Mental Health Stories

Social Anxiety: An Introduction

Read Scott's series on social anxiety focusing on different aspects of anxiety and how it can be combatted, starting from the very roots.

What’s that sound in your ear? Is that your heartbeat? Sounds quite fast. Go on, check your pulse but do it slyly so no one will notice. Jesus that is fast. Keep calm. So what if your heart is racing a bit; this is an intense scene in the movie… your last pass of the joint was a little big…

Is your chest usually this tight though? And what are these shooting pains in your left arm about? Fuck, are they not the main symptoms of a heart attack? Go on get Google up but do it slyly so no one will notice.

Sh*t.

Don’t panic. Has the air been getting thinner?

Don’t panic. It’s hot as f*ck in here.

Don’t panic. The TV is a bit blurry.

Panic.

My first panic attack was a terrifying experience. Terrifyingly real and surreal. When mental issues permeate into the physical, they become almost impossible to ignore. Granted it didn’t help that I was stoned, but inadvertently that made it more evident to me that something was wrong. My psyche had shifted, taking this once giggly, floaty and extraordinarily pleasant pastime and replacing it with a state of hyper-vigilance and all too physical paranoia.

Having wrestled with depression for most of my time at university, mental health problems were nothing new at this stage but never had they been quite so alarming. Taking time to look into what I had experienced opened up a mental doorway into an aspect of my personality that had been ignored and suppressed throughout my youth. Anxiety. It had been allowed to fester and manifest itself until eventually, it reared its ugly head in a very aggressive fashion.

I am starting this series of articles focusing on the different aspects of anxiety and how it can be combatted, starting from the very roots.

Written by Scott McKay

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