I've been reading a lot of the posts on here regarding Social Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia (are these synonymous, or two different conditions?) and a lot of people talk of their physical symptoms, like sweating, shortness of breath, etc. Are these necessary for SP, or is it possible not to show the physical signs?
I ask this because I do not, or not to a great extent. I am terrified of social situations with people I barely know, or don't know at all. I never know what to say, and constantly feel like I'm going to embarrass myself, so in the end I say very little at all. And even then I feel like they're judging me. But I don't sweat profusely in their presence, or get nauseous or anything like that.
Also, I am mortified of going into group situations where there is the potential for embarrassment or people judging me. For example, it's got to a stage where I ditch class just so I don't have to deal with it (oh yeah, I'm 19 and currently studying at College, which I feel makes it hundreds of times harder). On the rare occasion that I have to give a presentation in front of the class, I force myself to do it, even though I am terrified at the idea. I usually just BS my way through it and then sit down a nervous mess afterwards.
This is really starting to interfere with my life. I life in a flat with 5 other people that I barely know, and it's come to a point where I lock myself in my room and stay as quiet as possible just so they don't know I'm there. I'm that
scared of having to talk to them. On a couple of occasions, even though the door was locked, I actually hid under my table just so no-one could possibly see me. I stayed there for about an hour, waiting for the voices outside to go away.
I've been having trouble sleeping too. I get very restless at night and just lie in bed worrying about everything and nothing. My sleep pattern is completely messed up.
It's come to a point where I only have 2 or 3 actual friends, and even with them I'm constantly making excuses to get out of social situations.
The strangest thing is, when I wake up in the morning, I don't feel especially anxious or depressed, but during the course of the day, my mood drops and I get very anxious indeed. I've found that the only way I can cope with it is by watching TV or writing. Oh that's the other thing, I really enjoy writing, and I'd like to pursue it as a career, but I know for a fact that it's only because it'll allow me to isolate myself and not have to deal with other people. I hate being like this, I really do.
But here's the problem, I'm trying to build up the courage to go and talk to the counselling service on campus, but I'm terrified that they might tell me that there's nothing wrong with me, and that I can't change the way I am. I don't think I could bear to be like that. And worse than that, I'm afraid to talk to my family about it, as my sister has clinical depression and I don't want my parents to think they've failed - even though I know they haven't failed either of us. I'm running out of options. Please help me