YouTuber Jessie Paege Raises Awareness About The Realities Of Social Anxiety In Viral Tweet

Jessie Paege got candid about misconceptions of the disorder and prompted others to do the same.

How many times have you heard someone say they have anxiety when what they really mean is that they're feeling anxious? Or that they're "so OCD" but what they actually should say is that they're extremely organized? Or that they're "depressed" when they're just feeling a normal level of sadness

Carelessly speaking about mental health issues does a disservice to people who actually have them. It minimizes their pain, reinforced stereotypes, and perpetuates false information. People with mental illnesses can find it difficult to talk about because of the stigma they face, but it can be even harder when people believe common associated misconceptions.  

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On Monday, Youtuber Jessie Paege took to Twitter to set the record straight about what it's like to suffer from social anxiety. Social anxiety is a chronic mental health condition which causes people to feel irrational anxiety, fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment as a result of social interactions. Many people with the disorder want to spend time with others, but have difficulty doing so. An estimated 15 million adults in the United States suffer from social anxiety, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Nineteen-year-old Paege is one of them

If you scroll through one of Paege's two Instagram accounts or watch one of her YouTube videos, you'll see tons of photos of herself smiling and goofing off. She's often pictured in different locations and photographed with friends. And, on her YouTube channel with nearly 1.5 million YouTube subscribers, she regularly talks to strangers about her life and does silly experiments. 

Someone unfamiliar with the realities of social anxiety may think that this means she couldn't possibly struggle with social anxiety. Too often, the mental health disorder is conflated with being introverted or shy. But Paege wants people to know this is far from the truth. 

"Social anxiety is not 'omggg I love netflix and I hate everyone,'" she wrote on Twitter. "It's longing to go to social situations that are easy for other people, wanting to use your voice, but feeling stifled, feeling trapped in your thoughts, and so much more." 

Paege's tweet has been retweeted over 71,000 times and has nearly 240,000 likes. Many people were inspired to share their own experiences with social anxiety and clear up other common misconceptions associated with the disorder. 

The language we use matters. Remember that the next time you're tempted to say you have social anxiety or another mental health disorder when that's not what you mean. 

And for those of you who do struggle with social anxiety, remember that you're not alone. Don't let stigma keep you from seeking treatment. 

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