I did not start dealing with social anxiety until august of last year when i returned home from a military academy i went to for 6 weeks. When I first came home I did not like dealing with people but it wasn’t ruining my life. A few months ago i started being afraid of leaving my own house, not just the yard but my actual house. It feels like everyone is watching me and i’m afraid what they will think of me. I want my life to be back to normal and I want to be able to leave my house and go to college and have a career and live a typical life. Thank you.

A. First of all, you are very welcome. Perhaps returning home from the military academy served as a trigger for your anxiety. If I were interviewing you in person, I would explore your return home in more depth. What about returning home might have triggered your anxiety? Why don’t you like dealing with people? Is it all people or just certain people that you don’t like dealing with? What about these interactions don’t you like? Did you have trouble dealing with people before the military academy or only after your return home? Perhaps, your experiences at the academy triggered your anxiety.

Sometimes changes in our lives, such as moving, ending a relationship, beginning a new career, and so forth can serve as a trigger for a phobia or an anxiety disorder. Some people have difficulty adapting to change.

You recently began to notice your symptoms worsening. It may be difficult but now is the time to seek help. Since seeing a mental health professional will require you to leave your home, anticipate that your anxiety might increase. Even if that is the case, you must force yourself to seek help.

Overcoming your fears requires that you do the very thing that frightens you, and in your case this means leaving your home. Anxiety and phobias thrive on fear. The sooner that you can face your fear, the sooner the fear will be extinguished. Don’t attempt to solve this problem on your own. Seek professional help. You will be glad you did. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog