It’s no secret that life with social anxiety is difficult, but what makes it even more difficult is when people perceive us as “just shy.”
My life growing up wasn’t the best experience because I was absolutely terrified to leave my home and go anywhere where there would be other people. I hated meeting new people and I avoided social situations at all costs. My parents always referred to me as “just shy” when in reality, I was scared out of my mind. I constantly overthought situations and pondered about the simplest of things for long periods of time.
As I grew older, I started to realize that I wasn’t “just shy,” but that I had an actual problem. I did everything in my power to convince myself that there was nothing wrong with me, but it got to the point where I realized that my fears were irrational, and it interfered with my everyday life.
I had this issue that I needed to face, but in the back of my mind, I felt as though I was over exaggerating my feelings. Long story short, I dove into this eternal hole where I felt like I was drowning because I didn’t know what to do.
Over time, I started to teach myself how to be around people more and I started to get somewhere, but then I crashed. I went about it completely wrong because I thought that I could handle it on my own and rid myself of anxiety, but it wasn’t that simple. I was naïve and stupid to believe that I could do it on my own. I needed support, but I was afraid to get it.
When I am surrounded by people who are outgoing and “chill,” I start to feel very small and insecure about myself. Everyone else sees me as “just shy” and I have yet to experience someone who understands how infuriating it is to internalize all of my thoughts and feelings out of fear of someone else knowing.
The whole point of this story is that people should be more educated on mental health issues in order to be more sympathetic and understanding to all of us. There are countless times when I just wished that somebody would understand what it feels like and what I was going through. I would like to tell you all that I am NOT “just shy.”
To all of those struggling with anxiety, it does get better. The best thing to do is not go through it alone. Don’t make the same mistake that I did because believe me, it sucks to feel alone and to be afraid to tell someone how I really feel.
Tell someone that you trust, and you’ll feel a lot better, I know I did. Anxiety is not easy, but it’s harder alone.
I know that there are others out there who feel the same annoyance over those who brush off our anxieties as having a shy personality. No, I am not “just shy,” I am anxious.