My Social Phobia

I was very shy at school and because I was different and couldn’t stand up for myself I was bullied. I didn’t say anything because I was too frightened and I didn’t wish to make the situation worse. I kept myself to myself and somehow got through.

The thought of going places, especially where there would be a lot of people made me anxious and I would have panic attacks.  Back then I didn’t know what they were and always thought I was having a heart attack.  Things didn’t change as I got older. Eventually, I even became afraid of going to work. I never once went to an office Christmas party or even family weddings.

I always felt I wasn’t good enough and people were looking at me all the time and thinking I was strange.  I used to blush and sweat a lot.  The horrible symptoms made me feel that people were looking at me even more. It was around this time that I started to avoid going out at all.

One day, I read an article in a magazine about anxiety and it had No Panic’s Help Line telephone number.  It took me weeks to ring. I would pick up the phone but just couldn’t face the thought of talking about what I was going through to someone else. Why wasn’t I normal like everyone else? When I finally did make the call it was such a relief.  I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as social phobia.  I felt relieved I could actually put a name to what I had been living with for so many years.  They recommended reading material and I learned that although panic attacks were unpleasant they wouldn’t harm me.  I thought that is true because I always survived my panic attacks. The charity told me I should see my doctor and have a check-up, he would understand so I was not to be afraid.

I picked up the courage to go to my Doctors and found I could have Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.  I also did One to one Mentoring with No Panic.  Which is where I learned how to control my anxiety and how to set goals to make progress. I learned how to control my breathing to prevent the panic attacks.

I realised that people were too busy with their own lives to be interested in me.  I also learned to look at people and smile.  They actually smiled back.  I began to gain my self-confidence.  There is still a way to go but I can actually believe I can get better from this.  I might not always find it easy, but I know my ‘worst scenario’ and ‘what if’ thoughts are not true.

By David

How can No Panic help?

No Panic specialises in self-help recovery and our services aim to provide people with the skills they need to manage their condition and work towards recovery. Find out more