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 interactions – I 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)