Do I have ‘Social Anxiety’?


I know this site isn’t really for diagnosing people with disorders, but I need to know whether I might have this before wanting to go see a councillor. I’m scared it’s just slight fears and that going to see a councillor will make me look like a fool, thinking I have something serious when it’s nothing serious at all.

Well, at first, I’m scared to eat and drink in public. I fear they’ll judge the way I chew, or the food I’m eating/drink I’m drinking. I’d rather starve to death than have to eat infront of someone. Even if it’s a friend. I’m less anxious about this around my family, thankfully.

I can’t order food, go to grocery stores, or make phonecalls. I’ve had problems with ordering food for a long time, but never took a deep thought to it. I’m scared because I feel like if I call a certain food wrong, the person standing behind the till will judge me. Will think I’m stupid, thinking,”Ha, did she really just call it that? How stupid.” or something like that. And, that they’ll judge the food I order. The same goes for shopping in a store, that people passing me will look inside my basket/trolly and will start thinking I’m fat or the total opposite. And phone calls, too. Prefrably not that they’ll judge what I’m ‘ordering’, but if I pronounce something wrong they’ll laugh and I’ll just make myself look stupid.(This used to happen a lot, since I’m not fully English, sometimes I pronounce hard words wrong and have friends laugh at me. This stopped me from contibuting in class discussions and volenteering to read to the class.)

I hate making new friends, because that involves having to talk to strangers and possibly coming across rejection and humiliation. Whenever I am made to make new friends, or I make myself try to be friends with a person because they seem nice and I simply want a new friend, I will have loads of questions filling my mind. “Oh, do you think they like what I look like?”, “Should I tell them I’m not British, or should I wait until later once we’re better friends incase they don’t like my race?”. And once we start the conversation it’s things like; “Oh god, we’ve stopped talking. What now? Should I ask them what they’re doing next weekend, or will I seem nosy?”, “Damn it, they just asked me what music I listen to. Should I mention I listen to heavy music, or will they think I’m some sort of greebo who will slit their throat at night?”(sorry if any of you got offended by that, it’s what I come across a lot when I tell people what I listen to).

I guess I’m just scared of being hated, judged, misunderstood, rejected etc. I hate being alone, yet I hate being in groups. I feel like I can never be pleased, which makes me feel worse because I feel like I’m wasting my friends’ time. I constantly tell them to tell me if I’m coming across as annoying, because I’m scared they’re just nice to me because they feel bad for me.

So, do you think I might have Social Anxiety? Is there any point in going to the councillor? I need help ASAP…

Category: Tags: asked April 24, 2014

6 Answers

I know there are a couple of answers already but I really wanted you to hear some of this.

The things that you are describing are things that I have experienced and I have been told I have Social Anxiety. These symptoms were increasingly affecting my ability to work and study, to function as a normal person. I developed an eating disorder and my anxiety grew to panic attacks which all started with the self-scrutiny you have described.

You may or may not fit the exact DSM-V criteria for a social anxiety disorder. However, that does not mean that you don't have a problem. If your quality of life is suffering because of intrusive thoughts you have every right to speak to a counselor and the sooner you do, the better.

Counselors don't sit and compare notes about people they think are worse than others or making things up. What they are there to do is to help people who are experiencing distress in every day life - if someone was experiencing grief because their great-aunt who they were close to died, they would have the same right that you do, the young girl with abusive parents, the boy who is uncomfortable with his sexuality, the couple who want to approach the topic of moving in together despite their conservative parents - but you also remember that they may just be the start of the journey.

I've been there, where someone has referred me to someone else or said they can't help me. The reasons they couldn't was because my issues were beyond their ability to help me with.

The best case scenario here is for you to speak to a counselor, get your feelings off your chest and the counselor provides some strategies to reduce your anxiety, you smile and return in a few weeks to say it was a success.
I'm not a fortune-teller, but I wouldn't be betting on this happening for you. What you are dealing with are real, scary and damaging thought patterns. For you to recognise that there may be a problem and being brave enough to attack it head on, with the strongest weapons you have... that is very simply impressive.

Please see someone as soon as you can. Mental health professionals exist for a reason, and if you are experiencing distress in your day to day life, you are that reason. It may be the start of a long journey, but for you to come out at the end feeling like the best version of you possible, it is absolutely worth it.
Well, I'm not a professional but I'm studying psychology. And I recently did my research paper on social anxiety or social phobia. With social anxiety, it is an extreme discomfort of social situations and can lead to physical and emotional pain. Also, it is in the DSM-V which means that you can look up the criteria if you don't trust me. It's fine. I honestly just think you have a fear of being judge. It doesn't sound like social anxiety but maybe you can talk with a counselor because you should be able to get comfortable in social situations and be able to eat in public without a worry. It is uncomfortable to eat in public at times but I think the fact you avoid it all together maybe an indicator that something is cause you discomfort. I am not saying you have social anxiety or not. But it's something you should talk out with someone.
Your counselor will not expect you to have a real problem and blame you if you don't, they are there to listen to people, whatever it is that troubles them. I hope it goes well.

You do seem a lot self-conscious, your counselor will help you deal with this. If it can help you, remember yourself that people are too busy thinking about their own life to go and spend time thinking about all the random things you listed in this question.
to me, you sound like you do have social anxiety. I'm not a professional at all, but in my opinion I feel like there are definitely different degrees of social anxiety and just because you're not having severe panic attacks or the anxiety isn't causing physical symptoms doesn't necessarily mean you do not have anxiety. You pretty much described my personality as well, I think a lot of your anxiety might stem from your own insecurities, I know mine does. I just want you to know that you shouldn't question yourself so much. If you feel like something in your life is giving you a hard time, then it probably is a problem. Don't worry about seeing a counselor, counselors are supposed to help you figure out whats going on anyways. it's their job to help you. A lot of people see counselors even though they don't suffer from anything in particular. Some people just need someone to talk to. Actually, if you do see a counselor, I would love to hear what they have to say about your situation. Since we have such similar personalities. Good luck!
I think that you should look it up in DSM-V to check if you have GAD (general anxiety disorder). It is possible you may have that, best to check for yourself and when you are entirely sure, go check with a professional. You're going to be fine, love
You've got a friend in me
You do have social anxiety. But have you tried self help? There's heaps of youtube videos out there and if it's not helping, do see someone about it, whether it be a friend, someone you trust or a counsellor. Also, i diagnosed myself with slight social anxiety with the second last paragraph, i can totally relate to.