Q How can I tell if my shyness has turned to anxiety?
It’s normal to feel like a scared bunny rabbit in certain situations. ‘A first date, an interview, a public-speaking event can elicit some anxiety for many or even most of us,’ says clinical instructor of psychology Dr Anna Edwards. But if you regularly freeze up around others in everyday interactions, or spend hours mulling over the day’s conversations and criticising yourself, you may have social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia. Do you, say, worry so much about others judging you that you turn down a coffee date with a co-worker you like, or have to talk yourself into going grocery shopping because it requires chitchat? If so, check with your doctor. She’ll probably refer you to a cognitive behavioural therapist who can help you learn to better manage the situations that cause you the most discomfort.