Social anxiety means you have to push past your discomfort anytime you want to send a text, answer an email, or make a phone call. It means venturing outside of your comfort zone every single day, whether you feel like you have the energy or not. It means having trouble doing things that seemingly come easily to everyone else – like introducing yourself to someone new or smiling hello to strangers. It means exhausting yourself with activities that other people don’t have to think twice about. It means feeling out of place and unwanted everywhere you go, even when you know for a fact the people around you care about you.
Social anxiety means double checking your texts before sending them off because you’re worried about including a typo or offending the other person or saying something lame. It means hesitating before answering phone calls because you aren’t sure whether you have the energy to hold a conversation with someone, whether you would even be able to pick up without your heart beating out of your chest. It means going back and forth on whether to accept party invites because you aren’t sure what type of mood you’re going to be in that day – are you going to be having a good week and feel comfortable surrounding yourself with people, or are you going to be having a rough week and want to hide yourself away?
Social anxiety means praying that the other person will cancel plans because you don’t want to go out – but you don’t want to be the one to cancel either. You don’t want them mad at you for backing out at the last second. You don’t want them to feel like you’re avoiding them because you actually enjoy spending time with them. Your anxiety simply makes it hard to relax and have fun, even with the people that you love and trust the most, the people you know are always going to be there for you even when your anxiety has hit its peak.
Social anxiety means spending hours before an event picking out an outfit, then double checking with everyone you know to see what they’re wearing so you don’t show up looking out of place. It means examining photos of yourself again and again before posting to make sure that you don’t look stupid or that your caption isn’t too corny. It means going over the same imaginary scenarios in your head in the shower and underneath the covers until you’re sick to your stomach. It means making up problems even when none exist and having hypothetical arguments that you would never actually have in reality.
Social anxiety means it takes a lot of effort for you to go out with friends or even send a text – but instead of feeling weird for how hard you have to try, you should be proud of yourself. Yes, these things are harder for you than everyone else, but that’s what makes accomplishing them so incredible. That’s what makes you so strong.