I’ve worked my butt off and animated a little intro video that gives a glimpse into what social anxiety is, and to give some inspiration to my fellow social anxiety/phobia sufferers. Check it out!
Comment below and let me know what you think.
“You’re too sensitive.”
“Why do you always stay inside?”
“It’s just a small thing. You’re overreacting.”
“What, are you going to cry again?”
Imagine this situation. You’re at a party. You’re alone. Everyone else is in their tightly clamped circles. They’re smiling and laughing, mentioning names you don’t know and places you haven’t been. They’re better than you. Quickly, you try to walk up to some people. You try to start a conversation, and as you talk, your brain rips into you. The anxiety tells you’re awkward, you’re awkward and you’ll be alone tonight. They don’t like you. Why did you say that for? You messed up royally. If you just stayed at home, you’d be able to watch Friends repeats instead of being trapped here.
And it doesn’t stop there. You’ve noticed that instead of concentrating on university work, you’re fixated on all the other students. It takes you an extra three hours to complete a simple task. All you want to do is sleep.
People might dismiss you as being overly dramatic and weak on the outside, when you open up to them for help. But on the inside, you’re strong.
It takes a lot to deal with a relentless self critic every day. And there’s a reason the social anxiety is so potent: you just want to get better socially. In a way, it’s like fighting for something you care about. Channel all that energy into beating the anxiety, instead. If you’ve put up with social anxiety thus far, you’ll have the determination to overcome it. Are you going to keep putting up with the crap anxiety gives you?
You should give yourself some credit!
Posted by polarisabstract in Stigma Tags: "social anxiety", anxiety, fear and panic, fight, frustration, low self esteem, mental health month, mental health stigma, resilience, self critic, self-esteem, sensitive, shyness, social anxiety in university, social phobia, Stigma, stopthestigma, strength, weakness
We’re often taught to actively eliminate anxiety and fear. But that activates a never-ending internal battle. It makes you despise social anxiety and situations which induce it. A constant feeling of dread whenever you feel symptoms of social anxiety is counter-productive. Instead, learn to be comfortable with fear, panic and anxiety.
Check out this video to learn more:
Last week I had to promote and give flyers out to random people at my university. I’d never done it before, so it triggered my social anxiety disorder.
I was scared that people would ignore me. They did. I was scared that people would walk around me. They did. I was scared that people would act mean. They did. (Well, just a couple were assholes). I stood in a corner, constantly looking at the time, half heartedly asking people if they could spare a second, and wishing my shift was over.
But after awhile, I got used to it. I made it a game to go up to people. I became used to the rejection and that made me more confident in getting people to listen. Some people were nice enough to stop and hear me out.
Try it yourself. Maybe you could force yourself to participate at least two times every tutorial or lecture in a week.
Although I usually try to keep these posts lighter, I have to address something.
About three weeks ago a tumblr girl called Acacia Brinley Clark put up a video on youtube talking about her social anxiety. Although the video’s private now, check out this response video for a brief recap on what she talked about. The majority of comments I looked at on youtube said she didn’t have social anxiety/was mistaken/lying to get attention. Twitter is full of such comments as well.
I can see why people don’t believe her – she’s attractive, has a lot of followers, she’s on stage quite often, and meets a lot other famous personalities.
But anxiety is different from person to person with varying levels and situations. It’s important not to devalidate someone’s disorder, even if it’s self diagnosed, or if you think they’re lying.
At the end of the day, someone might look like the coolest person, but you don’t know what happens inside of their mind. What if they leave a party, go home and have a panic attack? Or what if they spend hours and hours thinking about that one look some acquaintance gave them?
Social anxiety is also hard to label. Dan J. Stein, MD and PHD, writes that social anxiety “ranges broadly in clinical and community settings”. He continues to say that one person with severe SA will easily tick all the symptom check boxes for social anxiety and depression, but another who experiences it to a lesser extent will have a harder time getting diagnosed because their experiences aren’t as black and white.
While one person may get it so badly they can’t leave their house without being affected by anxiety, someone else may receive it just during speeches. Another may be able to go to social situations, but be constantly analysing peoples’ thoughts and judgements so much that it upsets them.
When I was in high school, I actually felt more comfortable performing than starting a conversation with a classmate. Going to somebody’s house, though, would freak me out. With performing, I could hide behind a persona. The stage or screen is a formalised setting for someone to act confident without people judging your day-to-day personality.
Daniel Tosh (the comedian Tosh.o) has social anxiety, but has his own television show. Donny Osmond, a famous singer of the 70s, has openly talked about his social anxiety. So why should it be different for YouTube personalities like Acacia? Youtuber Zoella has millions of subscribers, but even she suffers from fear and panic.
When people reach out or want to get better, don’t tell them what they think is wrong. It makes it harder.
Posted by polarisabstract in Stigma Tags: "social anxiety", acacia, acacia brinley clark, celebrities with social anxiety, daniel tosh, donny osmond, graduate from social anxiety, self diagnosed, social anxiety in university, social phobia, Stigma, tosh.0, youtube, zoella
You’re at a lecture. You look around, and see plenty of people socialising around you. But you’re alone. All of a sudden, your mind races: do I look like a loser?
“Oh my god, I need to hide. I have to get out of here. I can’t find in! Blablablabla…”
These sorts of thoughts can occur in a range of situations: presentations, making friends, phone calls – you get what I mean.
It’s a familiar feeling to me. I was diagnosed with social anxiety back in high school. But I’ve mostly overcome it. Fear and panic does strike sometimes though. And even now as I’m typing this, my palms are sweating.
But you know what? Screw it! I decided to start this blog, this campaign, because I couldn’t find anything on dealing with social anxiety in college or university. And it’s pretty common too. One study, Phil Topham, places social anxiety at about 10% in universities and colleges.
But that statistic could be much higher! That same study points out the likelihood of it being a hidden disorder – it’s often mistaken for extreme shyness and it’s stigmatised. A lot of people can also hide it well.
So my plan of attack is to be the first resource for coping with social anxiety in uni students. I want to share what’s helped me tackle it, and be a place that people can relate to. I want to defuse misconceptions and stop the stigma of mental illnesses like social anxiety.
But even if you’re not sure if you have SA, if you’re just shy, if you’re not in uni, or whatever, this blog can still be right for you! I’m sure there are plenty of anxiety inducing situations that annoy us all.
And on Sep 20th (Australia time, it might be a day early or late if you’re anywhere else) I’ll be putting up a short animation! Anyway, till next time,