It is common knowledge that roughly 4-7 percent of the population suffer from social anxiety. If this figure is accurate, you would assume that this would be noticeable in public – but Ive never been able to do this. Everyone looks perfectly normal. You dont see 7% of the people in a mall, on a bus, or at a public event, walking with their head down, avoiding eye contact, or blushing. I’ve consciously tried to look for the classic signs in people, but haven’t had much luck.
So, this leads me to believe, that either the 7% figure is much lower, that the external signs of SA are not as bad as we imagine them to be, or that socially anxious people are just really good at hiding their true selves.
I think the stats are accurate, but that most of us try to mask our condition. Shyness and/or social anxiety are somehow perceived to be signs of weakness -embarrassing character flaws. I think most shy people force themselves to be perceived as non-shy. Lets face it; no one wants to be thought of as weak.
So the bottom line is that we have millions of people walking around in total denial. Working, interacting, socializing with one main goal in mind: to hide the shyness defect at all costs. Is it any wonder that some of us have difficulty expressing our feelings and coming to terms with social anxiety?
One of the most difficult things I’ve had to do, is to accept my social phobia. I spent my entire life covering up an embarrassing secret. Each day was a constant battle to try to maintain a normal personality – constantly fighting my natural traits because it was considered weak by society’s standards.
I have made tremendous progress in coming to terms with who I am, and have slowly exposed the real me over the last few years. However, I’m just as guilty as anyone when it comes to covering up my shyness. The fact that I am writing so freely in this blog, does not mean that Ive opened myself up to the world. It is, after all, pretty much anonymous. After all the improvements I have made in my life, I am still embarrassed to be shy and socially anxious.