It’s been awhile since I’ve felt the tinge of it. That strange creeping feeling that sneaks upon you like a thief in the night. It came out of nowhere one day while walking through the store. I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular. Suddenly my anxiety flared up. It was like a quick strike of panic for no reason at all other than being in public. For those who have never experienced it, consider yourself lucky. It’s not something you would wish on your worst enemy. Any type of anxiety is devastating, but there seems to be something specifically terrible about social anxiety. Being around another human being is supposed to bring some type of comfort to you because you’re not alone. Unless you experience something like anxiety. It makes no sense sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. I know plenty of people who have it much worse than I do, and I consider myself very lucky and fortunate that it only happens from time to time.
But a lot of people confuse social anxiety with shyness. There’s a big difference. If you’re going through panicked thoughts and sweating, feeling like everything you do is constantly messing up and being watched…you might have social anxiety. If you’re just sort of afraid of talking to that new guy/girl, you’re probably just shy. Those are very amateur ways of describing it, but you get the point. I just want people to be aware that social anxiety is a very real thing. It’s not something to joke about or throw around lightly. It’s very real and terrifying.
I’ve come to a place in life where I’m able to push past my social anxiety and make it to a happy place in my mind, but sadly not many people are there yet and some never will be. It’s true that unless you help yourself, you will never change, but the promotion of change is something that needs to be handled delicately by those who want it for others.