Understanding Social Anxiety

August 9, 2018 at 9:35 AM | Posted in Musings, Psychology | Leave a comment
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I came across this recent article about introversion and social anxiety and I was just blown away by how similar my experiences were with the writer.

I have known for a long time that I’m an introvert. I was also extremely shy as a child and kept to myself most of the time. For years, I thought I inherited my extreme shyness from my mother who was also shy and an introvert. I thought that was there to it – until I found out the term “social anxiety disorder” or SAD.

I first encountered the term when a Twitter page of an American indie film followed me on Twitter a few years ago. The film was about a guy with social anxiety disorder. Out of curiosity, I looked up the term “social anxiety disorder” and was shocked to discover that I had almost all the symptoms of the disorder. All this time I thought what I was experiencing was just a result of my extreme shyness. I didn’t know that there was a psychological term for it.

I’ve been known by my friends and family as “the quiet one” and people I’ve met always have this impression of me being suplada or masungit (cold and aloof). I know some people think of me as antisocial because I don’t interact much with coworkers or mingle with other acquaintances. But they don’t know what I’m going through. They don’t know that it stresses me out just to have a small talk with them. It causes me severe anxiety whenever I have to be around people I don’t know very well. I am fearful every time I have to attend conference call meetings with colleagues from different countries. And I hate it when I’m forced to talk or present in front of people.

I am only ever talkative when I’m around with my friends. I only feel comfortable when I’m around them where I can talk about common interests. But knowing I have social anxiety is one thing; letting people know about it is another thing. For one, there is still social stigma in my country about things related to mental health. Second, most people don’t even know what social anxiety is, let alone understand it.  So it is rather difficult to tell people about it without the risk of getting ridiculed.

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