Talking openly about social anxiety to people who haven’t experienced it can be really difficult, but a YouTube star was determined to start a conversation with her fans about it.
In her candid tweet, Jessie Paege described what it’s like having social anxiety and that it’s not just about staying indoors, watching Netflix and avoiding people.
social anxiety is not
“omggg I love netflix and I hate everyone”
– longing to go to social situations that are easy for other people
– wanting to use your voice, but feeling stifled
– feeling trapped in your thoughts
and so much more
— Jessie Paege (@jessiepaege) April 9, 2018
End of Twitter post by @jessiepaege
Her tweet struck a chord with many people, prompting others to share their experiences of dealing with social anxiety and stress.
It has been retweeted more than 59,000 times with almost a thousand people sharing their stories and support.
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One user, Morgan Elaine, replied describing her anxiety as if she is “falling down the rabbit hole of endless ‘what ifs’ and scenarios for all the bad things that could happen”.
Anxiety is staying up till four in the morning thinking about how situations could have differed, had you just changed one thing. Anxiety is falling down the rabbit hole of endless “what ifs” and scenarios for all the bad things that *could* happen.
— Morgan Elaine (@EmmySheetz) April 9, 2018
End of Twitter post by @EmmySheetz
Others talked about preferring to communicate via text rather than in person, or constantly replaying conversations in their heads.
Phone calls give me anxiety and when I ask people to text me, please, they don’t respect my request. If I have to call out to order food, or address important business, I have to plan ahead for what I’m going to say because I have anxiety about that as well.
— 💜LiVanSinA💀L.V.S. (@VampOfThRose) April 10, 2018
End of Twitter post by @VampOfThRose
And also replaying what you say to people in your head and thinking of ways you should’ve said it differently, thinking that everyone is always looking at you and talking about you,wanting to not feel inferior to other people.
— Kokobops (@CoraM89480858) April 10, 2018
End of Twitter post by @CoraM89480858
People also shared their experiences of being stigmatised for having social anxiety.
The phrases such as “get over it” and “you’ll be okay” are not what some people with anxiety issues want to hear or read they wrote.
Nicole Pavez said she is a “shy extrovert” who had to “fight against a lot of forces” in order to meet people.
Another person described the dilemma where she wants to have friends and hold down conversations yet she doesn’t want to “interact with people or meet someone new.”
Catie Hennessey commented on how she thought social anxiety was perceived differently in the media and by those who actually suffer from it.
social anxiety in media: “I’m just so painfully shy, it’s adorable”
actual people with social anxiety: “I can’t really enjoy myself in this social situation because I am literally terrified of monopolizing the conversation or saying the wrong thing” https://t.co/wzjc5LA8yi
— Catie Hennessey (@catiemolly) April 10, 2018
End of Twitter post by @catiemolly
Alix empathised saying: “I wish people understood that it (anxiety) isn’t something we choose.”
Mine stems from an being not confident in my ability. Makes me avoid work tasks and cut short awkward friends meet ups if the conversation starts to run dry. Makes me feel really ill.
— Vegan Dad With Beard Ⓥ (@HumbleVeganDad) April 10, 2018
End of Twitter post by @HumbleVeganDad
If you, or someone you know, have been affected by these issues, the following organisations may be able to help.