1. Being quiet.
Social anxiety disorder can make the smallest social situation seem scary. It doesn’t mean a person is shy. The fear that social anxiety disorder can put into a person impairs their ability to function and can cause them to be withdrawn when put in social situations. You might seem bored, disinterested, when really being in that situation is terrifying to you. Being quiet is your safety. You truly do have something to say, but you don’t want to bother people or say something stupid.
2. Declining invites.
Your friends may start getting annoyed with you because you never come out. You have become a pro at making up excuses. You worry they will get sick of inviting you places and completely stop, but you also have an irrational fear of going out and interacting. You decline. This feeds into social anxiety disorder because there’s a constant worry that your friends will get sick of you and drop you altogether. The anxiety is too much some days, and you know you wouldn’t be able to go out in public and put on a happy face, so you make something up and decline.
3. Ignoring texts.
If you’re not declining invites, you’re simply ignoring or not responding to messages. You read the group chats but rarely respond. You don’t want to say the wrong thing, and sometimes you just don’t have the energy. Are you being a bad friend? Maybe. You don’t mean to be. Your anxiety has a hold of you and all aspects of your life. You don’t want to talk to anyone a majority of the time. You might come off as “flighty” or a bad texter, when in reality that’s not your intention.
4. Second-guessing every decision.
You reread every text message five times. You look at old messages. You never know what to say. When you do go out in public, you overthink everything. You have so much fear and anxiety over what you do and don’t do that it could keep you up every night. Sometimes it does. Every friendship, outing, and interaction takes so much from you that you feel empty. You never know if you did the right thing. You think about situations from your past and how it has impacted you. Severely introspective, you forever will second-guess yourself.
5. Being late.
You’re always late. Already afraid of going out in public, you overanalyze how you look and fixate on this. You’re never on time. Should I even go? Does this look okay? Will I feel stupid? Every insecurity of social anxiety disorder pops up when you are about to enter a social situation. You end up drawing more attention to yourself, and are known as always being late. While it may look like a character flaw, it’s really your disorder.
6. Getting sick.
Social anxiety disorder can make you physically sick. Panic attacks, debilitating anxiety, mood swings, stomach pains. Excessive sweating, trembling, nausea. These all come with the disorder. God forbid you go out in public and get sick. Social anxiety is no joke.
7. Always thinking the worst.
When someone doesn’t respond to you, you jump to the worst-case scenario. You think you did something wrong and get severely upset and worked up. Often times this is over nothing, and all is well. You worry though and your mind races. Your anxiety gets the best of you so often.
8. Trying your hardest.
Despite all of this, you still try to be a good friend. You still try to be fun. While the world may not know how much you’re suffering, you do what you can. You may not be perfect, but you’re damn sure trying.