I have had social anxiety all my life. Although I didn’t always realize I had it. The social anxiety symptoms have always been there but they have always been brushed aside as something else. This was because I was made to believe I was just “shy” all through my school years.
I didn’t understand why I wouldn’t put my hand up in class and ended up hating myself for it even though it wasn’t my fault at all. It was social anxiety. People and teachers especially need to be more aware of the symptoms. Hence why I am writing this blog post. Please share this post to raise awareness on this issue because it needs to be done.
Social Anxiety Symptoms At School
At school was where I dealt with the worst of my social anxiety without knowing it. Although it was pretty obvious.
If you have a child of you are a teacher I recommend looking out for any of these things. Actually offer your students help. Not useless advice that you assume you automatically “cure” them.
For a start, I would very rarely put my hand up in class. As I stated before I thought this was because I was shy. This is what teachers told me every single parents evening to the point I got fed up with hearing it. If anything it made me not want to put my hand up.
I’d rather miss a whole day of school than walk into the first class late. Just the thought of everyone in the class staring at me as I walked in was enough to put me off. This very rarely happened though as I always turned up to school extra early to avoid any possibility of this happening.
I could barely function if I was in a class of people I didn’t know. Or worse, if I was in a class of people I couldn’t get on with. I’d end up completely isolating myself and having a mini panic attack when we had to get into partners. Although no one ever wanted to be my partner so I’d end up working with the teacher or with the last person available.
I hated P.E/Gym. I know this is probably normal for some people. However, for me, it was the thought of doing something I’m not very good at in front of a lot of people. Constantly, I felt like I was being judged. I felt insecure about everything I did. The way I was running, the way I was holding a bat and more! It was absolute torture for me.
However, P.E teachers would not understand why I didn’t want to join in classes with everyone else. They forced me to do it and let’s just say with all the bullies around, it did not help my mental health at all. Why I was forced to go through that, I don’t know. They could see I was miserable.
Regardless of all these social anxiety symptoms, I was just “shy”!
Outside Of School/ At Home
Although my symptoms were more obvious in hindsight at school. I still went through it at home a decent amount. So, always keep a close eye on your family and friends.
I hated going to parties. Quite a few times I would get invited to a party, I would end up getting a really bad stomach ache on the same day. Assuming it was just bad timing, I would immediately cancel. Although it turns out that tummy aches ended up being a big anxiety/social anxiety symptom for me. It was my brain preventing me from going!
I felt anxious in big crowds. This is a symptom that still affects me to this day. But back then, it was a lot worse. Just the thought of going into town on a Saturday when it is VERY crowded was a big no-no. I didn’t even go to my first concert until I was 22 years old because of it. Crowds just made me feel mentally and physically ill.
Please keep a close eye out for any of these symptoms. Actually offer to help the person suffering instead of forcing them to do something that makes them uncomfortable because maybe my life would have turned out differently if I had received help sooner. Don’t ever assume someone is just “shy”. Look more into it and don’t be so ignorant. Just because you can’t see it. Doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Check out this amazing post by Anxious Lass on “Social Anxiety Myths And Why They Are Total Bullshit” which definitely inspired this post.
Thank you for reading. I hope you are all having a wonderful day. What is one of your main social anxiety symptoms? Let me know in the comments as I would love to know.
Much love to you all,
Ruth (ColourfulHope) xoxoxo