Social Anxiety is not always what you think it is. When society sees social anxiety, they see a shy introvert who doesn’t go out or say much. I am a shy introvert but I do go out. I actually enjoy traveling. Living with social anxiety is more than just being “shy”. Social anxiety can manifest in many ways.
First, shyness and social anxiety are two different things. Shyness is a personality trait and is not a pre-requisite of social anxiety. Social anxiety is actually classified as a significant amount of fear, embarrassment, or humiliation in a social performance based situations. This usually causes people to avoid these situations even though they want to engage in those activities.
For me, I always have this fear I will say something wrong. I worry about other people’s disapproval. I have always had this fear of rejection and not fitting in. So I tend to hide what’s wrong or my opinions and put this barrier up. No one really understood. I am always called weird or anti-social. I am even self conscious. I would feel like someone is watching me. I do things to improve it but it’s always there. As a black woman, it is almost taboo to have any kind of phobia or disorder.
Social anxiety is the third largest phycological problem in the United States. This type of anxiety affects 15 million Americans each year. Everyone with social anxiety have slightly different symptoms and it is not well understood. I live through it but didn’t know the terminology until recently. To combat it I do find things I really enjoy like traveling and being creative.