12 Times Tumblr Perfectly Captured What Anxiety Really Feels Like

Source: Getty
Source: Getty

When you have social anxiety, it can feel like you're the only one in the world who does. 

The nerves that creep up when speaking in a large group, the stomach churning that comes when you're called on in a class and the heart-pounding prospect of having to leave your house and go out to a party — anyone who has experienced social anxiety will recognize its dreaded markers. In the United States, that may be as many as 40 million adults who suffer from anxiety disorders, making it the most common mental illness in the country.

It can be downright crippling. Social anxiety disorder, a prevalent form of anxiety that affects 6.8% of Americans, is often characterized by "fear or anxiety about social situations where the person is exposed to possible scrutiny by others, like meeting a new person, eating in public or public speaking," Eric Hollander, clinical professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told Mic

That social distress is a daunting emotional iceberg; most people don't see it, but a lot is happening under the surface. Fortunately, people are increasingly comfortable talking about their social anxiety — how to better understand friends with anxiety, portraits of how it really feels and how it impacts our partners. One medium through which they're doing this is Tumblr, where a growing group of people are openly navigating living with the illness.

"Social network communities help people to know they are not the only one who suffers from such symptoms," Hollander said of Tumblr. Additionally, "they receive information that this is a recognized condition, and that it is treatable by cognitive behavior therapies or medications."

Here are 12 Tumblr posts that perfectly capture the struggle that so many of us face in silence.

Even accomplishing the small, tiny stuff can feel like an act of bravery every day.

Social anxiety can get caught in a painful loop.

Social anxiety can make you feel like you have a different personality from the one you present in public.

It's a much bigger deal than it looks like from the outside.

Social anxiety might unlock paranoia in a person.

It can feel like you're wading through a literal flood of thoughts.

Even a simple conversation can feel like you're being put on trial.

Sometimes you feel like nobody actually wants to hang out with you.

You feel like you have to justify what you're doing to everybody else.

Social anxiety can have a snowball effect.

And most of all...

But even if you feel like it, nobody with social anxiety is ever alone.

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Kate Hakala

Kate is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Mic. A former editor of Nerve, her writing has also appeared in the The New York Times, Playboy, Refinery29, Salon, and The Daily Dot. On most days she is thinking of Louis C.K.

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