Hello readers. I hope I don’t come off as complaining, my life has been nothing but filled with love from my family. I just have issues I want to get off my chest, but I become disheartened to change because I feel like at 20 years old I have no one to relate to. I am a 20 year old junior in community college who has not gone out much. It is funny because as a child I used to sing and act on stage (although, I was not very good at it). I enjoyed the brief time I used to spend with friends I would make during these points, but they would always end very quickly with me never talking with them again. Some part of me wanted it to be that way since I never felt like I have ever contributed anything meaningful to anyone’s life enough to maintain a friendship. I also have always pressured myself to change for other people because I feel afraid to make anyone angry (I know I am a gutless, over-pampered adult). There are times where someone will want to hang out with me. I agree that we should in text, but I usually don’t take them up on it or remind them of hanging out because I am not comfortable doing anything, mostly because I grew up very sheltered. I became homeschooled in the 7th grade and stopped hanging out with anyone other than my family. I am even worried about anonymously writing this message out of fear and shame. I am ashamed that I have not done enough in my life. When I try to build hobbies, I realize just how bad I am at them. I want to go online and maybe meet other people who share my interests, but then it happens. I get scared of people knowing who I am, remembering my face, tearing me down, telling me things I already tell myself, finding out just how ignorant and useless I am. I don’t want them to think that, so I stop myself. I don’t want to just be a dangling wisp among others. If I am not good enough to contribute to something to a conversation, I stay away. I feel like I am an impostor. I was never good at school, I have always had issues talking with others, I am afraid of being yelled at and ridiculed (I literally freeze and feel helpless to fight back). I feel that I don’t have a mind of my own, and that sucks. I am sick and tired of being afraid. No one is going to fight for me, but my dumb self won’t fess up to that. I am angry with myself, but I am more afraid than I am angry. So yeah, I am a 20 year old ignoramus with nothing to show for my life. If I drop dead right now, I would have contributed nothing. I have never had a job because I don’t think I’ll be able to handle it. I tell myself that I am too dumb and unorganized to follow through with anything. I am more annoying than anything else. My parents want me to focus on school, but what’s the use of school if I can’t even handle asking my teachers.
I know my comment is really late, so I hope you’re able to read this. I feel like you just described most of my life. I always had a hard time doing so-called “normal” social things. For a while, I thought I just had social anxiety, but I recently found out about Avoidant Personality Disorder. And I felt like I finally had something that described me so well. People with AVPD have feelings of extreme social inhibition, inadequacy, and sensitivity to negative criticism and rejection. Look into it! Maybe it might answer some of your questions. I know it did for me.
This reminds me a lot of my own experiences with Social Anxiety Disorder and Depression. It’s a really hard thing to go through. Like really hard. I had low self-esteem due to bullying and abuse, but even someone who grows up with the most privileged life possible can still have Social Anxiety Disorder. It’s a mental illness, after all. For me, therapy was really helpful. Finding other people with Social Anxiety also helped because they know what it’s like. So we ask each other for reassurance. It’s hard to feel like someone hates you when they ask you to reassure them that you like them. And we reassure each other.
Pretty much every single feeling and thought you describe, I’ve felt too. But regardless of that, I’m still worth it. I’m still worthy of existing. I don’t have to be accomplished at anything or be productive to justify my existence. I don’t have to justify my existence at all. It’s okay for me to just exist. It’s okay for YOU to just exist. We are not defined by what we can and cannot do, even if there’s little we can do and a lot we can’t. You add value to the world. And you make that world a bit better just by existing, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
For example, just by posting here, you helped me. You reminded me that I’m far from being alone. With all these thoughts that I still have sometimes, I’m not alone in them, and I’m not the only 20-year-old who has never worked, and I’m not the only one who feels inadequate. And if I’m not the only one, then it’s okay to be that way. It’s normal and human to be that way. I’m just a stranger, I don’t even know your name, and you don’t know me. But you helped me in some small way. And I feel worthless sometimes and like nobody likes me. But hopefully, I’ve helped you.
You see my friend I have the same issue as you do and I can relate to it. Everything you just said basically summarized what it feels like being in that situation. There is no cure to it because the cure itself is the problem and I have been suffering from this situation for like 4 years now. Please cheer up because you are not the only one with this type of disorder/disease.
Lauren O'Donnell says
I don’t have a phobia of social interactions, but I feel like I can relate. I have ADHD and ODD and sometimes social interactions don’t go the way I want them to and I feel really embarrassed. So I know how you feel. If you ever want to talk, just text me and let me know it’s you.