Social Anxiety vs. Introversion

I have social anxiety (overall definition is that you become anxious, and sometimes fearful, of interacting with people or doing certain things due to an irrational fear of being negatively judged and/or criticized), but for the longest time ever I confused it with introversion. I figured that it  was because of my being an introvert that I behaved certain ways, but it was actually a recent phenomenon where I discovered that probably half of who I am (if not more or less) is due to social anxiety.

From what I gather through quick internet research, there’s ‘general social anxiety’ where people become anxious around people in general, and then non-general anxiety disorder where people become anxious only when in groups (so won’t feel anxious around just one or two people). I think I fall in the latter category.

I find that my social anxiety is most evident when I’m in the classroom since I am a full time student and those typically are large groups with there always being a chance I’ll be in the spotlight. But I do find myself getting socially anxious outside of the classroom, like when I’m out with a bunch of people or having dinner with relatives. But, not always! If I’m with people I am familiar with, such as close friends or relatives I constantly see, then I’m quite comfortable with speaking up. In those situations, my introverted side is the only side that is apparent. For example, I won’t talk a lot, I’ll listen more, and I’ll still avoid the spotlight when in very large groups but not out of nervousness – just sheer dislike of being the center of attention.

However, if I’m with a group of people I don’t know very well, my social anxiety acts up (can social anxiety act up? Is it ‘comes out’? You get the idea). I’ve thought about it for quite some time, and I still have a little trouble separating my behaviors into the two categories of ‘social anxiety’ and ‘introversion’. Of course, in some cases it’s very easy to tell:

For instance, during classroom time if the teacher asks a question and I even THINK about answering it, my social anxiety doesn’t even creep up on me slowly it, it full on hits me like a truck to the face. I can feel my heartbeat up in my throat and pretty much reverberating throughout my whole body. It beats so fast and so hard I hear it in my ears and feel it in my fingertips. Speaking of which, my hands start to tremble a little and, depending on the temperature, get sweaty or clammy. My rational mind knows that it’s not a big deal and that I can just earn some participation points since no one else is raising his/her hands, but emotionally and physically I just CAN’T do it. Even if I know that the answer is correct, I still have a hard time going through with it and in the back of my mind I’m still afraid of being judged. Which.. makes no sense. Being negatively judged for getting an answer right?? I never delve too deep into the reasons why I don’t want to speak up in those moments, but I assume it’s along the lines of “I’m pretty sure this is the right answer, but what if by chance it’s wrong? Oh man, I’m going to get so negatively judged…”

Or a minor example: on the rare chance that Gamer wants to play a game with me or wants to watch me play a game, my social anxiety kicks in there too. Boy oh boy, I hate being watched doing something because of the whole being negatively judged. I get quite anxious when he suggests any of those things and pretty rattled like, “what if I mess up in the game? Oh, I just have to hope I play perfectly otherwise he’s going to (negatively) judge me.” On top of that, Gamer isn’t one to just openly throw out comforting words if I do mess up so it just worsens the whole “I’m being judged” feeling. It’s not even the normal “Boy, I sure hope I do well!” It’s such an irrational state of emotion I get like… it’s just a fucking game, come on haha.

Then on the other hand, I have moments where I don’t want to do something merely because I do not feel like it. I don’t feel anxious about it or anything, I just do not want to do it. Like on a Friday night I might bail on my friends because I don’t feel like socializing – not because I’m scared of anything.

But I have moments where I can’t differentiate where my behavior could fall under. Like I’ll come across an encounter and I don’t feel anxious, but rather… awkward? Once, I was walking my dog and saw two people up ahead just chilling. When I saw them, I changed my route and took a left turn down a different street instead of walking straight on as planned. I didn’t act with the feelings of “oh crap, there’s people. I’m getting anxious so I’m going to leave” nor was it an “I don’t feel like bumping into people today” type of mood. It was more like, “eh, I feel like this would be awkward so I’ll just go this way for now” type of feeling (it sounds weird, but I tend to be a little socially awkward from time to time so I think that’s why I thought that).

So things like that, I can’t tell where that would fall under. Would it be social anxiety? Since I wanted to avoid getting involved in an awkward situation? It makes sense. I didn’t feel anxious though like I do in some other situations, but perhaps I don’t always have to feel symptoms to have something be classified as acting under social anxiety…. But if that’s the case, then I wonder if there are other moments where I classified them as introverted behavior, but actually is social anxiety?

But for all I know, that is just a situational moment that had nothing to do with introversion or social anxiety and I’m just forcing my mind to somehow categorize all my behaviors because as much as I am a messy teen I do like to have everything organized. *big shrug*

Ah, it’s all so confusing and I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. I suppose one day it’ll become clear. Or maybe it won’t! Maybe I’ll forever live in a gray area of social anxiety and introversion which seems like a more normal route to accept myself as… But I am hitting a boring stage in my life so I might as well have something to ponder about and keep me entertained at nights in bed.*another big shrug*

If anyone knows anything more about social anxiety, I would love to hear about it! I’m still learning up on it and have yet to really talk to my doctor about it.

Good night everyone!

A Lonesome Night of Writing

My parents are away in India. My dad left at the end of January and my mom left about two weeks ago. I’m home alone with my cousin and my dog, and it’s quite nice. But right now, I feel a bit lonely. That sinking feeling of loneliness is gently nagging at me from inside my chest. Part of me wants to talk to someone, but another part of me also wants to be alone. My cousin went to go sleep half an hour ago and my dog accompanied her shortly after. I’m sitting on the couch and, man, I wish I could hug someone right now. It is almost that time of the month for me though, and I tend to get period blues so I’m not entirely surprised at this feeling. But it still sucks. I suppose for now, I will do a little writing tidbit because why not? This is from earlier in the day when I was over at Gamer’s place.

 

“Am I fun to hang out with?” Without realizing, I had blurted out the question that was on my mind while looking up at him mindlessly from his lap.

“Yes,” he responded without looking down at me.

“Really?”

“No, I hang out with you three times a week just to make you feel better,” he said jokingly as he glanced down at me with a smile. I let out a small laugh.

“Okay, good, that’s how it should be,” I replied also jokingly before we both looked back at his monitor. He was sitting cross legged on the bed while I had my head resting on the pillow in his lap. With his laptop out in front of him, he was trying to program but we both were a little too mildly interested in the 90’s gameplay that was playing on YouTube in front of us on his monitor. It was warm in his room and my legs were tangled in his blanket, my arms holding onto his arm loosely. Nearby, my laptop was off in the corner with my phone and a raspberry flavored Airheads wrapper gently fluttering back and forth from the fan in the room. A 4pm Sunday afternoon – it doesn’t get more lazy than this.

“Do you think you’re not fun to hang out with?” I turned my head back up at him when he asked that after a few seconds of silence. His eyes were still glued to the monitor as I repeated that question to myself silently.

“Well, no. It’s just I don’t do much when I’m here so I was wondering what it could be about me that’s fun.”

“I have fun hanging out with you, but if you’re bored here you should let me know.” He looked down at me and I shook my head. That’s not what I meant.

My mind flashed back to the first night we met. After a round of hot chocolate, I met up with him again after his work was over and we went to his place. It was an awkward, incredibly polite meet up now that I compare our current hangouts to that November night in 2015. Upon leaving his place, I recall that moment where I walked away from his apartment down the sidewalk at 10pm. The brisk chill in the wind washing over my cheeks as I looked down at the pavement with my hands digging deep into my pockets to keep warm. Well, that’s that. I had thought to myself, trudging toward the train station. I was so sure that I was never going to see him again. So sure that it was like the other guys I met before him – a hit and run type of meet up with those empty words of “we should hang out some time again” and “I’ll text you.” I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever tell him about how I think about that night periodically from awe and pleasant surprise.

“I do have fun with you. I was just wondering,” I smiled genuinely. As repetitive as it may seem, I did enjoy doing the same things over and over with him. Though, sometimes I do wonder what it is about our hangouts that seem fun to him. It’s normally him doing his own thing while I look on from the sidelines. What do I do that’s fun for him?

“Well, you stop thinking that, you fluff nugget,” he smiled jokingly again and squeezed my cheeks with his one hand, making me pout.

“Okay,” I said in a very nasally voice, causing some chuckles to spurt out of both of us. “So, when are you free next?”

“Whenever. You pick the day.”

Anxiety Waves

I’m getting an anxiety attack right now, and it absolutely sucks. All I know is that I do not like it. I wanna reach out and talk to someone, but I feel like I don’t have anyone I can really open up to about this. Or rather, someone I feel I can’t rely on with this information.

It sounds mean when I put it that way, but really what I mean is like… I want to reach out to someone who I know will care enough about my well being. Someone who will react like “oh I’m sorry, how are you feeling now?” and spend time trying to genuinely help me out.

Honestly, I don’t think I have friends like that. When I run through the list of friends in my mind, no one sticks out as a strong option. I just reached out to one, but she took it lightly…

I feel like I’m dying and I don’t know what to do.

“The Word ‘Happiness’ Would Lose Its Meaning If It Were Not Balanced With Sadness.”

The title is a quote by Carl Jung, and it pretty much sums up how I feel right now. Magician and I officially ended things over text.

We had a discussion last night over text, and it seemed perfect timing for me to break things off for real, but I decided to wait till today to call him and tell him it’s best if we don’t see each other. Then I woke up in the morning to a text from Magician saying exactly that. So instead of bothering to call (I had to go to class), I just texted asking if he was sure with that decision.

In conclusion, we are no longer in this complicated mess, we did this over text, and I was about to cry in the train. We’re remaining as friends, but damn, I wasn’t quite ready for that. I mean, I was in a sense. I was planning on officially breaking things off, but I didn’t expect things to happen so soon. So thus, I was unprepared and sad.

But Magician, as I mentioned above, wants to remain as friends and still hang out from time to time. I was worried that perhaps that would hinder him from moving on, but he says it would help him on the contrary. So I’m assuming it’s that he wants to move on with laughs instead of being sad and not being able to talk to me. It makes sense, and I have no issue with hanging out with him, but I made it clear that we wouldn’t be doing any couple-things anymore like holding hands or being super lovey-dovey.

To be honest, I’m glad we’re hanging out because to be frank, Magician and I are very compatible. Not as a couple necessarily (that part was a bonus), but as people in general. We have compatible sense of humors, we click easily… I don’t know. We just really get along easily in general.

Anyway, so being bummed out, I decided to go back on Tinder. I matched with people and talked to a few. But one person stood out. For the blog, I’m going to call him Clone. Because he’s pretty much me. But just white. And a male.

He’s into Pokemon just as much as I am (so much I’m pretty sure we talked for two hours on that topic), he too loves natural science/wildlife documentaries, top favorite animal is also a cheetah, and some other minor things. It’s just a little crazy! He went to work out for now, but I’ll see how things go.

Things with Gamer are alright too, we don’t talk often. Just when we want to meet up. I’ll be seeing him this week for some bagel bites at his place!

Have a great day everyone.

Friends’ Thoughtfulness and Tragic Event

Hello hello everyone,

How are you all doing? I’m just lounging around in the living room, watching CNN news, waiting for some specific story, which I’ll explain a little later. Firstly:

Yesterday, I went to the beach with a few friends. It wasn’t exactly a planned thing, we were on the road and suddenly said “let’s go to the beach.” So we went and waded into the water, discovering oysters and ogling over a few of them haha.

Afterward, we washed our feet off and sat on a bench in the shade (damn hot out). We were chit chatting, and then remembered I left my bracelets with my friend when we went into the water because I didn’t want them to get wet. When I asked for them, she said “sure” and gave them to me. But then she questioned me why I wear so many bracelets, which lead to my other friends asking as well. I never really told anyone the reason so I was a bit shy/embarrassed to do so. I told them anyway. The reason why I wore so many bracelets was so that it would cover up how thin my wrists were. Because I’m so skinny, I don’t have a lot of fat on my arms and my wrist bone kind of sticks out and everything. I really hate it.

When I told them, they went all “aww.” It was in a “aww, that’s cute” in an odd way. If you get what I mean. They were telling me that I wasn’t that skinny and it’s not that bad, but I hate when people tell me that so I just brushed it aside and my friends just started to compare how tan/dark they were.

Later, we went to the mall and just shopped around (and I got an amaaazing back pack which I love). Every store that I went to, one of my friends would call me over to the accessories area and point out cool bracelets. I felt really touched and warm. It was just really nice of them and made me thank Buddha that I had friends like them.

On another sad note… my classmate passed away. I used to be friends with her my freshman year, but then kind of stopped talking to each other. It’s not like something happened and we hated each other, we just naturally, gradually lost touch with her. We were from different social groups anyway.

She was with a group of friends riding a bike, and she got hit by a car (the email from the head master said vehicle but I’m assuming a car). She was taken to the hospital, and then passed away a few hours later. I was shocked. Just, totally shocked. It was like… You were alive a few hours ago, and now…? What? Like I couldn’t fathom it at all.

And surprisingly I started to cry. Even though I didn’t know her, I felt incredibly sad and cried a bit. And I thought, if I cried, just imagine how her close friends are like.

There’s a guy that I didn’t know was close with her, but apparently he was. On twitter the other day, he tweeted that he woke up today just hoping yesterday was simply a bad dream, but guess not. Yesterday, he said something like “I don’t know what’s great about freedom now. I just want my friend back.” I felt really bad for him.

Anyway, it’s a horrible thing that happened and I’m still kind of shaken by it… Whatever it is, I know heaven welcomed another angel with open arms, right? :)

Have a nice day, everyone.