Mistaken for Not Caring, Not Wanting to Connect.. Or Maybe the Opposite
I’m known for being very outgoing. I have been most of my life. As I have gotten older and changed, I’ve actually drawn into a shell.
Some people may mistake this for not wanting to be around others (sometimes this is true, depending on the setting), but most likely, I either have a lot to say and don’t want to look over-eager, or I really don’t have anything to say. It’s a frustrating thing.
It turns out that I am one of millions. According to The Health Encounter, somewhere between 5 and 10 million people have social anxiety in some form.
This actually helps me feel a little better, because I know someone else around me is having the same problem I am. I feel a little less alone, even if I don’t even know the person. It’s almost as common as general anxiety, occurring twice as much in women as in men.
Many men with this issue, however, are more likely to seek help for it. Social anxiety can start in childhood, as being the “quiet” kid in class I have one of those kids- Julian. His teachers constantly complain that he barely speaks in class, but this is something I can live with. It can be the result of a life-changing event, like PTSD-type situations.
Social anxiety does have physical symptoms, similar to those of general anxiety. These are from Social Anxiety Disorder Info
- Excessive sweating
- Trouble breathing, catching breath
I also have issues with knowing what to say and worrying about others staring at me. Am I talking too much? Am I taking over the conversation? Am I trying too hard?
I once had someone tell me that I made things all about me, and even though I know that I don’t, that stayed with me. (I no longer talk to that person- that statement ended our friendship.)
The timing of that statement couldn’t have been worse, and it just threw me into deeper into my pit of anxiety, among other things. It took a lot of reminders from my support system and self talk to get past that one.
Supporting Someone with Social Anxiety
Most people, myself included, need support. This can be as simple as asking them to come out to a simple lunch. My friend Scott has been immeasurably great with this. Don’t give up on us.
That’s the last thing we need because that hurts more than anything else. We feel things deeply as it is, and that will be a crushing blow. We may not be able to make it out one day, but keep trying. We’ll make it out.
We can’t just stop this. Therapy helps, but it takes a lot of work and time to reverse years of thoughts and situations. Be patient. Be supportive. We certainly didn’t ask to be withdrawn and quiet. We do like being around others, just a bit differently. We just need space, understanding and our own time to blossom.
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