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What is it like to have social anxiety?

8 Answers
Last Updated: 01/22/2019 at 11:03am
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Top Rated Answers
October 30th, 2016 3:26am
Social anxiety is a tricky idea to grasp. Everyone acts anti-social at times because it's natural to want to be alone. People naturally need time to recharge by themselves. With social anxiety, you often feel alone even when surrounded by people. You don't know how to relate to others, or you'll have the nasty voice in your head that screams at you every time you attempt social interaction. Social anxiety can start with the feeling of never needing other people, and wanting an extreme level of independence. Some would call this social isolation. Social anxiety can range from feeling overwhelmed while waiting in long lines, to never being able to tell your first crush how much you loved her because you were too scared. If you've ever felt like crying around people for no reason, a feeling of being overwhelmed by people, it could be social anxiety. I recently did some research on social anxiety's relationship to depression and something I read put it best: "Social anxiety is often referred to as the disorder of missed opportunities".
January 17th, 2017 5:34pm
Social anxiety is overwhelming. For me, it's feeling like everybody's judging me, because everything I say and do is wrong. It gets to the point where I avoid social interaction, make up things to avoid plans, and try not to go out in public for fear of messing up, or being laughed at. It's not like that for everybody, but it can get really exhausting to be worried constantly about what other people are thinking when I'm doing something as simple as biking down the street. I constantly dwell on scenarios and think of how I could've responded better, or differently. That's what it's like for me, hope that helps some!
January 1st, 2018 7:33am
I didn’t find out that I had social anxiety until just recently. I’ve denied this for so long but I finally accepted it. My anxiety disorder holds me back from doing many things. I am not at all open to people. Whenever I have to attend an event, I need a lot of time to mentally prepare myself so when things are uncalled for, I most likely will not succeed due to my lack of mental preparation. Whenever I have to make an important phone call, I always get nervous and I don’t know what to say. I always get scared around people. It’s absolutely terrifying for me. I cannot go anywhere without my phone because I’m such an awkward person. Bottom line, being around people is just scary. I never know what to say. Like ever. I’m learning how to cope with my anxiety but there hasn’t been much improvement. There are times where I’m in public and I just look around to see everyone and I freeze up. It just feels like I have the entire world on my shoulders even though no one is looking at me. Ever since I was little, Ive never been very social. I’m still not social due to my anxiety which holds me back from making new friends.
November 22nd, 2016 8:39am
For me personally: Lonely. I have severe troubles talking to people, therefore I do not make friends. I haven't done so since elementary school, and I've retained one friend since elementary school. The only exception is a girlfriend I made who I recently broke up with after 4 years. The distorder has no effect online for me, so I met her on a dating site called meetme, got to know her a bit, met her in person a few times. Something happened because it didnt' take long before she became the first person I've ever been able to talk to 100% unrestricted. I spent 4 years just forgetting I even had anxiety because suddenly I have someone I can talk to every day. Now we've broken up and I'm forced to remember I have a serious problem I've been neglecting. Back in middle/high school I'd often attempt to talk as I walked from my house all the way to my seat on the bus. I never made it onto the bus while talking, nor have I made it within earshot of anyone else standing at the bus stop. It's just a drastic and sudden change in your ability to speak. That's just from being around people. In 12th grade I had to read news reports to the class weekly. I'd always make sure I had two stories written as short as possible, one as my planned story to present, and another as a backup incase someone did my story. Sometimes people would read both short articles I had. I'd rush to find the next shortest article I had and see what I could cut out. Recite it in my head, calm and ready to present it, not a single worry, you got this. My turn, I stand up. My skin suddenly feels like it's on fire and has painful tingling in some spots (i'm unaware thankfully, but i'm deep red). I'm starting to sweat because I actually am heating up from blushing, it's super uncomfortable. I read 1.5 sentences, then it becomes difficult to breathe, and so I am having trouble saying 1/3 of a sentence all at once. I skip half of the article, I've been presenting it too long. The teacher asks a question because he knows details are missing. I have trouble thinking and can't give too great of responses to his questions. I sit down, still sweaty, cooling off, suddenly can think of 100 responses to what the teacher asked, feel relieved. I called that human tomato mode (they don't think or talk, and they're red), but I guess that's a panic attack. Social situations have varying intensities of these symptoms. People will give a small talk kind of greeting and I'll mentally panic wondering what to say so I'm not rude, but also not seem odd or boring. Good luck getting me to have a conversation. I spent 2 weeks isolated with about 15 guys all trying to get me to talk the whole time, all while i'm trying to get myself to talk too. Didn't happen, which is when I first decided I need help getting this fixed. Talking to family is even getting increasingly hard, which is sad because in middle/high school, they were all I had. I've moved back in though so hopefully that reverses. Also working on making new friends, unfortunately that requires I meet them all online first somehow. From what I read, social anxiety differs from person to person in terms of symptoms, severity, and 'triggers'. So that's just me.
July 30th, 2018 4:37pm
Social anxiety can come in many shapes and forms, but some general symptoms are feeling extremely uneasy and overwhelmed around people, often resulting in anti-social behaviors that may lead other people to exclude the person with social anxiety. It feels like you can't relate to anyone, like everyone is untouchable. You second-guess everything you want to say and you feel nervous even in social situations that don't present any actual danger. It's a serious disorder that can greatly affect the lives of those who suffer from it.
June 6th, 2017 5:34pm
For me it's a lot like the feeling you get on the day you have to do a presentation. But you feel like this every day and there is hardly relief. You feel like you are constantly judged by everyone and that everybody secretly hates you. You often can't eat, sleep, communicate and you start to drift away from your loved ones.
September 3rd, 2018 11:58pm
Social Anxiety is misunderstood. It is not just simple shyness, it can be seriously debilitating. It can rob you of a part of yourself you once loved. My journey with social anxiety has certainly been a long one. And while I have become much more skilled with battling it, at times I would get very upset, seeing that this thing was not allowing me to be who I knew I really was, or express a side of myself I knew I had, or let me say "hello" to a kind stranger sitting at the same table as me.
January 22nd, 2019 11:03am
From personal experience, having social anxiety means starting even a one word to a stranger can be the most difficult task to do. Even just asking for a straw or a tissue from the restaurant counter is so scary and daunting. Just being in a party makes you feel so small and hopeless. You are not sure where to look at, where to stand or even what expression to put on your face. It's very awkward. Even when someone talks to you, your heart starts racing as you try to come up with at least something good to impress the person. To try to seem friendly enough, nice enough. Even thinking about going on stage or standing in middle of everyone's attention is a nightmare. In that situation, your mind is always a blank white paper. You cannot think properly with all the thoughts racing in your head so fast that you can't catch one to speak out.