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Social Phobia Keeps Me Inside

Updated on March 22, 2009

The vicious cycle of mental/emotional illness

Imagine yourself walking into a room full of people. You look into the sea of the unknown and only blurry images of faces whip past you at warp speed. Your hands are sweaty and you can't take a deep breath to save your life. Your heart starts pumping so rapidly and excitedly, you're thinking everyone else MUST hear it too! All of a sudden, every blurry human image in the room is staring right at you. Their eyes burning into you, as if you were escorted by Charles Manson.

By this time you feel like someone has just thrown a hatchet into your chest. You honestly believe that you are having a heart-attack, and will soon die. Your mouth is watering and you feel as if you'll vomit. You take some breaths to control your lunch from making an encore presentation.

At this point you can't even remember why you are there. It takes a moment to compose yourself. After your mind begins to settle down, you're free to feel embarrassed and tell yourself that there's no point to your life. You don't want to END your life, but you certainly cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

You finally gain enough emotional strength to enter the room, and you realize that you're at your child's wrestling practice. Most of the people in the room know you, or know of you. When you live in a small town where most of the people are related somehow, or whose families have been friendly for decades, you tend to cringe at the thought that they may have heard about your latest faux pas, and they all know who you REALLY are.

You may look cool on the outside, like you're only focused on your child (you really want to be focused only on your child) as they're carousing around with their peers and putting the John Cena head-lock on each other. Some of them cry and run to their mothers. You may see that out of the corner of your eye, but the entire time you are in that room, you are wondering who is looking at you and what they know about you!

When the event is finally over, you try to be the first one out of the room, but there are too many people. As you stand in the sea of people, waiting to reach the door, you are internally sickened by the thought that some of these people might not like you. You want everyone to like you. You are a good person who has made some bad choices. You are no different than every single one of those people, you just tell yourself that you are.

Now imagine that almost every time you go to Wal Mart, every time you go to the gas station, every time you get groceries, this same scenario coldly replays itself....would YOU go out?

I have spent nearly every moment of my life, trying to make someone happy. Trying to excite someone, trying to get someone to love me for who I am. In my heart I know that I am a very intelligent, loving, giving, compassionate, beautiful (inside and out), empathetic, yet utterly confused woman. I have many gifts. I believe that there was a lack of acceptance in my life somewhere. Why would I care what other people think otherwise? Complete strangers no less! It affects every single move I make in life. Alot of the time I don't feel good enough for anyone.

I've been diagnosed with 2 different anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), ADD, and a social phobia. And this has all been in the last couple of years. I am 32 now. I was a complete mess most of my life. I didn't know my butt from a hole in the ground. My sister and I were very sheltered. Mom was an alcoholic and we were raised by every Tom, Dick, and Mary that mom could find to babysit us. She was gone most nights actually, even during the week.

While mom was out on her weekly bar visits, my sister and I were molested by mom's boyfriend. I was age 5-8. My sister was 2-5. This was a man that I watched beat my mother totally unconcious, and then come barrelling towards me down our narrow, trailer-house hallway, holding a rifle! He grabbed my baby kittens and one by one, threw them out the back door into the air, and shot them midflight. And it was AFTER this event, that my mom gave him weekend visitation with me and my sister. We spent every other weekend with him!

One other instance I will share with you is one of the worst. After my mother and step-dad (different step-dad than earlier) partied with some friends at our home one night, one of their friends decided to pay us a visit. My step-dad drove truck over the road and would be out of state for two days every other week. The next time he was on the road, after this party they threw at home, one of the men that was there partying that night, chose to come back, knowing dad was gone. This particular evening mom had been out for awhile. We had a neighbor girl babysitting and mom just decided to have her spend the night since she didn't arrive home until 1 or 2 a.m.. I fell asleep in mom's bed long before she got home. In the middle of the night I heard a jingling noise. It sounded a bit like my cat's little plastic toy balls with bells inside them. But it seemed a little strange to me (I was 8 years old then and I still remember what I was feeling at the time). I heard a couple other unknown, but quiet sounds. After a bit I woke mom up and told her to turn the lamp on. She reached up to turn it on and for some odd reason it had been unplugged! All of a sudden I hear my mother struggling to talk and the bed is shaking back and forth and up and down. I sat there in pitch-black darkness, wondering what was happening to my mommy. I think I was calling out to her but I'm not sure. The sick part is that this guy heard me talking to my mother, didn't know which side of the bed I was on, and still continued on his sick mission. He was choking my mother!

Finally mom found the strength to kick him where it counts. This person hit the wall and took off out the door. After sitting on the bed in shock for hours, waiting for the police to get done with their investigation, I somehow found the courage to leave the bedroom and rove around the house. We figured out that this guy had been at our house days prior, that he stripped down naked in my mothers room, covered himself with our rug and left his boots and coat in our foyer when he left. This tore me up emotionally.

I am finally beginning to learn and grow. I have newfound confidence that otherwise may not have emerged, had I not made some drastic life decisions. I still suffer with the social phobia, but nothing like I described in the beginning of this hub. Unfortunately I had to cease contact with toxic people in my life, even though I love them. It's the best thing I've ever done for myself! My husband helped me see that I am worth more than a life full of neediness. I was living on false hope, thinking these toxic people would ever be satisfied with anything I did.

I don't want to blame my mother for my life. That is such an annoying cliche. So many people use their parents as an excuse. Maybe that's what I'm doing, I don't know. But you learn what you live, I am living proof of that.

For now, I still retreat from going outside much. I do so as little as possible. I go grocery shopping in the evening when nobody is there, and I only go to Wal Mart if I'm feeling confident that day. I always run into people I know there, and most of the time I will do anything to avoid that. I don't want others to see what a "failure" I am.

Every day is a struggle, but I have to say that the struggle becomes easier and easier to bare. I was an emotional mess from the moment I found out that my biological father had passed away, never knowing I was his. Since then I've spoken with his wife of 30 years and their four children, my four new siblings, very often. In fact I flew by myself for the first time recently, halfway across the country (MN to OR) to see them. I stayed with my (only) sister and we bonded immediately. I've never experienced anything like it! There was such a gaping hole in my heart where they should've been. Now it's almost completely whole again. Thank God!!

There IS hope for those of you who may suffer in this way. Don't give up, go to a good therapist, and continue to see that therapist. Find a good friend or other support person that knows your situation and can help you in your plight to "heal".

God will love you and be by your side no matter what!


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    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      5 years ago from Texas

      Jamie, I'm sorry to hear all that happened to you... I can relate to the drinking because my parents partied at all hours of the night,we were stuck with our grandma or baby sitters all the time, even when I was too young and terrified to be at home alone, I was at home keeping my little sister until 1 and 2 am until they finally came home from the bar and usually they were fighting and sometimes it was physical, like you were saying. When they came home late like that the worse part of about it was wondering if they were ever going to come back. I never went to sleep.. I always just looked out the window watching for them for hours. When I saw the headlights I would run and get into bed. I also relate to the social anxiety.. it's nice to hear someone talk about how stressful going to WalMart is. It would be awesome if I could be invisible while I go places but unfortunately that's not possible. I have a terrible problem with isolating myself at home and it's a constant struggle. I just wanted you to know you were not alone. I commend you for writing about this stuff here.. it's a good thing. I am still finding hard to open up about personal issues here but I'm getting better. Just keep writing... and know you aren't alone. We can get better.. I'm determined. I have a little boy that I gotta be involved in life for.. so I just keep trying. I believe it will get easier as we get older... or at least I hope!

    • EFTcuresPhobias profile image


      8 years ago

      No matter what the problem, EFT can help you overcome it. I have seen it for myself. You could change your life around in days!

      I promise it can work for you.

    • nikki1 profile image


      8 years ago

      Always bond with friends and family. You deserve happiness.

      Talking about your issues/challenges will no doubt help. I also have faith in you. Possibly changing your eating habits and lifestyle,. Think of ways to bringing happiness back in your life.

    • Diane Inside profile image

      Diane Inside 

      8 years ago

      I don't think you were sheltered at all. Sheltered to me means that you were sheltered from such violence and way too adult things. If anything you were given a front row seat to everything and anything, that your mom was doing. I am sorry that this happened for you and I am glad that you can get through it, and tell your story. Healing takes a long time I'm sure and I know you try to keep your kids from such things. You are very brave to write about this, and I hope it does it's job in helping you heal.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      MissJamieD, sometimes there are no words. You're a true hero.

      I wish you every success and happiness, because you deserve it.



    • profile image


      8 years ago


      I understand what you are saying about social anxiety keeping you inside, believe me, I have been there!

      I wanted to pass on a really good, and little known free resource for agoraphobia--

      (As well as social phobia, social anxiety, what have you.)--

      **Telephone conference call support groups-- they are really great (and free-- provided by a nonprofit)....

      This is really great for any agoraphobic or social phobic because you can access support groups of fellow anxiety sufferers while you are still at home, which can really help in overcoming social anxiety in general,

      By the way, the groups themselves are really gentle (non-pressuring) and no one pushes you. Basically there is just lots of experience, wisdom and hope. They've got a lot of good free literature too--

      One is the best secrets for getting better (I have found) is to go to support groups no matter what, and to also read from that writing every day no matter what.

      Best and hang in there! Phil

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Sweet Jamie, I too will pray for you! ((hugs))

    • MissJamieD profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Minnes-O-ta

      akh--thanks so much for reading. I hope it can shed some light on the subject for you or someone you love.

      billips--Things are becoming more peaceful for me hon, thank you so much. But it is hard work I must say yet so worth it:) Hugs

      Mekenzie--I appreciate your compliments more than you know. Thank you so very much. I'm so sorry that you've suffered but I will pray for you. I wish you all the best and I Hope to talk with you more. hugs

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      I wish a story like this never had to be told-this type of horror story should never happen in the life of a precious child. You are a clear and descriptive writer. I know your story will help others know they can survive and they are not alone. Bless you dear one - I had an abusive upbringing, not nearly as tragic as yours - but God's love has healed each trauma as I deal with it. There is a group called Celebrate Recovery (all over the U.S.)that been awesome in helping me to walk through the pain - not ignore it or sweep it under the carpet which leads to panic attacks - I've had my share for sure. I am glad to hear you continue toward healing and pray some really healthy people come alongside to support and love you! Blessings!

    • billips profile image


      9 years ago from Central Texas

      You have had a truly devastating experience! - I sincerely trust that, bit by bit, things become more peaceful for you - B.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      excellent article.. really insightfull and practical. Thankyou so much!

    • MissJamieD profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Minnes-O-ta

      Charia--thank you sweetie. I'm sorry you suffer in these ways, but I hope that some of my words can help you emerge slowly. If you're content where you are, then there's no reason to change. If you're unhappy, you have every right to express your feelings and begin anew. I'm still struggling with my ex. He's still around, coming to my house every day, even after I tell him to leave, he walks into my house like he owns it. But we'll get through it. He'll figure out what he needs I hope soon, otherwise I'll have to get the police involved again...this is what drugs do to a person also...he has underlying issues like narcissism and sociopathic tendencies, but drugs only worsen things.

      I wish you the best sweetie. Hope to hear more from you:) Hugs

    • Charia Samher profile image

      Charia Samher 

      9 years ago

      Hi MissJamieD! Huh your hubs were astounding; I have just finished reading your hub about narcissism, and now this one. My heart feels for you. I’m glad you’re over with your ex-husband and I hope you’ll also get over the effect that your ex had caused you. I can relate to you about the social phobia thing, although I’m not sure if I can already called mine a phobia, no matter how I wanted to mingle with other people, something’s holding me back, maybe because I’m afraid of being rejected or maybe because I don’t know where to start or what to say. I can say I’m happy even if I’m just right here inside the house and go out only if needed but I don’t want my neighbors to say that I am such a snob. Anyways it’s nice to have read your informative and revealing hubs. God bless you always!

    • MissJamieD profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Minnes-O-ta

      Grillin, I miss you:)

      Mindless--that is one of the nicest compliments I've ever received, possibly THE nicest. Thank you so much, you don't know what that means to me. I've grown emotionally, even further than I had in this hub. I actually realized that my husband was also a toxic member of my life and had to go. We've been legally separated for two years but he's an abusive narcissist and refuses to believe that I don't love him. But I finally gained the strength to tell him that I don't love him and I want him to sign divorce papers. lol..of course it's never that easy with a sociopath, but it will happen, and soon. Working on it with my lawyer now. Anyway, I've spent time in a battered women's shelter and you're right about the fact that some people need that vote of confidence and knowledge, to make the right choices. I'd love more than anything, to motivate and inspire others to believe in themselves. I spent so many years of my life with no self-worth and I wish someone would've cared enough to share these things with me. And of course I don't just mean what I've stated in this hub, but there are so many issues that "victims" need help seeing in order to change:)

      You're such a sweet and helpful person, thank you so much:)

    • TheMindlessBrute profile image


      9 years ago from Orlando,Florida


      These writings are therapy,your progression in this one from the third person to the first,then on to a source of inspiration to others who may suffer is illuminated in your pen as it releases what's been burning inside of you before it consumes you.If I may make a suggestion here,print this out and take it to a battered womens shelter and read it to the group.You may kill two birds with a single essay,ease your social anxiety (not everyone has poetry under their beds),the second (I believe) is your gift.

      or there's always applying for the greeter position at Walmart.

    • grillin beans profile image

      grillin beans 

      9 years ago from TEX

      Jamie you rocked the shit out of this one! I'm talkin outta the park! Good job girlie xoxo

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You're sweet:) I don't know if that guy is still in jail. That was in WI and I've lived in MN since right after that incident. We lived in a small town, it was in the papers, etc. So I think my parents wanted to escape that. And I don't think any of us felt very safe after that, as you can probably imagine.

      It is my sole therapy right now, to write. If I didn't, I may just explode like an atom bomb. I'm no Frost, but I'm glad there are places like this!!

      Thanks for reading:)

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 

      9 years ago from San Diego, California

      Man, that sounds really rough. I hope that sick guy is still in jail. If not, give me his address. That's really cool that you can write about this stuff. I bet putting it down on paper really helps, and it's cool for the rest of us to be able to read :)


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