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9 Struggles of Being an Extrovert With Social Anxiety

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1. The thing that gives you life is simultaneously the thing that makes you feel like you’re dying.

People. People are how you get your energy. They give you life. You love being around them. And yet, when you are around them, you can’t concentrate or enjoy the moment because of your sweaty palms and racing heart. You feel like you might keel over and die at any second. You need to leave, and yet even the thought of being alone makes you miss your people before you’ve even left. It is killing you to be around them, but without them, you do not even feel alive. In the words of One Republic, “everything that kills me makes me feel alive.” The theme song to your life.

2. Saying something and then immediately hating yourself for it.

The extrovert in you loves to contribute to the conversation, and then the moment you do, the anxiety in you makes you second-guess every word you just said. Talking feels so right in the moment, and so wrong afterward.

3. Making plans and then wanting to bail when the time comes.

The thought of hanging with your homies brings a smile to your face. You’re pumped. You’re ready. And then it’s ten minutes till you’re supposed to leave and you’re ready to abort the mission, change your name and flee the country. Why did I ever think agreeing to go out was a good idea?

4. Overanalyzing what everything means.

Whether it be the emoji used in texting, the body posture of someone sitting across from you or the choice of adjective someone used to describe their day, you’re constantly wondering if there was a hidden meaning. Was that a purely platonic blushing emoji, or are they flirting? Are they slouching because they naturally have bad posture, are they tired, or did I do something to upset them? When they said their day was “fine,” should I ask why it’s only fine and not good or is “fine” to them actually good? What does it mean? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

5. The constant argument inside your head.

There is constant feuding dialogue inside your brain. It really feels like good cop, bad cop, with one on each shoulder. Except you don’t know who’s who. Which one is right? Is there a right? Are they both right?

6. Wanting to be spontaneous but also not wanting to interrupt your thoroughly planned out schedule.

You had free time scheduled from 8-10 and you are supposed to be in bed by 11 to get the recommended eight hours of sleep tonight, but someone just asked you to go see a movie that doesn’t end until 11:15. You think “YOLO” immediately followed by a detailed six-page essay about the consequences associated with not getting enough sleep one night.

7. Overcompensating by talking too much.

No one would ever guess you have social anxiety. People with social anxiety never utter a peep, right? And if they do, it’s a soft-spoken sentence or two, correct? So, your 15-minute story definitely eliminates any possibility for you to be anxious. Hah, I wish! Little do those around you know, the constant chatter and jokes coming from you are far from an indication of confidence. It’s more like the result of not being able to contain the disorganized mess that is your racing thoughts.

8. You’re not sure whether you’re excited or having a heart attack.

You don’t really know if you’re super psyched about your date or if you’re actually going into cardiac arrest. You’re pretty sure it’s normal to stop breathing when you think about going out to dinner with that cutie, but then again WebMD says shortness of breath is extremely dangerous. Do you think my date would mind skipping dinner and going to the ER instead? You know… just to be safe.

9. Overcommitting

Being a full-time student, joining six clubs, working a part-time job, having a social life and raising a puppy all at the same time is totally reasonable, right? If I just cut out sleeping and breathing I should have just enough time to fit this all in. Ambition feels great until you are on the verge of total spontaneous combustion. Wait, did someone just say book club? Well, I can’t say no to that! Who needs stability anyways?

Originally published on Thought Catalog.

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Originally published: May 16, 2018
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