“It’s bad to tell others about your social anxiety. They’ll think you’re strange, they’ll treat you differently.”
“The people I’ve told have shown a lot of understanding. I feel much better for having told them.”
So went the discussion at a group therapy session I attended a few years ago. I noticed a marked difference between the owners of these opposing views, a difference that must have influenced their opinions on this matter. The first one was able to hide his social anxiety. Talking to him, you wouldn’t know about all the illogical thoughts flying around in his head. (Illogical, that is, according to the therapist.)
The other participant in the discussion displayed obvious symptoms of social anxiety – stammering, hesitating, blushing, etc. What did he have to lose?
And that’s the conclusion I’ve come to. I tried to hide it and failed. The attempts only make people think I don’t want to talk or I’m standoffish or just plain boring. So I have little to lose by explaining, and possibly something to gain.
Reaching that conclusion hasn’t made life easy. I’ve thought hard about every stage of my journey – about telling each person I’ve told, about starting this blog and more.
For me, so far, the feedback has been positive. If I can help to increase awareness of social anxiety – to make life easier for sufferers and try to prevent it from happening – I will feel I have accomplished something.
9 replies on “Is it good to publicise SA?”
Plus, by telling people you make it easier for the next person who has to tell them.
‘Oh, social anxiety, I met a woman with that before. OK.’
Nothing wrong with not telling people, either, but I think the route you’ve chosen helps society a lot.
I hope so.
I guess everyone has to do what works for them. I like the idea of talking about it, as long as it doesn’t become an excuse for not even trying. Anyway, that’s how I see it for myself. It’s a condition, I’m aware of it, yet I like pushing myself a bit to go beyond my comfort zone.
Definitely. Progress comes by making short steps. Not by making excuses and not by waiting for something to happen.
I’m catching up on blogs from Nicola’s party and I’ve been engrossed in your posts about SA . I’d heard of it, but didn’t really know anything about it.
Part of what I do, when I’m not getting on with my own writing (and lately that’s been taken up with my blog and getting my novel published) or my ‘day job’ in Adult Education, is giving occasional support to dyslexic students at a local university. A young man who I’ve recently begun to support was telling me about his diagnosis of SA, so your posts have made it easier for me to understand his difficulties. Thank you!
I find it interesting how so many classified disorders are all part of a spectrum , along which most of us can include ourselves, one way or an other – eg dyslexia – and I often put off making a difficult phone call, or even a simple one, just asking for information. Not a real problem for me, but like everything human, ‘normal’!
Yes. I expect that most people have some of the symptoms to some extent. They only become SA when they take over your life.
I’m always glad to hear that my blog has had some use. 🙂
I follow your post here and the collective comments with great interest. All of the responses have merit but the one that caught my eye (this does not mean it is more important than any one else’s) was from Karen Gowan. She says “I guess everyone has to do what works for them. I like the idea of talking about it, as long as it doesn’t become an excuse for not even trying. Anyway, that’s how I see it for myself. It’s a condition, I’m aware of it, yet I like pushing myself a bit to go beyond my comfort zone.” For those not affected the notion of SA might be a puzzling one. In my country there is likely to be a broad range of worry, personal and public, and in saying this I imply it includes “Social Anxiety”. We are (in my country) often presented with all sorts of statistics from government and other non-government bodies and the media pick up on these. It’s not easy to know whether the stats truthfully represent the facts across the board. It’s no wonder that stats have been called “the third lie” (origin of phrase attributed to Disraeli and others).
I find that in reading blogs like yours I learn much more about what is happening to others on a personal level and this helps to explain what is happening, in reality, to those afflicted by SA. I have to add a caveat here and say that in my country, Britain, going to see a therapist is not the norm. Our society, our customs, the way we look at ourselves and each other, is different (but how different, is a moot point) than, for example, the USA. In general most ‘ordinary folk’ here would very likely go see their physician if they are depressed and/or have any worry that effects their mental well-being to the extent that it becomes a noticeable burden; by this I mean if they cannot cope with their anxiety and it’s not “just one of those things that will get better when the sun shines”.
I comprehend that SA, as mentioned in your blog post, is more to do with the things that you described, e.g. “stammering, hesitating, blushing, etc. ” and if I have brought into my lengthy comment other things that are not germane to SA, or are irrelevant to it, I apologize for any error on my part. But I wanted to expand on my thoughts here because it seems to me that SA may well be partly (or much?) influenced by the pressures and expectations of the society we live in but also partly to due with genetic disposition). I guess the most important thing is not to ponder too long on how such things happen (I don’t discount causation) but on how a curative approach, or mediation, can be best effected.
Thanks for your indulgence. I’m sorry my post is over-long.
Yes, the causes of SA are partly genetic and partly caused by experiences, including the pressures and expectations of the society we live in. And I agree that it’s probably best not to dwell on the causes, except for one reason: understanding the causes is helpful in preventing SA from developing.
Your writing is eloquent and informative. I am convinced that your pages reach out and provide (as well as receive) vital information from many parties. The evidence is here within your posts of course. I’ll keep following your blog. Best wishes to you and all concerned,