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How Social Anxiety Affects Me

Day after day, how I live with social anxiety disorder boggles my mind. Throughout most days I live in two different worlds of anxiety. Being the person I am at work and the person I am outside of work. 

At work, I like to think of myself as a respectful human who will show my best effort for the people I work for.  I have no problem usually with social engagement on the job and with co-workers and customers. But as soon as work completes itself I find myself turning a switch off and closing the door.

I like to think back on my life and wonder what the cause of these anxieties really are. I can only really reflect on what I see of myself that has been recorded. 

There's a home video of my 6th or 7th birthday party where I'm playing lego by myself as everyone else danced and played games. I could recall my mother asking for me to join in but I declined quite quickly.

 I would rather, at 6 or 7 years old, play by myself than dance with some of my closest friends I had in my life at the time. I was just never able to recognize it's 100% okay to dance, have fun, and be who you want to be and not be embarrassed by this!

I think there are also a lot of complicated situations In my life that I have never really thought about to discuss...

I was moved from a town called Stephenville Crossing, Newfoundland. pop (1500-3500) to Edmonton, Alberta. Pop (around a 1 million I'd say). The vast amounts of people was a scare to myself at first but I slowly settled in. 

I was embarrassed by the way I spoke. I could remember sounding very different from the other students because of my accent. (For those of you who haven't heard a Newfoundlander speak, look that one up) 

So stepping into gr. 7 I found myself giving up and acting out for attention to be accepted. As a 12-year-old kid it became a challenge between myself and friends to get kicked out of class. (Well at least that's what I thought)

I can't even count the numerous times I was forced to leave a classroom. I didn't want to be there. I was scared of school, scared of extracurricular activities and it made me hide because of embarrassment. 

You would never guess from the 1997 selfie from a disposable camera above that I'm scared to take pictures. You can ask those closest to me, it's very difficult to get me on camera but I'm adjusting. 

The fear of looking unhappy or embarrassed on camera strikes me so hard that it's very hard to find a picture I'm 100% truthfully happy in. 

I'm working on this and I have great help (thank you, Rebecca). You're able to make me smile for any picture.

I could write about so much more on how I feel about this illness and would love to discuss it with anybody anytime as that would help me overcome this problem. Being socially active In person or online is something we all can work on! I've YAC'd my two cents what about yours?


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3 comments

  • Mike, I remember that grade 7 class, and how hard you were trying to fit in. And I remember you being embarrassed/uncomfortable because of your Newfoundland accent. I really wish I would have done my part to make you feel more welcome and comfortable, but of course I also have social anxiety. I remember that it felt easier to let people poke fun at how you said H (hache), instead of standing up for you because then the spotlight would be on me, and that is still the most terrifying thought. I’m so happy that you’re sharing your story, and I’m excited to follow along with it.

    • Kellie
  • Hi Michael, thank you for sharing. I rarely speak up in public settings, even with friends, because I’m afraid I will sound stupid. I’m afraid I will say the wrong thing, or someone will get angry and disagree with me, or I won’t know the right answer, or I’ll misunderstand what people are talking about and I’ll sound dumb. Instead I sit quietly and listen out of fear of being ridiculed.
    Hopefully when people share, we can all be more sensitive towards each other 😊

    • Nicole Steinhubl
  • Thanks for sharing, Michael! It takes a lot of strength & bravery to put your thoughts & feelings out there. I’m glad you and Rebecca have such a solid support system in each other!

    • Aly