I started experiencing in high school anxiety right before presentations. I remember we were given an assignment to write who our role model was and present it to the class. I chose Kimora Lee Simmons because this was 2006 and Baby Phat was in the prime of its existence. I admired what Kimora had done to that point being a supermodel and fashion designer. So when it came to my turn to present my piece I couldn’t speak – I just froze. The teacher took pity on me and allowed me to sit back down. I remember just feeling defeated and embarrassed that I couldn’t voice my opinion because I was afraid to present in front of my peers.
I didn’t realize then that not being comfortable to speak in front of your peers would take a toll on my social anxiety now. I honestly thought my anxiety in my teens would disappear and I could laugh at my experiences back then. My fear of public speaking only heightened my social anxiety. When I moved away to college I would avoid school the day we had to present in class. I risked taking a bad grade over having to speak in front of the class.
When I look back and think about those experiences, I wish I hadn’t let my anxiety get the best of me. Now that I’m adult I now only feel more than ready to continue to get help for my anxiety. I hope my story resonates with you if you are going through something similar. The best thing that has helped my anxiety has been speaking up about it and not feel stigmatized by it.