I had to write about this. It has been bothering me for some time now.
Social Anxiety is something that I have struggled with all my life. Ever since I can remember, I felt like I was being watched and judged by everyone. I feel like every flaw I have, every mistake I make, is the first thing people notice. Logically I know that isn’t the case, but my brain refuses to acknowledge this 🙂
I’ve always had trouble with speaking to strangers, maintaining eye-contact, etc. I have a major fear of not being able to cope or respond to all the silly social scenarios that I think may occur, all the “what ifs” that would leave me embarrassed or humiliated. This ties in a lot with my emetophobia as I have a fear of being sick in public. Since anxiety makes me feel nauseated, I often worry that I will be sick when I am anxious or nervous in a social situation. Oh this fun loop and tangling of fears!
As a result of all of this, I can appear to be pretty “standoffish”. People think I am snobby or bitchy because I am pretty quiet and usually don’t speak until spoken to. I avoid eye-contact. I fidget or have my arms crossed.
The same thing happens online, I find it hard to strike up a conversation or maintain one, so people think I am ignoring them or that I don’t like them. For example, I am a contester, and a major part of contesting requires you to share, tag friends, etc. I have a hard time with this. I don’t know why, but it does bother me. I’ve lost friends online and in “real life” as a result of not being social enough online or seeming like a bitch.
The truth is, I love socializing. I really do. I love people and I love interacting them them, but I just have all these “limitations”. When I get to know someone and feel comfortable around them, watch out! LOL.
Some of my self help methods have helped a lot so far. I seem to get a little better as time goes on. I keep challenging myself by facing some of my fears, stepping outside my comfort zone.
That’s my ramblings for now. I feel like I have so much more to say but don’t know how to say it. I wish it was easier for people to know that I am not purposely avoiding them or being snobby. I’m not a bitch, I swear! 🙂
Am I alone here? If you have social anxiety or are extremely shy, what is it that you are fearful of in social situations? Embarrassment or humiliation? What do you dread happening? I’d LOVE to know so I can get more insight to it.