Social anxiety can be tough. It makes you feel confused, frightened and uncomfortable even in the simplest everyday situations that involve dealing with other people. Making a phone call, using public transport or asking for directions can turn from an ordinary action, which is natural and easy for most people, into a challenging and devastating experience.
It’s all because socially anxious people tend to overthink and overanalyze everything. Their subconscious mind tells them that no matter what they do or say, others will judge them or laugh at them. That is the basic cause of this mental disorder – a fear of being judged and rejected. Social anxiety can lead to disturbing symptoms such as trembling, excessive sweating, high heart rate, etc., which can be so intense that many sufferers have to take medications to ease these symptoms.
However, to some of those who are not familiar with social anxiety, this disorder doesn’t seem to be a big deal – many just confuse it for shyness and poor communication skills. Sometimes it can be difficult to explain your feelings even to your closest people, such as family or romantic partner, who often think that you exaggerate. How can you possibly put into words that fear and nervousness you feel when you are dialing a phone number and are waiting to hear the voice of a stranger? Or that trembling in your hands when you are speaking in a group of people and several pairs of eyes are staring at you?
As it often happens with things that are difficult to describe with words, art comes to help. A comic artist calling himself Socially Awkward Misfit (or simply Sam) seems to have perfectly captured how social anxiety feels. His illustrations, which are funny and truthful at the same time, are focused on situations typical for introverts and people with social anxiety. Some of his works are also about depression and ‘general awkwardness,’ as he writes on his website.
I picked 10 of Sam’s illustrations either because I found them funny or because they capture situations and feelings I have experienced myself. If you are a socially anxious person or/and an introvert, I’m sure that some of these pictures will remind you of your own life.
1. Making a phone call
2. Using public transport
3. Trying to start a conversation with a person you barely know
4. Hearing someone knocking on your door when you are not expecting guests
5. Crossing the road
6. In the supermarket
7. Common dreams socially anxious people have
8. Getting a phone call from an unknown number
9. Having a feeling that someone has said something bad about you while they were actually talking about some innocent stuff
10. Walking in front of people or cars
Did you see any similarities with yourself and situations you have experienced? Please, share your thoughts below!