Why Are YOU Staring At ME?

This is one of the million questions ruminating through the mind of someone dealing with social anxiety disorder.  Social anxiety disorder can be described as an extreme fear of being judged, criticized, and closely observed by anyone you might have to interact with in any environment.  The idea of being looked at is just enough to spark the horrific sensations accompanied with social anxiety disorder.  This is a mental disease and should not be taken lightly because it does cause negative emotional, mental, and physical impacts.

According to NIMH some of the signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder are;

  1. Declining social events
  2. Physically hiding when possible
  3. Cancelling appointments
  4. Emotionally detaching from family members, friends, and co-workers
  5. Sweating profusely when engaging with others, especially in person
  6. Rapid heart rate
  7. Shaking or trembling
  8. Unable to speak or complete a full sentence
  9. Complete fear of being judged
  10. Depression

As the overwhelming fear continues to take over your thoughts, the idea of even leaving the home is far too much to bear. Many become hermits terrified to step outside, socialize, or look in the mirror.

In my opinion, this disorder can be debilitating, emotionally and mentally draining, and cause a sense of loneliness.  Eventually, your peers might unknowingly ostracize you after you continue declining numerous invitations to social events and this will add to any negative feelings you already have about feeling judged.  Please don’t fall prey to your own mind if you don’t have to.  Here are a few coping strategies:

  1. Ask for help
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  3. Daily Affirmations
  4. Taking walks with my dog
  5. Journaling
  6. Attending social events with a trusted relative or peer
  7. Engaging with community members

As you can see, most of these coping skills revolve around therapy and facing the disorder one step at a time with a strong support system.  If you find yourself in need of help, ask! Contact your doctor, family members, or peers, and me, as I’ll be happy to help you find local support groups that might fit your needs.

Did you know there are approximately 15 million adults in the United States dealing with social anxiety disorder?  We can all learn from one another.  So, you’ve read some of my coping skills for social anxiety disorder. What are some of yours?

Be well!

© 2017 By Heidi Sullivan-Inyama

Picture sponsored by Pixabay

6 thoughts on “Why Are YOU Staring At ME?

  1. I’ve dealt with a lot of social anxiety for quite some time now. The thing that has helped me the most is realising that a large part of social anxiety is due to the chaotic and fragmented times we live in. My view is that social anxiety is not a mental illness that resides in the individual as such, but it is a set of symptoms that arises according to various social factors in a person’s life. In a sense it is a faulty and fragmented society that causes it. If individuals learn about this faulty society, that is a good starting point. It is not about blaming society, but it is about taking responsibility for awareness of self and society and being proud to be unconventional if that what it takes to feel calm. So taking lots of time out from society, for instance long walks in nature, can help, if balanced with appropriate socialising and connection, with likeminded people. A problem for me has been an inability to find likeminded people, as I am quite unusual. I know that when I do find close friends to trust, this will decrease my social anxiety considerably, as I will get used to being with people who make me feel safe. Also, it helps to understand that if you are an empath or very sensitive person, it is not ‘mental illness’ to be socially anxious in busy places -that’s just a feature of who you are. Unfortunately the biomedical model of mental illness tends to pathologise the normal responses of a sensitive person. Sometimes the answer is not to believe in the medical language of mental illness; to stop believing in the language as if it were a bible.

    • bravingmentalillness says:

      Hi! Thanks for stopping by, reading, and responding to my post. Comments are extremely valuable to gaining a better understanding of all aspects or opinions on the causes, manifestations, or cycles of health matters. I appreciate your candid thoughts and sharing. You make some valid points and we are unique creatures. So, each of us can learn from one another. Treat each other with respect and kindness as well. Stay in touch!! 😊

  2. I have social anxiety and I couldn’t even walk into the bank without freaking out. But then, I had a patient at work once and she told me I should just pretend that everyone is invisible and it actually worked. I don’t know how but it did.

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