“Social anxiety is not ‘omggg I love netflix and I hate everyone.’”
Image via JessiePaege/YouTube.
People who like things neat and tidy often say they have OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. The easily distracted sometimes complain of “being” ADD, or attention deficit disorder. And those of us who are introverted may complain of feeling social anxiety at a party. But, most of the time, these people are simply having normal reactions to everyday stressors.
When people misdiagnose themselves or feign mental illness because they see it as a desirable quirk, it detracts from those who are legitimately suffering. According to Stefan G. Hofmann, director of the Social Anxiety Program at Boston University, social anxiety isn’t about feeling uncomfortable when meeting new people.
“The definition of a mental disorder is that it causes either significant distress and/or significant interference in one’s life,” Hoffman told The Atlantic.
“So you might be able to perform normally during daily life, but you’re terribly distressed around these social situations, such as meeting people, giving speeches, or doing things in front of people,” Hoffman said.
Bothered by the number of people who seem to wear their nervousness as a badge of honor, YouTuber Jessie Paege took to Twitter to show what social anxiety disorder actually feels like.
social anxiety is not— Jessie Paege (@jessiepaege) April 9, 2018\n
“omggg I love netflix and I hate everyone”
- longing to go to social situations that are easy for other people
- wanting to use your voice, but feeling stifled
- feeling trapped in your thoughts
and so much more
The powerful tweet has garnered over 250,000 favorites and over 77,000 responses at the time of this article. Most importantly, though, it empowered thousands of people to share their harrowing experiences with social anxiety.
Anxiety is staying up till four in the morning thinking about how situations could have differed, had you just changed one thing. Anxiety is falling down the rabbit hole of endless "what ifs" and scenarios for all the bad things that *could* happen.— Morgan Elaine (@EmmySheetz) April 9, 2018\n
Anxiety is struggling to catch your breath while you try to assess every little thing "accordingly." Anxiety is nail-biting, hair-pulling, continuous chills & so much more while you try to figure out what the hell you're going to do. There's no band-aid to make it better.----— Morgan Elaine (@EmmySheetz) April 9, 2018\n
It doesn't just go away, and when I hear people tell me or another anxiety sufferer to "stop being anxious," it makes me livid. You almost find yourself apologizing for the things you can't control, and that's not okay. It's OKAY to not be okay.— Morgan Elaine (@EmmySheetz) April 9, 2018\n
The “OMG I’m so awkward” trend is incredibly boring, and incredibly ableist when it comes to the “omg lol relatable” posts I’m always seeing. No, Susan, cancelling plans and spending a day eating ice cream BECAUSE YOU WANT TO isn’t social anxiety. pic.twitter.com/JP1oBj0Grt— — Millie (@yylaeHyttaM) April 9, 2018\n
I deal with social anxiety and sometimes I longvto be among people but just can't— Kirstie (@Kirstieyf) April 10, 2018\n
And— wil(@tylerssweater) April 9, 2018\n
-scared to talk to normal people like your friends or family
-constantly feeling like youre going to say the wrong thing
-and sometimes not answering the phone even tho you want to
Mine stems from an being not confident in my ability. Makes me avoid work tasks and cut short awkward friends meet ups if the conversation starts to run dry. Makes me feel really ill.— Vegan Dad With Beard (@HumbleVeganDad) April 10, 2018\n