‘Social anxiety’ is a term floating around Cyber Space with increasing frequency, but do we really understand what it means to suffer from this disorder? Or, as I pessimistically assume, is it a term loosely attributed to ‘awkward moments’ caused by brief feelings of shyness?
According to our good pal Google, 9.2% of the British population suffer from social anxiety, making it the most common form of mental distress to date. So, what with such wide spread destruction, is this disorder shunned as “teenage awkwardness”?
Many, if not all, of us will experience feelings of social anxiety, such as fear of public speaking, but a smaller minority of us will be deeply affected by such feelings and they are likely to be intrusive to our lives.
Whilst I am in no position to diagnose myself, recent events have caused me to reconsider what I originally passed off as shyness. I will often place myself in tough situations as I am too afraid to ask for help, (I recently missed out on 50p change as I couldn’t bring myself to ask for it) and have let people make mistakes for the fear of telling them. Alas, I digress, these experiences are not unique but they certainty aren’t reflective of healthy functioning. After further divulgence into the world of Google, I found that sufferers can experience “chronic insecurity about their relationships with others, hypersensitivity to criticism, or fears of being rejected by others.” I would falter in any attempts to better describe my most disheartening feelings.
I’ll admit, I am not a social recluse and Social Anxiety does not taint every aspect of my life, but such experiences can be scary and still affect your mood or social situations. This is (in case you missed the relevance) the reasoning behind the telling of my life story; to share with you my own experiences in the hope that I am not alone in my weird little world of missed opportunities and unsaid words.
Anxiety is not something you have to deal with alone and it certainly isn’t something to be ignored. Help can be found anywhere online, if you want support, advice, or just to better understand the disorder. The greatest part of online help? No actual human interaction is required. You’re welcome.
By Sian Bradley
Wordpress username: Sianabigail