Everyone probably has some level of social anxiety, but there are some people who have it so bad it affects their daily functioning. I am one of those people, although my social anxiety has gotten better throughout the years. This is the story of how my social anxiety has impacted my life.
What My Social Anxiety Looked Like as a Young Child
Even as a young child, I was shy and struggled to play with other children. Because of how strange I seemed to other kids due to this, I was bullied, which made my social anxiety even worse. I do remember playing some games with kids when I was really young, but slowly I became more and more withdrawn. Instead of playing with other kids at the playground, as my social anxiety got worse, I would either play on handheld game devices or run around the playground myself while I was in my own imaginary world chasing bad guys.
What My Social Anxiety Looked Like as a Teen
I continued to be bullied during my preteen years, so I shut down even more. I wouldn’t participate in class, and I wouldn’t speak to anyone unless spoken to. When I would give speeches in school, I would be laughed at, and the teachers would do nothing about it. Because of being laughed at, I would forget to mention things during my presentations, which led to lower grades, despite preparing for days before the speech.
My early teenage years were when I experienced my first depression episode. I felt so alone and hopeless. I felt like I had nobody because I couldn’t communicate with others due to my social anxiety. My family wasn’t supportive at all when I was that age, so the only people I had were online friends, most of whom treated me like I was attention-seeking. I began to self-harm as a way to cope with my isolation, depression, and anxiety.
I bounced back from my depression a few times, but it’d come back eventually. I remember I spent the last year of high school depressed and had disordered eating. The kids at school would bully me for my weight, so I would starve myself. No matter how much weight I lost, though, they would still bully me. I was such an outsider.
I didn’t really have any close friends in person during these years because I couldn’t get close enough to anyone. I continued to be bullied even worse. At one point, I was bullied literally every second of every …….