Anxiety is real. In her mental health memoir First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, Sarah Wilson wrote that where “depression is stigmatized … anxiety is sanctified as propping up modern life, which ironically sees depression treated as a legitimate illness, and the anxious left in a cesspool of self-doubt and self-flagellation for not being better at coping with life”. For some real help, visit the NHS’s website for therapy and counselling resources.
Dr Philippe Goldin is a director at the University of California, Davis, and was the lead researcher of many Stanford University studies about social anxiety disorder. He says that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) “trains individuals with Sad [social anxiety disorder] to willingly expose themselves to what they fear in order to learn a new way of being”. CBT reframes “the relationship to cues that trigger fear, worry and anxiety”, using “graded exposure to fear-inducing situations”. Something such as a massive holiday party would be a goal, not a start.