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.