When we talk about social anxiety, there’s a couple different ways to look at it. Social Anxiety Disorder is a mental disorder in the DSM- 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). However, I sort of hate diagnoses unless you are using them for insurance purposes or to receive extra helpful services of some kind. Regardless of whether you fit a formal diagnosis, general experiences of social anxiety include, though are not limited to:
Feeling that others are looking at/judging you
Thoughts of not being good enough
Heart racing, palms sweating, hot, red skin when having to speak in front of others
Shaking, panic, feeling dizzy when in a crowded room or public place
Avoidance of these situations to avoid this uncomfortable feeling
The thought of rejection is terrifying
Feeling as though you are missing out because of this
Fear of conflict and avoidance of it
Fear of being alone/abandoned
Hyper sense of yourself in the world-how you look, what you say, etc
Afraid to order food for yourself, ask questions of strangers such as store clerks etc.
Uncomfortable making phone calls
You criticize or judge yourself for feeling anxious
These symptoms significantly interfere with your life
A few others that I have seen that are maybe “less discussed” can include:
Being overly nice or generous or over-agreeable
Being too loud or too soft when speaking
Needing validation from others constantly-example: “Just ask Jane, she was there. She’ll tell you! Isn’t that right Jane?!”
Having trouble getting words out when trying to speak
Using substances such as alcohol to feel more comfortable in social situations
Do any of these sound like you or someone you know? The biggest factor overall is that it is impacting your life in some negative way. There are a variety of treatments for social anxiety out there, though I have found many of these to be less than effective. There is medication for anxiety, which is typically an anti-depressant of some type and can be very effective for panic and generalized anxiety. Some people find it to be helpful as well for social anxiety, though some have not found this to be the case. Others include various forms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Therapy (which is a form of CBT).
What I have been putting together is a program that includes aspects of CBT, exposure, neuro-linguistic programming, and various other tools of the things I have found to be the most effective with people (and myself) for overcoming Social Anxiety. This is not therapy and is instead delivered from a coaching model, which is much less time-consuming than therapy, is more direct and creates the RESULTS that people have been seeking.
Social anxiety can be so challenging because it is often difficult to talk about it, as that in itself is anxiety-provoking! There is hope though and you don’t have to live with this forever. I have been there myself and I have overcome it. Like anything, it is not a “one size fits all” kind of a thing, but there are often many similarities among those who experience this.
If you have questions about all this, please post in the comments below or send me an email at Melissa@journeytopresent.com. If you are interested in this program or individual coaching, please set up a FREE call with me HERE.