“It’s bad to tell others about your social anxiety. They’ll think you’re strange, they’ll treat you differently.”

“The people I’ve told have shown a lot of understanding. I feel much better for having told them.”

So went the discussion at a group therapy session I attended a few years ago. I noticed a marked difference between the owners of these opposing views, a difference that must have influenced their opinions on this matter. The first one was able to hide his social anxiety. Talking to him, you wouldn’t know about all the illogical thoughts flying around in his head. (Illogical, that is, according to the therapist.)

The other participant in the discussion displayed obvious symptoms of social anxiety – stammering, hesitating, blushing, etc. What did he have to lose?

And that’s the conclusion I’ve come to. I tried to hide it and failed. The attempts only make people think I don’t want to talk or I’m standoffish or just plain boring. So I have little to lose by explaining, and possibly something to gain.

Reaching that conclusion hasn’t made life easy. I’ve thought hard about every stage of my journey – about telling each person I’ve told, about starting this blog and more.

For me, so far, the feedback has been positive. If I can help to increase awareness of social anxiety – to make life easier for sufferers and try to prevent it from happening – I will feel I have accomplished something.

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