Social anxiety is a specific form of anxiety. It is an emotion characterized by a discomfort or a fear when a person is in a social interaction that involves a concern of being judged or evaluated by others. It is typically characterized by an intense fear of what others are thinking about them (specifically fear of embarrassment or humiliation, criticism, or rejection), which results in the individual feeling insecure and not good enough for other people, and/or the assumption that peers will automatically reject them.
Along with having type 1 bipolar disorder, PTSD, psychosis, I also suffer from social anxiety.
That’s a giant pill to swallow!
I largely rely upon my husband (my caregiver) to keep me safe and sane, during times I’m in a large atmosphere of people.
I tend to breakout into a sweat, heart beats fast, nerves are shot, head gets tingly, feel dizzy, and impaired vision.
Basically, having a panic attack.
I really don’t do well in large crowds for very long. For example: Grocery shopping, department stores, driving in traffic (which is why I quit driving for a while), and gatherings, or simply running into people I know.
The other day I was grocery shopping with my husband and we ran into someone we know locally. We all chatted for about 10 minutes. It was enough of a trigger that it effectively ended my day.
My nerves were totally shot, and I went into major paranoia. I couldn’t get out of the grocery store fast enough!
I seriously hate times like these! I never really know when it’s going to happen. There are some days when I’m perfectly fine, others not so well!
Often, I worry people are talking behind my back or there judging me harshly. It messes with my head! My husband tried to reassure me that’s not the case and internally I know it’s not true but my mind runs a mile-a-minute!
However, I don’t seem to have much of an issue when I’m on social media. Just a bad case of social anxiety when dealing person-to-person.
I have tried the grounding techniques I’ve learned in therapy. Sometimes it helps, sometimes not.
Sometimes, you just have to end the day and go home!
My psychiatrist has often encouraged me to go out on my own and try to mingle with people. He suggested I only do so in a safe setting, and not for more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time.
This exercise is to help me better handle my day-to-day interactions with people.
Frankly, I’m afraid to try it and have yet to experiment.
I’m hoping I will be able to find better management through therapy.
Though here are a few tips I’ve found that are helpful when dealing with social anxiety:
- Get ample sleep
- Eating Healthy
- Relaxation Strategies (ex: Meditation)
- Distractions (ex: Refocusing your thoughts)
- Journaling (ex: Keeping a mood chart)
How do you manage social anxiety?
Would love to hear feedback!