Let's talk; Social Anxiety

Today's Let's Talk post is on "Social Anxiety Disorder"

After suffering from social anxiety for what feels like my whole life, I feel people seem to have a lot of misconceptions about it. Some people don't even think that it's a real disorder, so I'm here to tell you, it is. It is most certainly a real disorder that people go through and sometimes may never get help for. This is yet another topic that I am passionate about because I, myself suffer from it. 

Social Anxiety Disorder, is a disorder in which the person suffering from it has a phobia of social situations, meaning they have an unreasonable fear of leaving the house or attending certain social events etc... They will often get really nervous, sweat excessively and get self conscious from the fear of people looking at them or 
anyone passing judgement on them. For me, I feel like everyone is staring at me, I feel like everyone and anyone is judging me for no reason. Because of this I change my outfit like 10 times before I go anywhere in case the outfit brings more attention to me, I like long sleeves so I can hide my hands in social situations to make me feel more comfortable. In my mind everyone experiences it differently and yet the same. If you have social anxiety you will understand exactly what I am talking about, You feel like the only one who has ever had it and you feel so alone yet you know you aren't. 

Since I can remember I have always suffered from this one way or another. When I was in primary school, I never wanted to join in, I hated group activities and would tremble at the thought of doing gym class, every week I would have a new note from my mum or gran explaining to the teacher why I couldn't take part in the class, some weeks it was a sore ankle, some weeks it was a neck injury, but with every week came a new excuse, I much preferred sitting in the corner reading notes. My entire journey through primary and high school was a nightmare and because I didn't know what was wrong, So I put it down to being "weird".  After high school finished and I was in college, things started to ease off, or maybe I didn't notice it as much because the depression was taking over, or it could have been the alcohol, but what ever it was stopped me from feeling like I had to run and lock myself away at every new experience. I was at my worst when I was pregnant with Leon, that's when my social anxiety showed its full capacity. 

Being pregnant is bad enough with all the raging hormones and your body ever changing without something like this hanging over your head. I loathed going to see the midwife, I was sick at the though of the hospital and don't even get me started on getting bloods taken! I was a complete and utter wreck while I was pregnant, always shying away from the outside world, curling up in my bed most days watching Netflix and praying for all of it to be over with. I hated going anywhere outside my house and often had panic attacks so going to the Drs was a must because my due date was arriving, and fast so this meant I may have to be in hospital all alone with the baby for a night or two and the thought of that sent my emotions sky high. The Dr chucked it down to pregnancy hormones and told me to take my vitamins every day like they were these Magic pills that would cure everything. Any time I went to him with something I always got told to take my vitamins, apparently they are the answer to everything that is wrong with a pregnant woman and will cure the world. So the Dr wasn't much help and no one around me seemed to understand what I was going through. Anyone I talked to that had children all said the same thing, it's your hormones. Yes, ok, they probably played a big part in why I was a lot worse during pregnancy but surly it wasn't just hormones. 

One night I had to go to hospital because I was bleeding quite bad and the baby wasn't due for around 7 weeks so I went straight to hospital. The nurse I got was absolutely horrid! Nurse ratchet didn't have a look in with this one... She was everything that is wrong with the care system. She had no clue how to insert a drip, she didn't have a clue what pain relief to give me nor did she care for that matter. She was loud, inconsiderate and very, very cheeky. If I wasn't on the state I was, I probably would have clawed her eyes out. But never the less, it came to her telling me I had to stay in over night because the machine wasn't working so she had to keep an eye on baby's heartbeat with a stethoscope every half hour, I completely and utterly freaked out. I started taking a panic attack, I was crying hysterically and I was shaking uncontrollably. The nurse told me to "grow up" and that I was having a baby so had to stop "acting so childish", that's when I lost it with her and told her exactly where to go with her attitude. By this point a few other midwives had noticed the distress I was in and one of them took over from the midwife I know as "Satan". This midwifes approach was a world apart from the others. She was kind, gentle and caring. Once I had calmed down she told me that I could go home, rest and come back in the morning to get an ultrasound. I was so relieved at how nice she was, that's when she suggested that I see my Dr again and that she would give me a note to take to him, so that's what I done. And that's how I got properly diagnosed with social anxiety, all because that lovely nurse took the time to talk to me and look at my behavior. To this day I  thankful that she did otherwise I could be a lot worse. 

I still have really bad spells of it, when I'm on a night out, I sometimes end up locking myself in a toilet for 10 minutes to calm myself down or I get a really bad twitch that won't stop until I'm out of the situation that's making me feel horrible. 

With the social anxiety I feel like it takes over my whole body, it changes me so much, I hardly recognize myself sometimes. It's really horrible and it's hard to put it into words just how crippling it can be. If you have social anxiety then you will know exactly what I'm talking about, you can't articulate it how you would like and it's frustrating. 

People with social anxiety are not faking, they are not using this term to get out of situations they can't be bothered with, they aren't making it all up just to get attention. It's a real disorder and more people need to recognize it as such. If more people were educated on this, then maybe, just maybe, people with social anxiety wouldn't feel the need to hide it. They could be more open about the fact they have it and have people understand why they can't make their party, or why they can't come on that girls/boys holiday or why they can't make work that day. It's hard to live with but it's even harder to live with if you feel like you need to hide it. So the next time you hear someone talking about it, don't ignore them, listen. Become educated and be a little more understanding. 

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  1. Such an honest and heartfelt post. I suffer with anxiety and it's so underestimated! People often say to me ''just get out more, you'll be fine!'' SERIOUSLY!? People really don't understand it at all and it's so frustrating. We just have to plod on and hope that one day it'll all seem like a distant memory!

    Fab fab fab post!

    1. Thank you!

      Anxiety of any sort really isn't as understood as it should be. So many people go through life undiagnosed or too afraid to speak up about it.

      When people pass their judgment or say silly things like "snap out of it", it's because they are unaffected by it and uneducated on the subject. More people need to stand up to this behaviour because society isn't going to get anywhere if there isn't more light shed on such disorders or mental illnessss. Xx

  2. I'm so proud of how far you have come xxxx