Social anxiety disorder goes beyond feeling awkward in social settings, or being fearful in public settings – it’s a debilitating state that can negatively impact a person’s daily life. Growing up requires constant social interaction, performing well in school, and managing the complexities of being a teenager in a connected world.
Gemma Henry, who has severe social anxiety disorder and left school early, turned to jewellery making. From her family home in Athlone she runs a thriving small business called Silver River Gems, which enables her to create and sell some of the most beautiful intricate jewellery.
Social anxiety has greatly affected Gemma’s education and physical health.
In the year that she was due to sit the Junior Certificate, her anxiety peaked and physically manifested in the form of migraine headaches. She came close to completely blacking out on a few occasions, with her vision blurring. It was one of the scariest times in her life. Gemma was then referred to the child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) by her doctor.