Working with mental health

How mental health impacts daily lives

Working with mental health

Laniyah Thornton

For the last few years, a goal of mine was to get a job. I’ve always wanted to make my own money and possibly help around the house with groceries or with our cat. The only barrier in my way is dealing with Social Anxiety Disorder, which has made job hunting even harder.

Growing up, I’ve always struggled with being social. My mom always tells me stories about how I would speak very little and only to certain people. I stayed that way up until my freshman year in high school — it was only then where I started to interact more with others. Even though I became a bit more verbal, I still struggled with basic social interaction, like speaking in groups or bumping into people in the halls. 

As I’m starting to see more and more teens getting jobs, I feel defeated. I’ve always wanted to conquer my anxiety, but it would always win in the end. But then my mom gave me an opportunity to fix that. She owns a business and she let me work as her assistant. I would earn money for doing little stuff such as making her coffee or shipping off a package. Even though this was a huge accomplishment, I still felt like I could do more.

After a while, my mom let me accompany her on in-person deliveries, a huge step in trying to overcome my social anxiety. I would normally stand there and stare off while my mom and her customer would talk. But me and my mom made an agreement that she would do all the talking, and at the end, I would thank them for their purchase and wish them a good day. I felt really nervous, but my mom made the experience one thousand times better. 

There was one time when my moms went out of town, my mom was expecting a customer, and I was the only one home. It was the day before my birthday, and my mom had called me to tell me that the customer was at our apartment ready to pick up her order. I wasn’t at home at the time and the entire walk home, I was contemplating how awful it would look for my mom because I kept her waiting.

Once I got up to her car the only words that fell out of my mouth were “I’m sorry.” I ran upstairs to grab her order and rushed back down afraid of wasting more of her time. Even though I was feeling a combination of anxiety and tiredness, I managed to hold a conversation with her. She seemed super happy with her order, and I was extremely proud of myself for helping a customer on my own.

Ever since I’ve started working with my mom, my social anxiety has improved. This wouldn’t have all happened if it weren’t for my mom believing in me.