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Readers Respond: What is it like to live with SAD?

Responses: 188


Updated June 11, 2009

For people who don't have social anxiety disorder, it can be hard to understand what it is like to live with daily anxiety about social situations. This is your chance to share the one thing that you really wish you could tell other people about your life. What is it like to live daily with crippling anxiety? What do you wish you could tell everyone but that you know you never will? Share Your Experiences


I always feel like my friends and family secretly hate me. I feel like I have no one to turn to about it because I feel like they might judge me. I suffer from panic attacks generally at night but haven't told anyone. I also say no to a lot of opportunities with friends because I feel like they don't really want me there or people are constantly judging me. I just want the feeling to go away and I want to be happy again.
—Guest worried


I am 23 years old and I have never felt so unsure of my life as I do now. I was doing good and I'm not sure what happened. I am on anti depressant but I'm starting to believe that is not depression. My main focus is people all the time. Its not that I'm sad its just knowing or having the feeling that I'm being judged 24/7. I always say I'm going to get something done and sometimes it takes an extra week for me to get started. I feel happy with the way I am and how I'm doing at the moment but I feel like a failure. I feel like I have to be like what society and the public want me to be. I always try to remind my self that I am me and I rule my surroundings. For example at the moment I don't have many close friends because we are in the stage of making our own life's well one of my older sister s asked me if I met any new friends in school an I said no because I honestly was happy already with my self. Don't get me wrong I want to meet new people but my sister made it sound like I couldn't.
—Guest Martina

44 years old

So about me, I am older, had SAD(Social Anxiety Disorder) since I was just out of high school. At 44 I'm a successful business owner, make 6-figures each year, am in sales, and suffer something terrible from SAD. I've got a couple patterns that some of you likely can relate to. First, I have anxiety triggers, one, and the most common is when I feel like a messed up a conversation with someone. I am way, WAY critical of myself, and this causes a acute anxiety episode that lasts all day/evening until I go to sleep and wake up then I have a clean slate again. I found benzos and those have helped and still do, but honestly they just mask my anxiety, I do feel hopeless at times, and not able to cope, whether it be a family member or stranger I tend to be very self conscious. I've sought counseling and medication, I've been to toastmasters several times, and had too much anxiety to continue on for long. Maybe read this book "Thanks for the Feedback" it may help you understand you.
—Guest SAD

Scared and alone

My fiancé just doesn't understand my everyday frustrations. If someone calls I just get scared and go into isolation. If I know I have to make a call or talk to someone I have to prepare days in advance. Everything feels like a struggle. I have lost 3 jobs because I get scared and quit. Feel so helpless....
—Guest Ryan


I'm reading these responses and I don't get it - I've def got SAD (won't bore you with the details), and I think I MIGHT be extremely paranoid.. isn't that the whole point?? How do you guys know you're definitely paranoid? I'm pretty certain there are certain people who are just BAD.. just not good at life. I can't get into this here but I'm one of these people. Basically I'm really starting to think I'm not paranoid - that people really dislike me, whisper about me to my face, constantly try and get in sly digs and veiled insults, constantly try and get the upper hand, constantly make me feel I'd just be better off dead - and I'm starting to think these inherently "bad" people such as myself just deserve to be treated this way by everyone else..
—Guest mop

When, why?

I was always a social butterfly. I got comments, such as "You are so poised" "So graceful!" "You always know the right thing to say." I was so happy. About two years ago, even three years now perhaps, I started withdrawing. I got nervous, doubting myself in my head, generally stepping all over myself. It's been a downward spiral since then. I can't believe how incredible this anxiety has gotten so quickly and out of nowhere. I can pinpoint exact moment when my personality switched from exuberant to withdrawn, but I don't know why!!! Now I get comments that "I'm a very nervous girl" "Why are you so jumpy?" "Were you abused?" "You make me uncomfortable." I can't look people in the eye because I search them intensely for signs of judgement. That makes them nervous. Conversely, when I DON'T look them in the eyes, it makes them nervous too. People avoid me and talk about me to each other. This is a miserable existence. I can't bear thinking this is how I will be the rest of my life.
—Guest Hoping


Im scared to go in front of class, go to public places, or public events, or public restrooms, im scared people will judge me and this is just so stupid I hate and im scared of seeing people from my school after school idk why its just im scared they will remember what i am
—Guest Swellnot

Diagnosed when 12

It's gotten to the point I can barely look at strangers, let alone start a conversation. Goddamn does that scare me. Nobody without S.A.D gets it. What it was like to run away from school age 10. What it was like to run away from high school age 12. What it was like to burst into tears or go bright red every time someone looked/stared age 14. What it was like to lock myself in my room because I stuttered while talking to my aunty and not come out for 28 hours age 15. What it was like to try to commit suicide with the voices of anxiety/social anxiety telling me all my worst fears are going to come true age 16. But what they will know soon is that at age 18, it still scares me to speak in front of big groups, but I can manage it. It does get better confronting your fears with the support of others, aswell as seeing a therapist/psychiatrist. Hope you are all doing well .xx
—Guest Adam

Green Hair

As a young child I never had such problem. As I got older, it just happened. I guess with all the peer pressure from society and my family, I became less... Now, I graduated high school and am absolutely terrified of what to come. I made it through high school as a top, average student. My parents didn't really care much about my mental state as I come from an Asian family. So its my summer before college and i dyed my hair green. Everyone seems fine but I get stares and a friend(i'm not sure why) makes remarks all the time about it. After a while, going out made me feel disgusting and sick. At first, I thought "i'm different" but turns out i'm labeled as "weird/bad girl." Everytime someone or the feeling of someone staring at me made me sick to the core. Especially with my hatred for my body. Nothing ended well and the end of the day, i am physically sick at people's judging eyes. And it makes me sick of myself.
—Guest Guest Susan Tran

I am afraid.

I am fifteen years old. At the beginning of my freshman year, I was anxious to go to school. I took it as first-day jitters, like you get every year around the start of school. It soon began to worsen, I would be afraid to speak up in group conversation with my best friends if people I didn't know were present, I would freak if the teacher called my name, to turn in a test, walk to my desk, I'm even beginning to freak a little at church, and I've been going there for eight years. My friends suggested it to be social anxiety, but I just shrugged it off as nothing, but weeks passed by and i was stressing and worrying myself sick, I feel nauseous and have headaches almost non stop. I can't sleep, my eating habits are off. I thought maybe they were retry right, it was then that I freaked more than I ever had. I have had three panic attacks within three weeks, and I have been by myself, unsure of what to do. I told my dad and my step-mom about it and they say it's all in my head, my mom lau
—Guest Awkwardly Silent

I messed up...

So today I went to a wedding and after telling my mother no she still maked me. When we got there as soon as I entered the building my whole body just went tense I got really anxious and scared, we sat down and I just kept my head down I felt that I didn't belong there, as if I wasn't wanted there. I couldn't make eye contact and I ended up crying in fear. My mother drove me home but she shouted at me but she doesn't understand how scary it is for me. I never leave the house I hate leaving the house, I have no friends, no one to talk to. I'm slowly going insane.
—Guest Jess

Feel Like a Waste of Life

I think it started when I got knocked back by a girl years ago, I beat myself up terribly about it for months on end, it was weird because I was actually a funny guy in school and I had friends but it just got worse and worse. I can't do crowds at all man, outcast, weirdo, recluse whatever you want to call it that's me. Every thought that runs through my head is negative, for me it comes round in time periods I can actually have ok days where I don't feel completely terrible, then I try to think positive until the point where it's just overwhelming and just can't stand the sight of myself. I have a real problem with making eye contact with people and whatever I do around people I feel like I'm on camera and it's a freakshow, all eyes looking and laughing at me, but then at work I'll hear 'How was the weekend bro ?' and I just blurt out words 'good got drunk haha enjoyed it but it was shit, how was yours haha', in the space of about 2 milli-seconds, need help.
—Guest Pat


I know how it feels to have SAD. I'm 14 years old and have trouble talking in public. People around me don't realise just how bad I feel. I'm just too scared all of a sudden to talk to people. So many great things could've happened but never did because. I can't talk to girls and have difficult socializing too! So much that I can't talk to anyone about how depressed and anxious I really am about life! It's hell! I simply can't help but wonder 'why me?'
—Guest Anonymous

i understand

I see myself in everyone of you and it hurts that no one can understand us. Not even ourselves. I've had sad since the fifth grade. I didn't know what it was but I do now.its ruining my life and I feel sometimes it would be preacful to just not be here. I'm scared all the time, I know people talk about how weird I am. When people look at me I turn bright red and get nervouse. Shake and sweat visably. I can't understand what people are trying to say to me and I feel aways like the dumb one. I just can't keep living like this I need help but I'm to scared to go get it less I be judged. Helpme.
—Guest Rhonda

My life has gone

Suddenly my life changed. I can no longer go to parties without getting seriously sick and seeking refuge in the bathroom. Recently it's gotten so bad, I'll wake up and just get so stressed over going to school - I've missed weeks of education. :( I haven't told anyone how I feel because I'm scared of being judged. Being told to "Stop worrying!" by everyone doesn't help. I don't know what to do. I hate myself for letting this happen and I'm tired of getting sick before any "fun" event. Why did this have to happen... why can't I be normal and have my life back...
—Guest Moose

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