all the times social anxiety skins me whole

Hello friends of the Internet,

it’s your girl Fiona back again with another post about social anxiety because I’m not going to lie; I was stunned at the amount of feedback and support my recent post about anxiety got.

I really enjoyed that that post opened the door to a whole conversation between all of us about our individual experiences and I felt like I connected with a lot of you through it. Long story short; I realised that a lot more people than I thought suffer from (social) anxiety just like me and I think the most important thing about mental illnesses in general is to be able to talk about it, to have an open conversation and shed some light on it for people who know very little about it. 

Quick Side note about the title of this post – I was being dramatic but ALSO social anxiety can sometimes have the effect that you feel like you’re being skinned. I know a lot of people also describe it as feeling like your whole body / skin is on fire.

Epecially with social anxiety there tends to be this stigma that it isn’t “as bad” as other mental illnesses. A lot of people just write it off as being shy and / or introverted. There is a BIG difference between those. A socially anxious person doesn’t necessarily always have to be an introvert – extroverted socially anxious people exist too (I feel like I’m talking about them like they are aliens).

Another big misconception is that social anxiety is only limited to social interactionsI wish. As you will see in the list down below, a lot of instances (where the bitch I call social anxiety creeps up on me) don’t actually involve me interacting with anyone. Please note that everything I write about is based on only my own individual experiences – everyone experiences and copes with anxiety differently (just felt like I had to throw that in there)

As I have probably used the word ‘social anxiety’ about 500 times already, I will stop rambling on and let you read a list of some things that really, and I mean really, really make me anxious to the point where I feel I’m going to pass out (I tried to refrain from using the being skinned reference again).

Making phonecalls (for example to make an appointment – I will often be so nervous beforehand that I will write down the full sentences of what I’m going to say. FULL SENTENCES.)

Ordering food (as dumm as it sounds, I will practice what I’m going to say before I have to order)

Asking for help (for example in a shop)

Walking into a full public bathroom (washing your hands when there’s a mirror and feeling like everyone is sharing at you through the mirror)

Waiting in lines (What am I supposed to do, what should I look at? Feeling nervous for it to be your turn)

Driving anywhere by myself (especially in public transportation)

Asking the waiter to pay

Eating in front of people or in a public space

Walking in front of people

Entering a room full of people

Speaking in front of large groups

Speaking up in general

Joining / inserting myself in a conversation

Going to the doctor 

Anytime I know I will have to make smalltalk (at the hairdressers for example)

Talking about personal things / myself 

Sitting at a table in the middle of the room

Being alone in public places (Is everyone sharing at me? Is there something wrong with me? Were those people laughing at me? AHHHHHHH *hides in public bathroom*)

Standing up to go to the bathroom

Talking to new people

Walking with headphones in (not hearing as well > my breathing gets really heavy > I get aware of it > people are around me > breathing gets heavier > start to panic >…)

Answering questions (Too. much. pressure.)

Running into people you know (Do I stop and talk? Do I say hello? Do I just smile? What if they don’t even remember me?)

Eye contact in general (I can only hold eye contact with people I trust and feel comfortable around)

Opening the door when someone knocks (even when I know who it is)

Having to cough in a room full of people (holding them in and planning them strategically in order to not draw attention to yourself or disturb anyone)


*Image credit goes to thi.dee on Instagram, who provided me with illustrations to use for this blog.

15 thoughts on “all the times social anxiety skins me whole

  1. Wait quite a lot of those points you mentioned apply to me. Have I got social anxiety?

    I’ll start my research now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It depends on the symptoms you have when faced with those situations. Does your body start to sweat, shake, go cold,..? Do you have the urge to throw up? Do you feel like you could pass out? Do you have a hard time controlling your body in general? (Your speech for example could be affected) Does something like panic set in? Do you feel light-headed and disoriented? Does your heart start to race? Do you feel like you’re not in your body? Do any of those situations actually result in real physical pain?

      There are plenty of other symptoms, those are just a few I usually experience (woohoo). Like I said, social anxiety is different for everyone. It can be mild to severe. I am fortunate enough to still be able to function without having to isolate myself completely – plenty of others avoid people altogether (can you imagine?!)

      Do as much research as you can and if you think you might have social anxiety, go to a professional and let someone diagnose you. Talk to someone about what your options are. Normally it’s quite flattering when people find the things you write relatable but in this case I actually hope that only few understand what it is like. I hope you don’t have it, but if you do, I’m always here to talk.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually read it easier with headphones in because I can block the world out and pretend they don’t exist haha! I agree that everyone’s experience of anxiety is different – different people suffer to different extents and also find that different situations trigger their anxiety. Reading this list has actually made me realize how far I have come in terms of my anxiety, I think definitely getting a job and pushing myself to be more social has helped although I do have the odd panic attack when I push myself a bit too far. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Baby steps! That’s all any of us can do. It’s great that you’re trying to push yourself out of your comfort zone a little more, I have been trying to do the same. And oh man, panic attacks are the worst. Thanks for reading Hannah xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think a lot of these instances can apply to a lot of people – many who feel like they are the odd person out. Like making a phone call. I hate making phone calls! Especially when it’s for something like a doctor’s appointment. I’ve only recently started to enjoy them while talking to someone I’m involved with on the phone. It was so strange to me how easy a transition it was to switch from dread to happy anticipation over a phone call.

    I used to experience anxiety over being alone in public. But once I moved overseas for a year, I kind of had to force myself out of my comfort zone. Before I made friends there, if I wanted to go out to eat, I would have to go alone. Or to shop or to the movies. Slowly it became ok. Sometimes I actually enjoy the solitude of it. But sometimes it still brings anxiety, even now.

    Thanks for sharing such a private part of yourself! I’m sure a lot of people can relate and will like to know that other people feel the same way that they do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so much progress you’e made! I am doing a semester abroad in Belgium next year and I’m already freaking out about it! The good thing is, I am going with two friends, so I won’t be completely alone. As excited as I am, I am kind of anxious too. But it will all turn out fine (I hope).

      I enjoyed putting together this list, so I’m glad you liked it! It was actually very eye-opening to me too once I finished the list because I had never seen a collective list of all of my “triggers”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think pushing yourself into new situations can be super scary but also really liberating. When I was flying to Korea my first time, I had a few layovers and each time I was like “I’m turning back!” But I’m so glad I went. Going with friends is a great way to ease into uncomfortable situations! I hope you have a good time!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. LOVED THIS! It was really illuminating to seeing the areas where your anxieties arise. Would you mind if I did something similar? Also I love the video you chose for this post. It was amazing, I really enjoyed the aesthetics of it! x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can relate to everything on your list except for the walking with headphones. I dodge that bullet by just using earphones and have never actually tried walking around with headphones so I’m not sure if I would get anxious from it. Coughing in the roomful of people is my worst fear. I once got the itchiest throat during a college class and I just could NOT stop coughing. It got to the point I fled the room and went out into the hallway. I do get a little anxious being in public by myself, but at the same time, I don’t mind it. I go to most places on my own.

    Two other things I personally struggle with: Walking through crowds (I can feel my heartbeat racing when I do, and I often think something bad will happen while I’m surrounded by people). And also, I get anxiety whenever I have to explain something in another language I am not well-versed in out of fear I will use the wrong word to translate a meaning of something. This is probably why I just stick to English if I can help it lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know how I missed this comment! I guess it must’ve gotten lost in my notifications haha. I’ve heard that about walking head/earphones a lot, that people prefer them because they provide some “protection” in a way. Coughing is the wooooorrrssst ever. It always gives me such a surge of panic whenever I need to. Crowds don’t bother me as much, for some reason I think I go more unnoticed in them than with just a handful of people. But I get why that would freak you out, people are scary as hell sometimes (especially a lot of them).

      Sorry to hear you’re dealing with these things too, I feel like you can often feel like you’re completely alone with your anxiety. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone to be honest.

      Liked by 1 person

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