A: I’m sorry that you are going through all this and know that it must be hard. You are at an age that your friends can feel like the most important thing in life. It sounds like the last few years have been very difficult with the move and loss of friends. I agree that your anxiety could get worse if you don’t get it turned around soon. I also believe that if someone feels like they should get some professional help; it’s probably a great idea.
I think a good therapist could not only help you with your shyness and social skills, but also help you work through the trauma of feeling bullied and isolated. Sometimes therapy groups (or support groups) are also a wonderful addition to individual counseling because it’s a safe environment to practice interaction with others. I suggest that you speak to your parents soon about your desire to seek help. You can also talk to the school nurse or counselor to get some recommendations.
In the meantime, it might help to try to make some friends outside of your everyday environment so that you won’t feel so judged. For example, join a club or group that is not affiliated with your school, get a part-time job, join a church group or volunteer for an organization in your community. It might also help to practice speaking to strangers, just to get your confidence built back up. Make a point of speaking to people while riding a bus or waiting in line at a store, etc.
I am confident that if you get some help, and continue to work on the issue yourself, you will make friends and begin to feel comfortable speaking with others again.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts