Now first thing’s first. Before you can deal with social anxiety, the best thing to do is get to know it. If you’re struggling with this form of anxiety you’re probably thinking, I already know it. I know it all to well. Here are some of the symptoms associated with this disorder. You may have only a couple symptoms or more than a few. Everyone’s different.
Symptoms of Social Anxiety by WebMD
Many people with social anxiety disorder feel that there is “something wrong,” but don’t recognize their feeling as a sign of illness. Symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include:
Intense anxiety in social situations. Avoidance of social situations. Physical symptoms of anxiety, including confusion, pounding heart, sweating, shaking, blushing, muscle tension, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Children with this disorder may express their anxiety by crying, clinging to a parent, or throwing a tantrum.
Personally, I know I have avoided meetings in the past, and during social encounters with people I’ve experienced the pounding heart, sweating and muscle tension, tension which usually happens in the worst of places my face. I remember I went to a small group meeting with some people I didn’t know too well. The leader asked us all to share an opinion on something. I instantly got anxious and wondered if I was going to pass out. After two people shared, it was my turn to talk, I think my lips were white. I started talking and within seconds my face started to spasm out. My face was twitching uncontrollably. I finally just came clean and said, “Um, I have social anxiety, my face feels like it’s twitching all over the place”. The leader of the group quickly apologized for putting me on the spot and did his best to make me feel comfortable.”
As a kid we lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone. I remember during one week we spent the mornings, across town, at my grandmas house before school. My mom wanted me to take this different bus to school during this week, I believe I was in 3rd grade. Although I lived in a small town and knew everybody on this other bus, it was going to take a fight getting me to ride it. So for three mornings my mother played tug of war with me to try to pull me to this bus stop. There was no way I was going to get on it. I felt I was going to be the center of attention once I stepped on it, imagining everyone on the bus would see me and stop what they were doing just to say, “HEY, what are you doing on this bus?” In the imagination of someone with social anxiety, everyone on the bus would stop at the same time to listen for my answer…
How Common Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder and the third most common mental disorder in the U.S., after depression and alcohol dependence. An estimated 19.2 million Americans have social anxiety disorder. The disorder most often surfaces in adolescence or early adulthood, but can occur at any time, including early childhood. It is more common in women than in men.
social anxiety disorder?
Although I still get anxiety from time to time, once I decided to live my life fully committed to God, anxiety issues don’t seem to be as big of a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my days, just less frequently. With my social anxiety its always, what if I don’t say the right thing, or what if they think this or that. The feeling of being judged is there. With being a committed follower of Christ, your purpose is to live for him. As I focus on living for him and his purpose for me, I find my own insecurity is no longer worth my attention.
I remember one day, not too long ago, I was feeling overwhelming fear and I had to meet with some people regarding a project I was involved with at work. It seemed like I was worried about a little bit of everything at once. It felt like I was dealing with both general anxiety and social anxiety, all at the same time.
At the peak of this uncomfortable moment I remembered a text message.
It read, ‘On this day put God before yourself.’ Only if I started the day off right, with this in mind, perhaps I wouldn’t be so worried about the little things. Now, every time I feel a since of anxiety, I do a double take – am I putting God first today? I’ve found that the more I put God first, the less I deal with social anxiety. Occasionally, when I do feel anxious, I use it as my reminder to once again put my attention on living for God and his purpose?
Do not fear, for I am with you; God repeats this throughout scripture, Old and New Testament.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.