So I promised this post a while back but never really got around to it. Now I am, so there. As I said a while back, I suffer from social anxiety. It is certainly not as bad as of late.
So with that being said I’ll first do a brief “What is social anxiety” type of thing. You feel overwhelmed by being in a large group of people. When I hang out with more like 2-3 people, I start to get super ovewhealmed and become very emotionally and worried (for no reason). It almost feels like you are claustrophobic but with a group of people (as to why it’s also called social claustrophobia).
While everyone can feel nervous about hanging out with a big group of people, not everyone can have panic attacks because of it (cue in my life). I’ve had quite a few panic attacks which have led to me hyperventilating in a bathroom and quietly leaving a dozen or so parties. In middle college, I used to get extremely edgy and physically could not hang out with 10 people without it leading to me up against a wall crying and barely being able to breath.
I wouldn’t have any sort of reason but most college parties and hangouts I went to later sophomore year would just almost always lead to that. So I started shying away from those situations. Then, of course, people wanted to know why I never went out anymore. Why I could spend hours to myself and be okay with it. You are in a college setting and you don’t want to go out… people tend to ask questions. But I never really said anything, which looking back, made it a lot worse. I suppose people just thought I wanted to sit in my room for hours by myself and be homebody, but that isn’t obviously the case. Sure it was more optimal then having a panic attack but not optimal by any means.
Some other places that really used to set it off are large concert venues, crowded places such as malls (I still don’t normally go shopping at night or go when it’s crowded), crowded beaches and restaurants, people physically being too close to me (like in road races. Some road races and cross country races-I’ve almost skipped). That is all I can think of right now, but just think anywhere where people are very close.
I would like to point out that many people that have social anxiety have troubles with public speaking. I was never that way because I have a problem with people being too physically close to me, and normally in public speaking you are standing a bit away from everyone.
During my junior year when I started running, I actually used up a lot of time that I had been sitting in my room. Don’t get me wrong, I still had plenty of free time but it was an hour that I could dedicate to something else and keep me social. I could run with one or two people and just hang out.
As I started running more, unknowingly, my social anxiety really started to simmer. I didn’t think about it at all, and 6 months later I found myself hanging out with a large group of people and not wanting to cry or be emotional. I have had 2 times since then that my social anxiety has caused me to leave a setting but it is not as bad (and neither lead to hyperventilating). Dealing with the situation now, I normally remind myself that everything will be okay and I will make it through. If I feel a panic attack building, I take a step back. I remind myself stepping back will do far more good and not to worry as much. (It seems casual how I state it now-but it’s not).
I hope I answered all of ya’lls questions…if not, I’m always here.
Question for you: Do you prefer quiet nights in or night’s out?
Now, I’m at a point in my life (certainly not every night or every weekend) where I can handle going out and hanging out again. It’s normally with just a couple of people but I always enjoy it.