1. You feel like you have no control.
Anxiety becomes crippling. Frustration turns inward. Thoughts become erratic.
2. You give in to the fear.
Fatigue and headaches are an everyday occurrence. Hunger doesn’t exist anymore. Self-consciousness keeps you from the outside world.
3. You believe you’re hated by everyone.
Seclusion from others. Isolation becomes the comfort. Interaction seems impossible.
Social Anxiety Disorder is more common than you would think and many people struggle with it day to day without even realising it. It affects approximately 13.7% of Irish adults and the intensity of the disorder varies from person to person as does the underlying reasons causing it. To maybe understand it a bit better, we can divide this disorder into two different sections: the individual and the social situation in which they find themselves in.
Of course everyone is different, but usually individuals who suffer from social anxiety would have a stronger desire to make good social impressions than those who aren’t affected by it. They may fear that they are not as good socially as other people are and as a result will fail to come up to an acceptable standard of social behaviour. This can lead to intense feelings of unease, as the sufferer may sense that the company they are surrounding themselves in is closely observing them, putting them in the centre of attention. The sense of being on display is not deemed favourable by the sufferer and as a result they may take any further attention as being critical of them and their actions. Self-consciousness plays a huge role here and the urge to hide or escape the social situation in which they find themselves in becomes overwhelmingly strong.
They may believe that they are not very well liked and in turn they also start resenting themselves and their actions because they don’t feel normal. This leads to the sufferer becoming more introverted and isolated from the rest of society, making it harder to attempt daily interactions or even leaving their comfort zone for a brief period of time.
The Social Situation
The range of social situations that may provoke an anxious response varies significantly from person to person. They may be clearly defined social situations such as eating/speaking in public, expressing opinions to a group, attending an event etc. They can also be unstructured interpersonal situations such as going to a party and engaging in “small talk”. For others, even seemingly harmless events such as leaving the house to walk to the corner store can seem like a daunting task because the fear of being seen in public is too crippling to comprehend.
Individuals with social anxiety tend to either avoid social interactions or endure severe distress during these much-feared situations. This can lead to an avoidance of all people in favour of remaining at home alone, which can have severe consequences in relation to their mental wellbeing. Feelings of hatred, sadness and even depression can emerge. Without proper treatment social anxiety tends to develop into a longstanding and unremitting condition.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With the proper guidance a person suffering from social anxiety can learn to overcome their fears, as daunting as that may even sound in and of itself, it is very possible to live a normal life with the right help.
If you experience any of these feelings or if you know someone who may be suffering from this condition, you can call Social Anxiety Ireland on 085- 2168981.