Social Anxiety/Phobia Support – Social Anxiety: talk about ruminating on embarrassement

People would normally feel anxious of how they would perform in public or how to properly behave when someone’s eyes are watching. But people with social anxiety experience a heightened and uncontrollable fear of being criticized by people surrounding him. While this is usually correlated with shyness or timidity, social phobia still makes distinct symptoms of uneasiness in public or even among close circle of friends. To understand social anxiety, which by the way is the third largest mental/psychological problem in the world today, we will give you three scenarios on how it manifests:

The case of a man who can’t be with anyone- Here is a man who has spent almost 10 years of his life secluded in his home. He wants to attend social gatherings and he wants to meet people but the prospect of talking with them gives him the anxious feeling that he would, again for the nth time now will be rejected. He is scared of meeting new people, he is fearful of making small talks and he cannot look at someone straight in the eyes. All these fears root from his fear of being proven as insignificant. So he contents himself with sulking in his room, shutting the rest of the world.

The case of a lady in the grocery store- She enters the grocery, picked some stuffs and went straight to the line. But as she does all these, she was conscious that people are staring at her, as if she was on a spotlight. She heard people whispering criticisms about her. She knows the irrationality of her thoughts but she is powerless to shake them off. Now, she has to talk to the cashier and all she can bring out is a faint smile which signals her fears.

A student who skips the first day of classes- She decided to stay home and forget about the first day of classes. She knows she has to sit in the room flooded with complete strangers. And she knows that only minutes after the professor comes, she has to introduce herself to everyone and thus, make it obvious that she is incapable of even saying minor details about her. She would stammer, her voice will quiver and she would feel extremely embarrassed.

Are the above scenarios examples of timidity or of imagined fear about something irrational? Most of us have to deal with these circumstances at one point of our lives. But people with social anxiety or social phobia will have strange experiences which limit their daily lives to those experiences where they feel safest.

Social anxiety is different from the garden-type fear of being watched. It is much worse, typically consuming the senses of the person affected by it. If a person has social anxiety, he or she would normally settle with seclusion as this limits his or her contact with the outside world. There is also a marked symptom of obsessing on how other people see them.

For example, as with the case of the woman in the grocery- she thinks that everybody is watching all her movements, her gestures and her mistakes. Small mistakes are exaggerated, enough that the person with this disorder thinks that she is very incompetent and that others are not. However, she also knows that these thoughts are very irrational. Nonetheless, she still fails to convince herself that what she might actually be feeling are products only of her imagination.

People with social anxiety disorder often have overwhelming assumptions on how they are being perceived, evaluated and criticized in the public or by the public. In most cases, patients of this disorder know the irrationality of their thoughts but they are unable to control them. Instead, they are being controlled and absorbed by their irrationality. It is usually impossible for them to relax, enjoy themselves when with other people and in general, to be their true themselves in public. Thus, their tendency to avoid social situations is highly increased.

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