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Mental Health

A Short Story: My Social Anxiety and How I Learned To Combat It

It's completely normal to have times where you're nervous, rather it's meeting someone new, job interviews, or even performing on stage for the very first time. We're human, and being nervous is absolutely normal. What's not emphasized enough ( along with many other things) in school is mental health. Mental health is important. Mental health is how one functions everyday. How we think. How we feel about ourselves. Mental, Physical and of course, Emotional health --  is the REAL key happiness, and overall wealth. I first noticed I had social anxiety when I would feel uncomfortable walking around in stores, malls, arcades, etc. I always felt like everyone was staring at me -- like everyone was being so judgemental of my presence. I would always carry a jacket just to hold, because it brought me comfort. When I held that jacket, I was able to focus on what I was doing, and not what everyone else thought. Crazy, right? I know, it all sounds weird, but... it's true. Another thing that I noticed about myself is that I would get bad stomach pain when I'm meeting someone new. For example, last December, I went to visit my boyfriends family. He's from Missouri, so I had the oppurtunity to go with him and visit them for the very first time. At first, I was super excited. I didn't think anything of it -- who wouldn't be excited to meet their boyfriends family for the first time? I mean, it shows that he REALLY loves me. I was wrong. Soon as we got there, instant pain, aches, intolerable nervousness that caused me physical pain. I lost my apetite, too. Everytime one of his family members spoke to me, my mind would go blank, and my responses would end up being short and boring. With me being an overthinker, and having social anxiety, this caused me to overthink about what I would say, and I would instantly regret it. I would always feel like I gave off a horrible impression,and that I was embarassing my boyfriend. My boyfriend is aware of how bad my anxiety is, so he made sure to reassure me constantly that I was doing a great job when it came to interacting with his family members. 


   I also knew something was up when I would get nervous about going to family functions -- because I KNEW I had to speak, and interact with everyone. It isn't a good feeling when you're almost 20 years old, and you can't even have adult conversations right off the bat without stuttering or shutting down. I often find myself having to write down what I am going to say before having a conversation with someone, or speaking on the phone. I try so hard to avoid human interaction, but unfortunately, It can't always be avoided. Although I am still working on my anxiety, I have definitely grown. So much growth has occured over time, especially when I got to college. College has definitely been a huge part of my growth -- because college breaks you, aggitates your anxiety, shows you who you are, and what you seek... I could go on and on about it. Through it all, I learned that once you realize that it's ALL a mind thing, things just get so much better from that point on. You realize that it isn't your fault, and that you're human -- and humans aren't perfect, in fact, nothing is perfect. Social anxiety is completely normal, espeically when you aren't the only one going through it. 

India Harris

Kennesaw '24

India is a 20 year old college student who loves expressing her thoughts, views and authentic- self through writing.
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