People behave differently when they encounter certain situations. Our response, behavior, and attitude towards society tell a lot about our mental health. Most of the time our bad mental health hinders the way we are supposed to respond to certain situations. There are certain disorders that affect our daily routine badly. One such disorder that makes one hesitant, reluctant, fearful in social gatherings because of the fear of being judged, evaluated by other people is a social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder makes the life of the person miserable by not enabling them to respond to life the way they are supposed to be and that is because of pointless fears.
Social anxiety disorder can impact the life of the person depending upon the severity of the disorder. In most chronic cases one might completely isolate himself from the society and the negative thoughts can even make the patient suicidal.
Shift towards the disorder from normal behavior
One is not likely to behave normally in social gatherings and their behavior is quite evident from the panic they are trying to hide. Did you ever watch someone lowering their gaze while talking to people, or scratching their head, moving their feet? That happens quite often around us. We also used to feel anxious, perplexed when the space around us start congesting at times. The societal bond around us is so strong that isolating oneself from society is practically impossible. We have to adjust here no matter what. Still, the statistics show that a considerable number of people have a hard time while befitting into the fabric.
People usually termed the hesitation to befit into social gatherings as shyness and yes it right to some extent. I repeat to some extent. First of all, we need to discriminate between shyness and the chronic form of the same shyness. One might find it nuts while talking or introducing themselves in front of people.
What is social anxiety?
Social anxiety is not just the state of being shy it one of the most unrecognized harmful mental health issues. People became over-conscious of the fear of being judged, evaluated, and looked down upon by the other people. The situation’s worse side is when the situation starts impeding one’s normal routine activities. There is always a constant fear of being judged which starts making one perplexed and baffled in the presence of other people. Walking into a room full of people, looking down upon oneself, feeling hesitation while eating and drinking in a restaurant, suppressing that urge of living the moment fully because of fear of being judged.
For instance, you are in a concert and you want to dance, giggle, and party they way others are doing but the fear of not being judged and thought of not being a part of that crowd makes you restrain your happiness. Huh! isn’t it sad that people around us are confining their living when they are supposed to live the moment just because of pointless fears? The specter of social anxiety becomes more visible when everyone’s attention is diverted towards you, every pupil is imaging your persona? Does it happen at times? Does it happen that Your brain started questioning your own self?
Misconception about social anxiety
Shyness is quite normal which people face at times. While walking into a drawing-room full of guests, while going on the stage for imparting a 5 minutes speech, and when everyone around us is attentive towards a person. But that is quite normal and happens at times, now what’s not normal is this situation trying to halt daily social activities. The stark difference between social anxiety and shyness is the time they last. Shyness usually vanishes once one conforms oneself according to the situation. In a drawing-room full of guests one can stop feeling shy once facing eye to eye encounter with few people or after having a minute exchange of words with someone. Once you are familiarized with the situation you no longer feel shy.
Secondly, the physical effects of shyness are not that devastating as that of social anxiety are. You might have a hard time mingling within your newly developed peer group but after a few days, you start feeling yourself a part of that group. That doesn’t happen in social anxiety. The symptoms and physical effects of social anxiety are more lasting than shyness. One can say that shyness is the threshold of social anxiety, if one overcomes the shyness then he is normal but if shyness along with its symptoms makes one avoid social gatherings, accepting oneself than it is social anxiety.
How to find that one has a social anxiety disorder
Most of the people around us are living in the illusionary created bubble of isolation which they don’t want to break. You might be one of them but that’s normal you just are an introvert. People have chosen seclusion for themselves because that’s how they feel good, but, social anxiety is quite different you totally become unacceptable to social gatherings, talking to people. Being an introvert is a choice but being socially anxious is not.
An introvert doesn’t panic if they have to face the above-mentioned scenario, which is the worst possible consequence of social anxiety. Imagine you are among your peers, someone calls your name and you just freaked out or you are all dolled up for an event, you enter the party and you just stagger out of hesitation, or worst possibly you are having a first long wished date of your life and you can’t help throwing spoons and fork on the ground time and again or your boss asks you to go on a stage and give your intro and you totally forget who you are.
Yes, yes that happens and it makes one’s life miserable; they find it nearly impossible to adjust according to the situation. The story doesn’t end here, all these and similar incident are coupled with physical symptoms which came with a strong urge of hiding them in front of others
Everyone turns their gaze on you and you start blushing, your heart starts competing with the traffic running on the nearby road. your palms start sweating, your whole body starts trembling and you find yourself immediately caught up in an awkward situation, and to hide the sweat, blush, fear, and embarrassment of yours, you start doing queer things like unnecessary pauses in a speech, start moving your feet and hands in a strange manner. There is constant fear which stops from volunteering anywhere there is a chance of encountering social mingling. It even affects the digestive system of a person, in severe cases the person might find difficulty in seeing things clearly (which happens rarely). These are the physical symptoms that can make social life and health of the person miserable, forcing him/her to confine himself in seclusion throughout his life. Here are some other symptoms of social anxiety.
Is it curable? if yes then how?
Yes, social anxiety is curable. there are certain things one can do to overcome social anxiety. However, going to a psychiatrist solely depends upon the severity of the illness. There are individual techniques plus seeking help from people around you, which can be beneficial in curbing anxiety from one’s personality.
1- Seeking medical care
Going to a psychiatrist fro any such issue is advised because firstly it helps to recognize the ailment secondly it helps one directing on the track of treatment depending upon the level disease has encroached one’s mind and personality. Recognition method involves directly talking to the psychiatrist and telling him/her the conditions you faced while being in different social conditions. You might be asked to fill a questionnaire to assess the level of illness. Your psychiatrist might test medicines on you to gauge the anxiety provoked in response. Once the illness is recognized you can have a therapy session with your psychiatrist, known as psychotherapy.
Psychotherapy has been known to be the most effective way of curbing the symptoms. In psychotherapy, the patient has a direct face to face discussion, including sharing previous experiences, having question-answer sessions, methods to curb symptoms, motivational speaking by the psychiatrist. It has been said that psychotherapy is the most significant measure towards the cure of social anxiety.
2- Individual efforts
“One who knows the intensity of pain has the most capability to overcome it”. There are certain things which a person can do to overcome social anxiety and fears such as:
Randomly interacting with the people
It is quite difficult to interact with people when you have a fear of being judged or evaluated. But there are certain circumstances where people are not likely to judge you. For instance, if you look a little cute girl sleeping in the baby cot in the market, don’t hesitate to tell her mother that your Lil angel is cute. If one of your mates is having a birthday and you have never talked to him/her before it would be totally fine to go and wish him/her happy birthday. That would make their day as well and you’ll feel good while seeing a positive response from people. Gradually practising such small acts and getting a positive response would have a pleasing effect on you and your views about people will slowly start tilting towards positive.
Trying to purge the feelings out
We have been observing, thinking, and making judgments about people, scenarios around us, That largely shape our mindset, an amalgamation of those thoughts springs feelings. You might have seen doctors giving sketchbooks to patients inwards. The very purpose of them is to help patients get rid of the negative thoughts that dwell in their minds. Most mental health issues have symptoms that can be lessened by purging the thoughts out. It could be done in several ways such as painting, writing, singing, etc. Firstly it helps root out negative thoughts by shifting them anywhere, secondly, it engages the mind in some healthy activity decreasing the time to think about negatives
Shift your perspective
There are always two or varying sides of the picture. It solely depends upon the perspective we are focusing on that is going to decide the whole story. If you think that people want to look down upon you then you must be fearful, but wait for a second, what if you think that they want you to perform well on the stage? It is said that if you are on the stage with the notion that people love you and they want you to deliver your best then the likelihood of bad performance is lessened to a greater extent. If you are in public and your mind keeps on producing the negative thoughts then do forcefully try to think about the other positive side of the picture.
Live in the present
In a number of social anxiety cases, it happens that childhood traumas play a part in one being fearful of social gatherings. Past haunts people in a number of ways we need to learn how to get over our past; one possible repercussion of it could be isolating oneself from society. Living in the past or future completely relinquishes one’s wish to live in the present. Living at any time but not present can result in low self-esteem, fear when you’re forced to encounter a sudden situation, low confidence, no focus, forgetfulness. Moving from past to present measures such as meditation and yoga helps a lot. Keep on practising meditation and yoga on a daily basis. They not only keep one active mind, focused, confident but also lessen the negative thoughts and helps one to maintain good physical health.
Once you get to know about the curse of social anxiety do try to find people around you suffering and try to help them in getting over it. It helps a person in overcoming once own shortcomings as well.
3- Seeking help from people around you:
Surround yourself with the people who think positively, motivate you/ love you, and tell you that you can overcome it. Most of the times people are surrounded by the people who are constantly instilling negative thoughts in one’s mind. For instance, if you wear new clothes and you go to your friends and two of them tell you that you are not looking good enough in this colour. Then even if you think highly of yourself that two question marks inculcated by someone will keep on taking a peek. Continuous negativity can totally shift your angle of looking at something. Social anxiety can lead one towards loneliness and isolation. Click here and learn how to overcome loneliness and isolation.
Start moving towards a better future; live freely
Social anxiety disorder is not that ordinary reluctance or hesitation to befit into society. It is the chronic form of isolation and if not checked it can make the life of a person miserable. When one has no option of complete isolation and one finds it impossible to adjust among people then this confused state left a person in complete dismay. It is better to seek medical aid in curing this disorder. Individual efforts are the most helpful in rooting out the disorder because the change one wants to bring in the personality is always standing at the threshold of one’s own effort.
God has created us all free, different, and unique that is enough to beautify our existence that we are all unique from the rest of the world. All that we need is to inculcate this belief firmly in ourselves and that requires nothing more than our little effort.
Click here to find some other tips on how to get over social anxiety. Also if you need further help please go through the articles on my friend Amanda’s website. Reading her articles will definitely help you to get over anxiety.