Now before I start this I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself (it is relevant, don't worry). I think I'll start basic and work more personal.
My name is Harry D_____ and I am 14 years old. I have browny/black hair and dark brown eyes and I am 5'5. I was born on September 21st 1999 at a town hospital in East Anglia, which I moved away from when I was 2 to a more rural area of the same region. I have 3 sisters who range from 10-14 years older than me and have all moved out and started their own lives doing various different things.
I've played bass guitar for around a year and three quarters and six string guitar for around half a year. It's my ambition to learn to play drums and piano and to get the band in which I play bass touring. I recently got a merit in my grade 5 bass exam and I also won the outstanding music award at school. Academically I'm fairly good, top set for most things and top of my class in languages. Currently I have a girlfriend called Maddie and a couple of best friends called Ryan and Toby. All three of these people happen to be members of my band, Misprinted Lines.
Now that brief description of my life is over, I'd like to point out that this is my situation. I know that by saying this I'm going back on what I said before about it being relevant, but the situation a person is in does not matter. It's the way they're feeling within that situation that does.
I've not been diagnosed but from doing tests online and reading through people's explanations of what it's like, I am fairly sure I have social anxiety. I'm by no means saying I do because, in my opinion, the stigma surrounding mental health and the disbelief that surrounds it stems from people assuming they have depression just because they've had a bad day, or assuming they must have social anxiety because they're shy.
I have trouble talking to my friends and even girlfriend and holding a conversation up because it takes me so long to get the words through a metaphorical barrier that blocks the path from my brain to my mouth. Before I say almost anything I get a build up of butterflies and my heart starts beating faster, the same way it might for anyone presenting in front of a crowd, except for me it's saying two words to one single person. If said person is older than me this feeling inflates so much that unless under extreme circumstances, I resort to grunts and 'mm's and tend to go the whole conversation without saying a single word.
Talking on the phone is an impossibility for me. The conversation will lull and die within two minutes of me taking the phone to my ear; and most of that two minutes is the other person speaking. Even to my own family (for instance, my sister who lives abroad), I find myself forgetting the sound of their voice until I see them in person and hear them talking to someone else.
I haven't been out with friends in probably a year. I order everything I need online and the only thing I regularly go out of the house for is band practice, simply because I can't handle the thought of meeting someone and having to say hello or even just smile.
Unless you think and feel the same way as me it may be hard to understand what this is like. For those people, I guess I thought up a little role play thing:
Imagine yourself as a guinea pig out in the wild. Everything and everyone is dangerous, and the only place you know is safe is back home. There are some things you absolutely have to go outside and face the dangers for, such as gathering food. You go out into the open and and scurry about to get what you need to survive as fast as humanly (or guinea pig-ly) possible. The rest of the time you spend inside worrying about what could be right outside the next time you have to get some food and whether it's actually worth it.
I mean that was a terrible metaphor but for me that's what it feels like. For me, there's nothing more scary than going outside, even in the tiny little village I live in, because of the off chance I see someone and they say hello.
Enough moaning about my life though, here's the bit I'm really excited to be writing. For anyone suffering with anything, whether it be depression, anxiety, an physical illness or even just a crappy day at school, I want you to know that stuff gets better. Even through this last year where my alleged social anxiety has really developed, I've learned how to deal with it. I've learned what I need to do to become more comfortable with someone and what I need to do when I get panics etcetera etcetera.
Everyone's different, I know, but without realising it, I can assure you that you're better with life than you were yesterday. It may not feel like it - in fact it may feel like the opposite - but our brains are learning and growing and thriving every day.
I know this wasn't very helpful, but if I've made one person's day not quite so shitty, then the hour I've spent on this will be well worth it.