Am I 'Shy' or Do I Have Social Anxiety?

This piece was written by Lauren Jarvis-Gibson,a Thought Catalog contributor.

1. When a friend doesn’t text back immediately, I think I did something wrong.

I go into a full on frenzy when I don’t receive texts or Snapchats back. I wrack my brain trying to think of what I did or said wrong, and it kills to see a “read” receipt but to not get a reply right away.

2. Saying “No” to an event or a party makes me feel sick.

As much as I don’t want to go to a certain event or gathering, saying “no” to the host terrifies me. I hate disappointing my loved ones and am afraid my canceling will result in them not liking me anymore. I always feel guilty for rescheduling and it eats me up inside.

3. I worry about upcoming events months before they occur.

I excessively worry about things that haven’t even happened yet. I always imagine in my mind the worst possible things that could happen, and it makes me dread going, even if it’s months away.

4. Going on a first date isn’t exciting for me — it makes me want to run the other direction.

First dates are something I rarely go on because it causes so much anxiety. I get everything from the sweats, to the chills, to nausea, and I honestly want to give up on dating forever because that’s how huge my hatred is for first dates.

5. I feel incredibly excited for a party the day before it happens, but once the day comes, I dread it.

I don’t understand why it happens, but sometimes even if I’m super thrilled and looking forward to my friends 21st birthday party, or to my long-awaited family reunion, when the day comes, I don’t want to go. And instead of being excited for the event, I feel a sense of doom.

6. I feel like my heart is going to explode at what seems like random times.

I could be out with my girls for happy hour, or kicking back on a Sunday watching football with my best friends, when suddenly my heart beats at a scary rate, and I feel like I’m going to be sick. It’s really terrifying to experience this, especially when it seems to be coming out of nowhere.

7. Many of my loved ones have expressed concerns and think I’m depressed.

A lot of people around me are concerned because I seem to be spending more and more time alone. They are worried because I keep canceling fun events I normally would love to attend.

8. I start to sweat when people make small talk with me.

I don’t know what it is about small talk, but it really gets my anxiety skyrocketing. It takes so much effort for me to engage in meaningless conversation and I’m always worried about being judged by what I am saying or not saying.

9. Sometimes I can’t sleep because I know I have to see someone tomorrow.

My sleep is continuously being disrupted by the thoughts that are going on in my head. I’m always trying to come up with every event I have to go to and think of everything I am going to say or do. I can’t stop myself from having my mind race with thoughts of what is to come and how badly it will turn out.

10. I’m excellent at coming up with excuses to cancel.

I’ve become known as the flake in my friend group and among my family members because I have good excuses for literally everything and anything. I always know what to say in the case of an emergency and I always have an excuse in my mind to whip out when necessary.

11. After certain events, I find myself so incredibly exhausted it’s almost alarming.

It never used to be like this for me but now, social gatherings and activities make me exhausted instead of excited. It drains every ounce of energy out of me and makes me not want to go to anything else ever again.

This story is brought to you by Thought Catalog and Quote Catalog.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Unsplash photo via Allef Vinicius.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Social Anxiety

contributor image of asian man kicking through air

How Martial Arts Gave Me the Confidence to Beat Social Anxiety

I was once told, by a teacher, that I jumped like a girl. A failed high jump earned me the sarcastic remark from my physical education teacher. I was 11. Little did I know that one incident would earn me two years of daily teasing and verbal abuse, and it would change my school life [...]
Ursula from The Little Mermaid

Why I Named My Social Anxiety ‘Ursula’

Yes, I named my anxiety after the dark, evil sea witch who stole Ariel’s voice in “The Little Mermaid.” Because that’s exactly what social anxiety does. It takes over your body and controls your thoughts and behaviors to the point where you can’t speak or function. You become consumed by the blushing, sweating, shaking, light-headedness [...]
yellow person standing among blue people

27 Surprising Physical Symptoms of Social Anxiety

Dealing with unfamiliar situations and unfamiliar people can be difficult for anyone, but for someone struggling with social anxiety, that difficulty can increase ten-fold. Often, others don’t recognize you’re in the midst of struggle. You may have developed coping mechanisms to hide the mental and emotional symptoms you’re experiencing when you’re social anxiety kicks in. [...]
Blurred background : Customer at restaurant blur background with bokeh

What Happens When My Social Anxiety Comes to Lunch With Me

It doesn’t just have to be a school day. It’s every day. Wake up, check to make sure my social media account isn’t flooded with hate, obsess over lost followers and then plan my day. I plan it strategically so I don’t run into anyone I know. While en route to the nearest Chick-fil-A, I [...]