(Closed) Treatment for social anxiety?

posted 6 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
Member
2159 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

View original reply
Lnette91:  

I used to suffer from a lot of anxiety, depression, social anxiety, agoraphobia… I also battled an eating disorder in my teens. 

Therapy definitely did not help me personally because dwelling on negative experiences just made them more important in my head and meant that I was consistently stuck in a rut going over my problems again and again… so personally, with anxiety, I don’t find talking about it to be helpful.

What helped me was genuinely learning to like myself and forgive myself each and every time I somehow ‘messed up’. If I was in a social situation feeling detached from it all, I would give myself a mental hug, really forgive myself for feeling that way, focus on being proud of myself for the fact that I was still sitting there… kind of like CBT I guess. 

Don’t fight it, instead work on accepting and loving every part of yourself.. put yourself in situations outside your comfort zone on purpose and praise yourself for every moment that you get through. This way, through positive reinforcement, you will become increasingly proud of yourself and will also gradually become able to forget yourself in social situations and start to genuinely enjoy yourself. 

Example – I went to the hairdressers for the first time in my life (!) because I had always been terrified of it. I went there, put myself in the situation willingly, sat there while she cut my hair, all the while panicking like crazy, and at the end of it instead of beating myself up for panicking I was so proud of myself for having done it. 

Put yourself in social settings willingly, and when  you’re in them, don’t tense against the anxiety that you’re feeling but instead let yourself feel it willingly and allow your confidence in yourself to grow as a result. 

It’s like blushing – if you blush and panic about blushing, you blush more. If you blush and laugh it off, you stop blushing. This is honestly exactly the same and once I realized that then getting over a lot of my issues became easier.

 

 

Post # 4
Member
82 posts
Worker bee

View original reply
Lnette91:  I find as I am getting older my anxiety is getting worse. If I know I will have to go someplace alone or drive somewhere alone I really start to panic. Everyone has just got used to me being a shy person. I am thinking of getting professional help but then again, I am scared to go! 

Post # 5
Member
5082 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

View original reply
Lnette91:  You sound very similar to me. I never really considered myself to have social anxiety (I do have generalized anxiety though), but rather that I’m just socially awkward and shy around people I don’t know well. I don’t really have trouble with talking to people in “business” settings, like sales associates, hairdressers, and people at my job as long as they are about the task at hand. I’m completely useless at small talk though. I also do get a lot of anxiety when it comes to hanging out with people I don’t know well, but who I want to impress (like DH’s friends and family). The difference is that my DH knows this, and supports me, instead of saying it’s a problem and to get over it. He makes an effort to include me in conversations and doesn’t leave me alone with people. He was even willing to skip a big event when I had a full on break down about it, though I pulled myself together and went anyway. I still get the “what is wrong with you?” and “you’re so quiet” comments, but it’s not as bad. Honestly, the only thing that really makes me social with strangers on my own is alcohol. I talked to a therapist about this, and she kind of just brushed it off as being an introvert and said it wasn’t a problem. 

Post # 6
Member
155 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Can I just say that amanda3334455’s advice to learn to like yourself and getting professional help are not mutually exclusive. Some therapy is directly focussed on helping you learn to like yourself!

Finding the right therapy and therapist is important.

So if you feel that you would like some help, help that is all yours and doens’t have to be balanced against the needs of your SO or other factors, look into therapy.

amanda3334455: I love your story!

Post # 8
Member
5082 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

View original reply
Lnette91:  According to the Myers-Briggs test, I’m slightly introverted, but I fall very close to the middle. I’m shy in situations where I’m with people I don’t know well, but I’m not quiet or shy at all around my own friends or my husband. I also don’t prefer being alone to being with people, I just don’t like to be around a lot of people or people I don’t know. I hated it when I lived alone for instance. So I don’t really know that I would categorize myself as being strongly introverted. I just get very anxious around people I don’t know well. And yes, it really helps that my husband supports me and understands this part of me. My ex used to ridicule me for it and say how all his friends thought I was stuck up or bitchy and such, so it’s nice to have someone that is understanding.

Post # 9
Member
40 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: Loon Lake Lodge, Lakeville, MA

I have major depression and anxiety (they are best friends actually). When I get depressed, I tend to pull away. I become a hermit. I have to force myself to go out and be active. 

I am one of those introverts that can be extroverted. I am also shy when I don’t know people and feel uncormfortable. I have had a hard time making friends most of my life. I made a concert effort to join meetup and get out there. An ex of mine thought the same. They said I was too “Boston like”. I am not sure what they meant by that but I can be reserved and quiet or I can be totally outgoing and the social butterfly. It really depends.

Post # 10
Member
54 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

View original reply
Lnette91:  

Honestly… it is nothing to be ashamed of, any more so than it would be if you had any other mild chronic illness. It’s also probably far more common than  you might be aware 🙂

I was formally diagnosed with dysthymia (a form of chronic low-grade depression) and social anxiety disorder when I was nearing the end of secondary school, having suffered from both for several years at that point.

I don’t really recall much of my post-secondary social life. It actually just hit me the other day while considering guest lists that I don’t even HAVE any friends from university… I never made any.

I agree with SarahLulu that self-help and professional treatment do not need to be mutually exclusive, they certainly weren’t in my case! It really all depends on the individual. For me, what worked was a combination of three things:

  1. Medication to combat the depression and alleviate some of the discomfort of the social anxiety. 
  2. Having a better personal understanding of what exactly the condition was and how it affected me – in other words, being able to separate my emotional feeling from a logical analysis of the situation. I would (and still do) literally have conversations in my head during particularly uncomfortable situations: why am I feeling this way? What exactly is making me feel this way? It helped me to clarify whether I was feeling uncomfortable for a logical reason, or whether it was just the anxiety talking.
  3. Having other people understand what was going on. I made a pact with myself to make an effort to always be open about my condition with people I was becoming close to – it made it easier to spend the time developing a friendship/relationship with somebody, knowing that they weren’t going to reject me for it. Additionally, it makes it easier for me to tolerate social situations if I’m with somebody who KNOWS that I’m having trouble and knows WHY I’m having trouble.

I have since discovered a side-effect of number 3 on my list – a lot MORE people have similar problems than I would have thought, and a lot FEWER people judge me for it than I thought would have. Since realizing this, I’ve actually made a conscious effort to let more people know about my issues. Not only does it help them to understand me and to make allowances when they know I’m feeling uncomfortable, I also feel like it helps people in general become a little more understanding about mental illness as a whole – mental illness does not equal “crazy”, it’s really no different than any other medical problem and ought to be treated as such. It also minimizes the feeling of shame for me. I am no longer ashamed of admitting that I have trouble in social situations – if somebody chooses to judge me poorly for that, then I simply consider such a person as not worth my time in developing any kind of relationship with. It takes a lot of stress off of me and in the long run, helps me feel better about myself because I’m no longer blaming myself for my issues, I’m simply recognizing them as a personal challenge that I do my best to live with. Everyone has some sort of personal issue (mental or otherwise) – so I feel that it makes me just as normal as the next person!

Disclaimer – this doesn’t mean I run about shouting from the rooftops about my problems to anybody who will listen, but it is something that I am fairly free about sharing with close friends and relatives, or with other interested parties who are willing and capable of having a civil discussion about it 🙂

Sorry if I ramble too much!

Post # 11
Member
2159 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

View original reply
Lnette91:  I cope with comments like that by telling myself ”what they’re saying is just words, and my reaction to it is just a feeling.. it’s not important”. Your reaction of embarassmenet is just that – a reaction.. it’s not a huge important thing that you have to deal with.. it’s just a feeling of embarassment that you can brush aside and ignore 🙂 It takes practise but I’m sure you can do it! 

The topic ‘Treatment for social anxiety?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors