I didn’t want to attend class. It was my first day at school, and I just couldn’t stand it. My teacher called my name and asked, “Why don’t you introduce yourself?” Internally, I screamed. What if they stare at me? The thought of all those eyes piercing into me made me want to vomit. I wouldn’t be able to talk in front of them about myself. How could I? My voice quivered out an “okay.” Oh no! What if they can see through me? What if they find out how scared I am? I want to leave.
This is the perspective of a person with anxiety disorder, which is when people feel worried, nervous, or uneasy about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Social anxiety is the third largest psychological problem in the United States today. This type of anxiety affects 15 million Americans in any given year.
I absolutely hate the feeling of anxiety — the knots in your stomach, the nausea, your trembling voice when you have to speak aloud. People can’t help feeling anxious, and others just need to respect that. We aren’t born with confidence. Saying, “Just do it! Stop being scared” does not work. It’s impossible to just stop being terrified in a flash. Phrases that can help reduce anxiety are “I believe in you,” “You can do this,” “It’s okay,” and “I’m here.” Sometimes, simply crying helps.
One of my personal experiences with anxiety was when I had to face a judge at competition. I became terrified to the point of a panic attack. The feeling was awful because I kept shaking and couldn’t control my voice. When I left, I cried my eyes out, which kinda helped. But, it would’ve been nice to have some company to comfort me.