanks for sharing your story Kaitlyn. I'm sure that took a lot of courage for you to do! Not easy. 

You fit the profile of a person with social anxiety disorder perfectly. 

My social anxiety still affects me, though not as severely as it used to. As a teen, I couldn't talk to certain people I didn't know well. I froze all the time. I was awkward. Simple things, like you say, became enormously complex. 

So at 14, you've properly self-diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. 

You did it because that's what people with this condition do. You're wired to do it. 

Can you get better and live happy and peacefully? 

You betcha. 

It takes time. Hard work. Patience. 

Medication can make your symptoms more manageable. However, it doesn't cure you. You still have anxious thinking. Just not so intense. 

At 14...try to make friends with people you trust not to judge you. Ones willing to understand what you go through on a daily basis. This could be your family. Or, your family may make things worse (like mine). I don't know your situation. 

Come to these forums for help. People can point you in the right direction. 

The hardest thing to do is open. That's the very thing you need to do as often as possible to the best of your ability. 

Always come back to these forums with questions. People here understand, and they can help you figure out what to do. 

Best wishes on your journey to recovery.

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