Earlier this year, I had a panic attack at a recent social event. This came as a surprise to me because I hadn’t had a panic attack in years. As silly as it sounds, I assumed I had outgrown them. But before I even entered the event my palms were sweaty, I had heart palpitations and I kept nervously shaking my leg. It took me a while, but eventually I calmed down. After I came to the realisation that I wanted to understand the causes of my anxiety and what precautions I could take to help overcome it.
The National Institute of Mental Health defined social anxiety disorder as “an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others...People with social anxiety disorder may worry about engaging in social situations for weeks before they happen.”
Social anxiety is something I’ve dealt with from teenage years, and as a 28-year-old woman, I decided enough was enough and I was ready to take action. After consulting with my therapist, my first step was to ‘get comfortable with being uncomfortable’. This meant doing things I wouldn’t usually do and putting myself in new and unusual social settings alone.