My name is Kate. I'm new to this SA community, however, I could not find any local SA groups close to where I live, so I decided to join this online community instead.
I would like to start by saying that SAD has been effecting my life in a very negative way. I'm sure most of you have experienced that as well. I would say I had SAD most of my life-starting from early childhood, continuing on through the teens and now into adulthood. It has always been with me and only recently I begun to face this issue and not run away from it.
A little bit about me: I'm originally from Russia; was born and raised there until I was 12, when my mom decided to bring me and my brother overseas to U.S. for a better life. Typical immigrant story-except for the fact that, not only was it very difficult to move countries and start a new life, but with the SAD disorder running in the family, it made everything twice if not three times as though. Now looking back, I believe I had SAD as a child as well, growing up in Russia. I was what you would call an extremely shy child with very low self esteem. I still had friends and went to birthday parties and events, but I always felt bad about myself and interacting with peers or adults was never easy.
When I moved to U.S. I was also seen as "extremely shy" and "socially awkward". I had a few kids make fun of me, while others simply ignored me as I did not interact with many people anyway. Most of my life I have lived in the shadows of others so to speak--my friends, boyfriends, family members. If I went out to events or hung out with friends, I was usually the "third wheeler" or "the quiet one" or "shy". I relied on other people to introduce me to new people and activities. I was never the leader of my group of friends; in relationships I often assumed the passive role, which did not lead to anything good--but that's a whole other story.
Anyway, I just wanted to share my life experience on here and hopefully meet someone who has had a similar life experience; someone who feels they're always in the background but would LOVE to get out of this feeling and experience life to its fullest. Someone who understands what it's like to want to be someone else. More recently, I have been trying to learn to accept myself more and love myself more, but I still have a lot of days when I don't. My anxiety and depression keep reminding me that I am hopeless, incapable of ever being a leader or ever accomplishing anything in life. I have always wanted to be one of those people who people look up to and admire and aspire to be. However, I am very lost on this journey right now, and the anxiety is getting the best of me.
Another side note: I'm currently training to become a surgical assistant for a private oral surgery practice in the Seattle area. The training has been very stressful for me, but not because of the challenges the job provides-but mostly due to my social anxiety and depression. I have tried explaining to my supervisor what's going on with me, but at the end of the day they just tell me they need someone who can do the job, and that I need to be honest with them if I do not feel I can do the job. I understand their viewpoint, but I really wish they were more understanding towards this particular anxiety disorder-that the fact that it's social anxiety makes it harder to communicate and interact with patients. I've been trying my best to be "normal" and fit in at work, but I know I'm very different and so does everyone else. I had my share of very embarrassing moments at work, where I experienced extreme anxiety right in front of my coworkers and patients too. I have been training for three months now, and I still feel unsure about this job. I really want to be able to perform my best, but every time my social anxiety kicks in at work and interferes with my progress and growth.
I just wanted to share my experience with SA with other people who have SA disorder as well. In my personal experience, SA has not been welcomed and accepted-I always feel like it's the least "wanted" disorder. A lot of people do not understand what it is like to live with it, and they also very often look down on people with SA and are very quick to label them as "Weird, awkward, extremely shy, selfish, self-centered", etc. I have been labeled all of these, whether by friends, boyfriends, coworkers... It would be really nice to find like-minded people on here who are supporting and encouraging.
PS: Is anybody here from Kirkland/Bellevue/Seattle area? Would be really nice to get a therapy group started in my area. I've been struggling to find one here and have been feeling pretty hopeless lately.
Thank you for taking the time to read my long thread. Hope to hear from you guys soon!