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Why People Don't Believe I Have Social Anxiety

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Social anxiety doesn’t only make me unable to talk because I’m so afraid to say the wrong things. It’s deeper than that.

Now, it might seem to be an oxymoron to say, but I talk constantly. Let me tell you, I’ve heard that a million times. I’ve been told by friends, family and co-workers, “There is no way you have a social anxiety disorder. All you ever do it talk.” With them not knowing, all I ever do is worry about everything, including everyone’s opinions about me and my actions.

Sometimes, all that worrying results in me talking too much, saying the wrong things and then sitting for the next 15 hours thinking, “Why did I say that?” or “They’re going to tell everyone I’m annoying,” or “Why must I try so hard? Can’t I just shut up.”

Those questions echo in my mind almost daily. In fact, I’m lucky to make it through the day without asking at least one of the above. I wish I could just keep my mouth shut.

I start a new day saying, “I just won’t bother anyone today.”

Then, I do well for a small amount of time.

Just when my social anxiety pops up and says to me, “Oh, now she thinks you’re rude for not talking.” So I find something to say.

Then, boom. “Really, you think she thinks that’s interesting to talk about?”

Thanks, mind. I, then, continue the vicious cycle that is my mouth speaking before I think. I begin, once again, spewing off words and sentences that aren’t funny and make no sense. I stumble over words, embarrass myself again and question any thought anyone has ever had about me, convinced I’ve just changed their opinion of me for the worse. When in reality, they probably forgot the conversation two minutes after it happens.

To everyone, I’m just the girl who talks too much and tries too hard. When really, I’m just trying to quiet this battle in my mind for the hour. I hope one day they’ll understand there’s more going on than what you see on the surface. We, as humans, are constantly battling disease and illness in different forms and with coping methods. Before you tell me I’m a liar simply because you don’t understand, just remember my social anxiety is as real as the word vomit coming from my mouth.

Image via Thinkstock.

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Originally published: October 12, 2016
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