Sadly, Social Anxiety/Agoraphobia has ruined my life.
I am new here and very pleased to have discovered this wonderful community because I too suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder and Agoraphobia (and have for years). Reading some of the posts on this forum is, for me, like looking into a mirror and I feel like after all these painful and lonely years I have finally found a place where I belong and people I can relate to.
A little about me. I am a 44 years old male who at one time could make friends effortlessly. In fact, people would often approach me (or vice-versa) and within 15 minutes a friendship would develop. I always had lots of buddies on my AIM list and we'd spend hours each day chatting. Sometimes I'd have as many as a half-dozen conversations going on at once!. My family and I were always visiting, chatting, sending each other gifts, etc too. Life was grand in those days because I was surrounded by so many friends and family that I didn't know what to do with them all!.
Now here I am many years later and I have become an introvert. A recluse. A hermit. Another "Howard Hughes". I've seldom left the house in 7-8 years except to go to the doctor's office and when for the first time in 6 months I finally managed to go to the grocery store, it was like a trip to Disneyland for me. I even hide in fear whenever I hear a knock at the door or see a car drive through and I never answer the phone. I feel like a house-bound invalid.
Unfortunately, my Social Anxiety/Agoraphobia has affected me to the point where I have been using alcohol in order to feel "relaxed" in social situations and so people end up seeing the drunken "me" rather than the "me" I really am. Example: I havn't seen my sister or her husband in years and so when they called me a few days ago to say they were in town and would like to take me out for dinner, I became extremely stressed out, told them I could'nt make it and immediately crawled into my "shell". I mean, I made a HUGE fuss trying to explain to them that I was very agoraphobic, terrified of people, etc. Still, they insisted and when I finally agreed to ONLY see them in MY house, I proceeded to get very drunk so that by the time they arrived here, I was staggering around and made an absolute fool out of myself. What a nightmare and now I'm sure that they probably won't want to se me again anytime soon because I really put them through a lot and probably ruined the whole visit for both them and myself. Anyway, agoraphobia can really suck sometimes.
Well, I guess that's about it for now. I just wanted to join this forum, share a little about myself and hopefully make some friends. Thank you all for listening and allowing me to share. My AIM screen name is in my profile here if anyone would care to chat -or- I'm happy to just chat right here in the forum.
- Regards, LonelyHermit