Hey #71604 - in grade 4 I was diagnosed with social phobia. I was pretty much exactly like you - same symptoms!! I'm 19 now, and I avoided medication - I didn't have a good feeling about it either. I'm still shy and quiet (that's my personality - some people are extroverted, others are introverted), but I'm not as afraid to talk to people and stand up for myself, and if I have to get up in class for a presentation, then I have to do it! I think people with social phobia are more sensitive to energy and more aware of themselves and how they fit into society. It can be difficult, but this personality has its advantages - my guess is you're probably a good listener and perceptive of your friends'/others' feelings (both very positive yet uncommon traits). Best thing you can do to help yourself is to take baby steps. Week one, get up and throw out your lunch, then sit back down to read a book/magazine for the rest of the lunch hour (or if some people are having an open conversation around you, just join in - you don't have to say anything, just smile or nod). Do that everyday for that week.
A week or two later, put your hand up in class when you're sure of an answer, or have a question. Putting your hand up is scary, but EVERYONE does it, and trust me - nobody is whispering, "Omg so and so put up their hand!" and they will not talk about it later. Nobody cares - they're too self-consumed to notice :) Do it once a week from then on, or more if you want to.
Then, in another week or two interval, do something else that makes you nervous. Maybe say "Hi" to someone who sits beside you in class, or ask to borrow a sheet of paper or an eraser, or take your sandwich out of your lunch bag so people can see it. Everybody eats. It's okay! Once again, nobody cares. Everyone is too preoccupied with their own lives to notice whether someone else is eating lunch or not.
These small things can really add up. If you get a therapist, get him/her to help you with these steps. Your therapist can mark/track your progress for you - you could have a chart, if you'd like, denoting the weeks you did certain things, like if you put up your hand in class you'd get a sticker on that week - and so on for each brave thing you do. It perhaps sounds a bit silly to you, but it does work and helps you to see how far you've come.
You CAN do this!!
Please e-mail me if you'd like to talk or have any questions! I'd love to hear from you :)