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I Think I Have Social Anxiety

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From a 15 year old in the UK: I think I have social anxiety, but my mum changes the subject whenever I ask her to get me tested for it. It takes me months to pick up the courage to try to speak to her about it, and every time I finally do it, she doesn’t help me. The first time I asked, she told me to not “talk wet”. She thinks that the doctor will dismiss me straight away because I volunteer at the local Rainbows and Guides. But when I first started helping out at Rainbows, it took me weeks to finally speak, and I always get nervous when the other volunteer talks to me. I was a Guide before I became a Young Leader in the unit, so I knew most of the girls there anyway. Plus, I have my best friend who does most of the talking. I can’t explain any of the games or activities to them because I start mumbling and I blush.

I can’t eat in front of people, either. I always feel like somebody is watching me, so when I do have to eat, I tear my food into tiny bite-sized pieces which my mum and sister keep telling me off for. When me and my friend go to Pizza Hut, I have to cut it up into little squares and eat with a knife and fork because I’m afraid someone will judge me if I don’t. It started in Year 7, I refused to eat in the school hall and I would have to eat in a classroom away from others. I don’t eat lunch at all now, I haven’t since Year 8.

It’s also affecting my school work, as I’m getting in a lot of trouble for not doing PE. Again, I feel like people are watching me and are judging me for not being athletic or fit. I can’t talk in front of people either. I start sweating really badly whenever I have to do a speaking assignment and I mumble and talk too fast. Whenever I’m asked to answer questions in class, I normally make my friend answer or go really quiet, which is the same when I have to answer the register. They often have to call my name twice because they don’t hear me.

I don’t even want to talk to my doctor because I feel awkward and stupid for being so pathetic.

I Think I Have Social Anxiety

Answered by on -


You are absolutely not pathetic. You are in some kind of distress. I’m not sure if it is social anxiety disorder. But clearly you are having difficulty claiming your “voice” in many areas of life. If this goes on, you will only get more and more upset about it and it is likely to get worse. It’s like when there’s a long silence in an uncomfortable conversation. The longer it goes, the harder it is to break the silence.

I’m sorry your mother isn’t more sympathetic. It’s possible that she doesn’t take you seriously because you had the same difficulty talking with her that you have with others. Maybe it would help to just share your letter and this response with her. Sharing your letter may help her understand how much this is negatively impacting your life.

Your other option is to talk with another adult you trust (like a teacher, school counselor or school nurse) who could then help you talk to your mother and who could support your request for counseling.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I Think I Have Social Anxiety

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I Think I Have Social Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 3 Jan 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.