Do I have social anxiety disorder, or am I just shy?

I know it all depends on severity, and mine isn't THAT bad, but I still feel like I'm waaaay more shy than I should be. It all started when I did volunteer work at some hospital... before that, I was kind of quiet, but at the hospital I was terrified. I tried to avoid talking or even having eye contact... show more I know it all depends on severity, and mine isn't THAT bad, but I still feel like I'm waaaay more shy than I should be.

It all started when I did volunteer work at some hospital... before that, I was kind of quiet, but at the hospital I was terrified. I tried to avoid talking or even having eye contact with patients. I would start shaking or stuttering every time I had to talk to a nurse or a secretary, and at lunch I tried to pick the empty table as far away as possible from anybody. Even though I worked for eight weeks, every day felt like my first day. I thought I would get used to being around new people, but it just stayed the same situation until I left.

After that I started high school, and it continued there, even though this is the same school I've gone to my whole life and half the people in my grade I've known since elementary school. I suddenly felt like I couldn't handle having a conversation with anybody I didn't know very well, and even the people I knew well but didn't talk to often. Whenever somebody tried to say hi to me I would freak out, mutter some kind of response, and try to get away as quickly as possible. I feel completely fine when one of my friends is in the room (I only have four 'friends', two of them are close friends, and I only completely trust one of them). But as soon as they leave I just kind of go silent and wish I was somewhere else.

I think it's getting worse, too. I won't pick up my phone unless I know whoever's calling very well. I absolutely hate ordering food at restaurants, and I don't go to parties unless at least two of my friends will be there. In my Spanish class we have to get three signatures from our peers who have tested us on the vocab, but instead of asking people to test me I usually just forge it. I'm always scared that my Spanish teacher will find out that, too... and in Band I absolutely cannot play a solo because I feel so self-conscious and whatnot. A couple of weeks ago I really wanted to be in the school play but I couldn't even force myself to go to the audition, because I was so scared of the other people trying out being there... I always feel like I can't go anywhere without people looking at me or talking about me, and I'm always scared of saying something stupid or rude. I even get nervous when I'm posting something online.. like, if I've posted a comment or some art or something, and nobody comments on it, I feel like nobody cares about what I have to say or I said something wrong.

It's kind of freaking me out. I'm afraid to tell my parents, because they'll probably just tell me I'm shy or it's just a stage... is it really a social disorder? Or at least, enough of a social disorder that I can use it as an excuse not to talk when people ask why I'm so quiet?
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