Let’s talk about something a lot of people won’t, social anxiety.
As I’m sitting struggling to decide what to get up on the blog for hours, it finally hit me. Social anxiety from a different perspective. A lot of people will discredit this simply because I personally don’t suffer from social anxiety and many people don’t believe it even exists, but I’ve lived with it in a different way. I personally am an incredibly extroverted person, I make friends easily and I love to talk and be the center of attention. God only knows why when I forget to wash my face most nights and I like to BINGE on chips and salsa and any kind of candy I can get my hands on. I’ve come to terms with my loud and sometimes overbearing personality. I’ve come to notice that my friends are the complete opposite from me though. Talking with my friends Chriss, Megan, and Georgia (they all gave me permission to use their names and talk about this jsyk,) I realized they all had one thing in common. They’re scared to death of social interaction due to social anxiety. Let me tell you these girls are a BLAST. They are my very best friends and I have the TIME OF MY LIFE with Chriss and Meg. Georgia is my long lost internet sister and is one of the funnest people to talk to EVER, but not when you first get to know them. A lot of people pass up the opportunity to be friends with these girls because they look “mean” or “cold” when in reality that’s not the case. Honestly, how would you react if every time someone came close to you that you didn’t know your mind started waging war on you? “That group of people is talking about you” “Why the HELL did you decide to wear these jeans, you know they don’t look good” The sad fact is people go years without seeking help because it’s a socially stigmatized condition. “That doesn’t exist,” they tell you. “Oh come on, your just lazy,” your mom says. What must it be like for someone to not want to hang out with their friends because there may be a group of people? That’s where I come in. I’m seeing this from a different perspective. TRUST ME, I love staying in and watching Netflix all night but I love socializing, it’s what got me out of bed every day for my entire school career, starting in preschool. I think back now if I hadn’t talked to these girls first, would we be at the place we are now? 10+ years of friendship and a long running internet friendship? If someone looks mean to you or cold, please try and talk to them. Maybe that guy or that girl is an asshole, or maybe they’re afraid. Maybe their mind is telling them you hate them when in actuality you don’t know them and are just admiring their killer outfit! Be patient with people. Be kind. Reach out to people more than once. Sometimes this social anxiety is mistaken for shyness. If you’re an extroverted person like me, continue to reach out to people you can see yourself having significant relationships with. On the other hand, if you’re an incredibly introverted person, PLEASE PLEASE I promise not everyone is bad, some people are assholes but I hope one day for that you won’t let the fear of someone else’s opinion dictate what you do and where you go. I hope your mind will let you live a tranquil life and I hope you will talk to someone and seek help. You are worth so much more than you know. No one’s opinion of you will ever pay your bills. Don’t be too harsh on these people, the ones who sometimes cancel your movie plans or dinner reservations. It’s a learning experience when you have friends who deal with this on a day to day basis. Count yourself lucky if you don’t have social anxiety. Spread awareness and ALWAYS ALWAYS be there for your family & friends. Remember, this could have been you, your mom, your sister, your brother, your dad. I’m thankful to God, the Universe, whatever you choose to believe in, every day for these girls being a part of my life. Social anxiety isn’t a punch line to a joke or a secret to keep hidden. It’s real and it’s time we start acknowledging it.