As he tells me about himself, I listen intently, nodding and smiling intermittently.But, unbeknown to my date, while I’m doing my very best impression of a swan, I'm far from the outward picture of calm.As you might have guessed, I have social anxiety and I’m doing my very best to hide it. According to Anxiety UK, 10% of the UK's population is likely to have a "disabling anxiety disorder" at some stage in their life.Social anxiety disorder is a persistent and overwhelming fear of social interactions.The condition can present itself during any social situation; from everyday interactions at work, school and even while shopping, to social events, including parties and activities with peers.
What’s more: this handsome, well-mannered and interesting man is my date for the evening.
Behind my smile, my cheeks are beginning to ache from attempting to hide any trace of nervousness.
They feel like they’re burning; and my self-consciousness turns them an even deeper shade of scarlet.
Before dates, I choose my outfits carefully, usually high-necked dresses to hide the blotchy rash.
If I want to wear something more low-cut, I bring along a scarf just in case I feel the need to cover up.
If I’m going on a date with someone I already know, it really helps to have a pre-date conversation.