Posted: 04 August 2020

It’s time to speak out: a 15 year old's advice on coping with social anxiety

The Participation Team at The Children’s Society East are a group of young people between the ages of 14 and 19. They have put together a booklet called Inside the Mind: A Guide for Young Mental Health with the aim of helping young people through their mental health problems.

Taken from the booklet, Here is a 15 year old's account of dealing with social anxiety.

Have I said the right thing?

Social anxiety, to me, has always been an odd experience. One moment I could be as confident as ever. But other times I could be embarrassed at a sentence I said an hour ago that didn’t really matter that much. It could be something as simple as ‘Did I say hello in the right way to this person?’ or ‘Is this person judging me because they looked at me?’ This doesn’t just happen in real life conversations either, even when I text someone on lnstagram, WhatsApp or just a simple text message. That worry always looms over me of ‘Have I said the right thing?'.

Usually, I don’t speak out about this stuff. I just keep it all to myself, and sometimes it bottles up for a while. Sometimes I forget about it by the end of the day. I guess the only way I can really describe how my brain works is: Have you ever been thinking to yourself in the middle of the night and remembered that embarrassing thing you did three years ago? That’s a snapshot of what I think about daily.

Learning to move on

I know it’s never going away. I’ve fully understood that, but I’ve learnt that I need to stop caring about that spelling mistake or that missing comma. I need to move on, and if you are in 

the same situation as me; no one really takes notice of what colour socks you wear, how you word your sentences or that bit of hair that sticks up once in a while. Forget about the past, that’s already happened. Look at the now, and where you’re headed

The Inside the Mind booklet also includes advice for parents, teachers and all professionals working with young people on understanding mental health and educating them in how they can help.

Watch the group talk about the project

READ INSIDE THE MIND

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