Is social anxiety the enemy?
We all know the feeling of being uncomfortable and nervous in a social or business situation. Many of us experience social anxiety. But we also tend to experience it differently from each other. We may clam up when meeting someone new or find our hearts racing before making a big presentation or at a social gathering.
The stress of such situations is often too much to handle. They may cause us to even avoid all social contact because the idea of making small talk or maintaining simple eye contact during conversation makes us too uncomfortable. Sometimes, all aspects of our lives, and not just the social aspect, may start to fall apart because of being unable to handle the anxiety that comes with them.
If you have lived with social anxiety, you will know how restricting it can be. You may find it almost impossible to control your responses and do routine things. Social anxiety can, at times, lead to isolation as a way to avoid these situations. Sometimes, when you share with people about your anxiety or your feelings, people like to give advice on how to fix it. And I don't doubt that it's coming from a good place, but often, it's unhelpful because it feels judgemental.
People might say things like "just do your best" or "we understand you are feeling stressed but it shouldn't stop you from getting on with your life". And, sometimes, people are right! But it often feels like attempting the impossible.
Your best friend here is your consultant, who will be able to help you handle your social anxiety mindfully and with a strategy in place. When you learn to handle your anxiety yourself with a few handholding sessions, you will feel free or, better still, in control as you go forward.
The good news is social anxiety can be curbed with mindfulness and CBT therapy. It's absolutely curable and medication may not be needed at all for those mild cases. You can, in fact, assess your own anxiety using the Hamilton Assessment Chart online and figure out for yourself if you have any mild symptoms of anxiety so you can take precautions accordingly.
To sum it up, social anxiety is not the enemy. It is part of a fight-or-flight response to perceived threats - not actual ones. With mindfulness techniques and a few days of CBT understanding, one can alter the thinking process and have a fulfilling life with greater happiness.