In New York City, it is very easy to be lost in the sea of bodies. People can go days without ever talking to one another. As someone who suffers from Social Anxiety, this sounds like heaven. Social Anxiety is a form of Generalised Anxiety Disorder, which typically causes sufferers to have feelings of nervousness or fear in social situations.
Imagine a very calm beach. The water ebbs and flows in perfect rhythm. To me, social anxiety feels like an oncoming tsunami. It is not the fear of what is happening, it is the fear of what could.
At the World Pride Parade in New York City this June, I spent three hours trying to work up the courage to ask people for an interview. After about twenty minutes, I had finally gotten the nerve to ask a man walking by. When I said “Hello, I love your outfit, may I take a photo?” he just kept walking. Nothing bad happened here, but for some reason I felt as if I had just been on a roller coaster. My heart was pounding, and my body rushed full of adrenaline.
Social Anxiety can also appear in non-social settings. On the Saturday before Sunday check-in for this program, I was out late at a party. As I layed down to go to sleep, my heart started beating rapidly. My mind began to spiral out of control, and I could only think of people at the camp not liking me. This panic attack lasted for around an hour, but was not caused by any physical stimulus.
Social Anxiety can affect anyone. It is an invisible ailment, with a range of severity. This issue can affect anyone, but no one may know, or treat it. Because treatment options are scarce, and not always covered by insurance, many people just fight their way through it. It is an uphill battle, but with enough fight, sufferers can get through it.
All of these images are meant to evoke a sense of Anxiety