After I started having extreme panic attacks every time I was asked to read, pray, or give talks, I tried just cancelling each time I had a talk. However, it seemed that the TMSO was trying to call my bluff, because even after almost two years of this, he was still regularly giving me assignments. I was even starting to get comments from others at the hall that I never showed up for my talks. Finally I pulled the TMSO aside and tried to be honest, telling him I was having trouble with my nerves and would like to be taken off of the school for awhile. He tried to talk me out of it but eventually said ok.
That was about 8 years ago. Since then I have never rejoined the school, and even though it is supposedly voluntary, I was never really given other privileges. Anytime I would ask about being used for sound, etc, I got asked why I wasn't on the school. I think it is much harder for brothers to shy away from the school than sisters because of the difference in how they are viewed by jws.
Lola, I always like to think that honesty is the best policy, but in this case it really hasn't worked out for me. Being honest about my panic attacks has only led to brothers blaming it on other things, ie - not enough faith, ashamed of a secret sin, not trusting Jehovah, etc. At my hall they have even started giving counsel during the Ministry School that being nervous is not an excuse to avoid giving talks because everyone gets nervous and the only way to get over it is to give more talks. By the way, I gave talks for 16 years (my first number 2 was when I was 4 years old, and had regular assignments until I stopped at about 20 years old), so I don't think it's a matter of making excuses.
Unfortunately, I think it's a game that has to be played in order to not attract too much attention to yourself (if that is your aim). I have found that the best way to deflect pressure from the brothers is to act as though they are making me discouraged and taking away any motivation I have to progress. This seems to work extremely well and usually sends them running the other way.
Just my 2 cents worth.