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What is Social Phobia

Updated on August 22, 2008

If you are physically sick, you can elicit the interest of a battery of physicians; but if you are mentally sick, you are lucky if the janitor comes around. ~M

The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid. ~Lady Bird Johnson

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. ~Albert Camus

A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work. ~John Lubbock

Overwhelming fear that takes hold, self-conscious nervousness and extreme shyness are some of the symptoms of Social Phobia. A debilitating disease of the mind, that is so excruciating, it will prevent them from living their lives in the manner they were rightfully born. Social phobia, is also known as, Social Anxiety, a mental illness that is considered to be a type of panic on full volume. People who suffer from this insidious and often daily torment, live in a state of extreme fear. Social interaction which is a life necessity, leaves the victim at the mercy of their phobia.

Speaking before an audience, meeting new people, and even being around large groups can seem like torture. Sufferers must endure rapid heartbeats, alarming feelings of fear and irregular breathing. These symptoms which range from mild to severe, raises a tremendous toll on physical well-being. Exaggerated emotional sensations can leave the human spirit drained and incapable of accomplishing even normal, everyday tasks. Mind chatter is in charge, and the mind can be an intense and consuming obstacle.

Common examples of how Social Phobia can affect one's life are:

1. EDUCATION ~ In order to live up to one's potential, you must be willing to seek new avenues of learning. But, to the anxiety-ridden social phobic, classes, social groups and even one-on-one tutoring may pose a problem. Eliminating these avenues will ultimately diminish educational possibilities.

2. LONLINESS ~ Avoiding any kind of social environment can lead to a shrinking circle of friendships. The paranoia that goes hand in hand with social fears will diminish opportunities of meeting new people, and interacting with healthy personal connections. Many will have trouble forming any sort of long-lasting romantic relationship and may never be able to sustain a loving bond.

3. CAREER ~ Reluctant to go out on job interviews, even though they know that they are competent in their chosen field, can seriously impair their ability to move forward in their desired profession. Many will lose valuable time in the effort to avoid such meetings, therefore, greatly hindering employment and advancement.

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained. ~Arthur Somers Roche

Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death. ~Author Unknown

 

The Good News ~

Living with Social Phobia can be kept in check. There are many new treatments on the horizon that are promising. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been studied and proven to be an effective and long-lasting treatment. This is where sessions are divided into a designated number of group meetings. Designed to slowly and gradually provide therapy in a group setting. This is an essential step in providing relief and sustained progress.

Life will ultimately take a momentous turn for the better, as long as the patient makes a strong and persistent commitment in their treatment. Practicing techniques that are constantly being improved upon, will be the deciding factor in those that will enjoy freedom and live a life free of ongoing emotional drama.

Tips to coping with Social Phobia or Anxiety:

  1. The "Perfection" MYTH ~ Hollywood would have you believe that an air-brushed face and perfect body is as common as sliced bread. Realizing that no one on this earth is perfect and that we are each individually unique will lead to self-acceptance in the highest degree.

  2. LAUGHTER is the best medicine ~ Life is not meant to be taken so seriously that it squashes the good things in life. The happiest memories are made when you live in the moment and enjoying the basic pleasures of life. Lessening your thinking of past and future will greatly reduce anxiety. The more you are reminded to take each moment as it comes, the easier respect for the present will be your way of life.

  3. ART ~ Painting, crafting, writing, or any other creativity that will inspire you, will wake you up to the fact that stress and anxiety can take a back seat. Inspiration can lead to boundless energy and little time to dwell on worrisome thoughts. This type of escape can be emotionally freeing and therapeutic.

  4. MEDITATION ~ Meditation is extremely valuable in the healing of our mind. If we are able to make it a priority to put aside "quiet" time where we can eliminate noise and chaos, we will gain a higher perspective and quiet many of our unnecessary worries.

  5. MUSIC ~ Studies have shown that music is profound in it's ability to soothe, inspire and awaken. Extremely personal and a type of mood therapy all by itself. Making a concentrated effort in making music a necessary daily ritual will bring fulfillment on an emotional level.

  6. EXERCISE ~ Raising confidence to the highest degree is the result of regular and committed exercise. Weather it's getting to the gym or taking a walk outside and surrounding yourself with nature, exercise releases pent up stress and clears the mind.

  7. MEETING FEARS ~ Meeting your fear head on can sound terrifying, but may sufferers claim this right of passage was the most effective in helping them crawl out of their self-inflicted prisons. Taking a one-step-at-a-time approach in choosing which scenarios feed your phobias the most and then deciding to whittle it down to a smaller scale and just "doing" it is monumental. Each task accomplished will feed your confidence level and instill in you the proof that it wasn't as bad as your mind led you to perceive.

  8. JOURNAL ~ Keeping a daily account of met goals and challenging experiences can provide you with thoughtful investigation of what worked and what didn't. Reflection is an important part of self-discovery and will provide a solid ground in reaching ultimate healing.

  9. TALK ~ Groups are essential in a road to recovery, but speaking with a trusted friend or someone who's going through the same fears cannot be underestimated. There are those people out there are exceptional in the role of "listener". Having someone relay their own experiences or act as a sounding board can provide incredible insight. It can calm fears and shed new light on the fact that you are not alone.

  10. HERBS ~ There are many promising herbs that can be used as a natural aid for helping take the edge of social phobias. Valerian root, Kava Kava, 5-HTP are all examples of mild herbal solutions that doctors sometimes prescribe to gently elevate mood levels. Vitamin deficiency is also proven as a culprit in worsening anxiety. Vitamin B-complex, Folic acid, Vitamin C and Zinc could be lacking and incorporating these could also be essential to recovery. See your doctor and never try herbal remedies without the consent of a professional.

Social Phobia ~ Part 1

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    • summer10 profile imageAUTHOR

      summer10 

      10 years ago from my happy place :)

      Thank you DaMaGeD_Goodz for sharing your personal experience. Knowing that you are overcoming this daily struggle will help so many understand that things can and will get better.

    • profile image

      DaMaGeD_GooDz 

      10 years ago

      I am so glad you wrote about social anxiety, which can also become agoraphobia very quickly. I have struggled with this for twelve years and you hit the nail on the head. I went through all the medications, therapists, job losses, etc., and what finally got me through it was facing my fears (that I knew were not rational) and DBT or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. I'm out and about all the time now, on a very low dose of medication, and making a lot of progress. Thanks again for writing this and even more so for being so accurate!

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