1. You (constantly) make excuses to get out of social situations. You tell little white lies to your friends all of the time. You say that you’re too busy with work to meet them for dinner. You claim that you’re sick when they invite you to a party at the last second. And if they notice how your cheeks are red and your voice is shaking, you act like your allergies have been bothering you or that you didn’t get enough sleep the night before.
2. The thought of speaking in public makes you ungodly nervous. You hate reading aloud in class. You hate being called on by teachers, even if you do know the correct answer. You even hate something as small as when substitutes do role call and you have to say here.
3. You worry about events weeks before they are scheduled. If you agree to attend a party in three weeks, you will spend every second leading up to that day thinking about the worst case scenarios. What if you show up too early? What if you have no one to sit with? What if there is no where to park? You can’t stop yourself from thinking about the what ifs, even though the event is far in the future.
4. You worry about past events weeks after they are finished. You have a hard time falling asleep at night because you are always replaying awkward moments in your head again and again on a loop. Even though everybody else has forgotten about your embarrassing moments, you will never forget them. You will continue fixating on them. You will continue hating yourself because of them.
5. You avoid activities you want to do out of fear. You want to text your crush, but you never do, because you are worried about their reaction. You want to take a road trip with your friends, but you make excuses about why you can’t go, because you think you’ll ruin their fun. You are unhappy because you keep turning down opportunities that you would enjoy.
6. You stay inside more than you venture outside. You feel the safest inside of your own home. You don’t like leaving your property. You don’t even like leaving your bedroom. You would rather be cooped up, alone, than out with other people.
7. You struggle to hold basic conversations. You never know how to initiate conversations and you never know how to end conversations. You can never even think of a good reply to common phrases like what’s up. You feel like there is something wrong with you, like you’re inhuman, because you struggle to speak to people you’ve known forever.
8. You are jumpy. You have a hard time relaxing. You are always on edge. You are always expecting something horrible to happen to you or someone you love.
9. You skip to the worst case scenario. If a friend takes too long to answer a text, you think they hate you. If you miss a deadline at work, you worry that you’ll be fired. If there is a tickle in your throat, you think you are dying.
10. You feel physically sick before big events. There are times when you experience chest pain, stomachaches, or headaches from how nervous you are. This usually happens before your first day of classes, before your first day at work, and before you step out of your car on a first date.
11. But sometimes you get nervous for no reason at all. Your symptoms don’t always arrive right before a big presentation or an interview or a social gathering. Sometimes those symptoms arrive out of the blue, for no reason at all, when you’re just lounging around the house. And no matter how hard you try, they just won’t go away.