I have been ‘quiet’ all my life. Sitting in a room full of others taking turns reading out loud from a book we were studying at that time. It’s my turn to read and my hearts racing, my heads feeling light and I want to hide away. I was the one who dreaded school presentations; I froze in front of the class, mind blank and shaking like a leaf.
School was hard for me. I was bullied for being quiet. I didn’t answer them back and stand up to the name calling and sniggering across the table. I was an easy target for them. I felt anxious, fearful and depressed. I had my close friends and that was enough for me, I couldn’t wait to get home each day.
My parents divorced when I was 12. This impacted on me hugely; I lost my self esteem and my world fell apart. I felt extremely neglected from one parent and lost my identity. Fear was constant. Will I lose anyone else close to me? Doesn’t he love me anymore? Was it my fault? Over the years I learnt to analyse my thoughts and feelings. Anger was repressed and I headed to university.
I moved over 200 miles away to attend university. I was excited about my new adventure but I felt extremely scared, uncertain and lonely. Being quiet and socially anxious held me back in many ways when it came to meeting new people. I had to create a whole new life for myself. I met a few people through my house share, however I felt depressed, isolated and extremely socially anxious and I’d find myself hiding away in my room most of the time. I used alcohol to help me to socialise and I gained some more friends, but I still felt extremely depressed.
After my course I moved back home (best decision I made). I stopped drinking completely and I started to reflect on my life. My friends and family supported me through anxiety and depression. I saw a counsellor about my parents’ divorce and started to feel a lot better towards myself. My anger lessoned and the depression lifted slightly. I settled down, married with children. After having my children, I felt extremely worried and anxious and I had post natal depression.
I have since then turned my life around by seeking help. I have seen another counsellor; I’ve discussed my worries, anxieties and depression with Hayley at QC and I am learning new techniques to quietly control my emotions. I’m currently working on my social anxiety and my depression is now at a minimum.
I was so happy that Hayley started Quiet Connections. I didn’t really understand what triggered these and how to control them until I had coaching with Hayley.
I was nervous about going to their first confidence workshop at Cafe Chaos. Ten ladies turned up and by the end of the session, we were chatting with each other and some of us even felt comfortable enough to speak up in the group –and that included me!
The session really helped me and the very next morning, I spoke with two new ladies on the pre-school run. I even felt confident enough to move forward with my career plans, signing up for a new course and contacting professionals for advice.
I regularly attend Speaking Connections and it’s helping me a lot. When I first started at the speaking club, I sat and observed with a cuppa and a biscuit. There’s no pressure to join in, but by the end of the first workshop I felt ready. It’s so refreshing to know you’re not alone in feeling socially anxious and low in confidence. I feel I’m a part of a group where people understand me.
Life can be extremely hard at times but since learning new techniques I now feel in control of my emotions, I’ve learnt about introversion and the benefits of being a quiet person. I’ve discovered I’m a highly sensitive person and I am now quietly learning to manage feelings of anxiety and depression more and more each day.
I am so grateful to have this opportunity of being around others who feel like I do and to be able to take away effective methods that will definitely continue to help me in my daily life. I have learned how to make tiny tweaks to gain confidence in myself and control my anxiety. I am extremely proud to have come this far and feel ready to join Team Quiet as a volunteer so I can go on to support other people who are feeling just like I did.
Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool you have. Our shared stories create connection. They tell us it’s ok to be vulnerable; to talk about our perceived flaws and ask for help when we need it. So we invite people who have felt socially anxious, shy and not good enough to share their stories so you know you’re not alone.