Blog for MindOut: Social Anxiety

In this month's Blog for MindOut, Steve writes about his experiences of social anxiety:


It’s not that some people don’t want to go out, they just can’t. Social anxiety is a major issue for many people who suffer from mental health problems. The willingness to go out is still there, (after all anything is better than being stuck at home, on your own in isolation) but for varying reasons they find it difficult to do so.

The problem is that social anxiety makes it difficult to make that first brave step out of your home followed by an even greater, often insurmountable one to go to the venue or wherever it is you want to venture out to. Once you do manage to get out, the social anxiety can build to the level where retreat is the only answer and it’s back home again with another emotional memory to cope with.

illustration of a brain with brightly coloured paint splashed and splattered around and across it

Social anxiety is another problem to face if you are in a relationship. Your partner may be wondering just why it is that there are few occasions when you go out together. The excuses will run out in the end if you aren’t open about the problem that you are facing. Another missed night out might get them thinking all kinds of things but if they realize what you are going through, then they can understand the situation and help you deal with your problem. Having a supportive partner is so much better than leaving them in the dark over what is happening and facing the problem on your own.

Having a supportive partner is so much better than leaving them in the dark over what is happening and facing the problem on your own.

Not being able to go to local venues because of your social anxiety feels like the world is passing you by. Another problem is when you do pluck up the courage to go out, but you feel uncomfortable because you can’t drink alcohol. This can be for other personal reasons or because of your medication and you just don’t feel right being around friends who don’t think twice about ordering another pint while you’re stuck on orange juice all night. Explaining why you’re not drinking can be awkward too if you haven’t told others about your mental health problems.

NAG – Non Alcoholic Gathering – has been set up to help counter this problem. Silly title but it does make sense. We hold meetings each week in local venues getting us out and about and enjoying a good chat while downing a few soft drinks. That way we can still feel part of the scene and not be stuck at home again.

For more information about NAG, call Steve on 07561 166407 or Derek on 07850 405386.

If you would like to write a short blog about your experiences of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer and having mental health issues, or your experiences of using MindOut services, please contact [email protected]