If you've ever experienced anything remotely close to general anxiety, it sucks and it can turn a situation inside out and upside down really quickly. Having social anxiety is a bit different but can still ruin a situation just as much.

General anxiety can entail being nervous or high-strung about lots of things that are easy situations to handle. Although it may seem easy, to a person with anxiety, it can actually be a huge hump to have to get over in order to get to the other side where reality awaits. Anxiety can take a person away from their senses and their consciousness and into a realm of thinking over and over about something until something is done about it. A common struggle for myself is OCD which makes my mind obsess over something until a compulsion meets up with the obsession to counteract it. But no matter what, compulsion or not, the anxiety persists and swings back around eventually.


Photo by Kristopher Roller


Social anxiety in a work setting can be detrimental to one's job and their level of customer service. Myself, working in a retail environment, having social anxiety kills my day. I'm asked with things to do constantly and can't always stay up near the cash register to assist someone immediately as they walk up. I'm away straightening or stocking shelves, doing markdowns, printing tags, or assisting customers in other departments that don't include the front of the store. Each time I know I have to help someone, my mind has to walk me through it in a step-by-step process. I'm a rehearsed cashier and always ask the same questions when someone walks up to me to check out. When things don't go as routinely planned, I start to freak out.

Mentally, if I'm dealing with someone that has a problem that I can't resolve myself without calling a member of management up, I start to shake out of anxiousness. The anxiety makes me angry and nervous at the same time. I never am nervous about something I've done wrong because if I do mess up, there's always a way around it. I feel that the real reason I get nervous is that I have to bite my tongue in a time when I want to say something to defend myself but know that I can't because I'll end up getting complained about or reviewed poorly.


Photo by Tom Ezzatkhah


If something doesn't go as planned at the cash register with a customer and I have a line of people waiting, having to call a member of management can be time-consuming since they don't linger around the front of the store. Management is also constantly running around with things to do and can't sit around when I need them. Making customers wait in line when management is on their way up makes me very anxious because I can tell when customers get impatient or when they're in a hurry. When they get antsy and roll their eyes, I know that I've done them an injustice, but that I have no control over it since I'm tasked to wait for help to come.

When I know I've already inconvenienced someone, I am nervous for them to walk up to the register when it's their turn to check out because after making them wait, they might not have very nice things to say to me or they may be quiet and standoff-ish. It happens less often than I think it will, but this is the process I put myself through every time I have a line of people waiting and I need more help.


Photo by nrd


Having social anxiety in situations when communication is critical is upsetting and when it's felt, it's not welcomed. I wish every day that I could put my anxiety at bay, but it ends up clinging to me and always sticking with me no matter what.

Being a person with different types of anxiety is rough, but doable. Most will say it's unbearable, but in life, there will be unbearable things; in the end, we need to learn to live with them and move on.

And that's what I've done in life with anxiety.


Photo by Giulia Bertelli