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Project Love by thorns Project Love by thorns
My arm and my husband's arm. He did the writing / drawing.

For TWLOHA Day and Project Love


My mother calls me painfully shy.

In fourth grade, I had no friends because I couldn't work up the courage to talk to other kids.

In high school, I was so shy I couldn't attend half my classes freshman year.

In college I paid more than a thousand dollar for classes. I attended the first day and went home feeling sick and trembling. For the rest of the semester I stayed in bed every day the classes were scheduled. I never went back.

Online classes were hit or miss. The last class I took, I completed the 'introduce yourself' assignment posted to a message board. I never logged back in.

I couldn't communicate with people, not even online. I couldn't function no matter how hard I tried. My mind blanked. My heart felt like it was going to explode. My face turned so red people laughed. My ears burned. I felt sick and couldn't focus for days at a time. If I stuck around long enough, I was sure to cry, even if nothing bad happened.

I couldn't go to school. I couldn't make friends. I couldn't work. I felt like I couldn't do anything.

My family thinks I'm snubbing them when I don't answer the phone.

My husband had no idea I wanted to pursue writing until we were married more than a year.

My sister thinks it's funny that my face turns beet red when someone talks to me.

I was reluctant share any personal aspirations. I was careful not to share my opinions. I felt guilty about wasted money and wasted opportunities because I couldn't communicate with people. I felt humiliated when I couldn't function with another person in the same room.

I didn't know what was wrong with me.

I wish I could say someone helped me out and gave me all the answers. It was google that shed light on social anxiety for me. Once I understood the problem, it was no longer undefinable or insurmountable.

I toy with the idea of seeking 'professional help' but the thought gives me anxiety still.

Now that I know what's wrong with me, and that I'm not alone, it is easier. I was able to discuss my anxiety with my husband (who didn't laugh). After taking about a million baby steps over the last few years, I've made serious progress. Today, I can participate on DeviantArt and share about my anxiety.

I can tell my husband when I'm having a bad anxiety day and not try to hide it. I can discuss my writing with my husband, which I hadn't even dreamed of five years ago.

I struggle with social anxiety, but now I feel like I have a future. All it took was a little awareness and a lot of baby steps.

Maybe it's not a great triumph story, but it's a vast improvement from where I've been. That means something to me.
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:iconotakumaru:
OtakuMaru Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014
man i remember this from so long ago this was great. 
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:iconspookendyke:
Spookendyke Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hm, I'm the same way. It got particularly bad in grade 12 for me, where I eventually stopped going to school and dropped out. It was over a year before I met a girl who was still in high school, and she convinced me to go back. But it was only towards the end of the first semester when it happened again, and I just couldn't go, and that's where I am now. I haven't been to school since the week before Christmas break. I feel like I'll never graduate high school and it will hinder me forever, just because of this anxiety. But there is a new anxiety group starting here soon that lasts a few weeks, and I'm going to try to go to all the meetings, and maybe I can start to make some progress. I'm so glad it's gotten better for you, and I hope you keep improving still!
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012   Writer
:tighthug: It breaks my heart to hear your story. I know what's that's like and I know what you're going through. It's incredibly hard.

It can get better, and that is an incredibly hard journey too. I can tell you that the end results are worth it, and you can do it. All the hours worrying and sweating will be worth it. Please do go to the meetings. Talk about the issue. Share. Try to be social and live your life even though it's terrifying. The more you do it, the easier it will eventually become. (I know it may not seem like that, but it will. I promise.)

What helped me was to make a plan with little goals I wanted to meet. I started creating projects (by myself at first) that would force me into controlled social situations. The Chat Tour that I run started as part of my plan. It really helped me even though the first five or six stops I felt like I was going to vomit the whole time.

My rambling point is you can do it. It does get better with hard work. :huggle:

I wish you all the best and if you ever need someone to talk to, please note me. I'm friendly and I know what it's like. I won't judge and I'm always willing to nudge people.
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:iconzololuveru23:
zololuveru23 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012
I used to have major social anxiety like you've described before I met my boyfriend. He helped me make some major progress to help dispel it, and now you'd never know >.>
Great that you're working to try and overcome social anxiety. It sucks, I know, but best of luck!! :heart:
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012   Writer
That makes me happy to hear your story! :glomp: I'm glad you're doing so well. :heart:
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:iconsupernataria:
SuperNataria Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2012
Oh my gosh Im like that NOW! I can cry even when nothing bad happens it is probably the pressure of everyone watching you!
My face burns even when I'm trying to talk to a friend!
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2012   Writer
:tighthug: I'm so sorry to hear that. I want you to know that it can get better though. It's hard, and takes a long time, but it can get better.
Reply
:iconbeautifylnightmare:
BeautifylNightmare Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm probably the exact opposite. I never think about what I say, and I'm brutally honest, all the time. Its gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years -.-
I'm glad that you were able to make progress!
Best wishes,
.....Kat
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2012   Writer
That's my husband too. He's loud and has no filter, but that works for me because I can hide behind him and not be noticed. :dummy: He's okay with whatever trouble it gets him in though. I hope yours isn't too terrible for you. :hug:

Thank you!
Reply
:iconsplee568:
splee568 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I used to have that in elementry school. so I can say I knew how feel. all of that has dissappeared. but I would'nt laugh. :)
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2012   Writer
I'm glad it vanished for you. :hug: Thank you for not laughing.
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:iconsplee568:
splee568 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
<3 :iconbrohugplz: I think you can overcome it!
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2012   Writer
:manhug: I'm working on it! I've made super progress this last year, thanks to dA.
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:iconsplee568:
splee568 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Who says DA is for nothing!! Keep up the great work!!!
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:iconwintrylight:
WintryLight Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2012   Photographer
Hey,
I'm a man, and it's a little of my experience in some way. I hope I'll be """normal""" one day.
Reply
:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2012   Writer
Normal. Now there is a dream to aim for.

I hope you're doing well with your issues. :hug:
Reply
:iconsqueezelouise:
squeezelouise Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wooooow, I had no idea! You've done such amazing things in spite of that! I just assumed you were another charming and fun individual on here <3 You're so brave to overcome something like that. What a legend. You're an inspiration, my dear! :huggle: I wish you all the good days in the world.
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2011   Writer
^^; Yeah. It's part of the reason I'm so slow in responding. Takes me longer to figure out appropriate things to say and then revise to sound casual and friendly. When I chit chat this is a good picture of what I look like on my end of the internet:
:iconscaredplz:

=Emrose88 helped me a lot, which is great. Makes the internet interactions simpler, and it's easier for me to think of things to say to people. :phew: She's a real dear.

I am surprised you commented on this. It can be tough for people who don't experience it to understand. There's a lot of blank stares when I try to explain and most people avoid this deviation like it's contagious. :giggle: I appreciate the support. :tighthug:
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:iconsqueezelouise:
squeezelouise Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Hahaha, awww thats such a cute icon. I think its great that you've managed to do it though, its such a big step compared to what you described in the box. Even if you are like that it makes you so much the braver - if you didn't care it wouldn't mean as much. It makes you supremely kickass. :)

That kind of doesn't surprise me lol. She is so lovely I can imagine her being wonderful, and I'm so glad she did! Otherwise I might not have found you and that would have made me sad (because clearly I would have felt that there were some awesome arts and lit works that I was missing out on but wouldn't know where they were)

I just thought it was such an inspirational ... thing. I was going to say story, but I feel like that word doesn't do it justice. In my experience, most people have some sort of difficulty, sometimes severe often not, to do with how they interact with other people or in some cases themselves, social or psychological. Its life, and its different for everyone. I don't think I can ever truly understand what it's like for you, but I understand that your life is different from me, and more difficult in those ways and I think you're so wonderful for actually talking about it so openly! I can understand what you're going through more than I can people avoiding it lol :XD: That I don't get at all.

You're very welcome! I'm pretty easy to talk to so hopefully I'll be another person who helps a lot too :huggle:
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:iconjulietcaesar:
julietcaesar Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Wow. Honestly, reading this is almost like seeing a little of my life replayed, with the exception of that I'm still in school, still struggling, still confused and alienated as ever. I also discovered that I had social anxiety through the internet; in my case it was dA who pointed out what I was feeling was an actual disorder, and further research confirmed that, long before my psychiatrist agreed was the case. In a way, knowing I had social anxiety really made the battle seem easier, but at the same time I felt betrayed that it had gone undiagnosed for so long, especially since I've been suffering it for pretty much a decade of my life, possibly more.

For me, I still could communicate with others but I experienced great anxiety when I did so. I was forever judging my every word and every action whenever I was involved in some kind of social situation, and the anxiety I experienced limited me from parties or whatever social situation I was invited to. I would replay in my mind anything I might have done wrong and mentally beat myself up for any "social" mistake I appeared to have committed. I couldn't really look at people in the eye even when speaking to them. I felt useless and stupid in people's company because I felt like I didn't even know how to act in such situations most of the time. There were days I didn't feel I deserved to be around people, so I tried isolating myself. Being more on dA. But the more hours I spent on dA, the more the real problem wouldn't go away and now my friends think I am being deliberately anti-social for some strange reason and I can never explain it to them, because it's just something they take for granted. A friend claims that she has experienced social anxiety like me but somehow she manages to get along with a group of friends and even have a boyfriend. I wondered what the hell was wrong with me, why I couldn't do that too. As a result, I can never explain to my mum when she tries to pressure me into getting a part-time job because I was scared of screwing up the interview or making a fool of myself at work. I can never explain why doing social things considered normal for teenagers is like jumping off the cliff sometimes.

I guess, after saying all this, is that your story gave me some real hope to struggle against how I feel. Finding stories on social anxiety is far rarer than stories on depression and yours was one that I really needed to read. You and I might be a long road to recovery but I'm just so glad this moment that I am not alone in this, at least. I just hope one day I'll be able to manage my fear well enough to go out and enjoy life as it should be enjoyed, rather than living in a constant state of fear in society, as I am living now. It feels like a living hell sometimes but every day I still get out of bed anyway and I don't know why, but I do. You might say your story isn't a great triumph story, but I think it is a great triumph because it has been said when it could have been withheld, and gives hope not only to me but others who suffer this common, but uncommonly spoken of disorder.

In short, I think you're wonderful and brave in your own right, and thank you for writing this and participating in TWLOHA day. :heart:
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:iconkneelingglory:
KneelingGlory Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2010
Featured! :heart:
[link]
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2010   Writer
:heart: :+fav:
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:iconkneelingglory:
KneelingGlory Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2010
Wow. I can relate to some of this - trouble sharing personal aspirations, turning red at the drop of a hat (literally in my case), being unable to deal with school settings. It takes a huge amount of courage to work through that. I'm glad you decided to figure out what was wrong and to work through it. It sounds like you're making remarkable strides. :)

Have you seen this: [link] :? I am not a member of that one, but I used to belong to the one for depression. It was a really helpful community. :)
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2010   Writer
:hug: I can't really articulate how sad, but at the same time relieved, I feel when someone can relate to those issues. Most people don't 'get it' even when it's explained.

I'm going to check out that link today. Thank you for going above and beyond to send it my way. :)
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:iconkneelingglory:
KneelingGlory Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2010
I know exactly what you mean. People say "you're not alone" and part of me wishes that I was alone because no one should have to deal with this every day. But the bigger part, the social creature part, is grasping at anyone who might get it. ;)

And it is not a problem! Gotta point people in directions they can use, right? Otherwise what the hell are we doing calling ourselves a community. :P
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:iconshadowedacolyte:
ShadowedAcolyte Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010
When it comes to your self-identity, there are no baby steps--every inch you go forward is a major milestone to be appreciated and acknowledged. Congrats on going so far already, and good luck ahead.
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2010   Writer
Thank you. :hug:
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:iconantesqueluz:
AntesQueLuz Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010
Anxiety is crippling for so many. I admire your courage and your willingness to share your struggles.
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010   Writer
Thank you. :hug:
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:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
It sounds like a triumph story to me. :hug:
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010   Writer
:hug:
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:iconvanillabunnychan:
VanillaBunnyChan Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2010
You're awesome.
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:iconthorns:
thorns Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2010   Writer
:heart:
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