I’ve read a lot about social anxiety, as well as general anxiety, but my own anxiety throughout life has been situational. That doesn’t mean it can’t change, though. As more people get vaccinated here, life is opening back up. My kids have the choice to go back to in-person learning soon, and we are thinking ahead to summer camp and vacations. I have a feeling we’ll be laying pretty low until 2022, with the virus and with the baby, but it is time to think about doing more with loved ones. I’ve noticed that even with feeling safer around vaccinated loved ones, I’m still really healing emotionally and mentally from the pandemic and from having a baby. I get anxious at the thought of social situations, because I’ve been hunkering down for well over a year now.
Social Anxiety and What You Can Do to Help:
What is Social Anxiety?
I thought of it differently before reading more about it. Now I know it can take on many forms, and range from mild to extreme. It can also be in the middle between mild and extreme, and also change with age, circumstance, and more. The clinical definition of social anxiety is that it’s a fear of being judged or negatively evaluated by people outside of ourselves. And it’s a fear that in turn causes us to feel inadequate, inferior, embarrassed, humiliated, depressed, or self-conscious. The feelings and behaviors that go along with these fears can really interfere with your life. Social anxiety disorder is when the feelings become overwhelming or reach a level of irrational anxiety in social situations. A licensed mental health professional can help with this.
How Many People Have Social Anxiety Disorder?
I found this interesting, as it has become increasingly prevalent throughout society, and that wasn’t always the case. They believe that several million people have a specific type of social anxiety disorder or generalized social anxiety disorder, and within the US, it’s considered the third largest psychological disorder. As many as 7% of the population may have it, and the research seems to suggest that the chance of developing a social anxiety disorder at some time in your life is approximately 13-14%.
Situations That May Cause Social Anxiety:
- Being introduced to a new person.
Being the center of attention.
Having to give a presentation.
Experiencing social encounters.
Being watched while engaging in activities.
Forming or carrying out interpersonal relationships.
Being teased or criticized.
Specific Vs. Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder:
I still remember having to give a toast at my sister’s wedding and I was SHAKING, even though it was super heartfelt and I was surrounded by mostly people I know. For me, public speaking is a specific social anxiety disorder. I dread it, and get a lot of emotional distress and physical symptoms beforehand. This is only one area of social interaction that gives me anxiety. On the other hand, generalized social anxiety disorder is the more common one, because it means that the individual experiences anxiety with all forms of social situations. People with this disorder generally feel anxious, worried, indecisive, depressed, inferior, or embarrassed just thinking about different situations in their life where they may have to interact with others.
Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder:
Luckily, there is therapy available for social anxiety disorder, and there are several therapy options. Surprisingly, group therapy can have amazing results, because although it’s a group – it’s a group of others who have the same condition. With professional help, it’s important to find someone who understands how to help people with social anxiety disorder, and that the therapist you choose has worked with others who are experiencing the same disorder as you. You can also look into finding a professional who works 100% online instead of in a traditional setting. The great thing about online therapy is that it allows you to remain home; a place in which you may feel most comfortable. You can schedule and attend sessions easily, so they fit with your life.
Have you heard of BetterHelp yet? BetterHelp is the world’s largest e-counseling platform. They have the mission of making professional counseling accessible, affordable, and convenient to anyone who struggles with life’s challenges. What’s awesome is that you can get help, anytime, anywhere. Not to mention that the counselors are licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), and board licensed professional counselors (LPC). There are so many advantages to using BetterHelp, like that you can carry out therapy entirely online, and also communicate with therapists from anywhere in the world.
BetterHelp gives you access to the best available therapists, rather than only the best in your area. You have the ability to find someone you feel MOST comfortable with, which can be harder in person with a social anxiety disorder. These professionals can make a difference for you, and help you work toward the life you want.