How can I explain my social anxiety to others?
Last Updated: 11/18/2019 at 11:12pm
Melissa Strauss, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
I am client focused and believe everyone has a strength. I feel confident in seeing clients with generalized and social anxiety, depression and relational goals.
Top Rated Answers
Say the truth to someone to trust and as someone that goes through that say something like "When ever so many other people are around it makes me very nervous and anxious"
Choose the communication method you are most comfortable/capable with. Talk about what effects it has on you, explain it from your point of view so they might be able to imagine the feeling. Make sure they understand it is completely different than general anxiety (everyone has that) and shyness. Let them know how much of an impact it has on your life.
I personally had difficulty explaining my social anxiety with my parents, because they personally thought that, if only I could speak up louder, my voice would be heard. They even mocked me for my anxiety at times, because I would shy away from certain situations that seemed "minor." Social anxiety can be difficult to explain to your friends and family members, because oftentimes, people think that having social anxiety is the same as merely being shy. They think that social anxiety can be easily overcome by simply leaving your room and approaching social situations with confidence, but that's not how it works exactly. Overcoming social anxiety is a gradual process, one that takes time and practice. Even though avoiding situations may seem to be the best solution to relieving your anxiety, it only serves to worsen your fears and uncertainties. But it's hard. Every time you face a situation that paralyzes you with anxiety, your nervous system decides to kick in. Your heart beats more quickly, and you tremble/sweat. Oftentimes, you may know that you are being irrational and overly self-conscious, but your nervous system seems to think otherwise when you are placed in certain social situations. By explaining that (how these social situations can be overwhelming for you both physically and mentally) to other people in this way, I think they would be more understanding about your situation.
If social anxiety is too strong a word, you can just describe how certain situations make you feel and the thought processes that go into them. I often find that when i describe my anxiety out loud they sometimes seem a bit silly and it helps me X)
I personally think that the only way others will understand social anxiety is if you understand it. I know that's easier said than done but the anxiety appears as a shadow even on the brightest of days, intangible and constant. The best way to deal with it is to accept it. Accept all the ways that it is a part of you for now. Understand that it does not control you, even when it feels like it does. Once you regain that power and understanding, you will be more confident in communicating with others. That just requires honesty and bravery about how you feel. Keep it simple. No awkwardness or regrets. xx
It is a challenging topic to explain the emotional and mental struggle in words. I personally, close my eyes and think for about 15 minutes to comprehand my challenges. Give it like a personal story with opening, body and conclusion. I almost visualize telling a story to a kid or friend who is listening to me first time. In this technique when I am in front of intended audience, thoughts just flow. To comprehand the three major components I remind myself did I state my opening for needed support, did I provide example, stories, experience to support my objectives and then followed by closing with call of action for support
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