I’ve never been officially diagnosed with social anxiety and I think many people who know me would be very surprised or disbelieve me if I told them I was often feeling anxious in social situations.
I think I come across as open and positive and extroverted but I wish they could also see how much tension I sometimes experience beneath that.
I recently found out that there is such a thing as high-functioning anxiety, which means having anxiety but somehow managing daily life quite well, like work, being in leadership positions etc. It seems to me that maybe I am willing to confront my anxiety for the sake of leading a fulfilling work life but I can also see how it takes a toll on me.
This year I’ve been practicing more self compassion and I can feel how much effort I am putting in keeping myself ok, working through the tension and negative thoughts I experience. It takes a lot of energy to speak up about things that I am afraid I will be judged for and confront myself daily.
It also makes me wonder how many more people like that are around - who seem to be doing ok on the outside but carrying a lot more inside. I’m curious if this resonates with anyone ?
There seems to be this stereotype of a socially anxious person who only sits at home and does not have any friends but I think that happens very rarely. I think there’s many more of us who are suffering but because we are not diagnosed and are not in dire situations, we just grit our teeth and push on.
I wish that we could normalise this more and make people more willing to admit they are feeling this way. Sharing it here helps though, I now feel like something is taken off my chest a bit.