I find it fascinating to talk to other people who suffer or who have suffered from any forms of social anxiety. For everyone, the experience seems to be completely unique. For me, my anxiety is derived from large groups of people; my brain almost has a malfunctioning overload while thoughts try to process ‘what other people think of me’ and ‘how I appear from an outside perspective’. I am physically terrified of getting my photo taken, I am petrified of all social media that focuses on ‘me’ and much prefer the anonymity of my Tumblr and WordPress accounts with the faceless frontier of my Instagram.
Although a number of things send me into a ball of anxiety, I feel that over time I have become better at hiding it. Looking like I’m able to function normally in social situations is the key. And eventually, hopefully, acting normally will be a default for me, not a setting I need to adapt to.
For my best friend, her story of anxiety is very different. Her confidence seems to ooze profusely. She is a selfie queen and has posted numerous YouTube videos of herself singing which have received 10s of thousands of views. The thought of that for me, seems unfathomable. Her anxiety stems instead with one on one personal contact. Saying Hi to someone at the gym is a massive personal hurdle for her. While I can’t quite say ‘I know how you feel’, I understand the demon of anxiety, although I don’t experience it in the same format. For me, one on one interactions make me the most comfortable, as I only have to handle the person in front of me… instead of having to impress a whole crowd with my dazzling personality.
It just goes to show that you never know someone’s demons until you really take a closer look. You don’t know the struggles of someone else, and therefore maybe we all shouldn’t be so quick to judge.