I would love a world where social anxiety sufferers, especially vulnerable women, receive the love, compassion and support they so desperately need.
And I’m starting this conversation now.
In this post, I will talk about openly what social anxiety is, how it can manifest itself, the impact it has on us as mothers I share with you my 6 facts about living with Social Anxiety.
Well, although social anxiety is linked to depression and other anxiety disorders, it’s important to look at social anxiety independently to truly understand it. The data for the UK is not very accurate because it’s grouped under the umbrella of mental health disorders, but I did find out what 15 million adults have been diagnosed in the USA. So this is serious enough that we do need to talk about it.
So What is Social Anxiety?
The NHS describes it as a ‘long-lasting and overwhelming fear of social situations’.
If you suffer with social anxiety, you may know that others around you think you may be shy, quiet, withdrawn, inhibited, unfriendly, nervous, aloof or possibly disinterested.
In actual fact, the opposite is true, if you have social anxiety, you want to make friends, be included in groups and be involved and engaged in social situations, but having social anxiety stops you from having the ability to do the things you desperately want to do. You want to be friendly, open, and sociable, but it is a very real fear (created solely by anxiety) that stops you.
Social anxiety is best described as your inner critic that tells you lies about the world around you. Anxiety creates this imaginary world where everyone is judging you, talking about you and lying to you. This completely paralyses you and prevents the real YOU coming out. It can prevent you from you achieving your full potential, despite knowing deep down that your anxiety is irrational. You know that the lies anxiety tells you is not based on fact, and sometimes does not make any rational sense. Nevertheless, the anxious thoughts and feelings of anxiety can continue and can feel like they will never leave you.
Social Anxiety Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of social anxiety can be hard to live with and awkward to conceal. Symptoms like feeling scared, nervous, racing heart, blushing, excessive sweating, a dry throat and mouth, shaking, and muscle twitches. When it’s really bad, you can develop a dysmorphia relating to part of your body in which you perceive themselves irrationally and negatively. There is always this continual, intense feeling of fear which is anxiety playing dirty tricks on you.
Challenging Your Social Anxiety
The way in which you think about everything has an impact on your social anxiety disorder but I know your thoughts feel like they’re outside of your control. You need to remember that they are just ‘thoughts’, without any real evidence, and are not necessarily ‘fact’. Even though you may believe the lies that anxiety feeds you, you need to remember that you should question each and every one of your anxious thoughts as they are often based on the wrong assumptions.
If you find yourself thinking about things in an unhelpful or unrealistic way and you want to have a chat with me to see how you can start to make changes to this and learn to see things in a more realistic light, I can teach you cognitive behavioural techniques which will challenge your unhelpful thoughts which will help to reduce your social anxiety. In the meantime, download my 6 facts about living with Social Anxiety and book a call with me here.