Habiba Da Silva recently posted a video on her YouTube page discussing social anxiety, highlighting the feeling of dread and nervousness that accompanies public interaction. The video has definitely sparked positive conversations about anxiety but has also drawn critiques focusing on the validity of her experiences which is what I want to briefly touch on in this spotlight.
Social anxiety is something that everyone experiences to an extent and hence why there were parts that resonated when watching the video. However because social anxiety is quite common when a public figure such as Habiba talks about it, it can lead to comments such as “Everyone deals with this. Stop making it a big deal.”
I am a big advocate of empathy when I don’t understand what someone is going through and it only took me a one-minute Google search to read up on social anxiety. As said earlier, it’s something that a lot of people battle with in one form or another but probably not to the same extremities as she does.
“For some, however, these social anxieties and fears can become much more troubling and difficult to cope with. Everyday tasks which most people take for granted – such as working, socialising, shopping, speaking on the telephone, even just going out of the house – might be a wearing ordeal marked by persistent feelings of anxiety and self-consciousness. Public performances or social gatherings might be out of the question.” – http://www.social-anxiety.org.uk/
Some of the experiences she discusses in the video directly correlate with symptoms stated below:
They may experience specific physical symptoms such as trembling, rapid breathing, sweating or blushing. At the extreme, panic attacks can occur. Sufferers tend to be very self-conscious and worried about whether others might be evaluating them negatively.
I found the parts where she talks about her introversion particularly interesting because it’s something that I am familiar with. A lot of introverts grow up in a world that consistently tells them something is wrong with them because of our conditioning and preference for extraversion. Reading “Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe” was a game changer for me earlier this year in how I perceive my introversion. There are so many things I no longer make apologies for and this is a book that I wish I read when I was younger.
Hope the video is enlightening and do let me know your thoughts in the comment section.