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Is my Social Anxiety as big of a deal as I have felt it was?

Posted 14th April 2016 at 22:37 by Alone.

I know I recently made a thread covers this topic.

Since making that thread I have been to a few Apprenticeship/Networking Open Days and prior to that was on a Spear programme which had a few people who seemed completely normal and a few people that seemed to have learning difficulties or other difficulties.

One thing I have noticed is from certain people at Spear and the Open Days I have attended is that feeling intimidated and scared of others is probably a more common feeling than it appears, probably more so for 20 somethings though. For example, today I went to a Hospitality Apprenticeship Open day and a Hospitality Apprentice talked about how she was scared when she started her apprenticeship as she didn't speak to many people and lived in a quiet area outside London. Another Open day had another apprentice speaking of how he was a high achiever at College but once on his apprenticeship felt intimidated and closed in, at the start, as he felt his colleagues looked way more successful and had more knowledge than him. He gets on with colleagues now though. Back at Spear there was a guy who didn't seem to know how to read and write well, but wasn't open about it. However he seemed to have the gift of the gab, he use to tease me or try and make me feel embarrassed when we had to do group presentations. Luckily I knew that he couldn't read and write that well, I know that sounds bad, but it made me a bit more understanding of his actions.

I feel my thoughts about people has changed a bit, I still feel like some people judge me negatively, but also feel more open to people and more equal to others.

Is anxiety still a big deal?

Part of me says yes, being selectively mute in High School and College. Being judged for being quiet and having people not wanting to be my friend or associate with me, probably because of SA and holding back simple things like going to the shop sometimes due to Anxiety is a problem.

Part of me though wonders if I have just managed it poorly. One particular memory is when I was in Sixth Form, when I started my Art A Levels, I was very anxious and as a result sat in the back of a class with another classmate. We spoke to each other, however in future lessons he suggested to sit with others and he didn't want to associate with me after. Then the table I was on ended up the empty table with just me while everyone else was in groups socialising. College was depressing times for me with "fake" friends, people treating me like I was either rude or disabled; but memories like this kind of show how poorly I managed with my SA back then.

These recent Open Days have gone fine, for my standards, as I have managed to approach people and try to network. However I feel as I don't know how to conversate too much outside of questions and am closed in and guarded, it has been hard to maintain a conversation and interest of the people I approach. This may not be a big deal for most people but as someone who used to be selectively mute in Church and never socialised with peers, was silent throughout High School and College this is a bit of an achievement for me, even if not perfect. And although I am intimidated by some people and am anxious most people don't seem bad.

I do however believe Social Anxiety deserves much more awareness, if people had more awareness of SA and I received understanding rather than judgement for SA I feel it would be a much smaller issue in my life. I feel the misunderstanding and lack of awareness surrounding SA is almost a bigger problem than having SA as I know my SA lowers when I feel accepted or not judged on misunderstandings by another person.
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