Many young people struggle with social anxiety and psychologist Gwendoline Smith has set up a Tumblr blog and created the alter ego Doctor Know to help.
She's now written a book based on the questions teens posed on her hugely popular site – knowing.
At first, Smith didn't think much of the term 'social anxiety'.
"When I first heard it I thought 'Oh, no. Not psychiatry coming up with another diagnosis for being shy. But it's so not that."
The essence is a fear of being negatively judged by other people, not a fear of social occasions or socialising.
It often affects people who have a genetic predisposition for anxiety, blossoming in puberty when your place in the peer group takes on huge importance.
But unlike most other afflictions of puberty, people with social anxiety don't grow out of it.
Although social anxiety is aggravated by the environment, slamming social media as the primary cause is too simplistic, smith says.
"There's a lot of kids out there on social media that don't have this particular type of anxiety so it's more complex than that."
She describes Tumblr as, in part, a "social media site for the young and the anxious" which, unlike other sites, offers anonymity.
She set up her own page at the suggestion of her friend the poet Lang Leav, who was being contacted on Tumblr by girls talking about cutting and self-harm.
Leav felt out of her depth and suggested Smith would be able to do some good through via the platform.
Soon after she launched the Doctor Know page, it went "huge".
"I must have spiked somewhere. Next thing I'm being interviewed by The Guardian, and next thing in an hour, I've got 11,000 questions."
Though the Tumblr blog Smith has learnt the language of today's youth.
"The number of times I'm two-screening it because I'm thinking 'What? Assigned female at birth?' To someone as old as me I'm thinking you're just born a chick. But it's much more complex than that."
Her Tumblr blog was a "big giant research project" that informed knowing, whose title – if it isn't immediately clear – comes from the name of her alter ego.
knowing will be helpful for anyone with social anxiety, she says, but its illustrations are geared to youth.
Where to get help:
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Lifeline: 0800 543 354
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Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)
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Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254
Healthline: 0800 611 116
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
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