Woman describes perfectly what it means to have social anxiety, and Twitter can't get enough
While people are becoming increasingly open about their struggles with mental health in recent years, it's evident that conditions such as anxiety and depression still attract considerable stigma. This is particularly alienating when it comes to something like social anxiety. If left unchecked, this form of anxiety can drive sufferers away from friends and family, and prevent them from venturing out and exploring all that life has to offer.
Often perceived in popular culture to be nothing more than introversion or a fondness for being alone, social anxiety is perhaps one of the most misunderstood mental health problems. And it was exactly this belief that YouTuber Jessie Paege attacked on Twitter earlier this week. Her tweet, which quickly went viral, resonated with social media users across the globe, and many felt inspired to share their own stories.
Jessie took to Twitter on Monday to stage a scathing takedown of those who believe that social anxiety is no more than a fondness for Netflix and time spent alone.
"Social anxiety is not 'omggg I love netflix and I hate everyone'," she began. "It’s -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."
The people of the internet were all for Jessie's assertion. "Say it louder," one user wrote, while another corroborated "I wish more people understood this. Social anxiety is not just hating being around people."
Some felt so moved as to share their own experiences of the condition. "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," Twitter user Morgan Elaine wrote.
In a follow-up tweet, she added "Anxiety is struggling to catch your breath while you try to assess every little thing 'accordingly.' Anxiety is nail-biting, hair-pulling, continuous chills & so much more while you try to figure out what the hell you're going to do. There's no band-aid to make it better."
Others added to Jessie's original list...
And this Twitter user just summed the whole thing up, writing "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 monopolising the conversation or saying the wrong thing.'"
Given the overwhelming response to her initial tweet, Jessie followed it up with another to remind us that mental health problems are every bit as important and needing treatment as physical ailments.
"Just like - your leg can break - you can catch a cold - you can get the flu / your brain can need also need healing. Mental health treatment is important."
So remember - though you may feel alone, and like you're the only one that is struggling - you're not.