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Urge to Run and Jump Around All of the Time, Discomfort Socializing

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I’m almost 18 years old, and for as long as I can remember, socializing has always been difficult, internally. It’s difficult to describe other than to say that when I’m talking to someone, I’m acutely aware of the fact that I’m talking to them. I’m capable of normal conversations and I have a few friends, but it’s difficult because I’m inside of my head the entire time. It just doesn’t feel normal or natural. When someone other than a close friend is talking to me, I’m thinking “; This person is talking. Listen to what they are saying. Look at them. Listen.” and it feels like I’m acting. There are only one or two people I don’t feel this way with and I’m wondering if this discomfort is normal. I know people find small talk and getting to know other people boring but I’ve never heard anyone describe it like this. I don’t think it’s social anxiety because it’s not exactly that I’m anxious/afraid. It just feels unnatural and uncomfortable, which does make me a bit anxious sometimes but that isn’t the primary feeling.
The other strange thing about myself that I wanted to mention is that I run and jump around a lot for no reason. I have a habit of just kind of pacing, skipping, and jumping around in circles. I am always daydreaming and fantasizing as I do this. I wouldn’t find this concerning if I were much younger, but I am on the brink of turning 18 and feel that I should have outgrown this. It’s something that I do when the random urge strikes me, and if I ignore it, I become very uncomfortable. If I’m at school and the urge strikes me, I’ll fidget, bounce my leg, or, occasionally, if it’s very strong, start rocking back and forth in my seat.
These two things, the discomfort with socializing and the jumping around, make me feel very different from other people. I irrationally fear that people automatically know that I’m different and therefore don’t like me. I would be remiss not to mention that I’m a sexual abuse survivor, but both of these behaviors actually came sooner since I was abused at ages 10-14 and I’ve been doing these things longer than that. Are my feelings and behaviors normal, or should I be more persistent with my therapist, who hasn’t acknowledged them much?

Urge to Run and Jump Around All of the Time, Discomfort Socializing

Answered by on -


There are many possibilities here that have to do with your past, your struggle to pay attention in the present, and the fidgeting. But I would not rule out social anxiety for accounting for at least part of these reactions. This blog by Johnna Medina, Ph.D. explains the conditions surrounding these reactions and offers suggestions for improvement. Most people who have social anxiety recognize that their anxiety is out of proportion to the situation and is unreasonable. Although more women struggle with social anxiety than men, men more often seek treatment.

Here are just a few of the conditions that go along with this condition that are elaborated on in the article by Dr. Medina:
• Exposure to the feared social situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may take the form of a situationally-bound or situationally-predisposed panic attack.
• The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable.
• The feared social or performance situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anxiety or distress.
• The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared social or performance situation(s) interferes significantly with the person’s normal routine, occupational (academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.

But, rather than guess, I would highly recommend an evaluation by a neuropsychologist or clinical psychologist. Many times, such evaluations can be illuminating to the therapeutic process. With a battery of tests, a neuro- or clinical psychologist can typically identify your strengths and weaknesses relative to one another In this way, you may be able to figure out a course of treatment, medicine that can be helpful.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Urge to Run and Jump Around All of the Time, Discomfort Socializing

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). Urge to Run and Jump Around All of the Time, Discomfort Socializing. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 18 Jul 2020 (Originally: 20 Jul 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 18 Jul 2020
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