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Afraid to talk to people---in person.

By September 15, 2011 - 7:10pm
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I feel like I am on here a lot, and ask a lot of questions. But I get peace of mind, and feel relieved when someone is here to answer any question I have, But I apologize in advance if I am aggravating anyone, & will stop if I am.
I graduated from highschool in 2010 and was a huge people person, I had tons of friends, loved meeting new people and talking to new people.
All of a sudden---I find it incredibly hard. I start to sweat when I am around new people, squirm around, find it hard to make eye contact, studder, etc.

I took a year off after I graduated (got rid of my social networking sites for personal reasons, lost contact with all my friends), and just now started college for Veterinary Medicine. I really want to make friends because I feel so alone and isolated--but everytime I try to, I just get really nervous and insecure...and just become extremely anxious. To the point of bursting out in tears and crying. I was diagnosed with panic disorder in 08', but never had a problem with people and panicking. I loved public speaking in highschool..& now I am utterly afraid. Afraid of being rejected or embarassed I guess.
Here's a situation that happened yesterday: While in college everyone in my vet class got into the elevator. Well, I hesitated, but I didn't want them to think it was because of them that I didn't get in, so I got in. The doors closed. I became extremely uncomfortable and nervous. I was the closest one to the buttons in the elevator, but just froze. Then a guy in my class said, "Um, can you press the 1st floor button?" but smiled and was nice about it. I started to sweat but finally unfroze and said "oh, yes, sorry I'm not in my right mind." And everyone just sort of chuckled and someone said, "I hear you girl, me neither." Even with that I still wanted to burst into tears. almost did. But don't know why. I really miss High School terribly, even though it's been more than a year since I've graduated. I've grown insecure since then, more insecure than I've ever been in my life. I have a couple small scars/scabs that haven't healed for 7+ months, and if I was in highschool that wouldn't bother me..but now I am so afraid of someone seeing, so I cover up all the time. I just want to be able to make friends without freaking out everytime.
Not sure what I can do to make this easier, I don't just want friends, I NEED friends.
Also, I WILL NOT go out in public without a full face of make-up, hair done, or clothes that I feel will cover me up. My boyfriend tried to get me out of the car one time when I was in clothes that was torn up, and I started to cry, because I didn't want to be seen like that. I wouldn't get out of the car.
Is something wrong with me?
I can't make friends, and that's all I want.

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Sysy

I remember you saying you are 19, so you need to start making some decisions for yourself, even if you are on your parents health plan (are you?).

I understand some of your mom's frustrations but also agree with you Dad in thinking you should start therapy and I agree with you that you should look for a job. Are you in school now? If not, you should absolutely be working full time, or a combination of some part-time jobs - or simply as many hours as you can get.

Not only will this generate an income for you, I think it would be very good for your mental health. You know you have got to get better and gain some healthy weight back. Sitting around and just talking about it isn't going to help you, you have to take positive steps, so I think the therapist idea is excellent.

I think your mom is holding you back by thinking you are so fragile. While you certainly do need help, you can also be proactive yourself and I think applying for that animal hospital job would be great - not to mention working with animals, they can be very therapeutic!

I see that you focus on your weight a lot, and list the number and often your height to go along with it - it sounds like you are still very much focused on your weight. I think it's very important to you that other people know how thin you are. This is typical of many anorexics and again, therapy can help you a lot! It's also vital that you work with a nutritionist. Can you do that, along with working with a therapist?

I really do think you are stronger than many people think you are and I'm glad you know that! When people keep telling us we are weak or fragile, we can become so. You need people around you to encourage your strength so make sure you spend as much time with your Dad as you can!

I think calling your therapist is an excellent idea! I highly doubt she is angry with you! You can explain your circumstances to her. You do not have to hide this from your Mom - you are a grown young legal adult, you can do what you feel is best for you!

September 16, 2011 - 12:05pm
(reply to Susan Cody)

Thank you Susan,

I am on my parents health plan. I actually just finished my resume for the veterinary hospital! I will send it in and see what happens. My mother has always been that way about me..and even though she might get angry with me about seeing my therapist behind her back, I know I need to. I'm going to see if I can get an appointment some time early next week.
Oh & my therapist is also a nutritionist, so I got lucky with that.

September 16, 2011 - 12:56pm

Hi Sysy92,

I'm sorry that you have these panic attacks when you are around people--since you mentioned being diagnosed back in 2008, were you ever put on any medication to control the attacks?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can prepare you to face situations that bring on panic attacks Therapy focuses on:

Learning how to recognize what causes your fears
Gradually changing distorted thinking patterns to more healthful ones
Breathing exercises that increase relaxation
Reducing fear and feelings of terror

Has this ever been anything that you've considered?

Let me know what your thoughts are,


September 16, 2011 - 4:56am
(reply to Rosa Cabrera RN)

Yes I was, I was put on prozac and some anxiety medicine. I was only on the anxiety medicine for about 3 months because I ended up overdosing on it, so they took it away.
I've never considered cognitive therapy because I never use to be this bad off with anxiety before, but now I lose it and my chest feels tight. It's hard. I'm trying to get my mom to let me see my old therapist for this and my anorexia, but I think she's having a hard time accepting that I am struggling.

September 16, 2011 - 7:26am
(reply to Sysy92)


I think going back to your old therapist is a great idea. I know that if you sit down and speak to your mom from the bottom of your heart, like you are with me, she will believe that you will benefit from seeing your therapist again.

Please keep us posted.


September 16, 2011 - 7:36am
(reply to Rosa Cabrera RN)

I spoke with her. She said she is just frustrated with me, especially about my weight being so low (82lbs). She said, "How can a therapist help you, but I can't even help you." I couldn't answer that one. Then she began talking about my Emergency Room bills that have been coming in since I graduated high school, & that it's becoming difficult to keep up with my health. Then I told her I was applying for a job at a veterinary hospital, so I could pay for my own things, but she said she's not sure I could handle that. Everyone keeps saying that, but I believe I can handle it. She told me to wait a little while on seeing my therapist, and that she would make the appointment..although I would rather be the one to do it. My dad is always traveling for work, so there's really nothing he can do, although he did say he thinks I should see my therapist a.s.a.p. My mom also said my therapist is probably angry with me because I stopped seeing her cold turky, but I highly doubt she is angry with me. She's not that type of person. I am debating whether or not I should just call my therapist, and see her without my mother knowing.

September 16, 2011 - 11:39am
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