The Mighty Logo

How Social Anxiety Makes the Holidays One of the Most Difficult Times of the Year

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Every year my social anxiety kicks in on full blast, and I never know what to do. During Thanksgiving and Christmas, I shut down because I become so nervous and overwhelmed. I sit there in my chair, and I’m scared to move or even get up. I’m scared someone will take my seat, and then, I’ll have nowhere to sit. I begin to feel myself panic inside as all these thoughts start to rise up in my head. I shouldn’t even be worrying about little things like a place to sit, but I can’t help myself because it’s a reflex.

I’m scared to eat in front of everyone because I feel like I’ll be eating too much or too little. Then, I think what if something gets in my teeth, and I’m not aware of it? I literally concentrate on every single bite I take.

I’ll look at everyone around me engaged in meaningful conversations. I sit there every year and wonder if I should speak up. If I do speak up, then will I get ignored or will people laugh at me? I just sit there and play on my phone for a bit, or I’ll act like I’m watching what’s on TV. If I look busy, then no one will talk to me.

Another thing that makes me overwhelmed is when people bring up what’s going on in my personal life. I don’t want to think about my life as it is, and I make that clear. Yet, it’s still brought up because people don’t understand, “Let’s not talk about it right now.” I don’t want to talk about school, guys or even what you think is best for me.

During the holidays, I wish I could stay in my room and not come out. Then, I wouldn’t have a million things to worry about. It’s already a war zone in my head. Yet, when I leave my room to go attempt to socialize, it becomes an even bigger war zone with everyone around. I feel like I can’t escape, and a panic attack is likely to happen because my nerves get so bad. I get a panic attack at least once or twice during the holidays, and I just feel so miserable inside.

If you know someone who has social anxiety, then please be aware this could be one of the most difficult times of the year for them. It’s not easy to just go out and socialize with everyone. It’s a lot of work, and it can be draining. Please, respect them and just be there for them.

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

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 20, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home