Around about 3 years ago, I started to feel different from everyone else. I was around 16 at the time and sitting my GCSEs. I always knew that I had a problem but myself and my family always swept it under the carpet until I started showing symptoms. As with anyone, you don’t want to accept there is anything wrong. I went to my doctor at the age of 16 for anxiety, depression and other reasons and this was a big step for me to ask for help. I was too young to fill in a questionnaire as I had to be 18 and that put me off a little bit as they made me feel that my feelings were not taken seriously and all this was one big joke.
My doctor finally rang me a couple of days later with a self-help group (I’ve tried this before and I knew this really wouldn’t help due to my anxiety). I forgot to mention, during my GCSEs I was rushed to hospital due to my anxiety, thinking I was having a heart attack or something was wrong with my heart and that’s when they said it could be stress. That’s what they always said it was. I knew myself that it wasn’t just stress. Around a few months before my 18th birthday, I went back to my doctor for the same chest pains so he sent me again to hospital for more tests. After about 3 months, my doctor explained there was nothing wrong and I was just a normal healthy teenager. I just accepted this and tried my best to carry on with normal day tasks which started to take over my life. For example, I couldn’t go out in public without my mum. She STILL to this day does everything for me.
When I’m in public, I feel trapped and I have anxiety attacks when attending social events. I then turned 18 and I have recently got a new job, which was a big step for me. So around a month ago, I decided to go back to my doctor. Now that I was 18, I was hoping they would take my feelings seriously, which they did. My doctor finally diagnosed me with social anxiety disorder. I already knew I had it due to research but I’m relieved that I finally have a diagnosis and that I know what all my feelings are down to.
I have recently been referred to an adult service for mental health treatment and finally getting my anxiety under control. I was nervous to tell my family and work about this diagnosis as I was worried people would think I was weird and not me anymore, but my family are really supportive and so are my work. I have good and bad days, but I’m just glad that I can finally get this sorted so I can start getting better and live like a normal 18 year old.