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I had a conversation with someone the other week about social situations – parties, groups of people and making small talk with any one you might meet on a day to day basis. This person said they weren’t good at making conversation and they stress about certain social situations. Everything they said made complete sense to me; so much so that it could have been myself saying it.
Although I’m a lot better than I used to be I still worry when I’m going out somewhere, even if it’s with people I know. If I’m not going out until the evening I can spend all day worrying about it and ruin the day for myself. I wonder what ‘normal’ people do to feel differently, I wonder what the secret trick is that I’m missing out on. But in reality, I don’t believe there is a ‘normal’. Everyone has their own anxieties, their own weaknesses and strengths, and to feel a little nervous when around other people is actually very common with an estimated one in ten people suffering some degree of social anxiety.
Just a quick internet search comes up with so many forums and groups for anxiety. So if there’s so many people out there with anxiety, why do we often feel alone? Perhaps because we don’t tend to talk openly about how we’re really feeling. In doing the magazine, I’ve opened up a lot and so have people around me; I’ve found out I’m certainly not the only one in my family with anxiety. Maybe if we’re all a little more open with how we feel we’ll find out that, actually, we’re not as abnormal as we may think we are.
It got me thinking – why do we compare ourselves with others who are so obviously very different to us, what good does it do? When I see someone who seems confident, bubbly and can chat for hours, I sometimes wish that I could be a little bit more like them. But I’m not, and that’s alright with me.