By: Joshua Moore
I’m not entirely sure when exactly my anxiety problems began. I believe it was around 2008 during my ninth year of high school. I was always sort of shy and quiet, but I didn’t use to have any problems talking to people really.
Unfortunately I was in the same tutor group as a couple of nasty individuals who took notice of me and how quiet I am. They began to constantly make fun of me and talk about how “weird” or “stupid” I looked while they were in the corner of my eye. This continued up until I finished school in 2010, and my anxiety gradually got worse and worse as the days went by. All of a sudden talking to people who weren’t close family members, or even just looking at them, became a struggle. This resulted in many people who I considered friends turning away from me, which made me feel alone towards the end.
It wasn’t until I went to University that I realized what my problem actually was. I ended up having to move into a shared house with people I had never met before, and I found getting along with them very difficult. Eventually this resulted in me spending most of my spare time there shut away in my room having Tesco sandwiches for dinner, as I wanted to avoid going downstairs and encountering my housemates as much as I possibly could. I tried to escape into my work and video games.
When I decided to try and sort this problem out, I went to see the mental health department at the University. There I had one to one sessions with a very nice and helpful lady who understood my issues and recommended methods of dealing with them. She introduced me to a book called Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness by Gillian Butler, which I found to be helpful. I discovered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, The Triple Column Technique and various relaxation methods.
I am currently in University, and I still struggle with social anxiety. I still have frustrating awkward encounters that I worry about for ages afterwards, as well as other symptoms like stomach aches and very slightly blurred vision, and worry about other things far too much. But despite this, I feel like I am making progress. I have met people I get along with on my course, and I can deal with my problems using various techniques. It also helps to do exercises, listen to upbeat music, and escape into a film or video game with an atmosphere that I find pleasant.
Whenever I feel alone, I remember that there are many others with the same problem as me, some of whom are quite successful. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, it really helps to reach out to people.