Social Anxiety Disorder Checklist

When I took my first psychology class as a junior in high school, I remember hurrying to the computer lab to look up “General Anxiety Disorder” and “Social Anxiety Disorder” because I was pretty sure I had some form of something.  Nevermind actual counselors or psychological tests – I recently came across this list on Tumblr, and it is law!
Totally kidding.  This is, by no means, a comprehensive or even slightly scientific list.  But it does cover a lot of things that make me go “eeeeeaaaaahhhh” on the inside, things that as a child I thought everyone experienced as horrible until I realized they’re mostly, like, no big deal to a lot of people.  So here’s a list of things that scare anxious people, and I’ve bolded the ones that resonated with me.  I also interjected thoughts or stories that I wanted to share.

People Who Have Social Anxiety Disorder Are Terrified Of:

Talking in front of people
Not knowing how to comfort people
(Weird for a counselor?   Yes, but seen from another angle, it took me three years to learn how to comfort people.)
• Trying clothes on in a changing room
(I don’t know that I’m terrified of this, but I definitely avoid it if at all possible, and I haven’t actually bought any clothes in Athens yet because I don’t want to use the changing rooms but I also cannot return clothes to a store 1.5 hours away very easily…okay, so maybe I’m scared of a changing rooms.)
• Answering the door
(Um, this one seems reasonable!!  There could be a killer behind that door, and if you’re a friend, you’ll know to have texted me an hour before you showed up.)
• Talking on/answering the phone
(Eewwww, no thank you.  Nope.  Texting is mankind’s greatest invention, why go backwards, phone calls are evil.)
• People asking questions
(Yeah, I guess.  I like when people show an interest in me, but after three or four I’m like, WHOA can you focus on someone else for a while??)
• Walking past people
(Hahaha, YES, and I didn’t realize I’m weird about this until reading it here.  When I pass someone, I’m hyper aware and thinking, what if they trip me?  what if they push me into the street? what if they get mad and step on my heels? what if I bump into them?)
• Eye contact
(Yup.  At least once a day I have to remind myself to make eye contact with the person I’m talking to.)
• Going into stores
(If they’re unfamiliar stores, yes.)
• Going outside the house
• Busy crowds
• Leaving voicemails 
(Won’t do it.  Also probably won’t listen to your voicemail, sorry, it’s too much like answering the phone.)
• Being watched while doing something 
• Eating in front of people
(Yes, but I compensate by covering my mouth with my hand after taking a bite in what I hope is a demure fashion.)
• Ordering food (anywhere)
(Or like, interacting with any kind of staff?  Yes, yes, yes.  I hate those stores where employees ask if they can help you.  BACK UP OFF ME.)
• Interviews
(I’m not…interviewed often.  But yeah, I don’t think I’d like that at all, not unless I had control of the situation.)
• Being in the car
• Making decisions
• Personal space being violated
(Okay, surely THIS one is obvious?  It’s got the word “violated.”  No one likes being violated.)
• When strange people, or anyone you don’t like, are in/around the house
(Um, AGAIN, OBVIOUSLY?  No one wants strange people in the house!!!  Although okay, I also don’t like the friends of roommates to be in the house, and sometimes I sneak to the kitchen or bathroom and hope they don’t see me, but then they do and it’s even weirder because I’m skulking around like a creep.)
• Being paranoid someone can hear me
• Feeling self-conscious all the time
• Crossing the street
• Asking for help
• Parties
(Unless I know everyone.  Or unless I’m throwing the party.  Or unless I can find a second, smaller room for smaller conversations.)
• Participating in class
(“Participation is 10% of your grade.”  “I am okay with 90%.”)
• Working with others
• Restaurants
• Competition
• Voicing opinions
(If I feel safe with someone, it’s fine, but yeah generally, I only share safe and/or funny opinions.)
• Sleeping with someone else/in someone else’s bed
• Being touched
(All of my Greek teachers like to touch my arm or hug me to demonstrate “make someone else warm” and I sit there with a fake smile like: this is fine for me!)
• Being touched sexually
• Being seen naked
• Hearing people laugh nearby
• Public bathrooms/shy bladder
• Starting/keeping a conversation
(I’ve gotten much better at this!  Thanks, counseling degree!)
• Feeling like people hate me
• Always preparing what to say 100x
(This is definitely one of those things I thought everyone did for a very long time.  Only recently did I realize that some people don’t actually rehearse conversations beforehand with, like, line-for-line dialogue options.)
• Being touched/hugged by people I’m not comfortable with
• Feeling like people judge what I say
(All.  The.  Time.  Which is why I am so Nice and Friendly and only tend to share Safe Opinions so that you will Like Me.)
• Not being able to get over embarrassing/stupid things I’ve done/said
• Saying “no”
• Being a pushover
(I’ve gotten SO much better at these two.  In high school, a friend literally told me, “Tricia, I like you because you’ll do anything I ask.”  It shook me up, and started a long journey toward now, when I’ve gotten to a point where I really like saying no.)
• Rejection
(Well, I spent six months in counseling working up to asking a guy out on a date via text message, so….actually, that right there might be all the evidence needed to diagnose me with social anxiety disorder, hahaha!  BUT, the end of that story is that he DID reject me, and amazingly enough I was still alive and loved and a useful member of society afterwards, and it was a great experiential learning experience that rejection is not as deadly as I thought.  Not that I’ve tried again.)
• Coming on too strong
(Me:  I LOVE THAT.  You:  ….Oh.  Okay.  Me:  (Oh shit, abort abort!)  Haha, I mean, like, KIND OF, it’s cool or whatever.)
• Seeing people I know in public
(When I start seeing people I know at the grocery store, do I legitimately think “Welp, time to move to a new city.”  Yes.  Yes, I do.)
• Making new friends
• Being embarrassed
(“Tricia, your face gets so red when you’re embarrassed!”  YOU’RE MAKING ME WANT TO DIE, PLEASE STOP.)
• Being the center of attention
(If I have orchestrated this diva moment, YAS QUEEN, all praise me.  If it came out of nowhere, just go ahead and bury me.)
• Working in groups
• Being late
(I show up everywhere at least 15 minutes early, so I wouldn’t know…oh wait, does that #confirm?)
• Being stared at
(That’s creepy!  No one likes being stared at!)
• Being introduced
• Worrying about people liking me
• Being criticized
(HAHAHA, I literally switched majors in college because of this.  English class: “We will write a lot and critique each other’s work so that you can get better!”  Me:  Hmmm, sociology sounds interesting…)
• Meeting people in authority

According to this Completely Unscientific List, I am 42/57, or 74% Socially Anxious!

Although this post is made mostly in jest, I want to make it clear that if these sorts of anxieties are keeping you from enjoying life, do whatever you can to find help!  If you feel overwhelmed and your anxieties are controlling you, PLEASE tell someone.  Talk to a parent or a friend, or if you’re old enough, find yourself a counselor!  Most of them have online registration forms so you don’t even have to call in.  There is NO SHAME in getting help.  Do what you gotta do to live a life that satisfies.

And probably don’t base your mental health on a random tumblr post.

10 thoughts on “Social Anxiety Disorder Checklist

  1. Juni Desireé February 29, 2016 / 12:02 pm

    Definitely can relate to a lot of that list too. Pretty sure I’ve had social anxiety my whole life but just never knew it until last year. Thanks for sharing.


    • Tricia February 29, 2016 / 6:09 pm

      I’m glad you can relate. I think being open about our anxieties can go a long way toward alleviating them… at least temporarily!


  2. INFJash March 6, 2016 / 7:25 pm

    Wow I want to take this test! So many were similar for me. Also your answers/comments on them make me smile – you’re so funny!

    Also, I am very interested by the fact you have a counsellor degree despite these! Are you a counsellor? Can I pick your brain about it? I’ve wanted to be one but held back for a lot of reasons like these that made me think I wouldn’t be able to do it!! But now I think maybe I can?!? Thanks for this post!! 😀


    • Tricia March 6, 2016 / 11:04 pm

      I would love to talk more about this! Pick my brain as much as you want.


      • INFJash March 7, 2016 / 9:01 pm

        Okay sweet! Do you have twitter or would you rather me just leave comments on here? I’d love to know all about your job, what a average day is like, your expectations, how it was when you started and if you feel it changed since then, etc! 🙂


        • Tricia March 7, 2016 / 10:57 pm

          I don’t have twitter, so leaving comments is probably the easiest way to communicate! I wish blogs had a private messaging system, but I don’t mind sharing most things publicly!

          I worked as a counseling intern for 14 months in Dallas, but now I’m in Athens working with a safe house for women who have been trafficked. It’s not a typical counseling environment, so I’ll answer your questions based on working in the States!

          One of the biggest perks of working as a counselor is that you can set your own hours. Some of the people in our counseling group worked normal 8-hour days. A couple were new moms, and they worked three days a week, but stayed home the other two. Some worked nights, some worked weekends. It is one of the most flexible careers around, I think!

          If you’re working an 8-hour day, you might have anywhere from 2-7 clients. This is the bad side effect of flexibility. Clients come and go, and sometimes you can have stretches of weeks or months with few clients. And sometimes people don’t show up, and you’re left with an empty hour! That can definitely be frustrating at best and financially terrifying at worst.

          Before I started seeing clients, I thought of counseling as both very easy (it’s just talking to people!) and as impossible (how can anyone ever change!?). With three years of school, 10 months of being a client, and 14 months of being a counselor, I now see that it’s both easier and harder than I thought. There is a lot of skill involved, and there are underlying patterns to look for, etc. But at its heart, counseling is about empathizing with someone else and letting them know that they are not alone in whatever they bring to you. This is the hardest part! 90% of my clients are easy to empathize with – even if I hate what they’ve done, I can see why and feel for them and desire positive growth for them. But 10% of my clients hit on my own personal issues, and it is SO HARD to turn off my triggers and invest in them fully. Luckily, if you’re in a good school and/or practice, they prepare you for this inevitability and provide you with space to talk through your own issues.

          Hmmm…that’s quite a bit to start with! I’m very happy to keep answering any other questions you have, though. Keep ’em coming!

          Liked by 1 person

          • INFJash March 8, 2016 / 5:37 am

            Wow thank you so much for all of that info, it’s perfect! I am really curious and would love to hear more about it. 🙂 It also makes me feel really excited that maybe one day I can have a counselling practice like I’ve dreamed about. If you want we could email? If not here is fine. 🙂 So when you were an intern did you have your own clients and counsel them alone or did someone have to sit in with you? Where there points during your internship that you felt like giving up? Were there certain types of people that you counselled or was it anyone and everyone? What did you take for the 3 years of school for it? How is the safe house different from the internship (aside from the fact that they are there all the time). I work with at risk youth (in a group home setting and at an addictions treatment center) so I know that must be a really emotionally challenging job. 🙂


            • INFJash March 9, 2016 / 5:33 am

              I totally understand! Got it, I’ll send you an email now. 🙂 I’ll just copy and paste what we said earlier!!


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