Why You Don't Have to Be Quiet to Have Social Anxiety
“Oh, you can’t have social anxiety; you talk too much and you’re confident.”
This is something I have been told quite a lot. Apparently, I am not allowed to speak up and have a voice because I’m socially anxious. I should just be sitting at home, locked away in my room, right? Wrong. Not everyone who has social anxiety will feel the need to lock themselves away to avoid socializing.
I have had times where I have had to cancel plans because of my social anxiety. I worry about large crowds, meeting new people and worrying about what they will think of me.
Do they think I’m weird? Can they see I am an anxious ball of mess?
There are many different types of social anxiety; some people might be agoraphobic and some people might have “high-functioning” anxiety. I would definitely class myself as high-functioning the majority of the time; however, it has taken many years to get to this point. When I was at school, I used to shy away. I couldn’t even go into some of my lessons and had to teach myself my A Levels.
However, over the years, I have built up my confidence to the point at which I am able to share my mental health story online on my own personal website, Petals Of Perfection, and even with the media such as the BBC and the Guardian.
I want to make people aware that just because I have social anxiety, that does not mean I haven’t got a voice. I am still able to share my views, my story and connect with others. Do not dismiss someone when they say they have social anxiety, just because they do not show the common signs of having it. A lot of those who struggle with social anxiety have just perfected their way of either hiding how they truly feel, or have found ways to cope.
I hope this has opened your eyes to how social anxiety can be different for everyone.
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