I realize that social anxiety can be mistaken for or thought of as extreme shyness or introversion, which is completely wrong- it’s actually even possible for someone with social anxiety to be not shy or extroverted. I thought that I’d cover some of the main differences between the two, since they’re so often confused.
- Socially anxious people aren’t happy being quiet- Many introverts or shy people like being quiet; they choose to be quiet and are happy to be quiet. We aren’t. I want to talk, so badly, but it feels as if I CAN’T talk.
- Physical sensations- We experience physical sensations as a result of anxiety, which include a racing heartbeat (that I can hear in my ears and makes me feel like a reverberating drum), difficulty breathing, nausea, lightheadedness, and panic attacks. Just horrible in general.
- Self-Esteem- What is that? Think I can buy some? 😂 People with social anxiety often lack self-esteem. Shy people for the most part have intact self-esteem, as do introverts.
- Thoughts- When I talk to someone, I’m always thinking if I sound or look stupid or if they don’t like me or think I’m weird or blah blah blah. Shy people, on the other hand, are just scared of getting out there, and don’t have all these irrational thoughts. The socially anxious care a lot about how other people perceive them, shy people don’t as much. Or at least, they don’t have this constant flow of negative thoughts in their heads.
- Emotions – Chances are that the socially anxious have a hell of a lot more awful emotions than do shy people. Actually, that’s a fact. There is mental ANGUISH in being socially anxious. A shy person doesn’t come close to feeling this way; they’re perfectly “normal”. There is a lot of fear and worry and stress in being socially anxious.
- Shy people often have a lot to say– Ever try talking to that one shy person and discovering that they have an amazing personality with their own unique views? I’ve found that a lot of shy people are so interesting and easy to have conversations with. I, on the other hand, find it hard to think of even small talk. Of course, I’m terrified that the other person will think my talking about the weather as shallow.
Well, that’s it. Social anxiety IS NOT being shy. Socially anxious people can actually be not shy- many actually want to talk to other people, but are held back by social anxiety. Another major thing with social anxiety is that people with it know that their thoughts are incredibly irrational and unproportional, but simply can’t help it. It’s very difficult having social anxiety, because everyday human life is structured around human interaction- speaking is something critical.
I hope that made things clearer:) this post is something that I’ve been meaning to write for a while. Social anxiety doesn’t get talked about as often as its cousin, depression. We need to talk about it! Talking about it will help eliminate the stigma around it and around so many other mental health issues as well.
I hope you have a fantastic day, all of you:) and if you have social anxiety like me, much love. Let’s all keep trying together!
p.s. I always just almost write my real name, then I have to stop myself😂
I can relate.