One of my biggest pet peeves is when social anxiety is often mixed up with introversion in trendy articles written about it. Especially the GIF centric lists like “Only someone with social anxiety would understand…” or “These memes/GIFs describe social anxiety perfectly”, that pretty much only describe introversion.
Social anxiety is not introversion. Can we please stop labelling it as that?
Introversion is a personality type, Social Anxiety Disorder is a mental illness. There’s a MASSIVE difference and not everyone with social anxiety is an introvert, while not all introverts have social anxiety.
I know this because I’m an extrovert. Always have been and always will be. I love the company of others, I love parties, gigs, social gatherings and the atmosphere of a crowded cinema. I enjoy being the loudest person in the room, the leader and the person who organises and hosts everything.
The years in which I couldn’t do any of those things were not because of choice, or my personality or because I prefer the quiet life – It was because social anxiety was holding me back and stopping me from being who I was! THAT is the difference; I wasn’t happy living my life of quietness and missing out on parties, I desperately wanted to go to all the parties.
Social anxiety is the fear of being judged or looking stupid, it is something that holds you back and with it comes physical symptoms that make you feel like a bag of shit. Introversion is your personality and not going to the parties because you simply don’t want to.
I had for years believed that I was just shy and introverted because that’s what people told me and attributed my social anxiety to but it was so false. When the treatment for my anxiety started working and the more I was able to do, I realised how I wasn’t shy or introverted at all. I still have to recharge my batteries and spend time alone sometimes because battling social anxiety to be the person you want to be is hard work and exhausting.
Having social anxiety but wanting to be around people all the time is a constant battle that I have to fight with myself on a daily basis.
Are you an introvert or extrovert with social anxiety?