Social Anxiety Disorder is a debilitating fear of being out in public. The fear of being judged, criticised and feeling like you don’t belong can lead to a life of isolation and loneliness.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is the intense fear attending social events that involve interacting with other people. It’s more common in women than it is in men.
People with social anxiety disorder base their decisions on what they perceive others will think of them. Even if they have no evidence and no prior experience of being judged by others, it doesn’t stop them from feeling the way they do.
The underlying turmoil is they feel trapped and lonely. Ultimately, they just want to belong and fit in, which is the opposite to their behaviour of rejecting social invitations and declining dates.
Social Anxiety Disorder Self-Talk
People with social anxiety disorder will tell themselves things like:
- I’m not good enough
- I don’t belong here
- People will think I’m stupid
- I don’t know what to say to people
- Everyone will be looking at me
- I’ll make a fool of myself
- People will laugh at me
The thought process that accompanies social anxiety disorder actually maintains the anxiety. Each time negative thoughts go through a person’s mind, it triggers the anxiety and then the anxiety triggers the thoughts process again. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves a person feeling defeated, similar to other anxiety disorders.
All of these thoughts can seem irrational – even to the people having these thoughts. But, knowing the thoughts are irrational is not enough to stop the thoughts. These thoughts trigger an intense emotional and physical reaction. Social anxiety disorder can creep into every area of your life, limiting your options for advancement and growth.
Environmental Triggers for Social Anxiety Disorder
A person with social anxiety disorder will feel anxious in the following situations:
- Meeting someone new
- Going to a meeting
- Being in the company of authority people
- Being the centre of attention
- Going to parties
- Eating in public
- Making small talk
- Using public toilets
Physical Symptoms of Social Anxiety
The thought of attending these events will triggers physical symptoms including:
- Heart Palpitations
- Tightening of the chest
- Chest Pain
- Stomach Aches
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Muscle tension
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle tension
Emotional Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety is emotionally draining and really impacts self-esteem and confidence. It can trigger feelings of loneliness, not-good-enough, inadequacy, embarrassment, humiliation, shame and failure.
Click to read the full checklist of of anxiety symptoms.
The typical behaviour of a person suffering social anxiety disorder is to avoid social situations, worry consistently about the negative possible outcomes of an event, masking their fear of making mistakes with perfectionism and using procrastination to delay participation or making decisions.
If you have social anxiety you will always find a reason or an excuse to decline a social invitation. However, declining an invitation doesn’t mean you didn’t want to go, it means you prefer to avoid the social situation altogether rather than put yourself through the trauma of attending.
If you have social anxiety and people close to you don’t know this, it can make you look aloof, disinterested and disconnected from others.
The best thing you can do is to talk to people you are close to and explain what happens for you so they don’t feel you are rejecting them.
Clinical Hypnotherapy can help get rid of symptoms by reprogramming “how” your unconscious mind does anxiety. In other words, we exchange anxiety for feeling confident. You don’t need to feel like you’re missing out anymore. If you need some help you can click here to book an appointment online.