Home > Social Anxiety > Why?


One thing that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about is why I am the way I am.

For a long time, I believed that I knew the answer. See, I was seriously abused back in my school days. My family moved when I was in fifth grade, and from that point on, I was the class reject. I don’t want to dwell on the stuff I went through – but it was awful. I was physically beaten, and emotionally isolated and tormented. It’s fair to say that from the time we moved until the time I graduated high school, every single time that I thought I’d made a friend, they’d turn on me.

It seems like that’s the answer. Those horrible things happened to me, and as a result, I’ve got this fear, this expectation that people will betray me.

And yet…

It doesn’t really seem to make sense.

I graduated high school and went to college. And in college, I made friends. It wasn’t necessarily easy, but it wasn’t anything close to traumatic either. I went on to grad school, and made friends. It was harder than it was in college, but still, nothing close to the crippling trouble I have now.

After I graduated, and started working, that’s when the serious isolation started. Not immediately – but over time, it got progressively worse.

So how can I really say that it’s high school that did it? It didn’t stop me from being social in college, so why would it now? But if that’s not the reason, then why?

Is there a reason? Does asking why even make sense? It seems like it must! There has to be something, some reason, some cause. I can’t believe that there isn’t a reason. And yet, I also can’t make sense out of reasons. The reasons that make sense don’t seem to be connected to the times when things really changed.

Categories: Social Anxiety Tags: ,
  1. Magatha
    August 12, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Well, you have young children now. I don’t know how old they are, or where they are in their school careers. When you were in fifth grade, you got cast out on your own, into a harsh environment, and your parents – for whatever reason – did not save you. You suffered terribly, and for years afterward, you’ve been dealing with the fallout.

    Now you’ve got children to protect. You’ve already beaten yourself senseless for screwing up with your son’s broken arm. Are you all tangled up about how to help them with school? Is it PTSD because, even though you’re an adult now, here comes primary school headed right at you (via your children) like a freight train – again? As awful as it was for you back then, I imagine you’d endure it again if that meant sparing your own children. But it doesn’t work like that.

    Also, I think our brains deal with severe stress however they can, even if the solution is harmful in the long run. Like adrenaline is good, yes? You don’t survive long without it. But if you’re in a situation where many of those mysterious synapses are pretty much flooded with adrenaline for years, it seems plausible to me to imagine that sometimes some of those neural routes get stuck in “open”. So you encounter a stressor, and there you are, flooded with anxiety, whereas the person you might have been if all that hadn’t happened to you might say, “Oh, that’s weird”, then deal and move on. You can’t because…well, there are certain sounds and signals that you MUST investigate because if you don’t you’ll get eaten by wooly mammoths, or possibly sucked down by quicksand because you just can’t assess the danger unless you investigate.

    Your own brain that tried so desperately to save you way back when you were little – and that DID save you – got damaged in the process.

    That’s my non-PhD-havin’ theory as of this moment. Shit. Once again, I am really going to hit the Submit Comment button. I puzzle myself.

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