In your third paragraph you mention you have been seeing a counselor which is the best thing. Your problem is different than what most people experience so it is best to keep working with the counselor, rather than trying to get support from friends as they probably do not understand how to help.
I think that if you burden them now you will alienate them now, which will be difficult to overcome later if you are able to work it out with the counsellor. Keep at it.
I barely speak with my friends anymore because of my social anxiety and I recently moved away so I do not see them at all. I also have distanced myself from my family as well. I have a large extended Italian family and I always try to avoid gatherings. I'm even anxious talking with my immediate family. I feel safe and comfortable only when I am by myself, or with my long time girlfriend of 8 years. I do not even like talking to anyone over the phone.
This anxiety really has me shutting down from everyone.
Are you seeing the counselor regularly?
I have had a few meetings with a service worker at the mental health centre. I cannot seem to find an actual counselor our psychiatrist to speak with. I keep getting told to join support groups, which I have and I will be starting one next week but I'm pretty sure all this talking is not solving anything. I just want to live a normal life already.
You live in a big city, Toronto. Why is it that you can't find a psychiatrist or counselor there? The school you attend should have help for that too.
I am actually outside of Toronto. In Peterborough, ON.
I am on a waiting list for a psychiatrist. Should be a couple of months until I can talk to someone.
You certainly seem to have a decent case of social anxiety, and you certainly sound fed up, so I'm assuming you have been dealing with this for a while? Did you feel this way in high school? If so, how did you cope?
You are definitely on the right track, by seeking professional help. The other thing you need to do (you won't like this, lol) is you need to push yourself as much as you can, even when you don't want to. It won't be easy, but it's a must.
Your example about the class is a perfect one! You felt very anxious, but you stuck it out, and endured it! The longer you sat there, the more your anxiety decreased! You know why? Because you sent a message to your brain that there was NOTHING to fear! When you avoid people and places, it sends the opposite message to your brain, that there IS something to fear. THAT'S what you have to do, in general, in all social situations!! Stick it out, and don't flee the situation.
You don't have to join the debate club, but gradually work to increase your exposure to people. Just making sure you go to school for each and every class will help tremendously. Those unfamiliar faces will soon become familiar faces, and as you meet more and more people, your confidence level will go up, and your anxiety will go down. It's not always going to be easy, but you really have to try.
Isolating yourself to where you feel "safe" is going to make you ten times worse. It really is. It willl be harder and harder for you to engage with people and go places. It will get very hard to go anywhere. You don't want that! You NEED school, you will eventually NEED a job...so it's important that you work hard to address the anxiety and get it to a manageable level, so you can function. You probably won't ever be super comfortable in some situations, but they WILL become much more tolerable for you, the more experience you get.
Now, the bathroom hang up. WHAT exactly makes you fearful and anxious? Is it like performance anxiety, where you don't want others to be in there at the same time with you? To either hear you doing your business, or see you in the bathroom? That's my guess, because that goes along very well with the more extreme social phobias like you seem to have. It's not a germ thing right? It's just about being in a BR around others?
I see you posted another thread about medication..I'll read that and comment on that shortly, but I wanted to reply here first. You CAN do this...it's going to take some time and some work..AND some help from the professionals, but you'll get to a much better place socially.
Please keep us in the loop!