Towards the end of January, I posted the first part of this series. Basically, I talked about the little things that were happening in my life that made me believe I was dealing with One Big Problem. Since then, I’ve been very hesitant to continue with this series. I’ve never been diagnosed and most of what I believe about myself regarding anxiety is from what I’m reading on websites. Some days, I feel as if I’m dealing with anxiety and need to seek help to conquer it…and other days, I feel as if I’m only dealing with a severe case of introvertedness. (<—not a word.)
But the fact remains that there’s something going on. And I need to figure out what it is before it consumes my entire life.
After searching for a while, I fell on this website. Every scenario outlined, I found myself nodding my head to and agreeing with. Yes, that’s me. Yes, exactly. Yes, I know that feeling. At that point, it seemed as if it was all coming together. I had a name: Social Anxiety Disorder. Better than a name, I had a reason for the way I was. This wasn’t something I needed to get over and grow up from. This was the way my mind is programmed. There is a reason behind my weirdness. But as much as I nodded my head and agreed, as I continued reading, my stomach began to churn. I began to question if this was really me. Is this the person I’ve become? So afraid of my environment, so fearful of being judged? This can’t be me! I lead a pretty full life of college and work and hanging out with my… mom.
I borrowed a book from the library last month about Social Anxiety. And while some parts made me tear up that finally, someone is talking about all those things I’ve dealt with, there were parts that didn’t seem to completely fit me. But then again, maybe they do.
Many Social Anxiety sufferers can’t hold a job. I can, but I struggle with taking initiative, fearful of stepping on toes or having someone tell me I’m doing it the wrong way.
Many Social Anxiety sufferers can’t go out to social scenes. I do, but I am very careful to create an environment where I am comfortable. I will take a friend or my mom along. If all else fails, I will sit in a corner, trying to look busy on my phone, making sure I send off enough danger vibes to keep everyone away.
Many Social Anxiety sufferers develop a fear of intimacy. I can agree wholeheartedly with this statement. I shy away from any guy who tries to show me attention. I’ve never had a typical guy-girl relationship. While I know so many people who are afraid to be alone, I worry I’m this strange girl who actually fears being with someone. There are days I long to have a partner in life and days when I think life is just easier solo.
Many Social Anxiety sufferers have a fear of public embarrassment. This is actually a pretty normal fear, especially stage fright, and it’s never been enough to take over my life. I’ve made speeches to classes and even did student teaching, where I was constantly judged by more experienced teachers. Maybe it’s completely normal, but I find myself start blushing, grow hot, and feel shaky whenever I’m put on the spot. I seem to forget my entire vocabulary and lose trains of thoughts justlikethat. Whenever I was student teaching, I was constantly stumbling over words and leaving long pauses when I knew my teachers were watching me. I feel like this is a normal reaction, though, so it’s never been something I’ve worried too much about. But maybe there’s more to this than I realized.
And there are other symptoms I deal with:
- Avoiding plans with friends because I’m worried about how they will judge me or laugh at me, for silly things I might say.
- Feeling as if my heart is going to beat out of my chest when I have to call someone, even if it’s just a simple call to my grandparents.
- Not being able to successfully live on campus by myself. I came home every weekend, and ended up moving back after my freshman year. I didn’t like the social atmosphere and found it extremely hard to make friends.
While I don’t feel as if I have an extreme case of Social Anxiety, there is something going on. It could end up being an extreme case of being an introvert. I honestly don’t know. But as I read up on it, it becomes apparent that all these things I thought just added to my weirdness, are actually symptoms of Social Anxiety. It just feels nice to put a name to it all.