I Took 4 Online Tests for Social Anxiety: Here Are My Results

In 2018, I did a 12-week group therapy program for social anxiety (I talk about some aspects of the program in this post).

As part of the program, we were regularly asked to complete a questionnaire to track our level of social anxiety.

At the beginning of the program, my score was at the highest end of Severe, on a scale of Mild, Moderate, Severe, and Very Severe.

At the end of the program, it was at the lowest end of Severe. (Progress!)

During the program, I briefly went into the Very Severe range (it was around the time we started doing exposure therapy). But I also dipped down to the lowest end of Moderate during the program as well.

Anxiety levels vary with time and circumstances and many other factors. That’s why they scored us weekly — to see the overall picture.

It’s been a while since I had a formal assessment, so I was curious to see where I might fall on some online tests.

I included some screenshots of my answers and scores.

Read on, friends! I hope you find the post interesting. 🙂


Test 1:

PSYCOM Social Anxiety Test

My score on this test:

“Strong indication of social anxiety disorder (social phobia).”

Question example:

“Are you extremely conscious of your actions when in social settings because you fear they might offend someone or you could be rejected?”

My answer: Very often.

Thoughts:

I like the way the score is phrased here: “Strong indication of.” It makes it extra clear that this is not a diagnostic tool.

They include an image of where your score falls on anxiety-ometer (what would you call this?), but I’m not sure how meaningful it is, especially compared to, say, the ranges included in the results for Test 3 below.


Test 2:

Psychology Today Social Anxiety Test

My score on this test:

“No strengths.” (Fabulous.)

Question example:

“I blush frequently when talking to others.”

My answer: Completely true. (Hence the title of my blog.)

THOUGHTS:

You have to pay $6.95 to see the full tests results (which I guess is fair? the other sites don’t charge though), and they do tell you about the fee before you start the test.

The results they give you for free are not terribly insightful — they are more of a categorization of things you may already know about yourself. I read it and thought, “Well, yeah. Obviously.”

I wouldn’t recommend this test, unless maybe you want to buy the full report, but I can’t actually speak to the contents of the reports they give.


Test 3:

MIND DIAGNOSTICS

Social Anxiety Disorder Test

My score on this test:

“Extreme Social Anxiety (49/72).”

Question example:

“How often do you avoid expressing disagreement or disapproval to someone you don’t know well?”

My answer: Usually.

THOUGHTS:

My answer to that question above would actually be “always,” but that was not a choice.

They give you your full results, and the option of either signing up with your email address or skipping to results.

I like the language they use: “may be experiencing extreme social anxiety.” Not “you may HAVE extreme social anxiety” or “you may be SUFFERING FROM extreme social anxiety.”

I don’t personally mind if people use words like have or suffer from conversationally, but in the context of a test like this, I think neutral language is valuable.

I also like that they show you the score ranges.


Test 4:

Social Anxiety Institute

Test for Social Anxiety Disorder

My score on this test:

“71/90: High amount of social anxiety.”

Question example:

“Answering your phone without looking at who’s calling.”

My answer: High.

THOUGHTS:

The questions were straightforward, and I liked the colour-coded answers.

I did find myself wishing there was an option for “very high,” because there were a lot of situations where I would feel more anxiety than the situations where I said “high.”

For example, I would say “high” to a statement like, “answering the phone,” period. If you add “without looking at who’s calling,” then my anxiety level becomes “very high.”

(As in, I would absolutely never do that. That’s why we have voicemail. And google. For number checking.)

Oh and you do have to give your email address to access the results.


Final thoughts

Honestly, I really enjoy taking tests, whether they’re for mental health or personality or “What Kind of Pusheen Are You?

(I’m a Classic Pusheen at the moment, apparently.)

But that’s for another post.

In terms of my results on these four social anxiety tests, I have a few thoughts:

A little surprised

On the one hand, I’m a little surprised that I scored so high on the social anxiety scales, considering the therapy I’ve done and the fact that I’m showing up candidly and somewhat confidently on my blog and Instagram.

(It helps that there aren’t any non-child-non-husband humans around when I write.)

Lockdown effects?

On the other hand, the results are perhaps being skewed by the effects of the lengthy lockdown (entering week 8 as I write this).

I’m not seeing anyone but family, and tensions are just generally high in public. And, you know, globally.

Change how you look at progress

Even with therapy, I haven’t “erased” social anxiety from my life. I get anxious about many of the same things, to varying degrees.

The difference is that I’ve learned to better tolerate the anxiety.

Maybe if there was a test that measured “ability to function with/tolerate social anxiety,” those results would reflect my progress.

That’s a takeaway I’m pretty happy with, actually.


Three more tests

I was concerned about making the post too long, so I’m just going to list these here in case you want to take them yourself:


Disclaimer

This post is entirely for information/entertainment purposes, and not meant to provide instructions on treating or diagnosing any mental health concerns. Doctors first, always. xox


Have you taken any of these tests?

Feel free to talk about your results or thoughts in the comments!

I always enjoy your lovely comments. 🙂

To the Friends of Those With Social Anxiety

Maintaining friendships can be tricky when you have social anxiety.

(I mean, maintaining friendships can be tricky even if you don’t have an anxiety disorder, but that’s not the point of this post.)

The thing about social anxiety is that it isn’t a personality trait. It’s a barrier to your personality, or at least that’s how I experience it.

So I can love my friends and miss them and want to talk to them and visit them and make plans with them… and that’s the real ME feeling those things.

But social anxiety steps in. Closes the doors. Explodes its party cannon of what ifs.

And so I hold back. I stay in touch in writing, which is less intense. Less scary. Less… invasive and uncontrollable.

But more lonely.

It’s a short post but I wanted to put this out there. If you have a friend with social anxiety, I know it can be hard for you too.

It can be hard to always be the one initiating. To always be coaxing us out into your world, out of our caves, through the anxiety mist and past the what if confetti.

But thank you for doing it. Your socially anxious friend probably appreciates it more than you know, even as she resists your efforts every step of the way.

You’re a little scary. But you’re a lot loved.

Happy end of 2019, and go hug your anxious friend!

Hahaha no just kidding don’t do that being touched is scary too.*

* Being hugged is actually very nice. Having to initiate a hug is the stuff of horror movies though.

How Does It Feel To Have Social Anxiety?

Are you wondering whether what you’re experiencing could be social anxiety, or just curious about what the disorder feels like on the inside?

I’m not a mental health professional, so I’m going to come at this by sharing what it feels like from my perspective as someone with social anxiety. The list is not exhaustive (though the symptoms themselves are exhausting).

The signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder can be broken down into three groups:

  1. Physical what’s going on in your body
  2. Cognitive what’s going on in your mind
  3. Behavioural how you act (or don’t), what you do (or don’t)

The categories all work together and feed into one another. Let’s start with what goes on in the body.

Common physical signs (What your body does)

In anxiety-triggering situations, I often…

  1. blush (hard to hide as a ginger — during very stressful public speaking situations I often get red splotches all down my neck and across my chest too… which is a big reason why I avoid them most of the time) 
  2. sweat (a bit)
  3. feel my heart beat faster
  4. shake/tremble (I find this one pretty embarrassing — sometimes I can’t even smile without my lips getting all weird-twitchy)
  5. feel queasy/crampy (I spent most of my teenage years and early 20s thinking I had some kind of undiagnosed allergy or digestive illness)
  6. get lightheaded (and generally just feel very “out of it” or spaced out from reality)

Common cognitive signs (what you think)

The cognitive piece is what I sometimes call my brain bully. It is private torture but every bit as potent as the physical symptoms above. It’s gotten a LOT better through therapy, but at its worst, it looked something like this:

  1. They are going to think I’m [insert negative quality] and that I shouldn’t [do whatever or be however]. (I once told a counsellor that the title of my autobiography could be “The Lifelong Quest for Approval.”)
  2. I’m going to look like a complete idiot who is trying too hard and it’s going to be so embarrassing.
  3. I want them to like me… but I’ll probably just come off as [snobby/stupid/flakey/etc.].
  4. What if I’m overdressed? What if I’m underdressed? What if I was just invited as pity invite/courtesy invite? How will I know when it’s time to leave? What if they never leave my house and I need to go to bed but I can’t tell them that so we just sit there ALL NIGHT stuck in some sort of awkward social filibuster and then I DIE and THEY DIE and IT’S ALL MY FAULT and THE PAPERS ALL WRITE ABOUT WHAT A TERRIBLE, INCONSIDERATE HOST I WAS AND HOW IT’S AMAZING I HAD MADE IT THIS FAR WITHOUT KILLING ANYONE WITH MY SOCIALLY INCOMPETENT FOOLERY?!

….. that anxiety thought-spiral is an example of catastrophic thinking and definitely not likely to actually happen like probably not like almost certainly not or at least not most of it.

Right?

Common behavioural signs (What you do)

So we talked about the body and the brain pieces of the social anxiety trifecta. The last one is how you actually behave. Here are a few ways social anxiety influences my behaviour (during a bad anxiety flare-up):

  1. I am tempted to avoid many social situations. Like, I chose a job that lets me skulk in my basement office and communicate with people only via email. And also if you ask me to talk on the phone MY INSIDES WILL LITERALLY yes literally in the literal sense EVAPORATE INTO A PUFF OF TOXIC ANXIETY POISON AND THERE WILL ONLY BE A DRIED-OUT HUSK LEFT TO ANSWER YOUR CALL.
  2. When I am not ensconced in my fortress of hermitude and must interface with other humans, I tend to swing to the other extreme and be SUPER HAPPY AND PERKY AND CHIPPER.
  3. I apologize a lot. Like, even for a Canadian. If I could no longer apologize I’m not sure what I’d have left to say (I’m kidding… but not as kidding as you would hope for a functional adult).

If this sounds like you

You aren’t alone. You aren’t crazy (I mean, not more than me and I’m totally functional most of the time and more importantly I’ve made huge progress and so can you). It can get better.

There are people who can help. There’s medication if that’s something you’re open to.

You don’t have to display every sign and symptom in a description of social anxiety in order to “justify” getting support. (I didn’t experience every single piece of the description when I was diagnosed with very severe social anxiety a couple of years ago.) (I’m hoping I would fall into the “moderate” range now.)

If you think this sounds like you, then you’re probably right. At the very least, it’s a big enough red flag that there’s something worth looking into going on.

Reach out for help in whatever way you can. There’s too much at stake to just keep trying to soldier on alone. Believe me.

Good places for info:

You got this.

Have you experienced any of the signs and symptoms above?

Let me know in the comments!

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