Overcoming Social Anxiety | Marielle Cornes | Tedxyouth@Mbjh

Overcoming Social Anxiety | Marielle Cornes | Tedxyouth@Mbjh

When Marielle moved from Baltimore, Maryland to Mountain Brook, Alabama, she struggled to cope with the anxiety she had previously come to terms with. This is her story of recognition, affirmation, and hopefully, inspiration.

Rather than the usual shyness advice I want to make sure you learn from people who have really gone through it. Like struggled with social anxiety for decade and come out on the other side level of gone through it. If this is your first visit to Social Professor make sure you check out the shy to social page and grab the free audiobook ‘how to talk to anyone’ which is going to turn your life around.

Marielle Cornes is a ninth-grade student at Mountain Brook Junior High and a member of the MBJH TEDEd Club. She enjoys reading, playing with her dog Rosie. Also, she spends most of her weekends on college campus debating about education.


I moved to Mountain Brook from Baltimore the summer before seventh grade before I moved I went to a small private school with about 50 people my grade you would think that going to such a small school would make it easier to make friends but this was not the case in fact it took me from kindergarten to sixth grade at my previous school to really get a close group of friends after six years I finally got a group that I liked and all was well when the worst thing happened my parents broke the news to me that we were moving to Alabama this crushed me what if it took me another six years to make friends now I didn’t know it at the time but there is a reason I struggled to make friends I suffer from social anxiety this means that for me talking to people and making friends won’t many find simple and easy terrifies me when I was younger I couldn’t ask a waiter for a napkin see what I mean when I thought about moving I knew it’d be hard if I couldn’t talk to a waiter a person I’ll probably never see again how was I supposed to talk to the people I would be in school with until senior year as I feared when I moved I was immediately affected by my social anxiety I was completely surrounded by new people and felt the voice sucked out of me for the first year after I moved I didn’t do anything outside of school because I struggled to make friends I was all alone I’d planned to go up and talk to people but all I could see was the worst case scenario I picture them laughing at me or telling me to get lost no matter how hard I tried to talk to people I always ended up being scared away and would end up avoiding it all together at this time all I had was debate I was a member of the team and worked on school and this didn’t make me happy every child he’s bounced between school extracurriculars and social life and my badge was thrown off. this took a toll on my mental health and I ended up becoming depressed there are times when I hated my life I saw no point to it I felt like I was worthless at this time I would have done anything to get away from my life in Alabama I’d have given anything to move back to Baltimore and be with my friends I felt like nothing would ever get better I could only picture myself suffering in Alabama to this day I still occasionally wish we had not moved however now I’m able to see all that I had gained because we didn’t know that there was a reason I struggled to make friends many people didn’t understand things that why I couldn’t do things such as speaking in front of a group of people on my own it would try to force me into doing things that made me uncomfortable it took me a very long time to try to get help I’d gone to therapists back in Baltimore and none of them had helped so we weren’t hopeful finally after two years of not getting better I decided to see another therapist this is where I finally learned that I had social anxiety now I finally knew about what I was struggling with was an actual issue at first this terrified me I hated the idea that there was something wrong with me soon however this diagnosis grew on me because I knew I’d finally be able to get help and get better there were actually people who understood what I was going through and we’re going to be able to help after a few weeks of therapy my family and I started to notice improvements I was able to adopt strategies to overcome my anxiety and I was getting better eventually I started to make friends but even though things were improving there were still dark spots even though I did diagnosed anxiety disorder people didn’t always accept it as fact there were still things both socially and publicly that I was not comfortable with doing one time someone was trying to pressure me into speaking in front of a group of people which I was at the time I was not comfortable with so I told this person no they told me that this was ridiculous and to not make up excuses it is moments like this that really shake me up people not understanding makes me feel like a freak like I don’t deserve help because what I’m suffering from is ridiculous during the worst of my times I felt completely alone I unfortunately am not the only one who feels this way there are many other people who is suffering from the exact same thing and feel like they have no one that could turn to for help in fact according to the National Alliance on Mental Health one in every five high school students suffers from a mental illness 50% of students with mental illnesses end up dropping out of school and 70% of juvenile prisoners have a mental illness these numbers show how big of an issue this actually is this is not just something that we can ignore all of these people felt like they had no one they could turn to for many of them it’s scary to turn to a loved one out of fear of being misunderstood or worse losing them many of you may wonder why can they’ve just done something on their own the answer is quite simply they can’t I know from firsthand experience that no one can solve a mental illness on their own they try to take steps forward but there are almost always followed by immediate step backwards I was not able to see improvements until I reached out for help my mother watched me struggle for two years and she was the one who encouraged me to go into therapy and I was lucky enough to have people who I felt could help but many people are not so lucky many people with mental illnesses feel like nobody cares about what they are suffering from and as a result some don’t even get confirmation that they have a mental illness they just feel like what they are suffering from is normal this isolation can actually lead to this problem getting worse in fact according to Frederic Newman their director of the anxiety and phobia treatment center one of the leading causes of suicide is loneliness people people just like you and me have killed themselves because they felt alone mental illness may seem like a simple fix but the repercussions of taking the easy path out are unfathomable this is not something we should have to think about but suicide is one of the top three leading causes of death among teenagers so when you look around you it is very likely that someone you’re close to is either suffering from or close to someone who is suffering from a mental illness someone who you may view as strong or happy might be suffering although it is very hard to distinguish someone who has a mental illness so don’t try if someone confides in you about having a mental illness help them but if you don’t know don’t guess I myself didn’t even know I had a mental illness until I got diagnosed I just thought it was something I would grow out of so my challenge to all of you is to just be nice to everyone because you can never know who is suffering being nice to everyone doesn’t take going out of your way and doing giant tasks just talk to people if you see someone standing alone go up to them and start a conversation for someone with social anxiety these conversation starters can mean everything because they can’t start a conversation on their own for me in seventh grade someone saying hello to me made my day another idea I have to help people with mental illnesses is to make it mandatory for businesses and schools to provide support groups for those with mental illnesses this would give them the opportunity to talk to people who are suffering from the exact same thing that they are as I mentioned before loneliness is a big issue when it comes to mental illnesses and this would remind them that they are not alone I too have struggled I know that that what they are going through is hard and I want to be someone that they can look to for strength so we as a community need to come together to help those around us I challenge all of you to reach out and help those around you be nice to them and treat them the way they deserve to be treated we as humans have the power to make a difference and we should be making a difference in the lives of those suffering from a mental illness no matter who you are or where you come from it is very likely that you are close to someone with a mental illness and there is no excuse not to help them my mother was the one who did all this for me and I am forever grateful ladies and gentlemen we all need someone like this thank you ..

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