Thursday, July 17, 2014

Social Anxiety Is Real

This morning on my twitter feed, I saw a post from Fank Fine.   He is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Orlando, New York and Winter Park.  His tweet caught my attention because it is something I have had to deal with.  Social Anxiety affects a lot of people and I am one of those.

And truthfully the fear of doing something is most always greater than the actual doing of it. Do you know anyone with Social Anxiety? - @frankfine

At one time, I could barely walk into any store for 5 minutes because of Social Anxiety.  It didn't matter if the store was crowded or not.  By the time I reached the door, I would be having difficulty breathing, my body temperature would elevate, and my fear level of others went through the roof.  By the time I got inside, all of these things were doing their damnedest to completely control very biological function in my body.

Social Anxiety is real!  People aren't making this up.  People aren't just striving for attention.  It happens and it happens to a lot of people.  Sometimes it isn't as severe as what I've gone through, but often times it is.  Sometimes it is more minor, but if you experience it, I'm just preaching to the choir.

At one time walking through an airport was an exhaustive experience for me.  The crowds of people, the small spaces and not to mention, those that actually bumped into me or rubbed shoulders with me would send my anxiety levels into outer space. It was all I could do to keep myself together.  Getting crammed into a small seat in the back of an airplane was like tying me up and stuffing me into a 2x2 box. 

At one time Christmas was a battle for me to walk into the store.  In some ways, it still is and I actually try to stay out of the stores around Christmas time.  Not only is there many people in the stores during this time who are generally rude and unforgiving as they buy those perfect Christmas gifts, but the space is often too crowded.  Stores pack their floor space and see how high the shelves can go with merchandise.  All of these things bring me crashing down in my own anxiety.

It was a slow process for me to begin overcoming this and I had some horrible experiences with people and law enforcement as a result.  Some of the situations were very scary and put others in danger.

Counseling and therapy began helping me to function out in society.  Society can be very brutal and often times people may think they mean well, but their behavior only increases the problem.  I tried medication such as Xanax, but it tended to make me function more like a zombie, rather than learn to deal with the anxiety.

One of the things that helped the most was bodywork and relaxation.  I'm not talking about just any bodywork, but the healing work that helps you go deep within yourself and release all of the stored up potential energy of stress, fear, and trauma.  If you want to learn more, check out my website on Somatosync and it will begin to shed more light on what was really effective for me.

I wish that the mob mentality in our world didn't try to rule everyone else.  People with Social Anxiety need to have a little more care, rather than someone seeing how fast they can bulldoze them over in a crowded place.

Just thinking happy thoughts isn't going to cut it either as some may suggest.  Happy thoughts are nice, but if you don't face reality, then happy thoughts will come and go while the anxiety remains.

Social Anxiety is a condition rooted in our biological mind and body.  If we want to overcome it, this is the first place to begin.  I'm not going to say it is easy to treat, but I know from my own life that Social Anxiety does not have to rule your life all of the time.

Just remember that the fear of anxiety is often greater than the actual event.  Its like having the fear of fear itself.  One psychologist once told me to just look at the anxiety and say "bring it on".  If I took the power away from it, it had no power to run over me. Of course, I know firsthand just how difficult this concept is to follow.

Blog Post And Images (c) 7/11/14 by Don Shetterly

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