“My Anxiety Has A Loophole”: 50 Memes About Social Anxiety That Explain How Certain Minds Work
Social anxiety is like a tiny gnome in the back of your head; it might be sleeping, it might be as active as never, or… it might be forcing you to go over the way you said “here” that one time during attendance. One thing is clear, though—people without one will never know what it feels like to have it affect every single social situation you’re in.
The r/socialanxiety subreddit is a safe space for those feeling distressed in a social environment. People here share memes that other members might find a been-there-done-that kind of situation.
Bored Panda has created a list of relatable social anxiety-induced moments. Whether it’s thinking of better arguments for that conversation earlier or finding the perfect eye-contact-to-floor ratio, some people might feel more at ease knowing they’re not alone.
Also known as social phobia, social anxiety disorder (SAD) is the persistent and excessive fear of being around people or in specific collective situations. It differs from person to person but there are some common traits. They might include worrying about meeting new people and starting conversations, tending to avoid social gatherings and eye contact, overthinking about judgment from others.
It might sound like everyone feels that way every once in a while. However, for those with social anxiety, these negative feelings are constant and way stronger. In some cases, they can lead to high levels of stress or even panic attacks.
SAD is part of the group of generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), which is actually the most prevalent mental illness in the United States. The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that around 18% of people in the US live with some sort of an anxiety disorder.
According to the Recovery Village, 264 million people worldwide suffer from it. Their data shows that younger people are more affected by it than the older generation. Just over 22% of people aged from 18 to 44 suffer from these conditions while for people 45–59 years of age, the number drops to 20.6%. Out of people over 60, only 9% deal with anxiety disorders.
Despite rather large numbers of people living with GAD, not a lot of them tend to look for professional help. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that less than 37% of people with generalized anxiety disorder receive treatment, even though it is believed to be very effective. ADAA also revealed that 36% of people suffering from social anxiety waited for 10 or more years before seeking help.
I’ve Never Related To Anything More
As with other anxiety disorders, SAD can develop due to numerous reasons. Some of the main factors include inherited traits, brain structure, and the person’s surroundings.
It is believed that certain mental illnesses or disorders can run in the family, making it one of the possible causes behind developing social anxiety as well. It might also be related to our environment, as family or close people usually have an impact on our surroundings from an early age. Therefore, if a member suffers from certain disorders, their behavior might end up reflecting in ours.
The founder of Washington Center for Cognitive Therapy, Vincent Greenwood, Ph.D., has expanded on social anxiety in a video online. He stated that there are three subtypes of social anxiety, based on its main triggers. The first—and the most common—one is general fear of social interactions. This might affect the day-to-day acts as simple as engaging in small talk, entering a room filled with strangers, participating in group activities.
The second type of social anxiety according to Dr. Greenwood reveals itself when performing. Whether it’s sports activities, art performances, or giving presentations, some people might have difficulties dealing with the additional stress of being the center of attention.
Here We Go Again
Show Me A Better Duo, I’ll Wait!
In his video, Dr. Greenwood names the phenomenon known as observational fears as the third type of social anxiety. It is based on the angst of being judged or feeling embarrassment. People affected by this type might feel anxious while doing things when others are watching, whether it’s signing a document or cooking dinner.
People with social anxiety share some common behavioral disturbances that can appear in both emotional and physical forms. The emotional ones comprise excessive worrying about others judging them, intense and persistent fear of communicating with people, anticipating certain social situations expecting the worst, among others. Some physical ones include but are not limited to heart palpitations, profuse sweating, blushing, trembling.
Luckily, there are ways to cure or minimize the impact of SAD. First and foremost, if certain symptoms feel like it could be social anxiety, it is important to seek help from professionals. They can help diagnose it and appoint the appropriate treatment, whether it’s medication or alternative types of medical care. In addition to that, methods of occupational therapy or other practices, such as yoga or meditation, can be helpful as well.
Another solution that might help some people deal with social anxiety is connecting with people in a similar situation. The negative feelings caused by the disorder might make one feel lonesome, but there are people suffering from anxieties, getting in touch with whom might alleviate the load of it all.
I’ll Be Attending My First Protest Saturday
Social anxiety is a serious topic, but people in certain online communities manage to find ways to present their lives with the disorder in a rather lighthearted way. Quite a few great examples can be found on this list. Whether it’s an outlet for the emotions caused by SAD or a way to connect with people going through a similar thing, some of these will definitely find a person or two who can relate.