Social anxiety can take many forms – for some people, it’s so severe that they can’t put themselves in social situations of any kind. For others, it might be milder, and something they can tolerate once in a while. Still others might get a case of nerves, but find they usually relax after a while.
Social anxiety and Attention Deficit Disorder often occur together. In these cases, social anxiety is a co-morbidity of ADHD, meaning it accompanies it.
My youngest daughter has been outgoing all her life. She was the girl who wasn’t afraid to talk to people (carefully monitored, of course). She tried out for, and was accepted into her high school’s dramatic arts program.
And yet you will most often see her wearing giant sunglasses (ala Paris Hilton) no matter the time or weather. The sunglasses offer a degree of protection – a buffer between her and the outside world.
You see, she’s fine with strangers or in front of a large crowd. But let people get too close – an opportunity for talking one on one – maybe really communicating – and she withdraws.
I think social anxiety is so closely paired with ADHD because one sort of feeds the other.
When you have ADHD, you make mistakes and miss things, including social cues, because you weren’t paying attention. It doesn’t take too many of these embarrassing episodes to make you want to hide out, remove yourself slightly from the scene.
This past weekend, I had a group of people over to our house that I’ve known for quite some time. We’ve all been through a lot together. I like them, and I think they like me. And yet, an hour or two before they were due, I was a bundle of nerves with all sorts of thoughts going through my head.
In the end it was fine and we all had a good time.
But as many times as I have gone through these experiences and come out happy in the end, it never helps with the next time.
Are you comfortable in social situations?