It was not until I heard someone else's story they suffer with social phobia chatting with the Speakmans on ITV, that I realised I think I may have this.
Now I've thought about it... here's my story.
I missed my first few days of school, I remember it well, I had chicken pox. I blame this for years of not having friends all the way through school. Everyone had already made friends. I used to always find 2 friends to hang with (or tag along with). Until they asked if they could 'hang around on their own today'. This used to happen a few times, but then became a daily phrase. I was left every break walking around the playground on my own. Eventually I got myself a best friend, who then left to go to a different school, and the same happened when I found myself another friend. I was left on my own again. This happened between years 1-6 (primary school). When I was in year 1 and 2, the teacher used to have to come out and prize me off my mum to actually go in to school. I preferred to be with her.
High school was a bit different, I still managed to tag along with 2 friends who then argued over me for PE lessons for a partner. My lunch became something I had to share between all 3 of us. And whenever my friends wanted some of my drink, I then wouldn't touch my drink all day because I didn't want 'their germs'.
Eventually I started hanging round in a group of girls, about 6/7 of us. I thought this would be better. Whenever I spoke I was ignored, whenever I went to the toilet nobody waited for me. It was worse. So one of the girls and I went off and formed our own group. There was then 4 of us, I was a lot happier. But by this point I was in my last few years of school. Then I started hanging with a massive group of mixed girls and boys in my final year of school. My best friend was a male, and he was there for me, waited for me, never left me on my own, ever. (It's 10 years on, He is now living on Australia).
I went to college, where I had 1 friend. I was happy, obviously she would wait for me wherever we went. My mum and dad split up. I reverted back to the same feelings of not wanting to go to college, the same feelings as I had when being prized off my mum in years 1 and 2. I used to hide in my wardrobe all day. I had 2 jobs, 1 I hated, so I just didn't turn up again. Mum had a chat to me saying I have to work. I remember saying to her, 'what does it matter as long as you get your rent?' as I still had my 2nd job. I eventually got settled into a full time job elsewhere, something I enjoyed and everything went back to normal.
My 18th birthday I had a party and booked out a function room at the local pub, invited all my friends I knew. This was very soon after my parents split up, since there was a lot of water under the bridge. My mum helped me plan the party, she invited my dad, but not his family as my dad didn't contribute at all towards the party, so my mum quite rightly said he could have his own party for you for his family since he won't contribute towards function room and food. Because of this my dad was funny about it so my mums side couldn't come either. The only family I had there was my mum brother and sister. And yes, as I don't have a good record with friends... obviously they all let me down too. I only had 3 friends turn up out of 21. I could count on 2 hands how many people came to my 18th party. And because of this, I told my partner I do not want a 30th party, since its not that far away.
I went to uni, had 1 friend, we joined a big group, again I was never listened to, never waited for. I got so sick of it, I never would hang out with a group again.
At the age of 26, I became very ill, had a cancer scare, in and out of hospital. I had major surgery. I was off work for 6months. I went back a few months ago, and have really struggled to get back into it. I was getting myself into a real state before shifts, and on my last shift I refused to go in, and haven't been since.
I feel safer and more comfortable at home. I will put off going into town unless I really have to. At the best of times I'll wait until my partner is off and I'll go with him. I arrange to meet friends and cancel because I would rather stay at home, or I invite them to come to me. Work tend to have lots of social events, I've been 2 one of them, a christmas party, because I didn't want to look boring. I've never been to any of the others. I make up excuses. I dislike going to family birthday meals.
I'm happier at home. I'm happy when, my partner and I go out together.
Do you think this is a problem I need help for? Or do you think I can resolve this myself? Do you think this is social phobia?