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Please don't invite me! 請別邀請我參加派對!

更新時間 2014年 3月 17日, 星期一 - 格林尼治標準時間11:39
A man alone

Sufferers of social anxiety can feel very lonely

Vocabulary: mental health 詞匯: 精神健康

Do you lose sleep when you are invited to parties? I do - and I wonder if I'm part of the estimated 10% of the UK's population who suffer from what's called "social anxiety".

The first clinical guideline on the subject, published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence last year, says the disorder is the fear of, or anxiety about, social situations that is out of proportion.

The person who suffers from social anxiety blushes, sweats a lot, is short of breath and is focused on what he thinks are his inadequacies. In my case, I worry that people at a party might notice I'm shy and my family is from a small backward town.

The thought of having to socialise can be in the sufferer's head for months beforehand. A woman interviewed by the BBC, Heather, begins to worry about the Christmas period as early as September. She pays her share of money to the office party even if she plans not to go. Heather says: "I buy it to make sure people don't think I'm tight-fisted, or that I don't like their company."

Social anxiety can affect both men and women. And even people who appear confident and extroverted can have the disorder. Social anxiety recently made headlines when the star of the hit movie "Hunger Games" Jennifer Lawrence spoke about her battle with it.

Some experts recommend cognitive behavioural therapy, which treats the symptoms rather than the causes of anxiety.

My grandmother told me to put an end to this fear of not living up to expectations. She claims to have a miracle cure for social anxiety. She told me: "when you go to a party, imagine everybody there in their underwear, with their bits hanging out. Imagine we have all to go to the toilet. We all wake up in the morning with bad breath and messy hair."

Maybe my granny is right. I should be more relaxed about things and stop thinking everybody is better than me. Who knows, maybe I will realise I am better than I think.

What about you: Do you suffer from social anxiety?

Quiz 測驗

1. How many people in the UK suffer from social anxiety?

It's estimated that 10% suffer from the disorder.

2. Why does Heather pay for a party she won't go to?

Because she doesn't want her colleagues to think she is tight-fisted or that she doesn't like them.

3. True or false? Actress Jennifer Lawrence suffers from the disorder, which affects mostly women.

False. The disorder can affect both men and women.

4. Who has bad breath in the morning?

According to the author's grandmother, everybody does.

5. Which expression means a movie is popular?

A 'hit' movie.

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