Social anxiety is defined as, “An anxiety disorder in which a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. Anxiety(intense nervousness) and self-consciousness arise from a fear of being closely watched, judged, and criticized by others.”
For most of my life I can remember being shy and struggling with public speaking and it sucked, especially as I got older. Social anxiety is not fun. This is something that stops me from doing the things I want to do and say. It stops a lot of people from going out and living their dreams because of irrationality. The fear of what might become and happen to you. What if you say something stupid, or do something stupid, what if you just can’t. I can recall numerous times in my life where social anxiety has affected my ability to complete basic skills. In 7th grade I was going to present in class. Not a big deal right? But as the list of names called dwindled my nerves were buzzing, my palms were sweaty and weak and cold, and I was lightheaded. Then my name was called. It felt like everything was in slow motion and when you turned your head your vision blurred. I can vividly remember the light from the projector shining into my eyes and the blurry darkness of my peripheral vision. As I went to read the words on the board, boom, my mind went blank, what might of been one second, seemed like 5 thousand, and then they all came back in a rush. And as I opened my mouth a jumbled mess leaped out. I was getting my words mixed up, oh God, I was getting my words mixed up. My cheeks flushed and I could feel the heat radiating from them. Yet again that inescapable drag of time came, this time slower. This is an unwavering affair that you can only hope between words and breaks in speaking doesn’t happen. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s hit or miss really. On many occasions this does happened. Maybe I was just trying to order some food, maybe it was calling someone on the phone, going to the store(perhaps you’re even with someone), meeting strangers, walking down the hall by yourself. Every second of your life is swallowed up by this disorder. You live your life in fear of messing up and of doing things that require you to talk, meet, and experience new people and places.
Approximately 15 million people, both men and women, some as young as thirteen suffer from this disorder. Some experience social anxiety for more than ten years before seeking help. Anxiety disorders such as this can affect 1 in 3 children. This disorder like many can begin early disturbing important developmental and essential social skills that are needed later in young adult and adult life. Although this disorder is extremely common it is not taken seriously. As mentioned before some people wait an entire decade before getting diagnosed and receiving help. I believe that Social Anxiety Disorder and many others like it need to be talked about and expressed more openly. An individual who suffers from this can develope or may already have a host of other mental and physical health problems such as, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD(Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), OCD( Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), eating disorders, and many more. Delayed help and diagnosis can and may result in something far worse than Social Anxiety Disorder. There is nothing to be ashamed in having this disorder and asking for help when it comes to these issues.
As well as not being taken seriously I feel that individuals who share this disorder and are introverted are undermined, are excluded from the “Strong, Capable, Leader” category. Why can’t introverts and people who have disorders be strong? Why do we have to be perceived as weak. As Susan Cain, author of “Quiet” put it, “Why shouldn't quite be strong?” There are many people who may not fit the extroverted standard of today's society who have contributed so much to the world today.
Frederic Chopin. Rosa Parks. Dr. Seuss. J.K. Rowling. Abraham Lincoln. Albert Einstein.
It is important for sufferers to understand and realize that they need to do things that scare them or make them uncomfortable. If you stay in the same place all your life are you truly living?