How to recognize Social Anxiety Disorder

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

I was 20 years old and I couldn't stand the thought of leaving my house. Worse, I had to find a job. Going on a job interview, just one, was so exhausting I had to go home and go to bed to recover from the experience. I had no idea what was wrong with me, I was never like this before. I would not be diagnosed for YEARS, which meant I had to find a way to deal with it myself. What was wrong with me? Why did I suddenly have a fear of talking to people, even on the phone? Why couldn't I be normal just like everyone else? I was shy and fearful as a child but this was ridiculous.

That was in 1981. Today most people have heard of or know someone with Social Anxiety Disorder. In 1981 there was no internet for me to research to find out what was wrong with me.

People with Social Anxiety Disorder go to great lengths to avoid social situations. They can become overwhelmingly anxious and self-conscious even in everyday social situations that to the average person are normal or of little consequence.

Theirs is an intense fear of being scrutinized by others, constantly being judged or of doing something embarrassing. Even though they may find their own anxiety unreasonable, they can't overcome it by themselves. They don't even know how to or why they feel the way they do.

Social Anxiety Disorder (also known as SAD) can be debilitating. As I stated earlier I, for instance, could not go on a job interview. The idea of putting myself in a situation to be judged by someone else (which is all an interviewer is doing) was too overwhelming to cope with. Speaking to the person on the phone wasn't much easier and always there are the afterthoughts of "did I sound alright?" "did I say something stupid?"

Social situations such as parties, dinners, small gatherings, even a date, are so stressful they can cause sweating, shaking, and/or extreme nervousness. This can build into a panic attack. The feeling that you are dying, sweats, a belief that you cannot breath.

While SAD usually begins to show itself during the teen years of after a stressful or traumatic situation it can occur anytime later in life as well due to the same reasons and is often accompanied by other mental illnesses such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or Depression.

Social anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder and the third most common mental disorder in the U.S., after depression and alcoholism. An estimated 19.2 million Americans have social anxiety disorder. It is more common in women than in men.

Many people with social anxiety disorder feel that there is "something wrong," but don't realize it can be a mental illness. Some Symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include:

  • Intense anxiety in social situations.
  • Avoidance of social situations.
  • Physical symptoms of anxiety, include confusion, pounding heart, sweating, shaking, blushing, muscle tension, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
  • Intense fear of being in situations in which you don't know people
  • Fear of situations in which you may be judged
  • Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
  • Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
  • Anxiety that disrupts your daily routine, work, school or other activities
  • Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
  • Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention.

Associated characteristics include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Trouble being assertive
  • Negative self-talk
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism
  • Poor social skills

Children with SAD may express their anxiety by crying, clinging to a parent, or throwing a tantrum. Most parents will not even realize that their child is acting out as a result of stress and anxiety.

What's it Means to Have SAD

I developed SAD after a violent relationship and not knowing I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Additionally, I was battling depression since puberty, which led me to believe it was Chemical. But since I was the kind of person that did not like anything to stand in the way of me and whatever it was I wanted to do, I would ignore these little issues. Today I constantly tell people to "Face their Fears".

Depression could sometimes get me down to the point of sitting in my darkened room for 3 days without eating, rocking on my bed. Still, somehow someway I would bounce back and get myself together. I believe in the power of my mind. I believe we can and do convince ourselves of a great many things. I convinced myself I was fine. I would "talk myself down" from my depressions and my anxiety attacks.

Between the ages of 14 and 20, I was a serial dater. I dated over 40 boys in those 6 years alone. Had 1 long term (5 yr) on/off again relationship and 1 friend with benefits. I was clearly not a shy, introverted person. I had no problem meeting boys, going after what I wanted, and going to parties and having a multitude of friends. I sang in front of a group of people one night at a mall and drew a crowd. I even did "stand up" and was the class clown in school.

But at 20, suddenly and without warning, I could not talk to strangers on a bus or in the supermarket, ask a clerk a question, go on a job interview, talk to strangers on the phone, be introduced to someone and get beyond "hi" or make an appointment to go anyplace. I did not have my nails done, my hair cut or make a doctors appointment. I would not attend parties or weddings. What had happened to me?

There is no single known cause of social anxiety disorder, but research suggests that biological, psychological, and environmental factors may play a role in its development.

  • Biological: Social anxiety disorder may be related to an imbalance of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Neurotransmitters are special chemical messengers that help move information from nerve cell to nerve cell in the brain. If the neurotransmitters are out of balance, messages cannot get through the brain properly. This can alter the way the brain reacts to stressful situations, leading to anxiety. In addition, social anxiety disorder appears to run in families. My oldest son has it also.
  • Psychological: The development of social anxiety disorder may stem from an embarrassing or humiliating experience at a social event in the past.
  • Environmental: People with social anxiety disorder may develop their fear from observing the behavior of others or seeing what happened to someone else as the result of their behavior (such as being laughed at or made fun of). Further, children who are sheltered or overprotected by their parents may not learn good social skills as part of their normal development.

In my case I believe it was hereditary and I have passed it on to my oldest son who exhibited signs of SAD around the age of 16. Sometimes in the mornings before going to school he would complain of stomach aches which were very real and brought on by his fear of being in school and being exposed to the criticism or judgement of his peers as well as his teachers.

My son was cute, popular and well liked his entire life. There was no logical reason for these feelings. I made an appointment to take my son to a psychologist.

What can be done about Social Anxiety Disorder

When I took my son to his first psychologist appointment I sat in with him. At one point I explained to his psychologist that I too had Social Anxiety Disorder when I was 20 to 21 but was not diagnosed as I never sought help and did not know what it was. His doctor asked me what i did about it as obviously I had gotten over it due to the fact that I owned my own store and clearly had to deal with people on a regular basis now.

I told him the first step I took was because I had to find a job and make money. I would search the Want ads on Sunday and make the few phone calls I was capable of making on Monday after psychologically preparing myself for a about 3 hours. Then I would make interview appointments. One on Wednesday, one on Thursday and one on Friday. One a day was all I could handle. Never on Tuesday as that was not enough time to prepare myself. On Wednesday I would go to the interview and afterwards, feeling relieved that it was over. Go home and enjoy the rest of my day. I would do the same on Thursday and Friday. If I did not find a job right away, I would do the same thing the following week. Eventually, I was able to go to two in one day without a melt down. Starting a job was a whole other situation. I could not work anyplace where the people were not nice and friendly. I had to quit if I was in any way uncomfortable as that was entirely too stressful.

After I told the doctor how I eased my way into uncomfortability just taking on a little at a time until I could eventually tolerate more he told me I should have written a book about it. I was puzzled.

"why?" I asked

"Because you would have made a fortune back in 1981 with a book like that. That is the same method that we use today."

I really didn't need to hear that.

But it's true. Today it's called "Cognitive-behavior therapy" where a patient is exposed to the feared situation a little bit at a time. About as much as they can cope with in small degrees. There is also counseling to improve self-esteem and social skills, as well as relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation.

Additionally, there are medications that are prescribed for Social Anxiety Disorder such as anti-depressants, tranquilizers (benzodiazepines), such as Xanax, or Valium and Ativan; beta-blockers, often used to treat heart conditions, may also be used to minimize certain physical symptoms of anxiety, such as shaking and rapid heartbeat.

I have xanax for emergencies, a small dosage that I carry with me just in case. The label is worn out as this particular prescription has been in my pocketbook since September 2008. I refuse to take it unless absolutely necessary. More often than not, I can "distract" myself from these irrational thoughts and don't need to do much else.

Social anxiety disorder symptoms can change over time. They can flare up if you're facing a lot of stress or demands in your life. Or if you completely avoid situations that would usually make you anxious, you may not have symptoms. Although avoidance may allow you to feel better in the short term, your anxiety is likely to persist over the long term if you don't get medical treatment. 

There is no blood test to diagnose SAD, only a psychologist or a physician can do so. 

Debilitating anxiety can ruin a person's life.  A teen with SAD may turn to drugs or alcohol to "self medicate" and may be considered "under achievers" when in fact they are paralyzed by irrational fear.  Left untreated SAD can also lead to severe depression and even suicide. 

So if you or anyone you know has a chronic fear of social situations and is worried about being criticized or embarrassed, or social situations create extreme anxiety which is out of proportion to the situation or they find themselves avoiding social situations in general, it is possible that they are suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia and should get help as soon as possible.

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Comments 71 comments

goodfriendiam profile image

goodfriendiam 7 years ago

Moonchild60, this was a very well thought out hub. I to at one time suffered, social anxiety disorder, suffered most of the symptoms listed. What I found to be odd for me is, as a small child I was very out going, loved to learn everything through books and asking questions, but as I grew, I became very aware of how some people see us (the out going, love life type people we are) threatened by our way of embracing things. My mom use to call me a smart ass, among other things, and as I grew, memory's of the painful words, caused me to with draw from people. I became terrified of what others thought of me. Thinking, they probably think I;m dumb or something. The funny thing is, I can honestly say one thing, she was right about half of the equation. I am smart,well maybe she was right about the other, because I to can be a smart ass if the moment requires and she didn't like that fact. Because I didn't play her games. Thanks for the hub. Dee

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 7 years ago Author

Hi Dee - Wow, that is amazing, you were even outgoing and friendly and was stricken with enough criticism and self doubt to be a victim of SAD. A common mistake people make is to believe that someone who asks a lot of questions is not intelligent when in fact, the exact opposite is true. Thank you very much for sharing!

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 7 years ago Author

Hi B.C. -Thank you for your wonderful compliments. It is always so nice to see you! Btw, just saw Sleepy Hollow, did not like the movie, but JD was still great, of course.

chad sexington profile image

chad sexington 7 years ago from Ireland

I too am a socila phobia survivor.Its been a battle for most my abult life.It was only when I read your hub that i realised i also unknowingly used Cognitive-behavior therapy.

I'm still working on it, still have the odd bad day and i need to watch myself when i get over exposed to the outside

world.Thank you moonchild60 for helping me understand myself

a wee bit better. Pete.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 7 years ago Author

Pete - Thank you for commenting and I am glad that it helped you. That is what I hope to do and it is nice to know every once in a while, I do ir!! I know what you mean, I too get those days and all I need is that "alone" time to regroup and get myself back to normal. Sometimes dealing with the world is a just a bit more than some of us can handle. Take Care Pete.

Anxiety Help 7 years ago

I must admit the part that you have xanax BUT only use when absolutely necessary is commendable. Unfortunately so many people are prescribed medication, and although I am not downplaying the necessity thereof, surely natural options should be sought out first!

intogadget profile image

intogadget 7 years ago

very personal and real, i love how open you are about what you went through. i too suffer from social anxiety disorder and this is the first time I have actually verbally stated this (in writing or otherwise) but now i recognize it for what its for, i would like to thank you for the enlightening post, im always amazed at how much information there is on these hubpages, keep up the good work, and congratulations on conquering this hurdle

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 7 years ago Author

Dear intogadget - Thank you very much for your wonderful words and for validating the reason I write my hubs. In hopes that it helps someone to realize or understand. I know, I had no idea how much one can learn on Hubpages!! It serves several purposes. Take care my friend...

loua profile image

loua 7 years ago from Elsewhere, visiting Earth ~ the segregated community planet

Very informative information and presented very well...

Society has a ways to go to solve so many like issues of our social environment... You are at the forefront of the solution ~ information on resolving them...

I'll thank you now for all those that will benefit by your informative words...

Have a wonderful ThanksGiving

bearclawmedia profile image

bearclawmedia 6 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

This is a great hub on SAD and well researched. I like your what can be done section it is so accessible and easy to follow. This is what is needed. Thanks mate good one and a good effort. Did you win a nugget for this one?

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

Hi Bearclawmedia - Nice of you to stop in and thank you for your compliment. I did not win anything for this hub, but if there are people out there who are suffering and found my hub and were able to implement the steps necessary to find their way out of SAD then I have been satisfactorily "awarded". Hope to see you again my friend...

bryanmccarty profile image

bryanmccarty 6 years ago

Great hub. I think one of the great things about social anxiety in my case was that it really went away as I got older. I tried some medication but nothing really worked and then as the years went by I noticed it less and less. So if you are under 25 and have social anxiety, there is hope!

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

I agree Bryan, as you get older you do see your symptoms become less and less severe. Thank God. So I strongly believe that if people work on them and give it time, things will absolutely get better. Thanks for coming by and for your comment!!

foreignpress 6 years ago from Denver

It's interesting that our competitive society actually PROMOTES the SAD syndrome. All we do is put each other down and this usually starts in the grade schools anymore. And we are judged based on what others accomplish. I come from a family of very high achievers and have not yet met their standards. Probably never will. I'm wondering if school psychologists and teachers are aware of SAD. Lack of self-esteem is a serious issue in our society.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

foreignpress - Excellent point my friend. I agree that our competitive society promotes SAD. If we are not competing intellectually then we are competing with looks. What is attractive has become a short list with specific qualifications that most young girls cannot achieve. Boys are pressured to excel in areas of sports and both in intellectual pursuits. They insult and reject anyone who does not cut it. I would not be at all surprised if a great deal of teenagers develop SAD due to these circumstances alone. Thank you so much for coming by and commenting!!

the pink umbrella profile image

the pink umbrella 6 years ago from the darkened forest deep within me.

i am currently suffering from anxiety, but do not have an experience to trace it back to. it just happened one day, where i was at dinner at a friends house, and bang. ive been doomed ever since.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

Dear Pink Umbrella - I am so sorry that you are going through this. I hope you have sought out help from a psychologist or someone who can help you through it. You are not doomed, however. As you can see in this hub there are many ways to overcome the anxiety yourself, there are medications and there is professional help. Please, do not allow this to rule your life. There is no reason for you to continue to suffer. I wish you the best and hope you find your way through this.

sandiego 6 years ago

I think my son is suffering from SAD and I am not real sure where to start the process for getting him help. It is hard for him to explain what is going on with him. Any suggestions would most welcomed.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

What I can suggest is a child psychologist. One who works with the cognitive therapy. He should see soemeone as soon as possible. Also, in the meantime, someone who he can talk to, a counselor. Find a group in your area that might be getting together and supporting each other, this is incredibly helpful for most kids. The most important thing to do is not ignore it. Get him evaluated and see just where you stand and him as well ofcourse. There are also books that may be helpful for you. If I find any great ones, I will post them here. In the Meantime, Good luck...

sandiego 6 years ago

Thank you. I will embrace all reading materials and ANY form of help. He is hurting and so am I. Will be home in a couple of weeks from college and plan to see someone then.

beccas90 profile image

beccas90 6 years ago from New York

Thank you for an informative hub. There seems to be links between SAD and Aspergers and other forms of anxiety disorders. This is a field - like PDD - that we still don't fully understand. But it has touched my life and I feel for others also impacted.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

Beccas90m - You are welcome. I would not be surprised by links between SAD and Aspergers. I would love to find the common denominators that link anxiety disorders. I think that would be worthwhile research. Thank you so much for coming by.

Lisa 6 years ago

hi MoonChild. i'm starting to think i may be affected by SAD. I get nervous in most social situations, am always shaking at the start of parties (before i have a few drinks) and have occasionally bust into tears when i have felt overwhelmed in socail groups when i think i should have been happy and relaxed. A few days ago i think i had a panick attack in a club, just because i was sobering up and my friend left me for a minute on the dancefloor with people i didn't know well. I've always been shy, but i feel like the level of confidence expected of me keeps increasing, and i can't always cope. do u think i should go to a councillor? (my university runs a free counciling service, but i'm not sure what kind of help they can give)

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

Hi Lisa - Thank you for coming by. I would definitely see someone regarding your feelings of anxiety and fear. Shy is one thing, but panic attacks due to sudden discomfort is not shyness. You feel you are expected to respond with confidence and an outgoing bubbly personality and that is just you trying to be what you are not. Many people with SAD self medicate with alcohol and/or drugs. Do not get caught in that trap, that just leads to a host of other problems. I would highly recommend seeking counseling as soon as possible and they can, at the very least, give you the tools you would need to learn how to live with SAD or move beyond it. Best of Luck and Please let me know how it goes!

schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 6 years ago from USA

Very nice hub, well explained, I don't think you left anything out! How to get help, you said either CBT or medications, right? Have the meds worked for you?

Thankyou for sharing, check out my hubs on "the Dark Hell of the Mentally Ill Mind" etc :)

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 6 years ago

I like this hub, a lot, I wonder about self healing , that's how I handled simmilarities, not the best road to go down?

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

Hi ahorseback - Thank you for coming by. I think self healing has proven, in certain circumstances, to be quite successful. However, I would recommend that one enlist the aid of a qualified professional if at all possible. In circumstances, such as mine, where that is not possible, then something must be done and self-healing can be the only way to go. I was fortunate in that I had the ambition to want to succeed and the abilitiy to know what to do, almost inately. I was very lucky and it did work. Aging of course, has it's place in my only getting better and better and more outgoing as time passes. Self healing, these days, with either alternative medications or therapies has been continually proven to be successful in most cases. Herbal supplements are gaining in enormous popularity due to their success rate and other therapies such as Yoga, Tai chi, massage, meditation, etc. have also proven to have their place in the healing arts. Again, it is usually prudent to have someone involved who truly knows what they are doing and whether or not that particular therapy would be conducive to your situation. As far as cognitive behavioral therapy, in my circumstances, I had no clue what I was doing. I was just trying to live a normal life. : D

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 6 years ago

So True, I too, am a "self healing" fan, especially at my age [mid life] I find that ,using common sense we are more knowing of what works for our own health and well being .The only problem is when we live out a life with the results too embedded, they can define us, a little to well. In our fifties with social phobias ? What a diffent world we live in today ? In other words , I know a couple of "doctors" that I can do better than , in diagnosing my own problems. What a hub ! Keep writing you're great ......

brightforyou profile image

brightforyou 6 years ago from Florida

I too suffer from social anxiety - this was an excellent hub...Good thing you keep your xanax just for 'emergencies' - I started out that way..but I succumbed

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

ahorseback - Thank you so so much. I hope I do some more helpful hubs in the near future.

brightforyou - I am glad if it was helpful in any way. I do on occasion have no choice but to take a xanax and it is usually in the evening when I am unable to distract myself with healthier thoughts. The power of the mind can be incredibly amazing. All the best to you and thank you very much for coming by and commenting.

Holden 6 years ago

Hello, Moonchild60.

I am only 15 years old, and diagnosed myself with social phobia/anxiety; I've never told my mother about it, as money is really tight nowadays, and she can't afford to send me to a psychologist or anything like that, or pay for prescriptions. I've had it for some time, and have always been a shy person with very few friends. Xanax sounds fabulous, as I suffer from nearly every symptom listed, pretty much on a daily basis, and I never improve any social skills. Every time I try, I have a panic attack and get coated in a layer of sweat, then shiver until I slap myself for even thinking that trying to talk to a stranger was a good idea in the first place. It's just unbearable... I can't even ask a question about the day's homework assignment without feeling the eyes of my classmates burning into the back of my head.

Regardless of my sob-story, your hub was informative, and helped me, by letting me know that there is a way out of this. Good day- Holden.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

Hi Holden - Xanax is a last resort. I understand money being tight. That is why I never sought psychiatric help either, when this first started for me. You can try to cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that I used though. Simply remind yourself every single day when you wake up that it is going to be a good peaceful day, then tell yourself that no matter what anyone says or thinks is unimportant because they have absolutely no influence in your life whatsoever. They are simply unimportant. They are no better than you in any capacity, because truthfully, no one is.

Then attempt to speak to strangers a little at a time. Try just smiling and saying Hello in passing if you catch each others eye. This is always a positive, welcoming gesture and no one ever feels negative about that. Just don't do it to the popular kids in school because they have a false sense of importance and don't need anyone else to encourage that behavior. In spite of their ideas about themselves, or what they want you to believe, they are usually insecure and desperate to remain in the limelight. Feel sorry for them, after graduation, for most of them, it is downhill all the way. Have regular conversations with yourself to distract those negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Do whatever work you need to do to feel better about YOU. Because what I have found over the years is that most people do not give a hoot about what I am doing or saying or whatever, they are absorbed in their own lives and issues. So I just worked on me and feeling better and more secure with myself and little by little it got better. Sure I still said stupid things sometimes out of nervousness, but here I am at 50 and still plugging didn't kill me. Most times it is just us that thinks something was a major issue, to everyone else, its not. Good luck Holden and I hope you continue to work on remembering that we are all the same, we all want the same (2) things in life, each and every one of us; to be loved and to be accepted. Take care - AnnMarie

Pimp daddy 6 years ago

I too suffer from social anxiety. At least we know that we are not alone.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

Hi Pimp Daddy - No we are not and what is really weird is that so many people suffer from it, it's just that we usually can't tell who they are...

NNazir profile image

NNazir 6 years ago from Pakistan

Great hub...

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

NNazir - Thank you!

PanicAnxietyInfo profile image

PanicAnxietyInfo 6 years ago from Sydney

# Negative self-talk

# Hypersensitivity to criticism

Those ones were so me 10 years ago. Essepcially the criticism bit - it amazes me now how badly I took this and how much it effected me.

Thank you for the hub - very informative.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

Dear PanicAnxietyInfo - Thank you for commenting. Glad you are clearly doing well and have also been able to overcome. Always nice to hear. I think it is the negative self talk that gets hold of us and drags us down into this nightmare to begin with. Where do those voices come from? LOL...Take Care.

NNazir profile image

NNazir 6 years ago from Pakistan

not taking self criticism lightly leads to -ve self talk.

people then try to 'improve' and try take themselves to a level where they could prove the critics 'wrong'. if they can't, they increase their stress level.Must take self-criticism lightly or at least not that hard~

Eric 6 years ago

i'm 17,& I'm not sure weather i got S.A.D or not, it's now almost one year i start shaking my hands and whole body whem presenting sth in front of class or any trouble or new thing that makes me afraid.simple & easy everyday situations start making me scared and worried without any reason now it's getting to worse keeps me from attending school, if i didn't learn i don't now what is coming next i was been a good & cleaver student,but now it's difficult even to write my name without a quite handshaking,the only thing i do after praying is to search the internet,& i was so amazed to see peoples like me& i didn't expect that it is mental disease like social phobia, my symptoms are to be afraid& scared internally then shaking visibly,the shaking'll not go longer it is only in that moment,but it'll pain me for long.i think I'm also suffer from SAD,what should i do to stop this horrible thing destroying my life? plzzzz help me.

it was informative post moonchild

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

Eric honey, the only thing I can do is suggest you read some of the comments here about cognitive behavioral therapy and seek counseling (sometimes hospitals do therapy on a sliding scale if necessary which means you pay what you can afford, if that's an issue). You need to change what is happening in your mind and body when you are nervous. "distract yourself" from your thoughts and remember this one truly important thing - You are worried about what others think and what others think is not important but beyond that, they don't really care as much as you tell yourself they do, in fact, in most cases, they just don't give a damn at all. Especially at your age. Please re-read this for helpful tips as well as the comments and google "remedies for social anxiety disorder" and see if you cannot make a strong effort to put them to use. I truly wish you the best and I hope you are able to overcome this. I will be routing for you!!!

itonlytakesone profile image

itonlytakesone 6 years ago

what happens if you can't afford therapy or anyting?

cz i very much feel like this and i don't really no what to do about it.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

There is always cognitive behavioral therapy. Anyone can do this themselves. All you have to do is face your fears a little bit at a time. That's all. Don't push yourself too hard. Don't do more than you think you can handle in small doses. Just as I said I did it above for job interviews. You have to remember that YOU are in control. YOU are the one who controls your own mind. You are basically taking back the power in small degrees. "Distract your thoughts" by doing things involving others, family for instance, people you trust. And always, always remember, that others don't really care or judge as much as you think they do and even if they do, what the hell do you care? They are not important. All these things helped me tremendously. I hope with all my heart they can help you. All the Best...

Badgermilk profile image

Badgermilk 6 years ago from Away from home with work

I too suffered with Social Anxiety, for a couple of years it was really bad. I too didn't develop it until later in life at age 24 even though I had had bouts of shyness. I still have a way to go and the CBT method works not just for beginners but right the way through all stages of development. Every time you get to a 'comfort zone' you need to inch your way forward to the next major milestone. This was a beautifully written article and very inspiring. I just started a blog where I am discussing how I got over SA and a spell of self help hell by using my own method of CBT (Id never heard of if at the time either!) I call it drinking a pint of badger milk, and it is basically sneaking up on the things you want. PS This was awesome, thank you for writing x

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

Hey Badgermilk - Well thank you very much for your complients and Kudos to you for doing so exceptionally well and using creativity to help you push your way through SAD. As you know, it is no small matter but so worth it as we can finally LIVE our lives with some joy and not fear. Thank you so much for coming by and I will google your website. It sounds wonderful and I am sure will be very helpful for fellow sufferers.

itonlytakesone profile image

itonlytakesone 6 years ago


btw, this was a really great article i dont think i've found anything anywhere else on the internet that was as informative and helpful as yours.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

itonlytakesone - Thank you and please do the best you can to feel better and let me know how I goes. It really does matter to me. Best wishes - AnnMarie

itonlytakesone profile image

itonlytakesone 6 years ago

i decided to take you advice with the cognitive behavioral therapy but doing it my self

the tuesday just gone i had a interview for a course.

and i'd of had to get a bus by myself and anyone that knows me knows i'd never have been able to do any

but i did both of them and when i got home, rather than going out and coming in nakered and worn out, i felt proud of myself for doing it. I got the course and i keep going out by myself. even if its just for a walk for 5 minutes. Sometimes i can't and i convince myself not to but most of the time i do it and its making me feel a lot better slowly doing the things i'd use to be able to do a step at a time starting from easy.

thankyou very much.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

itonlytakesone -I stand and applaud you!! For effort and for pushing yourself to step out of your comfort zone AND for actually doing it!!! Bravo to you my friend!! You are on your way This is wonderful news!! I am so happy. Thank you so much for sharing this happy news!! Please be sure to keep in touch with your progress. I am wishing you the best -

Sarah Masson profile image

Sarah Masson 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

I can relate to this hub. It's not a nice feeling but I am gradually improving, slowly but surely. Thanks for this hub :)

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago Author

Good for you Sarah!! Keep working at it and in no time you will be an extroverted big mouth like me!! LOL...Thank you so much for coming by and commenting.

Yuconman profile image

Yuconman 5 years ago from Oxford Michigan

I feel sorry for all the anxiety sufferers in the world and the hell they go through day in and day out. I too was a sufferer as a child could not face going to school because of being deathly afraid of the teacher singling me out of the class to answer questions in front of the rest of the people in class. This might seem silly but it is true, and there were other incidences as well. The simple fact is you don`t have to suffer and you can get relief without having to go to expensive therapists or taking drugs. There are natural ways of dealing with daily anxiety and panic attracts without spending allot of money or being dependent on drugs every time you have an episode.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 5 years ago Author

Yuconman - Having felt the same exact way in school, in certainly did not seem silly at all to me. It is an extremely diffult and dibilitating disorder. Thank you for your link, but when I tried it, it did not work. I will try again by typing it myself. Thank you for coming by and commenting. It is always appreciated.

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota

You did a really beautiful job writing about this topic. I appreciate that you used your experience so that others can get the help they need. I suffer from an anxiety disorder but not social phobia. I have had therapy and medication and have long periods now where I do pretty well. Thanks so much for sharing your story and giving people hope.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 5 years ago Author

Hello Minnnetonka Twin - thank you very much for coming by and leaving your kind words and your own situation as well. Difficult as it is, it is still always nice to see there are a great deal of people out there sharing our experiences. It is nice to see you and I hope to see you again soon.

no longer anxious profile image

no longer anxious 5 years ago from British Columbia

I have been there, and it was horrible, i would sweat, get chills, and the worst was the dizziness and panic often i fled to find a quiet place, that was so long ago now, but i dont wish anxiety on my worst enemy ! anxiety,social phobia and panic attacks of any kind are the worst things to go through ! you can read my story it is similar to yours in some ways !

cheers girl :)

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 5 years ago Author

Dear No longer Anxious - Good for you, always happy to hear about someone else who has managed to move away from the horror of anxiety and panic attacks. I agree, I wouldn't wish it on an enemy. It is like slow and unpredictable torture. Thanks for coming by and I will stop in to check out your story as well. Take Care now!

HOME MADE $ 5 years ago

:) cheers

rudy862 5 years ago

Dear MoonChild- Thank you so much for this hub, it was really helpful for me. I have been experiencing symptoms of SAD since I was a teenager. I am 24 now and it seems to be getting progressively worse. As of right now, it is nearly impossible for me to speak in public or in social situations (i.e. parties, social gatherings, etc.) because I am constantly worried about what people are thinking about me. I've decided I can't live the rest of my life this way and that I really need to get help. This is a really difficult step for me because I have such a hard time with asking for help with anything.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 5 years ago Author

rudy - I think it is wonderful that you are taking it upon yourself to make sure this illness doesn't incapacitate you and keep you from enjoying

your life. YOU are the one in charge. Remember when those voices of insecurity rear their ugly heads that you are stronger than they are. And it sounds mean, but it really isn't. When you get worried about what 'people will think', just remember those 'people' are not special or better than you so what they think, if anything, is meaningless to you. It helped me. I hope you are hugely successful my friend!! Please keep me posted. All the best to you - AnnMarie

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland


Fantastic hub with really great information. I don't have Social Anxiety I'm more HSP but I can relate very well to what people will go throught with this. But thankfully there is hope and more importantly normal life for the sufferers.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 5 years ago Author

Thank you Seeker - Love the name. What is HSP? Thank you for coming by. I look forward to seeing you around again... : )

Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

Hi Moonchild60,

Apologies - I have a bad 'nursing' habit of using abbreviations! HSP = Highly Sensitive Person. Basically there is a certain percentage of the population who absorb and process about three times as much stimuli as other people. This can lead to exhaustion, stress and burn out. You also tend to need quite a fair bit of time on your own due to being 'exhaustd' by your finely tuned nervous system. HSP's also tend to pick up on atmospheres, feelings, situations that other people are not aware of. You are also very sensitive to noise, crowds and other things depending on what the atmosphere and stimuli are. Elain C Aron is the psychologist who devised this name and did research on sensitive people and although she does have her critics, the hard based evidence that she has carried out over the years is enough for me and the fact that her advice and insight was a blessing. I no longer felt like a freak. Realised I was human and learned to cope and use the very positive side of this trait to make a better life. But as I said earlier, I certainly can relate to Social Anxiety, because HSP's go through this as well. Hope this helps a bit.

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 5 years ago Author

Wow Seeker, that does sound exactly like me. I was reading this and whispering, yes, yes, yes, oh my god. When I was little and people DID NOT understand me at all and why I was this way my father was the one who would say "Ya gotta be careful...Annie's very sensitive". Some would resent it, some roll their eyes and others just shrugged. But my father was dead on. What others thought was no big deal or I would just "get over" he knew had far more of an effect on me. Thanks a lot Seeker. Excellent information.

Megan Kathleen profile image

Megan Kathleen 5 years ago from Los Gatos, CA

Thank you for sharing your experiences with SAD. I suffer from social anxiety as well, and have since high school, but luckily I have always been rather high functioning. What you said about going to job interviews really resonated with me. I have been working a temp job for almost three years, and though I know it would be better for me to find permanent employment with benefits, it is much easier for me to stay where I am and not actively seek out these anxiety provoking circumstances. That's something I'm working on, and it does help to know that you have experienced that it gets a little easier with time.

I have always been a high achieving individual, and I think it is the fear of experiencing failure that holds me back. I have gone to group therapy for anxiety disorders in general and for social anxiety in particular, try to see a therapist regularly, and take Celexa daily, all of which help me to separate out the irrational thoughts that cause my avoidance behavior. It can be difficult to share that this is something you struggle with, as I believe some people in society do negatively judge those with mental health issues, so I am really thankful that you could share this with the HubPages community.

peace 4 years ago

Hi annmarie,

i have been through lot f mental depression depression, psychosis...n nw i think SAD though i over the former diseases but after reading i came to knw that i might b suffering from it. i dnt hv ne physical symptoms but i do hv problems with people i avoid crowd i avoid meeting new people thinking what they wud think about me cz i think m nt dat person i used to b. i was very out going in schools lot f friends remain in limelight in my school days.but after smtime in my graduation i started hving depression den psychosis(hallucinations) i took medial help n m much better but fear of being in crowd meeting new people is still dere but nw i dnt want to take medicines...n i will try to work on myself...though i noticed that when i knw m being wid somebody for a certain time i prepare myself for it n spend gud tym with them n be happy but as smthing happens which i hv nt thought of i began to be dull n sad. there soooo many things which upsets me n it ends up depressing me. and the most hurting is this that i was nt like this. it hurts the way i behave now. and i observe so much. my life has become hell though i have people who love me a lot and know i can do better. i hope i will succeed one day n will be as i was outgoing bubbly n smart n most important happy.

just4uradds 4 years ago

hi moonchild

that really a good hub

just4uradds 4 years ago

this hub give me a lot of help

and those guys who give their own point of views through comment,was really a good experience, that really helpful for those who are in depression can also get help by this

I am also working for it to help people in depression

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 4 years ago Author

Just4uradds - thank you for coming by and letting me know that it helped you. That truly was the whole point of this hub. I wish you well and by the way, working with others who are battling depression is also helpful for us. All the best to you!!

meloncauli profile image

meloncauli 4 years ago from UK

Great hub. I suffered with social anxiety and, like you, helped myself.

Ravenisls 4 years ago

I have been searching the internet for info on this disease because my youngest child has it. Actually, seems like she has always had it. As a young child of 2 she would attend large birthday parties and be there for 10-15 min and want to leave. Now at 17 a junior in high school she is getting tutored at home. I see no hope with mind over matter for her because she is so strong minded. Medication scare the @#** out of me. I realize from reading here I had the same issue in the 1980's in my 20's also but unfortunately I was emotional stunted and choose self-medication and had a hard time with alcohol. So relieved my child chose help instead. thanks for info very insightful.

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