Being a Journalist With Social Anxiety

Journalism is typically filled with press conferences, interviews, and receiving information from many people you may or may not know. Sounds relatively easy right? To most these tasks would be done without the bat of an eyelash. The story is quite different for those with social anxiety.

Social anxiety disorder is classified as a chronic mental health condition where social interactions cause irrational anxiety.

This conflicts with some of the many jobs journalists do daily, such as interviewing, and receiving information. The thought of confrontation causes stomachs knot, and heads to spin. It leads them to believe there is an ultimatum; their career or their fear.

When I walked into my first day of journalism class, I was frightened. I had learned that journalism held a lot more than just writing essays and analyzing quotes. There were interviews and strangers I would have to become in acquaintance with. The thought made me want to vomit.

Looking back on the first official interview I ever had to do, it was very awkward. I had pushed it off to the last minute, “losing their contact information” more than once, and I had to pull them out of their classroom. While she was nice the anxiety made her seem, like some wicked witch who was judging the way I breathed. Now my  issue with anxiety is only one of many out of the  journalists out there.

According to Tharushi Hetti, a fellow writer here at Affinity,  she has had social anxiety all her life. When writing, it [her anxiety]  keeps her from wanting to put herself out there. Even though many are aware of her writing, she only feels comfortable showing maybe one person. This is one of the many struggles journalists normally face, but it seems intensified with social anxiety.

“I was too scared to join a writing/school magazine type of thing in high school. I actually went to one meeting but even the thought of saying what ideas i had was terrifying, so I pretended i didn’t have any, even though I had lots of ideas, same happened with theatre some time before that. The concept of having to “expose” myself, the way I think, my actual ideas etc., to people I barely even knew and knowing that I’m going to see them all the time was way too overwhelming,” said Dominika Mroz, staff writer at Affinity Mag. This leads many to think the only way out is to give up, throw away their dream like a wad of chewed up bubble gum. In which, some do give up, but many don’t.

Many find ways and have very important reasons to why they continue their journalism career.

Also according to Mroz, it gives her purpose. Her writing is what brings her happiness. She said that most of the disappointment would come from not trying, and not knowing what could have happened. She overcame her fear because it was her passion and more pain would arise from ‘what ifs” in the future.

There are a lot more journalists out there aside from Affinity who deal with these issues daily, and are on the border on whether or not they should follow their dream, or succumb to the fear. But, there is one thing that all writers, all journalists, and all media personnel should know.

“You are important. You are valid. You deserve to write as much as everyone else. Your voice deserves to be heard. I want you to know that among all those writers and journalists you look up to, I’m sure some of them have to deal with the same problem as you. You are not alone.” -Morgane Dirion



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