Anxiety and Public speaking

Some of you might understand what I’m about to start talking about, other’s won’t. Whether you understand or not is up to you. There are lots of people in this world who suffer from anxiety or have had encounters with it in the past. People often helpfully inform me that they believe that there is no such thing as being anxious because there is no reason to be. “Everyone is in the same boat.” Well, this isn’t entirely true. There are many people in this world that aren’t in that boat and they find small things like speaking in a group of 10 to be difficult. That’s okay.

Despite the fact that this is the case, there are still many people in this world that believe that mental health diseases like anxiety or depression are fake. Most of these people are forced to believe this because of the fact that there is a lack of obvious symptoms. For example: if a person had pneumonia, they would have the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain when you breathe or a cough
  • Confusion or changes in mental awareness (in adults age 65 and older)
  • A cough, which may produce phlegm
  • Fatigue
  • Fever, sweating and shaking chills
  • Lower than normal body temperature (in adults older than age 65 and people with weak immune systems)
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Shortness of breath

(Quoted: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pneumonia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354204)

However, with a disease like depression, there are no obvious symptoms. It is possible for someone to be as happy as Larry without feeling like it on the inside. This is usually when people are suffering the most and it means that people don’t recognise it because they can’t see them deteriorate. This is mostly the reason that it is not recognised to be a disease.

There are some people in this world that are naturally good at public speaking and being either in or around large crowds. There are others that are not so sure. Being in either group is okay. People can cope differently and this can be for many different reasons, there are many different factors that can cause a person to be depressed or anxious and these two illnesses can affect many different factors about a person. Public speaking is one of the biggest factors the illnesses affect.

These illnesses are very much real. But there are many grey areas. In fact, I think there are more grey areas in mental health illnesses that there are in the book of law. This just goes to show how someone can be determined to be anxious or depressed but both of those words are thrown around so aggressively these days. But how do we know when they’re being used correctly, in context? Exactly, we don’t.

You might be struggling to understand what I’m trying to say but, to put it simply: Different people believe different things and different people suffer from different things. Respect those people and respect how they feel. It’s never easy.

Imagine waking up and being faced with your worst nightmare, not just the thing you hate the most but the environment you would hate it in most as well. Imagine feeling so trapped in yourself that it hurts to get words out. I’m asking you to do this because this is what it feels like for me every time someone requests for me to stand up and present something. Getting my words out is like pushing a lion through a cat flap, it just doesn’t happen.

Myself, I suffer from social anxiety. This is something that affects over 15 million adults in America. Now, to me, that is jaw-dropping. The fact that this illness is still viewed to be ‘fake’ or ‘unknown’ blows my mind. The figures are in the millions and people still have the audacity to call it fake. Wow.

Think Before you speak.

Yugen – A thought about the universe which triggers an emotional response too deep for words.

 

 

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