ShadowVyper wrote:Social anxiety is one of those that I'm pretty sure has a vast spectrum of manifestations so I can't speak to it definitively, but I can share the way my social anxiety affects me. Generally the stereotypes I see of social anxiety is someone who is awkward and shy and avoids eye contact and social interactions entirely. Mine is a bit different. Mine tends to be me just being extremely quiet. Like I'm naturally a pretty quiet person, but I do contribute to conversations, and I do put myself in social situations. When I'm in a big group I feel like my chest gets tight and I practice what I want to say over and over and over again trying to get the courage up to say it -- and generally by the time I have the guts, the conversation has moved on and my comment is no longer relevant. To be clear, that doesn't happen with my close friends. At my undergrad there was a group of about 8 science majors that I regularly hung out with and I'm totally comfortable around them and I'm dramatic and theatrical with them and will cut in with whatever I want to say. But like, in my current program there are people who are my "friends" and I hang out with them sometimes, I still feel very guarded around them so it's hard for me to express myself. And class discussions? That's just pure hell. When I am forced to speak in one of the class discussions especially (though it also happens in groups of my "friends") my hands get really nervous. I have literally given myself calluses in the past because I'm picking at my hands while I talk and don't realize how much damage I'm causing until afterwards. I also make eye contact (albeit it's generally a really quick contact and then I find someone else to look at because prolonged eye contact makes me uncomfortable lol) but I generally tend to phrase what I have to say as a question. Like when someone says something I know is factually untrue and I want to call them out on it, I won't be like "No, you're wrong, it's not like that. This is how it really is." It'll come out more like "Are you sure? I'm pretty sure/I thought it was like this?" And if they keep arguing with me then I generally just drop it. I'll get really frustrated and might complain about them later to my friend, but unless it's something that /really/ annoys me on them claiming they're right when they're wrong then I won't argue about it. And if I do argue it takes a lot out of me emotionally and I generally try to distance myself from that person for a little while until I feel like I'm back to normal. Getting called on in class is really awful for me too. I pay attention and follow along and when the prof asks a question I try to figure out the answer -- but if I'm not absolutely sure what the answer is (which happens extremely rarely lol) then I get this surge of hell-ish adrenaline with my chest getting tight and heart racing and it just being entirely awful. However, on the opposite side of things, at my small group at church we have some really extroverted, socially aggressive people in my group so I tend not to be able to assert myself enough to get into the conversation because you have to kinda interrupt people to talk (not like a rude way, but like when people start trailing off with a "you know what I'm say--" and then someone else will cut in and be like "yeah for sure, I think--" and so like there's overlap) and I /will not/ do that. Even if I have something to say, and I've practiced it in my head, and I want to say it -- if someone else is talking, even trailing off, then I will NOT cut in. It has to be silent for me to speak because even tho I know it's not considered rude to have that overlap, in my mind I feel really rude doing that and it's kind of giving me lowkey anxiety right now just thinking about it lol. So there's this one guy who really likes hearing my perspective on things, so sometimes /he/ will cut into the conversation and be like "So what do you think about this, Shady?" And then there's a silence while people wait for me to answer that question that was explicitly directed towards me and then I get a chance to talk. And I really appreciate people like that. There's another guy in my current "friend" group who is socially respected, and sometimes if I do cut into a conversation with my opinion people will start talking over me and so I'll just kind of stop talking and he will be like "Guys! I'm trying to listen to what Shady is saying!" and I also really appreciate that. Like people who not only pay attention to me and actually want to hear what I have to say, but who will use their confidence to get me the space I need to be able to talk because my anxiety will not let me exert myself like that. I feel like I'm rambling at this point lol. If you have any specific questions/situations that you'd like input on I'd be happy to give my perspective on that, but for now I'm going to end this.
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