I suffer from social anxiety disorder. I am afraid whenever I’m in a social situation with unfamiliar faces or large crowds. I’ve been dealing with this issue ever since I was a kid. Everybody (parents, teachers, friends, & colleagues) have always stigmatized me as being coy or shy. Those who don’t know me (personally) think that I am weird, slow, or mentally challenged. I can’t socialize or show personality when I’m faced with “small talk”.
Some of the things that I’ve mentioned above may sound like an oxymoron considering that I am working on my second Masters degree and will be graduating this summer (2017). But I’m dealing with this debilitating “shyness” that may hinder me from gaining employment in a leadership role.
Social anxiety is a very serious disorder that I don’t believe society views as such. Those of us whom suffer from social anxiety disorders “rarely or won’t” speak up and even get noticed. But we deal with this issue in every aspects of our lives (relationships, school, church, and work).
I’ve decided to seek help. I went to see a psychiatrist. She started me on meds and cognitive behavioral group therapy. However, I can’t find any group therapy sessions located in my area (Metro Detroit) solely dedicated to “helping us” individuals whom suffer from social anxiety disorder. We are uncomfortable in social settings so we need individuals who can relate. I never knew that I was dealing with a fear of people.
I’m glad to know that there is a name for it. But it is hard to explain to my immediate circle of family and friends. They just don’t understand that it is an internal feeling. They don’t see or sense fear on the outside, being that I’m able to hide it well. Im ready to share my story in hopes of getting better and gaining a better quality of life.