By Anonymous

Mental health seems to be one of the most difficult forms of health to maintain. While physical health is often as simple as changing your diet or getting more exercise, mental health is more elusive, and it is easy to allow yourself to be beaten up by your own inner voice.

I have struggled with social anxiety throughout my entire life, and this has given way to a plethora of other emotional issues that sometimes seem beyond my control, or even understanding. I feel that anxiety definitely comes in many different forms, and if you let it, it can arise at any point in your life, whether you have experienced it before or not. Some may meet it for the first time thanks to a specific traumatic incident that took place during adulthood, while others may have had it since they were a child — maybe they never had a good chance at making friends, so being social never seemed natural to them. Of course, those are only two examples in a long list of potential reasons that may cause a person to develop social anxiety.

As a child, I moved around a lot, and by the time I graduated from high school, I had attended 11 different schools — which is quite above average, from what I understand. This didn’t give me much of a chance to make friends, and if I did, they never became lasting friendships. Thus, not only was I a shy child, but I stayed that way, never really getting the hang of social interaction. I think it may be easier to cast off social anxiety if you find you have skill in the art of socialization.

As you may know, anxiety can lead to other unfortunate issues such as low self-esteem or feeling incapable of forming normal friendships with those who you might enjoy spending time with. For me, anyway, this anxiety keeps me from putting myself out there to make friends or attend social events of any kind. Often, it even hinders my ability to give feedback in my classes, due to the paralyzing fear of having to say anything to one person, let alone an audience of 20 or more students.

Alas, I have no answer or cure for social anxiety. At times, I even wonder whether such a thing is warranted, as people can be cruel, but a good book never fails to calm my woes. In all seriousness though, I think it is just nice to know when we are not alone in our suffering — however small that suffering may be — even if we have been reassured time and time again. Even for those of us who prefer to be alone most of the time, it is a relief when we can relate to other people who have similar feelings at times.