Learning to manage social anxiety
Human beings are not built for life on our own. We’re not solitary animals (even if we try to tell ourselves that). History has shown that we thrive better when surrounded by other animals. We have highly evolved emotions, why would we have them if not to use them?
On the one hand, it suited me fine as I hated the judgement of people if I embarrassed myself. On the other I craved the nights out, the experiences the other young people had.
I felt like an outsider that nobody would understand. It took a long time before I talked to anybody how I was feeling. My parents knew something was wrong, as I would pretend to be sick to skip school or actually be physically sick with anxiety.
One of the worst things was trying to explain what it was, why I was feeling like this because the truth was I didn’t know.
I first opened up completely to my mum. I hit rock bottom. I had major panic attacks when I started fifth year of secondary school (bear in mind I had been suffering and coping two years before this.)
My mum brought me to my local GP and she quickly assessed what was wrong with me, there was a lot of tests to make sure it wasn’t something physical. I knew myself it wasn’t but they had to be sure.
Using photography and writing
Since then I am much more open about my social anxiety. When someone asks about the subject of my photographs I will tell them, I have my blog about living with social anxiety and I am more comfortable explaining to people why I don’t drink.
The longer you leave it the more you feel alone and like nobody can understand and that nobody will want to understand. You feel like they will judge you for being weak, that you’re looking for attention and many others.
Take it from someone who has gone through it and come through the other side, take it from someone who has numerous friends/acquaintances who have gone through tough times… People DO understand. This IS common.
Find a way through
There IS help and NO judgement. There IS a way out of all of this, it is a struggle and you do need the strength to do it, when you ask for help you will find the inner strength to overcome. Seeking help is the first step and it gets much easier after that, sharing your problem allows it to be halved.
You have so many possibilities to uncover in life, finding help and learning to make the most of it is really worthwhile. You just need to ask for help, never fear that people will not understand because believe it or not people are more aware for the need to look after your mental health.
It is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact learning to face and manage my social anxiety has made me the person I am today.