When you go into a public place, do your stomach muscles tighten up? Do you just want to crawl into a ball or take off running as fast as you can? Do you make excuses when people ask you to go out? When you finally summon up the courage to step out, are you constantly worried that others will judge or embarrass you? Sometimes what you think is shyness is actually something called Social Anxiety Disorder. It’s an unbearable fear that happens when you interact with others in a public space. While some people might go out to unwind after a long day, you just want to go home and relax in front of the TV or cuddle up with a good book.
Social Anxiety creates fear when you have to be in certain social situations where you could possibly be observed, noticed or scrutinized by others. Some of these situations could include eating out at a restaurant, going to a party, going on a date, speaking in front of a crowd or even just going to the grocery store.
While these situations appear like normal everyday social situations to others, to you, they create a deep sense of fear, anxiety and worry. Before you are about to go to a restaurant, you practice walking through the door, you visualize all the people who will be staring at you and you even wonder if you'll have to escape from the emergency exit.
Usually when you are in social situations, you feel an increased sense of anxiety, you might have difficulty interacting with others because you believe they are judging you or scrutinizing your every move. You find it difficult to stay calm when you're with others, because you can't shut your mind off. The entire time, you might be thinking "Will they think I'm weird? Are they judging me? I know I'm going to embarrass myself. What id I fall? Will they laugh?" Although the situation might seem harmless to others, it fills you with such distress that you have to leave. Sometimes you get so nervous that you might embarrass yourself, that you’re not able to truly enjoy the company of others.
If this sounds like you, the good news is that Social Anxiety Disorder is treatable. All you need to do is contact a mental health professional who is experienced in treating Social Anxiety so that you can work on changing your thoughts, you can be slowly introduced to social situations and you can get your happy back. It doesn’t have to ruin your life.
You can work on it and be released from the constant anxiety you experience. If you are in the Murrieta area and you are in need of a counselor or therapist, contact me for a free 15 minute phone consultation (951-905-3181) so that we can decide if you’re ready to begin the healing process.
Have you ever experienced social anxiety?