Have any of you had counseling or attempted to get counseling because of your shyness or social anxiety?  I am in the process of trying to get someone to talk to and help me get better.  Last term (I'm in university) I was in a therapy group, which went ok except when there was one guy there who let off a lot of anger all the time, which made me too frightened to speak.  It wasn't specifically for social anxiety, more just a general group for older college students.  Anyway, I couldn't attend that group this term, so the group leader said he'd help me get into another one, but he didn't do something right with the forms and groups had already started meeting by the time I found out about it.  So, feeling like everything was getting worse, nearly wanting to just give up, I went in for another intake, where the lady tried to help me get community resources, which either had me leave a message or couldn't help me.  That was a hard day.  But I'm on the list at a local university that does free counseling and it looks like one of the counselors at my university may have a spot open for me.

I really hope it helps.  I've tried reading self help books but the things they ask me to do seem so impossible when I'm reading them alone late at night.

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Another thing is that I have a small, fairly close knit faith community that is small enough and genuine enough to acknowledge people's hurts and not require that everyone be happy because of Jesus, and yet I haven't told them about it or asked for help.  Maybe it's because it's easier to talk to strangers than people looking me in the face week after week, or maybe because I'm upset that after I was gone to England for a year, no one from there has invited me out to coffee or to their house or anything.  I feel like I never got reintegrated into society and they've been fine watching me waste away.

I think that you should probably talk to your faith community. That sounds like a wonderful resource full of people who could help you. Talking to strangers probably is easier because they don't know you and it's less personal, but people who know you care about you more than strangers, and they can probably help you more than strangers. I know it's scary, but the best way for me to talk is to some up twenty seconds of courage, and not think about talking before I do. Thinking about talking is one of the worst deterrents for me to talk. Spontaneity for me works, just blurting stuff out instead of scaring myself thinking ahead of time.

That's really weird that you had to go to so many different places to get help, usually people try to get you help if you ask for it. I live in a small town and I'm sure if I asked for help I could get it. I'm almost getting to the point where I may be able to get some help, but it's really scary. It feels like everyone leaves it up to me and I can't do it by myself. I just have a real problem with asking for help, so I need someone else to realize I need someone. I hope you get the help you need.

I have.  Granted, my social anxiety was not the primary reason why I began seeing a psychologist, but it was definitely a factor.  And let me tell you, talking to a stranger whose entire purpose is to be there to listen and to help you, can be incredibly beneficial.  I think that it's great that you talk about having a faith community that is supportive-- and I have always had a great group of close knit friends who love and support me--but sometimes it is more helpful to talk to someone who doesn't have any ulterior motives (even if their motives are all positive, like not wanting to see someone they care for struggling with something like social anxiety, sometimes that can feel like a lot of pressure). 

A lot about social anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy, which means you will definitely have to work hard to overcome it.  But I really hope that having someone to talk to helps you.  I know that it has helped me.


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