Socially Anxious Social Butterfly


Sophomore Marlee Sorrells (middle) laughs with friends before her first high school football game. Band was a big part of how she managed her social anxiety when it became apparent in her life.

Marlee Sorrells, Editor-in-Chief

When I was younger I would run around the playground and make friends with everyone who would talk to me. I was the social butterfly who scared the introverted kids with my friendliness. I lived by the mantra “strangers are just friends you haven’t met,” as long as they were sketchy adults with candy.

However, around age 11, my life was changed forever and I didn’t know how to handle it in a healthy way. I started to get panic attacks around people and couldn’t handle being around even my closest friends for long periods of time. It became evident to me that I had developed a social anxiety and that scared me more than anything else. It was as if I lost half of my personality and was now a husk of my old self.

During this time I had moved away from Lindale and my new school only knew me as the quiet kid in the back of the class who would stumble even answering a question. My brother was this outstanding debater who won top speaker after receiving a concussion at a football game the night before. In my mind, I was broken and I couldn’t figure out how to put myself back together again.

When I moved back, I was put into a speech class and I was terrified. I always felt like my brother knew how I did and that I had to live up to the bar he set so high. In the end, I grew to love that class, even though it was filled with strangers. My confidence began to grow that year and I decided that I might as well try out debate, and my brother really wanted me to do it, so I did.

Last year, I jumped headfirst into things that scared me the most. I was taking debate, journalism and band. All of these require a unique form of communication. It took me a while to figure out how to communicate effectively within each of these circumstances but I eventually fell in love with every aspect they bring to my life. I have found that marching the football games, interviewing people about their lives, delivering a ten minute speech are some of my favorite things to do; even though I wouldn’t have dreamed of being able to do them a few years ago.

Living trapped in fear defined my life for years and slowly stepping out of it is how I treat my anxiety, and I’m not the only one. My story is unique in appearance, but the outcome is the same as thousands of anxiety sufferers who took a moment to face their own fears. This being said, if something scares you, and it won’t harm you, take the leap of faith, you never know what may come out of a nerve wracking experience.