Last year, I shared what anxiety feels like. How it’s not usually just a feeling of worry or panic but a brain full of frantic thoughts that feel completely uncontrollable. There are sometimes that I can’t really pinpoint why I feel anxious but most of the time there’s a thought bouncing around in my head that says “Something bad is going to happen.” (At least that’s what it feels like for me, every person experiences anxiety differently). Social anxiety feels like this huge weight that tells me that everything I’m saying is wrong and that everyone is going to notice it.
I’ve struggled with social anxiety since the moment I hit puberty. Before that, I had friends, I was a cheerleader in my elementary school, I went to sleepovers and played outside with my friends. When I was 11 and I started middle school – a switch just flipped. Every social interaction made me uncomfortable so I avoided them. And the more I avoided them the more I wanted to avoid them.
Social anxiety makes most social interactions feel like torture.
Again, what social anxiety looks like is different for different people. I’ve blissfully got to the point where being in public does not bother me at all. I can go into a crowded space and I don’t care what strangers think about me, something I never would have thought was possible. One-on-one interactions can still be pretty hard for me though. I wanted to last some of the things that often go through my head.
Social Anxiety Feels Like…
- I feel self-conscious about my words and movements.
- I feel like I have to rehearse what I’ll say.
- I feel like they really don’t want to be around me.
- I feel like I am trapped in this situation.
- I feel like I’m not being interesting enough.
- I feel like they’re going to talk about me later.
- I feel like everyone is watching me.
- I feel like I look stupid.
- I feel like I’m embarrassing myself.
- I feel like I’m going to say the wrong thing.
- I feel like everyone knows how uncomfortable I am.
- I feel like I’m not contributing enough conversation.
- I feel like no one is enjoying talking to me.
- I feel so ashamed of how anxious I am.
- I feel like no one struggles like this.
- I feel like I’m so unprepared to be social.
- I feel like I’d rather be anywhere else but here.