Have you ever been in an uncomfortable situation? Perhaps at school or work, common places to be continuously told to ‘participate in discussion’ when really, you couldn’t think of anything worse. It isn’t necessarily the fear of not understanding something but the worry of saying something totally irrelevant and being laughed at. Its common for people to get nervous but it becomes more serious when you start feeling unwell and make an extra effort to avoid social or public situations therefore missing out on opportunities.
‘A fear becomes a phobia when it stops us enjoying things or doing them easily’
The feeling of anxiety or social phobia is one you can’t explain unless you’ve experienced it. It is difficult to do anything without a stressful build up. Meeting new people is one of the major struggles – the worry is often that they’ll be critical of you or you might say something embarrassing. This can result in saying little or nothing at all, which can be seen as ‘rude’ rather than ‘shy’ even though it isn’t intended.
The following questions were posed to a 20 year old female on her views of anxiety & social phobia:
Do you think anxiety and social phobia is the same disorder?
‘I feel like they are two different things. My behaviour has all the symptoms of someone who suffers from social phobia but some of these qualities lead to me having aspects of anxiety. Its like the low self-esteem is the problem and the anxiety is the result of that’
Would you say you suffer from anxiety or lack of self-confidence?
‘I would say it’s more that I lack self-confidence because I care too much about what other people think about me and I feel like people are judging me all the time. When I feel that way, it gives me anxiety and therefore affects my life because it means I find it hard to speak to new people’