Ok I’ve wanted to do this post for a while and you know what it better not just be ignored completely because it’s a TL;DR because this is such a huge aspect of my life and I really want there to be more awareness for Social Anxiety Disorder.
And no, this isn’t a “reblog if you care!!1” “if you dont reblog im judging you!!!” “reblog if you care!!!!” post. I don’t care if you decide not to reblog this, but at least read some it, don’t just scroll past please. (tbh the bits at the end is the most important point I’m trying to make but it’s all important)
In case you can’t tell already, this post is about Social Anxiety Disorder/Social Phobia.
I’m sure you’ve all felt embarrassed/anxious when in a social situation at least once. Maybe you had to do a presentation in class and you were nervous, or you had to meet a new person, everyone gets nervous over things like that and it’s perfectly normal.
Social Anxiety takes this to a whole new level.
You may get a little anxious when you know you’re next to do that big presentation in front of your class, while people with Social Anxiety will experience overwhelming worry over this weeks before.
But Social Anxiety isn’t just getting more worried about these things than the average person, nor is it just a higher level of shyness.
All day, everyday. Fear. Anxiety. Avoidance. Pain. Fear that you said/did the wrong thing. Worrying about other’s disapproval in nearly everything you do. Afraid of rejection. Terrified of starting a new conversation, even it’s someone you know; being scared there’ll be nothing to say. Fear of judgement. Hiding what’s wrong and how much this affects you. Although it varies from person to person, and depends on the severity of which you have it, this is generally what people with Social Anxiety will experience on a frequent, possibly even daily, basis.
"Please don’t come up to me" "I bet they’re laughing at me" "Everyone’s judging me" "Everyone’s staring at me" "Everyone hates me"
People with Social Anxiety are afraid of doing common things in front of people that others will find a simple, every-day class, which can sometimes (again, this depends on the severity of your Social Anxiety/the person) be extremely overwhelming. This can range from talking to people you don’t know, to ordering food at a restaurant and can even trigger panic just by walking on a busy street.
Signs and Symptoms of Social Anxiety include:
- Be very anxious about being with other people and have a hard time talking to them, even though they wish they could
- Be very self-conscious in front of other people and feel embarrassed
- Be very afraid that other people will judge them
- Worry for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
- Stay away from places where there are other people
- Have a hard time making friends and keeping friends
- Blush, sweat, or tremble around other people
- Feel nauseous or sick to their stomach when with other people.
(source for list of symptoms)
From what I’ve observed very few people understand the severity and agonizing/traumatic effect it can have on sufferers unless they have experienced it themselves, or are very empathetic.
Again, Social Anxiety does vary. Some people have it more severe than others, some people only experience it in certain situations while others will experience it in every social activity, some will experience different signs and there are different types (If I’m correct Behavioural, Cognitive and Physical are the main three); but it all revolves around the same thing and that is an intense fear of social anxiety.
Why am I making a really long post about this? Because it needs more awareness.
Don’t get me wrong, mental/emotional/physical health disorders all deserve equal awareness everywhere. There’s nothing special about Social Anxiety meaning that it needs more awareness than other disorders, but obviously I can’t make a post about every single disorder out there, and the reason I chose Social Anxiety is because it’s been a huge aspect of my life since a young age.
I’ve had severe Social Anxiety for as long as I can remember, at first I thought it was normal, and that everyone experienced it. I can remember at Primary School during break/lunch time, someone would tell me to go inside because it was my turn to read to the teacher, and I would get told off for never going to read because I was absolutely terrified of going back inside. I would literally stand in the middle of the playground, I thought if I went to go inside I would be shouted at. That’s the route of my Social Anxiety; being shouted a lot for even tiny mistakes because my Dad got angry easily. That’s where it started; and it developed into the severity it is today.
I’m only 13 years old, and I have to live in a world of absolute terror just by going outside my room. Nobody, of any age should have to deal with this, or any disorder in general.
And nobody at my school seems to understand. Obviously they won’t know unless I tell them, but when I do, they don’t care. For example, in a lesson today one boy decided to stare at me. I told him politely to stop because it was really uncomfortable. He kept staring. I told him it’s triggering an anxiety attack. He didn’t stop. It was so overwhelming, I felt like I couldn’t escape. Once I managed to get away from him I spent the rest of a 2 hour long lesson feeling absolutely terrified and on edge, almost crying if someone talked to me, even if it was just to talk about the work. It’s not always this bad, and sometimes it’s worse. But it’s still too much for me at times.
And I know that people on here will understand this because the suffer from Social Anxiety too.
I want you all to know that I’m here if you ever want to talk, or need advice, just leave a message. I will respond as soon as I can with what I think will help. :)
Personally, I think this is a very helpful thing to look at, I’m using it right now in the battle to overcome this as much as possible. There are loads of resources online, so don’t be afraid to look around.
I also recommend tracking your progress, in a journal, word document, on here, wherever. Track everything, negative or positive. Even if it’s just “I made small talk with someone” that’s progress! It’s slow, and sometimes you’ll fall back and have to restart, it’s not going to happen overnight.
But if you try hard enough in a few years you’ll thank yourself for facing your fears and battling this. It all starts with you making the decision to get better. I started by facing my fear and telling my teacher, and now I have a card so I can get out of lessons when I feel too overwhelmed. It may not seem like much but it’s a massive step.
And never be afraid to talk to me about it, off anon or on anon, I don’t care. I know it’s hard to talk about it, but I will never judge you because I know what you’re going through and I’d love to do everything I can to help. :) Together we can fight Social Anxiety Disorder.
I know this is random and this blog is not the right place to talk about it because this is a personal issue and not about drawing or fandoms but it’s really important to me.
I have social anxiety disorder. I’ve had it my whole life. I think about it all day, everyday. People think I’m weird or rude when I avoid them. I don’t really make eye contact. A lot of times when I talk to people (even online) I have trouble breathing, I actually feel sick. When I’m around people I have trouble thinking, I can’t even talk properly. It sounds pathetic but I feel perpetually hopeless. I work on trying to get better but it actually never goes away.