Social Anxiety is one of those issues that is very difficult to define. Yes, there are plenty of medical terms and theories and discussions covering the topic but it never reaches as far as how social anxiety can make you feel.

Suffocating, that’s one way to describe it. It’s when you want to go out but you wait for your friends to text and ask you because if you text them first they might feel compelled to bring you rather than say no and you don’t want to put them in that position.

Someone with social anxiety knows that’s completely irrational, your friends have continuously proved that they enjoy your company but you still can’t bring yourself to text them because you are afraid of bothering them.

It’s also very frustrating, you feel like no one really knows you because in your room on your own or with those few special people you are the most bubbly outgoing person in the world; but when you leave your little hideaway you turn into someone else. Someone who’s afraid to approach people. Someone who has loads of goals but can’t find the courage to go out and grab them. You are afraid of annoying people so you sit quietly and then curse yourself later for not taking more chances.

Interviews, presentations, and public speaking are your idea of pure and utter hell. Actually hell is probably a lot more pleasant. There is nothing worse than having all the answers/notes/information in your head and then it all gets lost as it makes its way from your brain to your mouth. You start shaking uncontrollably and turn red in front the whole room.

Reactions are difficult, when people go to touch you, give you a hug, a pat on the back and all you can do is look at them awkwardly.

Embarrassment is 100% worse for you than for someone who doesn’t have social anxiety. Fear of embarrassment can leave you sitting in your house for weeks. Or if you’ve done something silly you analyse it to death when others around you have probably already forgotten about it. That sinking feeling is all too familiar.

Conversation can be difficult. General conversation is hard for someone with social anxiety. Things like talking about the weather will usually be responded to with a few words but if someone gets you talking about a topic of interest or engage you in a deep discussion you are more than happy to make the effort to talk.

Telephone calls are evil!! You would much rather opt for text messaging and social media, it gives you some time to think of a reply and what you want to say. Or even a heads up someone might ring is better than a call out of nowhere. They should be prepared to leave a voicemail.

People of authority can fill you with dread. Might be some of the nicest people in the world but knowing what to say to them is completely beyond you.

Social anxiety doesn’t define you.

You have your own quirks, passions, opinions, you like to let your hair down, once you’ve managed to venture out the door that is.

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