Social Anxiety a Reality

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Social anxiety is real. It’s different than being introverted, but when you are both, your life basically revolves around avoiding people in general. Most people treat social anxiety like it’s a made up disorder for shy people to say they have. Social Anxiety is, summed up into two broad ideas, the fear of people judging you harshly and not fitting in. Being an introvert means, according to Urban Dictionary, “a person who is energized by spending time alone.”

    Sometimes I notice that “introvert” and “socially anxious” are used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing. Trust me, I am both and every time someone uses one incorrectly, I cringe a little. Social anxiety is “the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people,” according to the Social Anxiety Institute. There are many symptoms to social anxiety, but three of the biggest ones I experience are blushing, shaking, and feeling faint. According tosocialanxietysupport.com, symptoms can be triggered by things ranging from spilling a drink to public speaking. Social anxiety can lead to depression, while introvertism usually does not. However, that doesn’t mean that you are depressed if you have social anxiety or vice versa.

    Being an introvert is slightly different than being socially anxious. Just because you are an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you are a shy or independent person. Introverts simply like to be by themselves on occasion. Introverts may not want to be forever alone but they also don’t mind staying in on Friday night. There are some misconceptions about introverts, as pointed by carlkingdom.com. Those myths are that introverts are shy, rude, don’t like to talk, don’t like people, don’t like to go out in public, always want to be alone, are weird, aloof nerds, don’t know how to relax and have fun, and that introverts can fix themselves and become extroverts.

    But it’s not only the fact that people don’t know the difference between these two things, it’s that they really don’t care. That’s what bothers me the most. I don’t need people to tell me that my voice cracked or that my face is red after I finish a presentation – I am very aware of both of those things. So before you tell me “your face is bright red,” think about it for a second because it will only embarrass me more. I also don’t need to be around people all the time. I don’t care if I look “lonely,” I like to be alone. I wear grey most of the time because I don’t like to stick out in a crowd. I dread presentations and talking in front of more than one person at a time. I promise that if you are socially anxious and don’t want to go to school tomorrow because you know you will have to read or talk in front of the class, that you will do fine. You are an amazing person and if someone can’t recognize that, it’s their loss. Why would I change who I am to become like everyone else? Sure it’s not the easiest life to be a socially anxious introvert, but it’s part of what makes me me.

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