Living with Social Anxiety Disorder
Posted by EmeraldEmbers
9th Jul 2015

I suffer with social anxiety disorder. I am writing this to shed light on a mental illness that is often not spoken of, which is unsurprising really given the nature of the condition!
I often think about how cruel social anxiety is, as it is so isolating. It cuts you off from the rest of the world and leaves you feeling alone and misunderstood, even in supportive environments such as mental health support groups.
We are after all, social beings and need the support and companionship of others to be both physically and mentally healthy.

Perhaps I should try to explain a little about what it means to have social anxiety. I am afraid of people. I'm afraid that they will judge me, laugh at me or be negative towards me in some way. I am afraid of being watched, of doing things wrong. I am afraid of people seeing that I am anxious, thus sensing that I am somehow weaker that everyone else.

It is a condition that has taken so much from me, as it's effects are so far reaching. I find it difficult to meet new people, so making new friends is almost out of the question. The people I do have in my life I tend to keep at arm's length as I feel so inadequate.

I can't work because the feelings of anxiety take over and render me useless. I shake when people watch me, I vividly remember trying to make myself something to eat in the staff room of a job I was volunteering at. I was taking a hot soup out of the microwave and spilt it all over my hand, but I didn't even react to it as I was scared that people would see and judge me in some way.
I know how it sounds, irrational, and I'm perfectly aware of this but even this realisation isn't enough to make it stop. Everything in life involves people, and I cope with this by, avoiding life.

The frustration of not being able to reach my potential is immense and incredibly painful, and something I struggle with every single day.

I would just like people to undersand a little of what it's like to suffer with a mental health problem, and to also stand up for people who are shy and/or anxious, we are just as important as everyone else. We deserve to be heard.

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