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Social Anxiety at School

Community Member

Hi my name is Tom and I'm 16

I've been suffering from Social Anxiety for 3 years now, it all started one week during summer, the school was growing nearer and I started to lose every bit of self-confidence. Going to the supermarket without nearly dripping with sweat was a challenge, I felt like everybody was staring and at me and judging how I walk, breath? and how moved myself in general. I'm in college now, year 11. I've just had a 2-week break and need to go back to school tomorrow, but I'm dreading it. I know as soon as I step out of the car I'll get that old socially awkward feeling where I find it even hard to make eye contact with people. I feel at the moment extremely anxious and honestly don't know how much more of this anxiety I can take, All I think about is how nice it was to wake up late, watch some YouTube and go for a walk and head out for a surf at the beach with non-judgemental people. But now I can't, it's just getting up early with severe social anxiety and going to the same place where I don't feel welcomed by other people. I came to this school this year and the problem was, everybody had their friends from their previous school whereas I came from a place where everybody continued to the next level on the same campus, I was getting bullied at my old school because I was "quiet". I need somebody to put this in to perspective for me, any help would be dearly appreciated.


1 Reply 1

Community Member

Hi Tom,

When I was your age I also got very anxious in social situations. I worried that people looked at me strangely and that I looked awkward. Since the age of 19, I have become more confident in social settings and I don’t feel uncomfortable and out of place anymore. I’m now 22, and I no longer have social anxiety 🙂

Overcoming social anxiety can be quite a slow process, but it can and will get better. It did for me, and I honestly never thought it would! I was really awkward and shy all through high school. It sounds as though you don’t get bullied at your new school, which is great. If someone does say something hurtful or rude, try ignoring them or just acting casual or neutral. Bullies are usually looking for a reaction, and if you don’t give them one, they will get bored and probably leave you alone.

In Year 7 or 8, I overheard a group of boys at the next table in class talking about how funny my voice was during my oral presentation. They were looking over at me from time to time, clearly looking for a reaction. I was really embarrassed and didn’t know what to do, so I just looked straight at my schoolwork, and continued writing. They soon stopped, and these boys never teased me again! I know bullying is not as simple as this, but not reacting can be quite powerful as a tool for warding off bullies.

Social anxiety, and issues with fitting in and self-identity are quite common during the teen years. You’d be surprised how many people at your school have their own hidden fears and issues. Many people don’t want others to know these things, and don’t talk about them. I recommend going to your GP, and explaining your situation and your symptoms. You don’t need to be “sick” to go to the doctor. They are there to help you. They may refer you to a counsellor or psychologist to work on overcoming your social anxiety.

In the meantime, consider talking to a family member about what you’re going through, so that you don’t feel alone in this. Getting a good night’s sleep before each school day, and having a proper breakfast are seemingly basic things which can make quite a difference.

Good luck with Year 11, and with seeking help 🙂