Having social anxiety is so much more than being “shy,” and this thread nails it
Social anxiety is experiencing fear about being judged negatively by other people in social situations, which leads those who have it to feel inadequate, inferior, self-conscious, embarrassed, or even depressed. It’s far more nuanced and complicated than just “oh haha I hate people, I love staying home.”
Which is why this viral Twitter thread is so important — people everywhere who have social anxiety are sharing their experiences to help others better understand.
social anxiety is not
“omggg I love netflix and I hate everyone”
– longing to go to social situations that are easy for other people
– wanting to use your voice, but feeling stifled
– feeling trapped in your thoughts
and so much more
— Jessie Paege (@jessiepaege) April 9, 2018
Social anxiety disorder is an incredibly common issue. Some people have specific, situational anxieties; for others it’s more general. In the U.S., studies show social anxiety disorder as the third largest psychological disorder in the country, after depression and alcoholism.
Being in social situations with others who are outgoing and effortlessly social can make you feel like you’re under a microscope. Suddenly, a simple family party or a gathering of friends and acquaintences brings on a sense of hyper self-awareness, and you feel like you stand out like a sore thumb.
Anxiety is staying up till four in the morning thinking about how situations could have differed, had you just changed one thing. Anxiety is falling down the rabbit hole of endless "what ifs" and scenarios for all the bad things that *could* happen.— Morgan Elaine (@EmmySheetz) April 9, 2018
Personally, I have a tendency to do a post-game analysis of every single detail and conversation of a social situation. I will agonize over whether or not I should have said something, and will endlessly wonder if my presence in any given social event was “too much” or “not enough.”
It doesn't just go away, and when I hear people tell me or another anxiety sufferer to "stop being anxious," it makes me livid. You almost find yourself apologizing for the things you can't control, and that's not okay. It's OKAY to not be okay.— Morgan Elaine (@EmmySheetz) April 9, 2018
Another important thing to remember — having social anxiety is not the same thing as “being shy.” AT ALL.
social anxiety in media: "I'm just so painfully shy, it's adorable"— Catie Hennessey (@catiemolly) April 10, 2018
actual people with social anxiety: "I can't really enjoy myself in this social situation because I am literally terrified of monopolizing the conversation or saying the wrong thing" https://t.co/wzjc5LA8yi
It’s also— indi @ ttrpg bender (@xoindigold) April 10, 2018
-not being able to stop obsessing over how people see you
-obsessing over your appearance and behavior
-kicking yourself for anything you say/do that didn’t go over well
-doing anything in your power to not appear inferior to others https://t.co/bgzArrDfrv
The whole wanting to use your voice and speak up part but actually not being able to is the worst. https://t.co/bsl20Ti4nw— BlackAndBuckskin (@Black_Buckskin) April 10, 2018
The worst part is feeling like everyone can sniff out your discomfort.
Walking in a room and feeling like everybody talking about you.— Bankroll Barbie ✨ (@hellamellow) April 10, 2018
Feeling like you annoy ppl if you talk to them https://t.co/BQFzpWoiYx
And— wil🏳🌈 (@tylerssweater) April 9, 2018
-scared to talk to normal people like your friends or family
-constantly feeling like youre going to say the wrong thing
-and sometimes not answering the phone even tho you want to
In my pre-mom life, I was super involved in community theater. Being onstage in front of a hundred people didn’t bother me in the least — not even being onstage while 25 pounds overweight in a negligee (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, if you’re curious). Because on stage, I wasn’t myself. But you know what downright crippled me? Having to sweat through small talk with the audience members post-show. I felt stupid. Awkward. I was certain they were all talking about how fat I was, how talentless I was.
Having social anxiety is fucking brutal.
It can also be:— Meri the Gay-ass Deer (@Pixeljade) April 10, 2018
•Doing the social thing but crying for hours afterward
•Being really sociable in certain settings but awful in others
•Putting on an emotional mask outside of the house
Not everyone who has Social Anxiety acts like it! It’s still serious. https://t.co/vOcXY32sLm
Sometimes you can have an easy enough conversation with someone, but overanalyse later, convincing yourself that you’re horrible and embarrassing at conversation, and should never attempt it unless you absolutely have to. https://t.co/bopON6zYOf— Natalie Hughes 🎶 (@myheartofmusic) April 10, 2018
Raise your hand if becoming a mom has made your social anxiety worse. We spend so much time around our little ones, or at home, and not going out at all ever — that we feel like we really don’t know how to be in the same room as other adult humans anymore.
please understand— ace⋆Lynx~ 🌷🌹 (@CattyFae) April 10, 2018
may the world understand and be a place where it is easier to go out despite suffering from the weight of anxiety like this https://t.co/HmBptYHZGE
People with social anxiety disorder — we know our anxiety is irrational. It doesn’t make sense a lot of the time. Reading threads like this and knowing other people understand helps a lot.
For more information on social anxiety disorder and treatment options, head over to the National Institute of Mental Health.