This the fifth story of the Mental Illness Recovery Series. I want to thank Lauren for sharing her story with us. Social anxiety is a mental illness that many suffer from and it is a topic that many people avoid. Society confuses social anxiety with shyness or introversion. It is important to understand the differences in order to help those with social anxiety. This is Lauren’s story:
Lauren is from Utah and she loves listening to the Australian pop punk band 5 Seconds of Summer and writing romantic stories. Lauren’s future goal is to become a nurse in order to help others. She suffers from depression and social anxiety. Her mental illnesses stems from family problems and the bullying she went through as a child. She has been seeing mental health professional for the past two years and it has been the best decision she has made to overcome her mental disorders.
Lauren suffered symptoms that disrupted her daily life. Her depressive symptoms made her feel low on energy and she slept all the time. She also never wanted to go out anywhere. Her anxiety symptoms made her constantly hyperventilate while she focused on herself negatively. This behavior made her think everyone saw her flaws, which are fundamentally the symptoms of social anxiety.
Because of this Lauren couldn’t walk down the hallways without feeling like everyone was staring and thinking negatively of her. Lauren said, “I always thought that I was pathetic and that I wasn’t worth anything.” Lauren considered suicide and to run away from her home a few times. She did self-harm, but she is grateful her scars went away.
This affected Lauren’s relationships with her friends and family because she became dependent on their opinions and help. She also made them feel bad because she was constantly upset. Lauren said, “I felt very angry with myself because I didn’t want to seem like a burden on anyone. I also felt extremely upset and defective as if something was wrong with me.”
The turning point to overcome her mental disorders was when she focused on her problems such as, low self-esteem and her desire to give more to others. Lauren copes with her anxiety by taking medication that helps with dopamine release. Not only that, but she also uses techniques she has learned to control her panic attacks. Her friends and family help her by allowing Lauren to vent out even if it didn’t make any sense.
This ordeal taught Lauren that when things get tough, it is to teach her valuable lessons. She also has learned that mental illness isn’t something she needs to be ashamed of. This is Lauren’s advice to others struggling though similar situations:
“Do not be afraid to get help. Do not be ashamed to deal with this. Like many people have physical illnesses, others deal with mental illnesses and that’s okay. Just know that it gets better and it’s okay to deal with it with help. You don’t have to be alone.”
Social Anxiety is much more that just shyness. It disrupts negatively your life. I am glad Lauren has been able to cope with her mental disorders. What are your thoughts on Lauren’s story? Any advice for her and others struggling with depression and social anxiety? Let me know commenting on the bottom. Would you like to share your recovery story? If so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Edited by Hamad Hussian