Gretchen's Social Phobia Experience
Hello. I'm Gretchen from Australia and I have social phobia.
Actually, I'm determindly getting better now - after five years I have finally rediscovered my will to live. But I want to tell my story anyhow, because I am absolutely estatic to find more human beings who really know what it's like to cry every day of the year and barricade yourself in bathrooms and run screaming down the -- you get the point.
I love you all. I really, really love you all. <3 <3 <3
My social phobia manifested at the age of twelve, though I'd always been a shy little mouse beforehand. I started at a high school almost ten times the size of my primary school. It was the most expensive girls' school in the state.
I have always been a highly intelligent and freakishly sensitive little girl and, as is often the case, my self esteem and social skills are inversely proportionate.
That year was hell. I was morbidly depressed. I had violent panic attacks at the slightest trigger - usually during class, and that sort of thing tends to make you a bit of a pariah. I was mercilessly bullied by teaches and students alike. I stopped eating. I started hallucinating. After nine torturous months I was expelled because "we don't feel we can accommodate Gretchen's special needs".
The next three years were an impovement, but I nonetheless managed a suicide attempt and a stay in the psych ward of the Royal Brisbane for my supposed schizophrenia. But by the end of year ten it looked like I might finally be pulling myself together. Not so. Year eleven was a mess. After two months my parents pulled me out.
When I was at school, I put in every ounce of effort I had in me. The vast majority of this went toward attending classes and being around other students without screaming hysterically and running away. I am talking about effort beyond comprehension here, unimaginable unless youíve done it yourself.
The reason I went bankrupt in year eleven was because the schoolwork got significantly more difficult. Iím a very smart girl and it shouldnít have been a problem, but for that fact that I didnít have the energy to apply myself to both courses. This acknowledgement was the hardest I have ever made, and I scream in frustration that the whole rest of the world can make it on a fraction of the effort I put in.
So for a year and a half I've been hiding out at home, doing the housework and watching TV. It's a rather sad existance, but in a peaceful way, and I'll take that over the violently traumatic experience that was my secondary schooling any day. But I'm on the way up again, because I've discovered my life's mission, or an approximation thereof.