“Be Proud Of Who You Are, And Not Ashamed Of How Someone Else Sees You.”
Social anxiety refers to an intense fear of interaction with other people in certain types of settings which makes the daily life a continuous uphill fight. Social anxiety does not necessarily always affect people who are shy; it can occur in both extroverts and introverts.
Different kinds of social scenarios like shopping malls, big parties, and grocery stores, etc. can trigger social anxiety. As per Anxiety and Depression Association of America about 15 million or 7 percent of the population in the US suffer from social anxiety.
A lot of us do not know or understand what a person with social anxiety goes through on an everyday basis. Listed below are 5 things that people with social anxiety need you to understand:
1. They do not hate others
- People with social anxiety do not hate people; in fact it is just the opposite. They really want to be able to talk normally and freely with others. But the moment they try doing it, they may experience a variety of symptoms like increased heartbeats, chest constriction, excessive perspiration, etc. Patients may be a bit abrupt or distant when others talk with them, but it does not mean that they are or want to be rude. They enjoy talking to others, but are often understand constant pressure of social anxiety.
2. Social anxiety affects them both physically and mentally
- Social anxiety is caused due to a mix of factors like personality, genetics, diet, environment, and brain chemical imbalances, etc. It not only affects the ability of patients to process different situations, but it also causes physical symptoms. Social anxiety can be like a heavy burden on the body and cause physical problems like cold sweats, headaches, insomnia, facial flushing, and muscle stiffness, etc. Mental symptoms include fixation on specific events and obsession over minor matters or things, etc.
- The mental or physical symptoms may not be visible to others, but it does not indicate that social anxiety does not exist and that the patients are not freaking out on the inside. The external calmness is not a reflection of their inner selves. People with this challenge have just attuned their mind and body to hide their anxiety in most cases, as that is what is required by a normal daily life.
3. Social Anxiety People need lots of time to prepare for social meetings
- These people need several days to prepare for a social gathering. They usually need to prepare for the conversations that they may have, the people they may meet, their look and clothes for the meet, etc. The preparation is needed for them to remain calm and avoid anxiety triggers during the social event. Overcoming the fears and showing up for events by itself is a huge achievement for many patients.
4. Sufferers do not “want” to experience social anxiety
- These people do not choose to have this challenge and do not want to suffer from it. They try extremely hard to overcome it, but it never disappears completely despite their very best efforts. Advise such as ‘get the feat out of the heads’ or ‘stop being dramatic’ only makes matters worse. People with social anxiety know that their fears are irrational, but it is not possible for them to just get over it and get on with their lives. If it were that simple, then no one in the world would suffer from social anxiety.
5. Social anxiety is not a way to seek attention
- It is said that these people act the way they do because they want others to feel sorry for them and give them more attention. This belief is however incorrect. Patients, like all the rest of us, need understand and love and not pity and attention. This challenge is often a debilitating condition and not something conjured up by affected people to get additional attention.
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