We have not learnt to trust ourselves, we certainly don't trust our ability to recover, and we are in constant conflict with ourselves by continually criticising and 'beating' up on ourselves.
Social Anxiety is the experience of fear and/or anxiety in social situations in which people think they may embarrass themselves or make a fool of themselves in some way.
There can be varying degrees of social anxiety. Many people can experience some form of anxiety when in a social situation. We all know the nervous anticipation we feel when we have to stand up in front of a group to speak, or give a presentation, or when walking into a social gathering where we don't know many people.
A diagnosis of social anxiety is made if the fear and anxiety is effecting people to a degree that it is debilitating and restricting their life. For instance, if we feel fear and anxiety/panic only when we have to give a presentation in front of a group, (and we are not required to give presentations on a regular basis), then we may have a specific phobia of public speaking. If we fear we will embarrass ourselves or make a fool of ourselves, in some or all areas of our life, to the point where we experience intense anxiety and/or panic then a diagnosis of Social Anxiety could be given.
Common experiences and fears relating to Social Anxiety are
Fear of embarrassing ourselves in some way
Fear that we may make a fool of ourselves in some way
Fear of doing, saying, acting the wrong way
Fear that others are scrutinizing us or judging us in a negative way
Fear of what others think of us
Feelings of inadequacy
Feelings of self-doubt
Feeling uncertain and insecure
Feelings of self consciousness when in the presence of others
Feelings of shyness
May be sensitive to the words/actions/reactions of others
Feel uncertain as to how to act or be around others
Self-chastisement, judging ourselves as being less then others e.g.. judge what we do as being not good enough, thinking our self as stupid
As a result of these feelings, many people find that they start to avoid certain situations or endure intense anxiety in social situations. These include:
|Fear of public speaking (includes making a presentation, talking to a group of people, speaking at a social occasion eg. wedding)|
|Fear of social occasions eg. Christmas gatherings, dinner at a restaurant, party|
|Fear of initiating or maintaining conversations|
|Fear of doing an activity in front of others eg. photocopying while others wait, using the ATM machine|
|Fear of being watched at work|
|Fear of writing or signing documents in front of others|
|Fear of eating and/or drinking in front of others|
|Fear of being in a crowd|
|Fear of a general social/ group situation where the fear is others will watch or judge us.|
|Fear of indirect evaluation by others|
|Fear of shaking hands|
People with social anxiety can have panic attacks specific to their fear in social situations and experience symptoms of anxiety.