Social anxiety disorder (SAD) has a different characteristic, hence its own label above. The difference with this type of anxiety is that we internalise our world and our place in it. When we internalise our anxiety, we view the cause of concern as being us ourselves, that we are in one way or another, different from other people. In other words, we have too much wrong with us to blend or fit in successfully. Hence, this is known as Social Anxiety Disorder. Our internal belief system about ourselves carries false/inaccurate information leaving us full of self-doubt messages about who and what we are.
The distinguishing threats of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and its internal messages of self -criticism
People see me as stupid, not having much to say, not being educated as much as others. Quiet, boring, not a fun person.
Common issues felt by people living with this condition.
“I feel unable to say much in company and I’d rather listen to others. I feel dread if someone asks ne my opinion because I don’t know how to respond, my words get stuck in my throat and I feel embarrassed, I may even turn bright red in my face and neck. I just don’t have the confidence, that others have. I’d like to interview for a job because I know I would be really good at it but I feel I can’t because I just don’t have the confidence to come across in an interview properly and I’m afraid of going blank and not being able to speak, if asked questions and it’s the same when I meet people I’m attracted to, I just feel tongue tide and then I go bright red, I need to find an escape route quickly. It takes me a while to get to know people before I feel comfortable in their presence but then I’m already worried that they think I’m a bit stupid before they get to know me.”
Social anxiety disorder is not to be confused with panic disorder. It is related to general anxiety disorder. It can sometimes also be known as social phobia. It stems from interaction with other people and the fear of being judged and criticised. For some young people they may have got involved with other childhood gangs of people and been teased consistently by other kids. Perhaps you had bright red hair awesome kind of affliction. Vulnerable people who are the victims of some kind of abuse are also easy targets of ridicule by others. This anxiety has wide spreading ramifications and I’ve worked with a small hand full of clients, which have developed body dysmorphia, usually relating to how their face looks. This is where people will see their faces looking distorted. One thing is for sure social anxiety disorder needs to be taken a lot more seriously, with compassion and understanding.
Many an adult has come out with the unhelpful comment, regarding a sensitive or shy youngster by stating “don’t worry, they’ll grow out of it.” You have made the youngster feel that they are not normal!!!!
So, what can the root causes be, because that is where the answers to this awful type of anxiety often lies.
Imagine as a child growing up, you were always criticised or compared to other children who performed better than yourself in certain areas, this could be critical parenting, relatives, and teachers, after all the big grown-ups must be right when they make these judgments.
Now your Self- belief evaluation of yourself is being corrupted when having suffered childhood criticism on a regular basis. It could also stem from sibling rivalry, having a very clever sibling can be a very tough act to follow especially where expectations are put upon us. On speaking of expectations very often the adults IE: our parents’ grandparent’s teachers often have higher expectations of us that we can deliver and therefore perhaps we feel slightly failing or lacking in some ways or not up to scratch, not quite as good as others. This is a disorder that can develop during the first 25 to 30 years of someone’s life, however most sufferers develop this at a much younger age.
Psychotherapies, humanistic therapies such as Person-Centred Counselling and Gestalt therapy. Hypnotherapy and hypno-analysis can very often help with uncovering suppressed root causes. EMDR is also an excellent therapy for producing longer term lasting results when teamed with other major therapies.
My final thoughts on this debilitating type of anxiety are that if we were to compare our instinct deep down, to the inner tribal elders or the inner committee, what would the names of the members be called?
Self-belief, trust, compassion, acceptance, choices and courage with the chairperson sitting on the fence of doubt -known as avoidance.