What is social anxiety disorder (SAD)?

Social phobias are extremely common and seem to strike normal intelligent people who (in the past) where reasonably comfortable in social situations. Suddenly, over the course of a week or two they begin to feel very self-conscious and nervy in the presence of others, this often starts in a business setting and then escalates out into their social life too.

A couple of traits we have observed is that (often) the person who suddenly becomes socially phobic in this manner tends to be a little self conscious (and even if they are successful)  they tend to doubt themselves a little. This doubt manifests in anxious feelings and they assume that others are judging them and can see how uncomfortable they feel.

This disorder is very treatable although the path to freedom is not necessarily obvious, we teach you all about this on the course.

Symptoms of social anxiety & social phobia

In our experience these are the common descriptions we hear from our clients about what triggered their social anxiety and how they tried to control it:

  • Fearing / avoiding meetings with dominant (or authoritarian) people
  • Avoiding going for new job interviews
  • Taking time off of work via holidays or sickness to get out of attending functions
  • Feeling trapped in meetings or crowded places
  • Needing to sit near exits or at the back of an auditorium
  • Avoiding conflict or having to stand your ground publicly
  • Take a new job at a lower grade to avoid failing (this does not work!)
  • Feeling awkward at parties, weddings and social gatherings
  • Spend hours worrying about what might happen before going out
  • Avoid functions fearing that their body will let them down i.e. blushing, stammering, crying etc.
  • Only going out with family members or people who are shy

There are many conscious (and unconscious) behaviours that form to try and stop you feeling uncomfortable and out of control. For now, don’t worry about these because they are just ‘reasonable’ responses to the unreasonable and illogical unconscious hijacking of your thoughts and your body.

Important note about social anxiety
Social anxiety is different to shyness. A shy person has a limited social skill-set and has always felt uncomfortable socially, we are discussing people who have suddenly developed irrational fears and it frightens them and makes them doubt themselves at a profoundly deep level.

Feeling uncomfortable and anxious in social situations

We have seen many ways that the mind and body conspire to freak you out when social anxiety takes hold – here are some of our favourites:

  • I blush when they all look at me
  • I go to speak and my throat closes up, it feels like my voice has gone funny
  • I can’t stop shaking, sweating or my eyes go red and water
  • My mind is so busy analysing everything that I can’t think of what to say (or can’t listen well)
  • I just get anxious because I know, that they know, that I am broken! I feel I’m being judged
  • I get panicky if I can’t be close to the exit or if I have to push past others to get out
  • I just can’t stop feeling embarrassed and guilty (even if I haven’ t done anything)
  • I just feel detached and remote, as if, I am scarily dissociated from the people and the room
  • I get panicky if my partner isn’t around to reassure me

These sorts of physical reactions are in addition the more common symptoms of anxiety. As we have said on other pages on this website, these are just symptoms, they are not the problem and when you go through the course you’ll see that they abate as you think differently and change other areas of your life.

Feeling guilty about upsetting other people

It is important to mention feelings of guilt too, because more often than not the social anxiety sufferer will begin to rely more and more on their partner and family to defend their actions and to stay at home more with them, this may cause them to feel bad about becoming a burden, and often initiates arguments and spats that can spiral out of control over the smallest thing.

We pay a lot of attention to this on the recovery program and teach you techniques to let go of the guilt and how to communicate in more effective ways that avoid conflict as you recover. And it’s not just feeling guilty about others, there is also feeling guilty about yourself i.e. “This is just not me” or “I never used to be like this, I must be going mad.”  We work on helping you to let go of this too.

Note: Often, when social anxiety arises there is usually something in the persons closest relationship (or their job) that seriously needs investigating.

Why do I have social anxiety?

 It doesn’t matter why? You just do have it, it just came on – and you need to take action!

For whatever reason (and it really doesn’t matter) your unconscious mind has decided to keep you safe from danger (people) and keeps on hijacking you emotionally. You can think about why all day long consciously, but it won’t help, because the problem is unconscious!

Help to overcome SAD and rebuild your confidence

Therefore, we teach you how to work with your unconscious mind to let go of these fearful emotionally overwhelming  outbursts and show you how to break free from the limiting self–beliefs that have been reinforced by the time spent with the social phobia.

Note: Often social phobia morphs into agoraphobia if not treated quickly and effectively.

On the whole, social phobia is the bodies way of telling you that something is wrong in your life and it needs addressing ASAP! The Calmness In Mind Anxiety & OCD Recovery Course helps you to identify this and then guides you to make those changes. Don’t waste anymore time with social anxiety, let’s get the old you back and perhaps even upgrade it!