I can’t really recall the amount of times I heard “your school years are the best days of your life” when I was a teenager, or how many times it completely destroyed me inside. My school years were the worst of my life and at the time, hearing that they were going to be my best, scared the fuck out of me.
Social anxiety had it’s firm grip on me throughout my entire school life, both through primary and high school. I tried to kill myself at 14, I couldn’t even finish school to get enough qualifications for further education, and I wasted my teenage years at home, stuck inside with crippling fear of the outside world.
I missed out on all the fond memories people had of high school, I missed out on getting drunk in the park with friends, I missed out on going to parties, I missed out on wearing a lace mermaid prom dress to prom, I missed out on going to underage night clubs, I missed out on having hope for my future.
Most days were spent hiding behind closed curtains, making myself sick so I wouldn’t have to go anywhere and hurting myself at every given opportunity. I was having panic attacks while other kids my age were having fun and getting an education.
I assumed that because I’d found my youth and what were supposed to be my BEST years, so incredibly painful, that I was doomed to be an adult completely incapable of being happy.
It’s safe to say that I was wrong and whoever coined the phrase “your school years are your best years” were also wrong.
School isn’t built around everyone’s needs and when you have social anxiety, all the presentations, being called out in class, dealing with cliques and bullies, being forced to spend time with hundreds of other kids every week… it’s hard as fuck! It wasn’t the cause of my social anxiety but it made it a LOT worse.
The damage that it did, took years to undo but after years of therapy and working hard at overcoming my social anxiety, I managed to have a career that I love, make new friends, go to parties and get back some of those memories I missed out on.
It’s never too late to make a good life for yourself. So if you too, feel like your social anxiety stole years of your youth, you still have time.
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