Contrary to popular belief, Social Anxiety Disorder (referred to as SAD for the rest of this article) isn’t a trend, or something that should be romanticized on social media everywhere. It isn’t a choice, and it isn’t a cry for attention. If you know someone in your life with this very real mental disorder, please make sure to never say the following:
1. You’re not even trying
I’m not? I’m not even trying? Do you understand how it feels to have a panic attack whenever you even think of talking to someone? Please tell me more about how MY mind works. I can’t control the fact that talking to strangers makes me extremely nervous, sometimes to the point of tears. You might not understand, but if you care about me, please try to.
2. You shouldn’t go to this (party/event/social activity), you won’t be able to handle it
Contrary to actually forcing someone with SAD to talk to people, you shouldn’t try to force them not to. If they want to try and expand their social horizons, that’s not for anyone else but them to decide. And chances are they were going to do fine at the event until you told them they “wouldn’t be able to handle it.”
3. It’s not even a big deal
This is something that majorly irks me. “It’s not even a big deal,” makes the person feel like their feelings are wrong and/or don’t matter. Just because you don’t understand how anxiety-inducing it is to make small talk with strangers, doesn’t mean my feelings are wrong. It just means you’re too narrow-minded to try and understand people unlike yourself.
4. That’s not how you act like a normal person
Yes, I have actually been told this before. If I’m isolating myself, trying not to have a complete panic attack, and someone comes over and tells me I’m not being “normal,” then 1. I feel bad 2. It intensifies my panic attack ten-fold and 3. It makes you look like an inconsiderate douchebag.