Welcome, lately I have been listening to the struggle of social anxiety. This is such a double edge sword. We need socialization to survive, it’s a process of working together as a community. Socialization is learned not something we are born with. That being said, some of us have extreme anxiety when we are in social situations (why doesn’t matter). This leaves the individual at risk for loneliness. Social anxiety is feeling excluded from the group, intense worry, fear that others will know you are nervous and excessive self doubt. People who suffer with addictions often struggle with social anxiety. I want to list a few things that might be helpful to know:
Predicting the future, assuming the worst. This is called fortune telling. This is common for someone with social anxiety. Notice when you are doing this, just noticing it will reduce it. Fortune telling feeds social anxiety and makes it worse, do what you can to challenge these thoughts. Don’t believe these silly ideas. None of us know the future.
Catastrophizing is normal for someone with social anxiety. Thinking things like “this is awful” or “terrible.” Those are extreme words, how much do you really care if someone else is nervous? Probably not much, others really don’t care that much either, others are worrying about themselves, or didn’t notice. Remember the word terrible or awful are words to describe something like homelessness, or a car accident. Put things in perspective. You have gotten used to catastrophizing, challenge these thoughts as well.
The human brain can only think of one idea at a time, move your brain from an internal thought to an external thought. Think of someone else and focus on them. This is takes time but try it. Over time this will work.
Work on yourself, write about it, process where you are at with it. Acceptance is the first part, then you can change, sometimes the feeling moves if you acknowledge it. Spend time in social situations that you can tolerate. You know you best, listen to yourself on this. You can learn to change your thoughts and the way you feel about yourself. If you are not in therapy get to therapy, it doesn’t have to be group. Group is great when you are ready to challenge fears but only if you are ready for it. Be patient with yourself, you are not alone.
Personal of the Speechless
I don’t struggle with social anxiety. There go I by the grace of God; I have a brother who is an addict, suffers with social anxiety, and is now homeless. Throughout the years he has counted on substances to cure his anxiety, this is so common. He has a heart of gold, most gentle soul you will meet. He is uncomfortable all the time, and now so isolated that he sort of lives on the outside of society. Society is so important for us to meet our belonging needs; some of us have to work harder at it than others. Stay engaged and continue to work on yourself. You deserve this human need to belong. Comment below, provide feedback to me as always, and suggest something you want me to blog about. Be well.