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Topic: social anxiety

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. eleven011
    eleven011 avatar
    1 posts
    14 July 2019
    For as long as I can remember I have been a very shy and reserved person. I have only ever had a few friends. People say I'm just a quiet person. It takes me a while to warm up to people before I will even talk to them. I think I'm scared of what they will think of me and I very often am worried about being judged.

    I know public speaking is a fear of a lot of people. But it really affects me. I cant even seem to speak in class when I get asked a question. I get so anxious and scared it makes me want to run and cry. If someone tries to confront me, I get very anxious also. I can’t seem to talk to people.

    I spend most of my free time in my room and at home. I don’t think I’ve ever really been to an actual party. Even though I’ve been invited to a few, I never want to go. I would rather be on my own. I spend a lot of time on my own. I prefer it that way. I don’t like talking to people, It makes me so nervous and scared that they will judge what I say or do. When I’m in a group situation I don’t talk or do anything especially if I don’t know the people. In most social situations I tend to shut down and freak out.

    Last time I was asked to do a speech in front of my class, I freaked out. I went home and when I started to think about it I couldn’t breathe, my heart was racing, and I couldn’t stop crying. I was just so worried about it and I tried to tell my teacher the next day that speaking made me uncomfortable, but he just told me I didn’t have a choice which made it so much worse. I almost cried in front of the whole class when he told me.

    I just get so nervous about any social situation even if it’s small, and my parents say that I just have to do it or get over it. They don’t understand and it’s really hard for me to even bring this up in the first place because I’m scared of what they will think of me. I don’t feel like they really care. They just say I’m a shy person and I need to get over it but I don’t think I can do that.
    1 person found this helpful
  2. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    483 posts
    15 July 2019 in reply to eleven011

    Hi, welcome

    Yes, public speaking! I dread it. I'm 63yo and have been doing it on and off since 17yo when in the Air Force as a librarian and I had to stand up in front of officers and address them about a film I was about to show. I couldnt do it well then and still cannot! Whether it is social anxiety or plain old shyness it is still something that you cannot be blamed for as it is part of your makeup, your nature.


    Beyondblue topic the frog and the scorpion

    Actually, I believe your parents do care but that don't relate to your social anxiety at all. We get this sort of misunderstanding often with mental health issues- they just don't get it.


    Beyondblue topic they just wont understand- why?

    That is why we exist here as a forum to support those in society that cant obtain support among family and friends. For example, if a friend came to you and said "I'm having difficulty with the "G" forces of my fighter jet when it turns- what do you think I should do"? what would be your answer? A blank face I'd assume, it's the same with mental illness and parents tend to dismiss this challenge you have as something you will get over and master from your teachers guidance. Your teacher is the same.

    So, the only thing I can suggest is to approach your school counselor or principle and have a good discussion without distractions.

    Now, friends. The one thing I've found about people that have trouble making friends or keeping them is- not asking questions. Everyone in this world loves to be asked questions. If a person approaches you at a party and asks a question of you "how are you, what's your name"....You give it and say- "I'm eleven, what's yours" then once they answer- "where do you live or where do you work, what sport do you follow, what footy team do you barrack for...." and so on. Also, blatant honest helps like- I'm a little quiet so don't mind me if I look like I have nothing to say. Or- I don't know many people here so I'm a little on my own. and so on.

    Confidence is like patience, you cannot buy them.


    Beyondblue topic supermarket shelves

    I hope you get something out of those threads. You only need to read the first post of each. Repost anytime in those threads or here. Being anonymous is a great way to check to see what you can do in these ticklish situations.


  3. JaneVV
    JaneVV avatar
    5 posts
    16 July 2019 in reply to eleven011

    Hey Eleven011,

    Just want to say a massive welcome and that you are extremely brave for sharing your story! Firstly, I completely agree with White Knight in that parents sometimes don't understand the way we feel simply because of their lack of experience with mental illness - i'm 100% sure that they care about you but they just don't know how to support you.

    In order for them to more effectively support you, it would be a good idea to not only reach out to them and explain how you feel, but tell them what specific resources and support that you need to help alleviate your social anxiety. For example, if you feel that you need to speak to a counsellor, maybe you could ask for your parents to organise this for you. Or, you could get your parents to speak with your teacher and advise him that you are suffering from social anxiety and need to be supported more in class.

    If you don't feel comfortable reaching out to your parents just yet and you feel that they wouldn't understand, you could instead access counselling services such as Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or even chat online. The best thing is that you can maintain your anonymity whilst getting the help you need. If you prefer to speak in person, there are school counsellors who could also help you.

    I've personally never had very extreme social anxiety however I am an introvert and have always found public speaking and conversing with people very challenging. Like White Knight said, confidence is not something that comes straight away - it will take time for you to build your confidence. For me, the way that I built my confidence was by chucking myself in the deep end - e.g. I practised having conversations in the mirror and even scripted some conversation starters, I started ordering take away food on the phone and in the shops instead of letting my partner do it, I got a job in retail which forced me to have conversations with strangers and I started tutoring uni students which forced me to practise presenting. This was not easy for me at first, but over time, it has become easier and I no longer feel that extreme sense of panic when I have to speak to someone I don't know. However, as I am an introvert, public speaking and conversing with others will never be my strong point because it just isn't me - I've just learnt how to behave like an extrovert when I need to.

    I hope this helps,

    - JaneVV