Question

I'm 14 years old. I'll probably cry while typing this because It's just so rough for me. Please read it all.

I believe that I have social anxiety, panic attacks, and agoraphobia (fear of situations that might cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment). I'm also very shy and I get nervous around people, even my family members. I had these problems for about two years.

I started to get social anxiety when I went back to my home country at the age of 12. I went into this new middle school, I got really scared and my heart was beating so fast. I think that was the first time I felt so nervous that my heart was actually beating so hard. I kind of got hot and cold flashes. I didn't know anyone in that school.

Then in the school I was bullied by silence. What I mean is that no one cared about me in my class. People would talk behind me back. I used to sit in the very back of the classroom and when it's breaktime I would be the only one sitting alone in the classroom while everyone was out with friends buying food. I would never talk or ask for help. I was a very big loser. I got really bad grades in middle school and I believe that's why nobody would be my friend or come up to me to say hi or something.

Everytime before I go to school My heart would beat so fast that I couldn't even breath. I used to be so supressed. One time I actually cried so hard in my bed that my dad caught me crying. He was shocked and asked me why was I crying. I didn't know what to say cause if I told him I had social anxiety and panic attacks he wouldn't understand what it is. But then I told him that I had panic attacks and he said when he was my age he also had it. But I didn't tell him about my depression and social anxiety which is why I cried. I also started cutting myself around that time. I was so depressed and I really wanted to die. My mom once saw the scratches on my arm and I moved my arm away from her.

I finished middle school and went to high school. At first when I got in class I thought I would be that loser who has no friend again like I was in middle school. I felt like everyone was judging me because I was sitting at the front. But now I'm 14, I'm a freshmen and I have some friends. I'm quite happy with them. They're good friends, but I feel like they're just using me. I feel like everyone is just using me. I also get really scared and nervous and my heart will start to beat rapidly and very fast when a teacher walks in the class. I get nervous when a teacher is explaining something because if the teacher asks me a question, and if I can't answer it then that would be embarrassing. I feel like the teacher is going to call my name or something. I just get nervous around teachers. Maybe cause of the bad experience I had in middle school with teachers.

I really hate sitting in the front of the class because everything I do feels like everyone is watching me, judging me and talking behind my back. Especially since I have an ex-boyfriend in the same class as I am. I feel like he is looking at me and judging me. I get nervous all the time.

I started to cut myself again at that time. When I went to school I forgot to bring my sweater, so that I could hide the scratches. My friend saw it and she was shocked. My other friend started to see it and asked me what I did to myself. I tried holding back my tears, but then it came out. I cried really hard. My friends were asking me what's wrong, but I couldn't tell them because they wouldn't understand. Eventually I told them what's wrong. One of my friends knows what I'm talking about because she used to have panic attacks too. She would cry in her room every day just like me. She tried helping me but nothing has changed.

I'm still in high school and nothing has changed. I feel like it's getting worse. I never go out of my house these days. I had a three week holiday and all I did was play on my computer and never did step outside my door. My depression has gotten better but my social anxiety and panic attacks have gotten worse, as well as my agoraphobia.

Once I told my mom I would get fast heart beat for no reason. Like my heart would beat too fast for no reason. We went to have me checked by a doctor and told her my problem. She said to my mom "This is usually not a heart problem. Teenagers around her age have many problems. She must have gotten nervous or maybe she is bullied in school. Maybe the teacher is being mean to her or because she doesn't understand a lesson." It's like she read my mind. Then I cried in front of the doctor. She said, "See? Something's wrong." She asked me what's wrong, and I kept shaking my head. I didn't want to say what's wrong because my mom was there. Maybe she wouldn't understand what's wrong with me.

It's really getting worse, and I just need help. Please, please help me. Do something or anything! Please, please, I need help. I don't want to be like this for the rest of my life.


Answer

Jesus pointed out: "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12). You treated others with silence and, unsurprisingly, they responded in kind.

What I noticed in your note is that all your fears come from what you imagine. You assume you know what other people think, and you tend to ascribe to them negative thoughts. Thus, in truth you are really afraid of yourself, as odd it might sound. "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?" (I Corinthians 2:11). Unless someone tells you what he is thinking, you have no idea what is going through his head.

What is interesting that you do the same with your own thoughts. You expect other people to know what you are thinking. And, yet, when people ask you what is on your mind, you refuse to tell them because you are certain they won't understand. You even proved yourself wrong several times. You have had people who have gone through similar experiences, but you don't learn from you mistakes. Instead, you seem to hold it against people that they can't figure out what is wrong when you don't tell them and, further, you decide it is useless to tell people because you magically know in advance that they won't understand.

Nothing changes because you keep everything the same. You are expecting someone else to solve your problems, even the ones that are of your own making that reside in your own mind, that you refuse to tell anyone about. But the effort has to come from you. "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).

I can't be certain of all the motivations, but one that comes through in your note is pride. You don't let other people into your world because you don't want to be embarrassed. Oddly because of this, you end up embarrassing yourself more often. What is also missing is any trust in God to take care of you. "Though the LORD is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me" (Psalms 138:6-7). With faith in God, there is no need to fear other people.