Social Anxiety and the World

I'd say this isn't a far off illustration of what social anxiety is like.  Perceptions of situations immensely differ, and to an extent it feels as extreme as how the art represents it.  For awhile, I could hardly order something because I felt the cashier would laugh with their coworkers, describing the strangeness of the customer who had just visited (me).  Being around groups of people was painful.  I couldn't shake off the feeling they were judging me, watching me, and thinking about how weird I was.  Later they would discuss it together.  Returning home felt gloriously relieving.  It's been a safe place where I didn't have to worry about people judging me.
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  • This is very spot on as to what it is like having social anxiety. Having any anxiety disorder can be extremely crippling in your everyday life. It can dictate what you do and when you do it. It can also control who you talk to, and you may neglect or avoid potential positive relationships in your life. It is frustrating when people do not take it serious. I find it helpful to keep a light heart about it, and try to just take life one day at a time. :)
  • Thankfully, I've never experienced social anxiety. I know it's hard but you need to try and keep a sense of proportion - for example, there is no chance that cashiers would laugh at you - they are often far too busy to chat and just move on to the next customer, then the next and so on. 
  • I can understand this for humans have an innate desire to go about being accepted which is a quality that I struggled with in my youth. However, one just outgrows that form of thinking at least I did. Of course to remain on topic with all due respect to the forum, such a disorder is mentally unhealthy. In my case I developed major depressive disorder for my angst to fit in, which is one of the factors of anxiety. Then again social websites can help with this mental problem created by oneself, or just being thankful and appreciative of the people that one does have in their life. To quote Johnny Depp, "Just keep moving forward and don't give a shit... do what you have to do for you."
  • Ha, ha! The Egyptian girl one really got me!

    But this is true on most cases. Though, I really enjoy going to bars. I usually go there with my best friends, so I'm feeling pretty comfortable, not to mention you don't have to interact with unknown people there. And ordering drinks is not that hard.
  • I have always been an introvert. I don't like socializing with other people. It's not that I feel nervous with them or something like that, I just don't like talking to them when I don't feel like it.
  • I'm not good with social interaction so everyday if I find the opportunity, I try to go out of my comfort zone and say talk to someone. Sometimes, its a coworker and the conversation will have died to a silence, I'll offer myself up and try to start up the conversation again. I also super hate talking to customer support, I often try to avoid it but recently I've been making some progress in that.
  • @dyanmarie25, I too am an introvert.  However, I experience social anxiety on top of that.  Being an introvert is not distressing.  Rather, having social anxiety is what is nearly perfectly depicted in these photos. 
  • I suffer from social anxiety as well as panic disorders.  I was beaten up repeatedly growing up for being Gay in rural Pennsylvania.  When I go into public sometimes I see the faces of my abusers on the guys who pass by even though it has been nearly 15 years now.  I understand the want/need to go home.  My apartment is my refuge, my safe spot from the rest of the world. 

    While in public I do my best to try and remind myself that I am safe.  I repeat to myself "Tim you are ok, you are safe." when I am about to lose it.  Being around crowds is for sure not my cup of tea. I usually go shopping either very early or extremely late at night to purposefully to avoid certain situations.  My medication and therapy like I said help some but it all up to you.  Expose yourself slowly, that is what I am trying now.  It seems to actually help.  

  • @blur92 Oh, okay. I guess we're on different levels of being an introvert. In your case, you feel anxious when you're dealing with them because you think they are judging you or saying rude things about you. As for me, I guess I can handle that. What painful for me is that I don't really socialize with other people because I think they are just pretentious, like pretending to like me or something. I really hate it. So I just keep on building walls around me.
  • @dyanmarie25, I think that is still related to social anxiety, especially because you described it as painful.  If that keeps you from socializing and causes you significant distress, it can be a potentially diagnosable problem.  It sounds to me there's something more than introversion going on.
  • @PrideKidd, kudos to you for making progress and realizing what you need to do.  Exposure therapy is effective, and with time it will get better.  Avoiding situations is one of the worst things you can do for your anxiety although it may not seem like it at the moment.  Every moment you avoid builds up until you are not accustomed at all to dealing with those situations.  That spikes your anxiety even more!
  • The best we have to do is focus on ourselves and forget what others might be thinking about us. No pressure, just be ourselves.
  • I do more and more exposure therapy but there are still days I cannot seem to make me me leave my apartment.  Those days are coming less and less but it is winter here. ( today is -12 )
    I have medical conditions that make ice quite a challenge, so Tim avoids going out as much as possible. lol. I do honelstly make myself go out when it is nice here though. I am a total sunshineaholic :) 
  • @blur92 Well, I guess it has really something to do with that. But I don't really care about what other people will say about me. They just disgust me in a way.
  • Hahaahahaha, this is so spot on!  Specially the last one and the one with the taco lady, as well as the phone one!  I feel so anxious even when I go buy something like a nail polish bottle, most of the time the girls working there don't know how to treat their clients, but meh... I sometimes avoid talking to friends on the phone because i dread social interaction :(  It feels good to know you are not alone... I also dislike texting, but some people make of that experience even more awkward. 
  • You've described the feeling very well. I have some form of this as well and I try to just get over it and sometimes I'm not as successful unfortunately, but thankfully most of the time I am able to just power on through. I try to remind myself that even if they do judge me it doesn't matter that much anyway so these days I've learned more and more to rely on my own opinion of myself instead which I think helps me a lot.
  • I've never really had social anxiety to be honest, apart from when I first quit drinking some time ago now, but I think that was just my body and mind learning how to cope without the alcohol.

    Alcohol calmed me down so not having a drink and going out to face the world was sometimes a problem, but I soon managed to realise that people are just people and there shouldn't be anything to be afraid of. Your just as good as what they are.
  • I am not sure the link worked right for me because it took me to a video of a girl beating up a boy for cyber bullying. Anyway, I also suffer from social anxiety. I have always been an introvert and do not like dealing with social situations. I never went to parties unless I was with someone else and knew some of the people that were going to be there. I do not mind going shopping by myself though. I do not like to drive places that I do not know how to get to especially if it is in the downtown area. Sometimes, I think I could just stay home for the rest of my life and be just fine.

    The one thing that has helped me is my children. I have to go places that I am not familiar with and take them to birthday parties where there are other parents that I have to interact with. I try to not be anxious in front of my children because I want them to know that it is alright to do these types of activities and not be afraid. I think my children are my saving grace with my social anxiety.
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