Social Anxiety Disorder
I'm Alice and I'm new to Anxiety UK.
I have my first problem with my anxiety since I was 13 years old. It all started with a random panic attack in a cinema. I cannot really remember what happened, but I remember feeling very scared and helpless. My mum and dad thought it was a one off and thought I was worried because I was eating sweets at the time, and I think I panicked that I was choking. Like I said, I cant really remember it, but I DO remember the feeling.
So, that was a one off and I carried on as normal. Maybe because I was younger, I was able to shake off the "anxiety" feeling. I had no worries and had a good group of friends through school and remained quite popular until I left.
However, maybe this memory has always been in the back of my mind since I was 13. About two years ago my panic attacks re appeared. I am now 21 years old. I was 19 when I had my first full blown panic attack since I was young. My partner and I were in a theatre seeing "phantom of the opera" in London. We were in the second row and right in the middle. All I remember is taking my coat off and I accidently knocked the persons chair who was in front of me. They tutted and looked at me like I was an idiot. So throughout the show, I started to panic. Thinking that I couldn't move or fidget without someone getting annoyed next to me or in front.This caused me to have a huge panic attack. I remember not being able to think, it wasn't me. My mind took control over my body, I had pins and needles and felt like I needed to get out. So I did. My partner who was shocked followed me and tried to calm me down. I made an excuse and said I felt poorly as I dint want to admit to how I had been feeling, maybe because I felt ashamed.
This then developed into me having to sit on the end of a row in any show we went too, the cinema, even on transport. This was because I knew I had an easy exit and wouldn't embarrass myself if I started feeling anxious and had to get out.
Over the two years, I felt hopeless. This is when the whole "social anxiety" came. I used to be such a confident,bubbly and sociable person. I did drama throughout school and always got successful jobs. I can now not speak to people/friends/people in authority without blushing severely. This has caused me to not want to communicate with people. I cant even talk on the phone without thinking "What am I going to say?" and "There going to think Im such an idiot if I open my mouth to speak" I am feeling lethargic ALL the time and dont want to get out of bed in the morning. I have even stopped doing things that I enjoy, like shopping for example or going out with my friends. When I do go out, I keep myself to myself and wont talk unless Im asking a question to other people. I feel so anxious and my palms start sweating and I get tingles all over my body.
Its ruining my life. I havent been to see a GP, as its a big fear of mine. Obviously with this condition, I dont like being the centre of attention and cannot imagine how I would behave if I had to let all these feelings out to someone I dont know, face to face. I get anxious just thinking about it. I know I need help, and I know I will feel so much better once Im put through some therapy or get given some medication to help.
My parents still dont know, they have noticed a difference in me but they dont know how Im suffering. I know if I told them they would probably just say "Pull yourself together" I dont want them to worry about me so I put on an act.
I just need help and support. Has anyone got any tips of how to tell your GP? Or how to overcome this to even attend an appointment?
Forgive me for the long message, this is the first time I have let out all my feelings.
If anyone has any questions or ideas, please do comment.
Thankyou for reading.