I have social anxiety.
I also have a lot of qualifications, experiences and knowledge that I should be sharing with the world.
But I don’t. And here’s why…
I only share what is relevant, when it’s relevant.
Because I have social anxiety, I don’t like to talk about myself… at all!
With the exception of speaking about myself here, anonymously, I really dislike any conversations that highlight anything about myself.
The thought of having my qualifications, my personality, my past, my present, or my future being put under the microscope makes me want to crawl into a hole and cry.
There’s nothing I can do about this, because my social anxiety is a part of who I am, and that is extremely unlikely to ever change.
Is this holding me back in terms of jobs and progression?
The simple answer? Yes.
The inability to talk about myself means that I also lack the ability to sell myself. I can never think of good examples of my experience when put on the spot in interviews, despite having experience in so many things that my C.V. would look like a novella, if I had the courage to include everything on there!
Social anxiety often comes across (if I’m lucky) as modesty, but in all honesty, it’s just fear.
It also, all too often, hinders my ability to fully be myself. I’ve been told that I often look sad or confused when talking about myself or my experience, but in fact, I’m trying to hide myself away. This makes representing my true personality horrendously difficult, because in moments of deep social anxiety, I don’t even know who I am – how could anyone else know?!
Am I getting what I deserve?
The honest answer to this question is – I don’t know.
What does anyone deserve? I’m understating my own experience, under-representing my own qualifications and essentially getting in my own way… so if I don’t get what I “deserve”, then I technically have no-one to blame but myself.
But still, with mental illness, sometimes it can feel as though I’m hard done by. I’m fighting a battle against myself every day, as well as trying to swim through the seas of an already competitive job market!
What does this have to do with PR?
Well, PR is defined largely by relationships between organisations and publics – and this issue of social anxiety puts me at an automatic disadvantage in those relationships. For all the reasons above, and more, I feel as though social anxiety disguised as modesty is an accidental and often-unpreventable side effect of mental illness in the world of work.
However, the reason I am writing this entire blog post is this – I AM NOT ALONE.
I would like the world of Public Relations, and the wider world, to note that people aren’t always what they seem on their C.V.’s or in interviews. Some of us are so much more than that, please give us a chance.