There will be two weeks between each of our meetings. In the meantime, I encourage members to give some thought to the group’s previous meeting, and to the next one. There is no “homework”; it’s not that kind of group. However, there are a few things you might like to consider, in order to make the most of the meetings:

My genuine hope is that our meetings help to form new friendships! I will hang out in the meeting room for at least 15 minutes after each meeting ends, allowing anyone who would like to socialize more with other members (including me, of course) a quiet place to do so. You should never feel obliged—we all understand what it’s like to be socially drained—but are always welcome.

  1. I encourage you to share contact info with others for socialization, support, or both. Everyone will have my contact information from the start.
    1. In the event that a group member abuses any ability to contact you which you have extended to them, please inform me of the issue as soon as possible.

I’m not a professional of any sort, and this is my first attempt at anything like a support group. There will be room for improvement. Please feel free to share any feedback you have with me, and let me know if you’d like me to address it at our next meeting. You may do so by contacting me directly, or by using the feedback form on the site here, which allows you to give feedback anonymously (you'll need to use a browser authenticated with your email/phone so the site knows you're a member, but I can't see which member). Of course, you may also address any feedback you have during our meetings!

For me, it’s helpful to write about my thoughts and feelings, especially relating to anxiety, as (or shortly after) I experience them. If you find the same, I recommend you keep a journal between meetings. You might choose to review your recent entries right before the meeting, or you can bring it with you to the meeting if you’d like (I will absolutely be bringing notes, so you wouldn’t be the only one).

  1. There is a page on the website where you can write down these thoughts and download a PDF as a personal record. If you have an experience you’d like the group to talk about, but aren't sure you'll feel confident in bringing it up on your own, you may also choose to share your entry with me, either anonymously or with your name. I will review any entries made there shortly before the next meeting, and they will serve as the top of my “conversation starter” list until they have been shared.


      Still here? Cool! I like people who like to read.

      I guess I should briefly introduce myself. My name is Jake. I’ve been socially anxious since before I can remember, though it started getting really bad around the time I started middle school, and still worse from there. A couple years ago, I learned about a condition called avoidant personality disorder. It explained so much about not only what I was dealing with, but why, and really helped me to start gradually turning things around. But we’ll talk about anxiety plenty during our meetings. I haven’t told very many people much about who I really am underneath the anxiety, so let’s change that!

      My favorite thing about existence is music, and my favorite genre is metal. If you haven’t listened to much metal, you might not know that there’s a ton of variety for what’s supposedly one genre—everything from beautifully-sung ballads with orchestral accompaniments, to low-tuned guitars and a bunch of different styles of atonal vocals, to fantastically weird avant-garde stuff that’s really only metal because it isn’t anything else. Sometimes you’ll hear all of that in one song. I enjoy playing bass guitar, but that’s secondary to my love for writing music. If someone who doesn't usually listen to heavy music were to ask me for recommendations, I would suggest the albums Hour of the Nightingale by Trees of Eternity, Cold Dark Place by Mastodon, Kala by Mobius, and Damnation by Opeth (these links will open YouTube in a new tab).

      I also love fiction in a variety of forms. My favorite genre is fantasy, especially dark fantasy, and extra-specially stuff that prominently features monsters, magic, and medieval melee weapons. My favorite form of fictional media is definitely video games. It’s kinda hard to explain to someone who doesn’t play games why I love them so much, because I like very different things about different types of games. My brain doesn’t often “take it easy”, so activities that many people find relaxing are often unpleasant for me, ‘cause I can’t stop thinking anxious thoughts in circles. So I really like playing games that make me use my brain on them, instead of on unproductive thoughts.

      In some games, I love exploring awesome areas, looking for secrets, and solving puzzles—things that don’t exactly have one-to-one analogues in reality, and are really cool in interactive virtual worlds. In other games, I like to be challenged strategically, with difficult or competitive gameplay—things that absolutely exist IRL in the form of sports, but I have more coordination in my fingers than my arms and legs, and I’m also deathly afraid of other human beings (working on that!). My favorite games of the first type are the amazingly-atmospheric Legend of Grimrock games by Almost Human; of the second type, the easy-to-learn, hard-to-master Heroes of the Storm by Blizzard; and somewhere in-between, the brilliant Dark Souls (and Bloodborne) games by From Software.

      Introducing yourself is hard, isn’t it? I kinda just listed some things I like, which might not tell you all that much about me. I guess it serves the main purpose of demonstrating that I’m a normal guy who does some normal things, and that I can communicate on some level! Here’s an awkward selfie to round it out:

Photo of Jake Ware, a young man