Liz's story

I'd like to describe what it is like for me to be around people.

I walk into a space, location (whatever) and there are people there.

I feel they are looking at me, judging how I look, how I behave and what I do.

I feel everything they are saying to each other, to themselves, to me, is something personal, about me, and always negative.

I feel as though I am never good enough.

I think you are all thinking things about me.

Every possible situation, scenario and conversation runs through my head.

I prepare for everything. I worry about what may happen, what is happening and what is about to happen.

My spine feels tight and stressed, every muscle across my back is tense.

The blood flows through my body at quantum speed, responding to my increased heart rate.

I shake, my hands tremble and my legs jump up and down.

Cracking my knuckles, fingers, toes, neck, etc. releases my tension.

My friends must hate me. I am such a failure. Nothing I do can ever be right, can ever be ignored or not judged.

I scratch my palms just writing this.

Crack my fingers. My knuckles.

I never cry (or, at least, never admit to crying) but I can't help the water in my eyes.

Every word I say is wrong.

Nothing fits.

I break, yet I am unbreakable.

Never to show weakness or failure, yet always to feel it.

This is my social phobia.

 

There are lots of ways you can manage anxiety. A good place to start is Beyond Blue’s anxiety checklist. The short checklist takes you through a series of questions about how you have been feeling in the past two weeks. You can speak to your GP or other health professional who can link you through to get some tailored support. You can also contact the Beyond Blue Support Service any time to talk things through – we can point you in the right direction. Our online forums are another great resource, allowing you to talk in a safe place, and get strategies from others about how they cope with anxiety.

Related reading: Four tips to handle social anxiety in the moment

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