8 Stories That Will Resonate If You Have Social Anxiety

You're not alone.

Living with social anxiety can be difficult in many ways.

The condition is hardly about “being shy” ― it’s more nuanced and challenging than many may believe. Social anxiety can cause emotional symptoms like excessive worrying and panic and physical issues like a rapid heartbeat and nausea. The condition is also incredibly common: More than 15 million American men and women experience the disorder.

We’ve compiled a reading list that contains insights, first hand experiences and tips on handling the condition. Take a look at it below:

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I thought I’d debunk some ideas that people have when it comes to those who suffer from social anxiety. Many individuals have certain misconceptions of people who go through this, and most often than not, they’re completely wrong. I’ve had people think I’m rude or have some sort of anger management problem, and even some who think I just find everyone annoying. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret... it’s none of the above.

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Social anxiety — a form of generalized anxiety disorder — has a way of making even the most fun gatherings seem like torturous interactions. For those who don’t experience the disorder, it’s understandably difficult to empathize with someone who feels this way on a daily basis. Enter these accurate comics by artist Shea Strauss. Strauss’ College Humor illustrations below perfectly capture the daily realities of someone with social anxiety. It may make you think twice before you shame someone for not going out one night or even not wanting to answer the door.

People with anxiety disorders often face a sense of worry or dread and spend hours ruminating over worst case scenarios, which can get in the way of professional goals, personal relationships and a good quality of life. But there are ways to cope. Here, experts offer their best techniques to work through situations that might drum up anxiety, which may help you or someone you know keep worry or fear at bay

One of the worst things about having social anxiety is the way that my social anxiety makes me appear to other people. Because social cues and verbal communication are so important in forming new friendships, my anxiety often makes me come off as being cold, disinterested, and even mean. Unfortunately, the more interested I am in getting to know a particular person, the worse this will be. And, because I’ve gotten better at hiding my nervousness, I come off as being even more distant and disengaged without any hint that my behavior is being caused by my anxiety.

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For those who may not know, social anxiety is usually classified as an intense discomfort during social interactions or a fear of judgment by others. But the 15 million American men and women who experience the disorder know all too well that the struggle of the condition goes beyond just feeling awkward in social settings. We asked our Facebook communities to share some of their pet peeves about the disorder

Have you ever felt like a shadow walking amongst the masses? I have. And if I’m being completely honest, those are the times when I feel most at peace. The times when you’re on your own and nobody acknowledges you are the most freeing and less vulnerable times. But when is this feeling considered too much? Is there such a thing as too much alone time? Yes. Yes, there is. And one way of knowing when you’ve gone too long without any personal connection or interaction, is when you start questioning whether your separation from the rest of the world is somehow affecting your ability to function as a regular human being.

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To a degree, social anxiety affects many people. The phenomenon is defined as the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. Loosely, it’s pressure of feeling negatively judged and evaluated by other people. For those suffering, it can be rather difficult to overcome. Through a comprehensive breakdown of social anxiety, whether you experience symptoms like blushing, nervousness, sweating, or having your heart race, this video offers five ways you can deal with your anxious feelings.

Imagine having paralyzing self-doubt at a party or feel petrified speaking up during a meeting. If you have social anxiety, that’s just another day for you. The mental health condition, which affects 15 million men and women, can be utterly crippling. The worst part? The disorder makes you feel totally isolated. Enter these brilliant 140-character testimonies from Twitter. They not only capture the frustrations that come with the mental health disorder, but they’re a solid reminder that those who experience the condition are not alone.

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