Social anxiety is by no means a blessing, and it tends to manifest in certain ways. For instance, some people will see a group laughing and think that the group must be laughing at them. Some people do not like to be touched, and for others certain sounds can be overwhelming. For me, social anxiety manifests in a way such that participating in many of the daily activities others do is very stressful.
The good thing is that social anxiety is pretty common. You are not alone, and this is an idea that has brought me a tremendous amount of comfort over the years. If you have experienced social anxiety, you might understand how difficult some of these activities can be.
It is a struggle to initiate conversation.
This is something that gets easier the more I do it, but it still feels so forced (and may require a drink or two). Parties always feel awkward, and I always feel like I’m looking for that perfect place to chime in with my own opinion.
I crave socialization but usually stay home.
As much as I want to go out and spend time with people, it is so much more comforting to stay home with a book, Game of Thrones episode or queue of Buzzfeed articles. Why get stressed out in the first place?
Constant stress has really bad effects.
Not only does the anxiety wear you out, but you can also have some strange physical reactions. When I am in a situation that gives me anxiety, I usually start sweating or feel my heart beat intensely. I also grind my teeth in my sleep, and occasionally I will have a panic attack.
Dating is hard.
Yeah, dating is hard for everybody. But it also very hard when you have anxiety so bad that it often calls on you to cancel your date before you ever even meet the person.
Panic hits as soon as the phone rings.
I don’t answer the phone unless I know who is calling. In fact, I only make phone calls if I know that an email or text message is impossible.
I am always looking for safety.
And this means that I become very focused on my possessions. It also means that my cat is more than a pet — she’s a security blanket.
Social anxiety can be hard to explain.
In fact, it can even be hard to explain anxiety to somebody else who also experience anxiety because it is such an individual experience.
For more information about anxiety, look at these resources: