Living With Social Anxiety


This post is partly a response to indirect comments which have been made about me missing lectures from people on my university course but it is more to do with raising awareness about an important issue.

Social anxiety comes in many forms but it usually makes everyday tasks like social interaction, speaking on the phone and even shopping difficult. It is not just being “a bit shy”, a statement which people who suffer from social anxiety are tired of having to say, it goes far beyond shyness. It often feels like terror, terror at the thought of having to interact socially with other people, directly or indirectly.

Social anxiety makes a person absolutely terrified that they are going to embarrass themselves in front of other people. It’s a complex phobia which affects people differently. Social anxiety can also lead to panic attacks and substance abuse, there are many cases where people with social anxiety have used drugs or alcohol to alleviate their symptoms and become addicted.

For me social anxiety has been a part of my life since starting secondary school. It often comes in waves, sometimes it’s easier to interact with others, other times it feels  impossible. Being in my third year and all the stress that brings seems to have made it a lot worse. Sitting at the bus station having a panic attack when you’ve tried to make it to lectures is not fun I assure you. The thought of being in a room with other people, the fear of being asked a question or of having to talk in front of the class has made going to lectures really difficult for me.

Luckily I have spoken to the lecturers via email and they have all been very understanding, I just wish the people on my course were too.

But the purpose of this post is not to bitch about my course mates or a cry for pity, it is to make people aware of social anxiety and how difficult it makes life for those who suffer with it. I am fortunate that I have people who I can talk to it about and who are understanding, many people feel ashamed or embarrassed to reach out to others.

Everybody is going through their own private battle and judging others will never help. You never know what is going on behind closed doors. The person who you may think is “a loner” or “stuck up” may be going through something incredibly difficult.

I hope you found this post interesting, if you would like to learn more about social anxiety, (I’ve only just scratched the surface) please visit the NHS website, or Social Anxiety UK’s page.

Thanks for reading!

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