Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Social Anxiety

It's summer holidays and I haven't gone out with my friends since May. When ever I go out I feel really worried about embarasing myself, saying the wrong things and I don't enjoy peoples company. I've been having anxiety attacks over the last year and have self harmed in the past. I find myself blanking out and freezing when in social situations so I have just started not even bothering. Alot of my friends and one of my teachers over hearing the conversation has labelled it as "social anxiety disorder" but I denyed it. I've looked into it and it does sound possible but I don't want to reach out for help because people including my parents will say I'm just being melodramatic.
Any advice on what to do?
Ask Sam



Thank you for sending your letter to me and I can hear these feelings of anxiety have had quite an impact on a few different areas of your life. It sounds like, as time has gone by the levels of anxiety have increased to the point where you feel it is easier to stay inside. You mentioned that you have self-harmed in the past as a way of coping with things but it seems like you have found safer ways of dealing with the situation. There is some more information about safe ways of dealing with thoughts and feelings on the self-harm page on our website.

I can hear that you feel you might have something called Social Anxiety Disorder but you are not too sure about how to get support for it; there is some useful information about anxiety in general on the young minds website. This will also give you some advice about how to get support for dealing with the anxiety. The only person who can diagnose something like this properly is a health professional like a doctor.  Some people do not like going to the doctor and sometimes get a trusted friend or family member to accompany them. Others find it helpful to keep a record or diary of when they get anxious and what makes them feel this way and this can help to identify times and situations which cause anxious feelings and be the basis of trying to find ways to live and deal with these difficult feelings. You might find it helpful to look at the anxiety page on ChildLine, if you haven't already done so - it contains a list tips and methods you could try to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

People often find that talking about their thoughts and feelings can be helpful so I would encourage you to come through and have a chat with one of the counsellors at ChildLine. You can do this by calling free on 0800 1111, having a 1-2-1 chat online or sending the counsellors an email. You can also get advice from other young people on our anxiety message board.

Take care,


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