What is social anxiety?
Social anxiety is a type of anxiety that affects individuals thought patterns, making them extremely self-conscious, nervous in social situations, and fearful of being judged or evaluated by others. It is a fear of social situations where the individual has to interact with other people. Certain people are more prone to develop this social phobia if anxiety disorders run in the family, and if they have experienced some type of social shaming earlier on in life.
Inside the mind of someone with social anxiety
Someone with social anxiety might worry and obsess when they know they have to interact with others, they feel as though everyone will be looking at them, critiquing them, or making fun of them. They hold onto negative past experiences and replay them over and over in their head for years, such as a public shaming comment from a teacher or a clumsy mistake at work where everyone laughed. Someone struggling with this is sensitive to situations with others, often perceiving interactions negatively, believing others do not like them, thinking they are stupid or ugly and believing they have nothing good to offer others. If you could listen to someone’s thoughts they might be telling themselves, “I don’t want to be here, there laughing at me, I’m so stupid, I can’t do this, and please don’t call on me.”
Is social Anxiety just a phase?
The good news is that social anxiety is very treatable, the bad news is that it will not go away on its own, and can often worsen if untreated. The truth is that someone with social phobia might be very smart, good looking, gifted and talented however in their own mind they are not. The mind is one of the strongest determining factors in determining someone’s success and fulfillment in life. Someone with social anxiety is probably discouraged with the way their life has been going, wishing they were like others, wishing they had more friends, and more opportunities. Through cognitive behavioral therapy, people can process past negative situations, understand underlying issues better, and work through current fears and thought barriers. People can develop self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-compassion, not being so hard on themselves and realizing that others probably don’t care as much as they thought either.
Is social anxiety dangerous or serious?
Social anxiety is serious when untreated because it can worsen over time. When many forms of anxiety are untreated people often become isolated, further negative, and worried. It is common for anxiety to then turn into depression which can lead to thoughts of hopelessness, helplessness, low motivation, and even thoughts of not wanting to live anymore. Thankfully I am here to tell you that when you treat social anxiety through good therapy, lifestyle adjustments and sometimes medication, you or your loved one can completely improve, and even become stronger individuals in the process. There is hope and there is help, don’t wait.