I have always dealt with anxiety issues throughout my life, I am just beginning to learn that I had it though. I have all the symptoms of SA, sweaty hands, weak voice, fear of talking to others, and pretty much every other symptom as well. This anxiety has really affected my life. When it is at its worst, I can hardly get out a rational thought, it just keeps building on itself. It feels like the world is collapsing in on me. That is why I stay inside a lot, and play my video games. I hate being stuck inside though, I would love to be able to go out and just enjoy myself with my friends.
I realize all of this is normal for a person suffering from Social Anxiety but I have experienced a few other problems that I am not sure are related the SA or not.
In my spare time I am a level designer and this takes a lot of patience and creativity. It seems lately that whenever I work on levels I immediately start tearing myself down. I tell myself that it is worthless to do this because I will never be good enough at it anyways, and Ill never learn. I become very frustrated when things don’t look great (or at least I don’t think they do) and it puts me in a bad mood for a little while. It really limits my capability and hinders any learning that could be done.
Another problem that I have been dealing with is whenever I talk to people (especially girls) I constantly wonder if I said the right thing, if they thought I was cool, yada yada yada, everything a normal SA sufferer would think, but in addition to this (if it was a girl I talked to) I would start thinking that maybe she likes me. Once I start thinking this it doesn’t stop, she is constantly on my mind. For example I talked to a cute girl today in class and had a short meaningless conversation, just kind of a getting to know someone conversation. Now I keep seeing her face in my thoughts, and thinking how nice it would be to date her. Its like I almost become obsessed with them on accident. I continually run different conversations that we might have, and how they would turn out and maybe we will get married or maybe she really likes me and we’ll date, etc. The problem is that with all these thoughts running through my head I being to feel pressure and anxiety (my hands are actually shaking just thinking about this) to do something about it. Though I never end up doing anything… This has happened a few times throughout my life, and some are worse than others.
In addition to social anxiety, I believe you may have low self-esteem and are engaged in rumination. People with social anxiety generally don’t think highly of themselves. They lack confidence. They often believe they are not “good enough.” They may not believe they are likable people. Individuals with social anxiety are often afraid of what people think of them. If they felt better about themselves, they would have less social anxiety. In addition, they would have less difficulty interacting with others and their focus would not be on what others think of them.
Rumination is repeatedly thinking about a distressing event or situation. Some individuals who experience rumination report that it prevents them from relaxing or sleeping soundly. Rumination is thought to contribute to depression and anxiety. The more an individual ruminates, the more likely it is that he or she will become depressed or anxious.
Social anxiety and low self-esteem can hold you back in life. You are already seeing evidence of this. As you attempt to work, you psychologically terrorize yourself. It is very self-destructive. You are, at this point, your own worst enemy. At the heart of social anxiety is fear. Fear can be crippling. It can keep an individual from realizing their full human potential. If you have not done so already, it is advisable to seek help for these issues. Social anxiety and the other issues you are struggling with are common and very treatable. Help is available. Cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of talk therapy can teach you how to have a more realistic and positive opinion about yourself. Medication may decrease your social anxiety. Many people have found the combination of medication and talk therapy to be very effective for the treatment of social anxiety. Please click the find help tab at the top this page to locate a therapist in your community. Self-help books may also be beneficial. I would recommend all of the books by David Burns as well as The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. I wish you the best. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle