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So much social anxiety

I’m even scared of going to my best friend’s birthday party! 

It’s all part of growing up, says our elder, but you are doing the right thing by reaching out. Accept yourself, and talk to people who can help.

 

Dear EWC

As I grow older, I am drifting apart from my friends all because of social anxiety and yesterday, my best friend asked me if I wanted to go to her birthday party. I could tell that it meant the world to her, so I said yes. But I started to regret my decision. I don’t fit in with her friend group and I’m just scared. But that’s not the only problem. I have a teacher who throughout the years, cared for me and showed compassion towards me as if I was her own child. She is the nicest teacher I have ever met in my entire life, but for some reason, whenever I see her or if I’m near her, I get anxious and uncomfortable. I’m starting to drift apart from my friends and my teacher and I really need help. I’m only 13 and it’s not normal for me to have this much anxiety. Please help me.

 

Mrs.G replies

I think several things are operating here, the first being your age. You have reached a time in your life when insecurities can come upon you that you never had before. You are moving on from being a child to a teenager now which has new meaning to you. You are starting to look at yourself and trying to determine if you are normal or not and if your friends really do like you. You want to be accepted, to be like everyone else, to be somewhat popular and if you feel you’re not, your anxiety comes into play.

Part of what you’re going through is normal. Your life at 13 is quite similar to other kids in your school. You probably just don’t see it because many people have ways of hiding their insecurities. I bet, however, if you look around, you will see some other kids struggling with the same issues as you.

I know this is painful for you. Your letter reminded me of my school days and how insecure I was so I do understand your feelings. I, like you, just didn’t feel part of the group. I felt as though I was always on the outside. This made no sense as I had friends, was even a class officer; but every day I would worry what to wear to school, for example. And I would worry whether someone liked me or not. I kept going, however, and didn’t shy away from events such as you are doing. Unfortunately, I think your self-doubt is what is keeping you away from your close friends and that particular school teacher you mentioned. I think you have somehow decided you’re not all that great and you don’t want anyone else to notice – thus you’re afraid of being close.

I know it will be difficult for you, but I really think you need to talk with your school teacher. She apparently knows you and loves you so I’m sure she will understand. Be honest and tell her right away how uncomfortable and anxious you get around her. She could have some valuable advice to give you. You could also talk with your school counselor. He/she deals with these issues every day so can be of great help to you. And, be sure you talk with your parents. Don’t keep all your thoughts bottled up inside you.

As I said, my dear, 13 is a difficult age – you are growing up, your emotions are changing, and you are facing many new challenges. One big thing in your favor is that you are recognizing all this and are reaching out for help. I admire you for that.

I know I will sound preachy, but I do believe once you get through this difficult time, you will feel much better. Once you can accept yourself for who you are and be able to really like yourself, you will be happier. Talk to these people I mentioned and make that your goal – to mainly like yourself.

I wish you well, and hope this all works out well for you. P.S. You might keep a daily journal while going through this process. Get your thoughts out of you and on paper!

Article #: 448594

Category: School

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