May 31, 2017

Social Anxiety

Here’s a free collection of resources about social anxiety- Social anxiety blogs, videos, support groups, first-hand experiences and advice from people who have social anxiety, etc.

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Social Anxiety Blogs

Here’s a list of social anxiety blogs- blogs written by people with social anxiety, or about social anxiety.

****Email alexbalinski@gmail.com to submit your blog to this list.***

Therapy Tribe Blog support.therapytribe.com 2017
Social Anxiety Dad socialanxietydad.com 2017
Anxiety Social Net anxietysocialnet.com 2017
National Social Anxiety Center nationalsocialanxietycenter.com 2017
Be Ur Own Light beurownlight.com 2017
Social Anxiety Ireland socialanxietyireland.com 2017
Diary Of A Social Phobic diaryofasocialphobic.wordpress.com 2017
Inner Battle innerbattle.me 2017
We’re All Mad Here allmadhere.co.uk 2017

 

Social Anxiety Support Groups

Social Anxiety Support Groups On Facebook

  1. Social Anxiety Resource Center Group (18,492 members)
  2. Social Anxiety Resource Central Facebook Group (10,072 members)
  3. Social Anxiety Facebook Group (9,863 members)
  4. Social Anxiety Disorder Group (8,823 members)
  5. General Social Anxiety and Depression Friendship Group (7,390 members)
  6. Social Anxiety, Social Phobia, Depression Awareness Group (3,836 members)
  7. Social Anxiety Club Facebook Group (3,762 members)
  8. Anxiety Social Club 18+ Group (1,948 members)
  9. Parents Raising Children With Social Anxiety Disorder (1,518 members)
  10. Social Anxiety And Avoidant Personality Disorder Group (1,469 members)
  11. Social Anxiety Support / Over 30 Group (712 members)
  12. Social Anxiety Awareness Network S.A.A.N. (253 members)
  13. Social Anxiety Women’s Forum (232 members)
  14. Social Anxiety Disorder Support Group (211 members)
  15. Little Social Anxiety Things Facebook Group (167 members)

Other Social Anxiety Support Groups And Forums

  1. Social Anxiety Support Group (40,120 members, 16,165 posts)

 

Social Anxiety Survey

We’re surveying people about their experiences with social anxiety. Here will be a collection of their responses.

*This information is not meant to replace medical advice, and the information gathered via surveys may or may not be correct. Hopefully it will be helpful to you!

*Response format = Answer (Name, Age)


**Click here to share your experience with social anxiety**


Social Anxiety Symptoms

What symptoms have you experienced?

  • Nausea, sweating, stuttering, shaking, going entirely mute. (Megan, 13 years old)
  • Panic attacks, shakes, shortness of breath, heart racing, skin crawling/itching, paleness of face, sweats, hot and cold flashes, light-headed sensations, dizziness, “spaced out” sensation (as if watching situation from outside), rage/upset/scared feelings. (Amy L., 21 years old)
  • Extreme fear, racing heart, fainting. (Beth, 21 years old)
  • Rapid heart beat, overthinking, sweating, red cheeks. (Giorgiana, 21 years old)
  • Nervousness, shaking, depression, hopelessness, avoidance of “normal” everyday tasks, isolation, over-thinking, restlessness, oversleeping, lack of motivation. (Emmy, 22 years old)
  • Shakiness, rapid heart beat, blushing, inability to start, and even sometimes participate in conversations, loneliness, exaggerating people’s judgments toward me, thinking people are judging me when they probably aren’t, depersonalization and derealization, depression. (Angela, 23 years old)
  • Shaky hands, can’t look at anyone’s eyes, almost anxious at everything, eating snacks whenever I feel anxiety is getting worse, can’t get out of my house for any social event except going to school, not getting a proper sleep, can’t do normal daily activities. (Galo, 23 years old)
  • Fear, anxiety, withdrawal, insomnia. (Matt, 25 years old)
  • Extreme self-consciousness, fast heartbeat, tension, feeling “out of myself”, difficulty focusing on the topic of conversation when talking to others (not only strangers) – having nothing to say, depression, exhaustion, sleeplessness. (Alexandra, 29 years old)
  • Armpit sweats… Heart feels like it’s pumping/throbbing in my throat. I get extremely moody and anxious, there’s more. (Cassaundra, 30 years old)
  • Humiliation, embarrassment, excessive sweating, skin flushing, panic attack, stuttering, extreme irritation. (Nicki, 33 years old)
  • Racing heart, sweating, dizziness, missing out on things I wanted to do, but couldn’t because of fear, black outs. (K., 42 years old)
  • Panic/anxiety, racing heart/sweating. (Shelia, 48 years old)

Social Anxiety Facts

What are some interesting facts about social anxiety?

  • It’s more common than people realize. It’s not always panic attacks – it can be being quiet, crying, smiling, shouting… It’s different for everyone. (Amy L., 21 years old)
  • I feel SA sufferers are deeper thinkers, which I believe results in one valuing the collection of knowledge over that of “building skills”, which I associate with being fairly intelligent (not really a fact, more of an opinion). I also feel sufferers are more compassionate as they are more likely to consider another’s feelings and thoughts (ten fold!) before they act. In my opinion, Social Anxiety is hereditary and you can be born with it. Social anxiety can sometimes even be experienced around close family members, although they are often the people we feel most at ease with. Social anxiety is disgustingly under-represented and researched. There are people those with SA naturally feel more comfortable around, usually sufferers are fairly good at reading others and deciphering whether an individual will make them feel at ease, or make their anxiety worsen. That said, Social Anxiety sufferers are very individual and more than the label of their disorder. All with their own lives, interests and experiences. (Emmy, 22 years old)
  • It can hinder us, but it won’t stop us. (Angela, 23 years old)
  • Anxiety development. (Galo, 23 years old)
  • It’s something that can be trained out of a person in the right place at the right time, it can be managed if serious as well, and there are ways to live a full life around social anxiety for everyone. (Matt, 25 years old)
  • It’s a different thing than shyness! It’s a complex condition that can make your life a nightmare; it can also make you a good listener, though; and actually, it may help you make great, loyal friends since you do not take the initiative, so you interact only with people who find you valuable and interesting regardless of your social problems. (Alexandra, 29 years old)
  • You don’t socialize yourself as most would. (Cassaundra, 30 years old)
  • Exposure to triggering factors can actually help lessen the effects in some people. (Nicki, 33 years old)
  • Mine seemed to come out of nowhere just after I got out of a bad home. I never had problems while living in it. (K., 42 years old)

Social Anxiety Difficulties

What are the hardest aspects of living with social anxiety?

  • 1. Your fear is everywhere. 2. Most people don’t understand, and think you can do a lot more than you actually can. (Megan, 13 years old)
  • In my experience, nothing so far has helped and I think that’s the hardest thing as I have depression alongside my SA, so the failure of different methods lowers my mood. Having attempted mindfulness, CBT (both online and face to face), counseling, and multiple medications…The hardest thing is having none of them work, and feeling as if you are too difficult for even professionals to help. (Amy L., 21 years old)
  • Having to work, or go to school. (Beth, 21 years old)
  • Being easy going. (Giorgiana, 21 years old)
  • Struggling to act, thus achieve ones’ goals due to fear and doubt. Leading to one missing out on many life-altering experiences. Avoiding and cutting people out of lives can result in isolation. Basically, the looming uneasiness makes one lonely and unfulfilled, and the persistent thoughts do not allow a person to go a day without forgetting this. (Emmy, 22 years old)
  • Struggling to make friends due to having a hard time with talking to people, struggling to make important phone calls (making appointments, calling my boss back, etc.), seeming like I’m uninterested in people when I’m just really anxious. (Angela, 23 years old)
  • Planning my next hours, days, months, years. Planning every single moment that I’m not even sure if it’s going to happen. (Galo, 23 years old)
  • Maintaining healthy relationships. (Matt, 25 years old)
  • You cannot use your talents and strengths fully; SA stops you from doing what you love; it makes you pretend you’re fine and normal which is difficult and exhausting; makes you unable to do everyday things like shopping, or making phone calls; it makes you feel worthless and disabled; it makes you hate yourself; you always feel you don’t fit in, and it is hard to get support when you have a limited number of friends; and the hardest part is probably that you need help to ask for help. (Alexandra, 29 years old)
  • Not having a normal life. (Cassaundra, 30 years old)
  • Being unable to cope with the thought of being judged. (Nicki, 33 years old)
  • Getting mad at myself for letting my mind keep me from doing things I want to do. (K., 42 years old)
  • No one understands. (Shelia, 48 years old)

Social Anxiety Advice

What encouragement/advice can you give others who experience social anxiety?

  • 1. Don’t let it stop you from doing the things you love to do. 2. Doctors/therapists know nothing. 3. Get yourself someone who is super confident, and don’t let them go (they will help you so much). (Megan, 13 years old)
  • I’ve had social anxiety since I was 1/2 years old. Originally it was misdiagnosed as ADHD and then re-diagnosed as depression, social phobia and social anxiety all mushed together. I am now 21 and married, with plans to start our own family in the near future. I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but it’s slowly coming together for me, so it can for you too. (Amy L., 21 years old)
  • I’ve had problems with social anxiety and selective mutism for years. I still do, but it’s a lot better now because years ago, when I was sitting alone and terrified, contemplating whether I should give up or not, I decided to hold on just a little longer. If I had given up, then I would’ve never been able to see the progress I’ve made today. Things will get better someday, trust me. (Beth, 21 years old)
  • You’re not alone and you are more important than you think you are. Every time you face a fear, it is a huge achievement for you, despite what you tell yourself. You have a big mind and you’re constantly inside of it. (Emmy, 22 years old)
  • Keep fighting, and don’t give up. (Angela, 23 years old)
  • Trust your brain in the good sense of the phrase. Don’t trust whatever negative comment people tell. I’m better being selfish sometimes, like if you don’t care about nothing and nobody. Just do what makes you feel better. Don’t let anyone kill your dreams. (Galo, 23 years old)
  • There is a way to either overcome or live with your social anxiety, chances are you feel alone a lot and thankfully you can find these ways around it by yourself. (Matt, 25 years old)
  • It is possible to overcome SA if you try hard; visit a doctor, try some drugs, or if you feel able to talk to a stranger about how you feel. Try therapy (but do not force yourself to do things you are incapable of at the moment); try to find a person or a few, or an online support group, who will support you during the treatment (support is extremely important), but be understanding for those who do not understand you; be patient, do things, believe. (Alexandra, 29 years old)
  • I can help you understand your anxiety better as I’ve been learning the last 3-4 years myself. (Cassaundra, 30 years old)
  • You can still have a fairly normal life, and even a successful career while being affected by it. (Nicki, 33 years old)
  • It can get better if you really work at it. There are a lot more people who have it than you think. I hope you meet one, and talk about it. (K., 42 years old)
  • Breathe. (Shelia, 48 years old)

Social Anxiety Diet and Exercise

What’s been your experience with diet and exercise?

  • Diet: when I’m usually at a house where there are people I don’t know too well, I’ll eat nothing and drink nothing. Exercise: I like to walk, but I really despise sports. (Megan, 13 years old)
  • Due to my depression, my diet sucks- I snack a lot and struggle to eat large meals (always have). I’ve made attempts to change this previously but have found that due to the added costs, it wasn’t possible for me to continue as I am a student and not working currently. I have found that I just don’t enjoy exercise. Before coming to the university (around two years ago), I used to go to the gym daily, but I found it didn’t work well with my binge eating. So for me, these aspects did very little to improve my SA. (Amy L., 21 years old)
  • I’m vegetarian, and exercise moderately. (Beth, 21 years old)
  • I have hyperactive disorder and my overactive mind often keeps me on my feet. I walk a lot and I usually walk very, VERY fast. I find movement as almost a coping mechanism. I exercise often, but my diet isn’t great or bad. Just average, I eat what I like, but I can comfort eat when I fall into a depressive mode. (Emmy, 22 years old)
  • Diet seems to help. Exercise seems to keep my mind off my anxiety and other life problems. (Angela, 23 years old)
  • I’m not a person who does exercise, my food habit is pretty much balanced, but sometimes I abuse with snacks like Doritos. I was almost slim, now I’m a bit fat somehow, but I’m trying to keep my shape as good as possible. (Galo, 23 years old)
  • Peak gym time doesn’t help, the only way I found to work with it is beanie and headphones makes it easier to ignore how many people are around you and how much healthier and fitter they are. (Matt, 25 years old)
  • I tried to eat healthy but since I also have depression, it is still hard for me to prepare meals (so I guess I fail with diet so far); yoga seems to help a bit, or at least it’s fun. (Alexandra, 29 years old)
  • Stress. (Cassaundra, 30 years old)
  • Unable to do much due to other factors (other chronic illness and financial status), but even minimal is better than none. (Nicki, 33 years old)
  • Exercise helps some. When I eat a pizza I get really happy. Guess I should look into this more. (K., 42 years old)
  • Walking a lot, not much eating. (Shelia, 48 years old)

Social Anxiety Treatments

What’s been your experience with treatments (medication, therapy, etc.)?

  • I just do things I like (play the guitar, color), and call that therapy. I was told that I’m not old enough to have medication. (Megan, 13 years old)
  • My experience with treatments has been terrible. Nothing has had any impact. I got pushed through seven different medications within a five month period (not good, as medication takes around six months to start to work). Therapy didn’t help me either; it ended up with me walking out as I felt patronized, and pressured to do things (such as face my anxiety in situations) that I wasn’t ready for. This occurred both for online CBT and face to face CBT. (Amy L., 21 years old)
  • Anti anxiety meds, some therapy, a lot of things I’ve learned was from me experiencing things head on myself (which I don’t necessarily recommend). (Beth, 21 years old)
  • CBT. (Giorgiana, 21 years old)
  • Medication does little to nothing in my experience. I am terrible at taking tablets, though. I barely believe in paracetamol (I have tried fluoxetine and setraline). Therapy did nothing. The appointments were too spaced out, and it was basically like chatting with a stranger about feeling depressed. I didn’t open up enough either. I am able to coach myself better than that! (Emmy, 22 years old)
  • Therapy has helped a lot, even though it’s just a start, and I need more work. I was struggling financially and had to stop therapy, though. Therapy has helped me start being assertive, smiling, and making eye contact. I’ve also learned techniques to stop negative thinking that I plan to do on my own. I’ve not tried medication, yet, but have thought about it. I’m currently trying an L-Tryptophan supplement, which seems to be helping. However, I have just started it, and last time I couldn’t stand how it made me feel spaced out and dizzy. Taking at night will help, though, since last time I took it in the middle of the day. I also use a Monq essential oil diffuser for when I am stressed, and need to take a break for a minute. Not sure how much it helps with social anxiety, but it helps with stress and anxiety in general. (Angela, 23 years old)
  • I think medication has helped a little bit, I think the rest of the treatment is all about yourself. Some medication are way too tough, right now I’m feeling dizzy because my doctor has suspended one of my meds (Effexor). (Galo, 23 years old)
  • GABA (gamma amino butyric acid). (Matt, 25 years old)
  • Meds helped me a lot, though it took some time before they started working; and also I tried a few combinations of drugs before I found the right one, but it was worth trying; At first, my anxiety was so overwhelming that I couldn’t start therapy (and frankly, I am still skeptical about therapy as such), then it turned out I don’t really need it, since I am lucky to have friends who I can talk to about everything, and who support me all the time; also, I got a cat and he’s the best therapist ever ;). (Alexandra, 29 years old)
  • I hate pills, and you have to build a relationship with someone for therapy. (Cassaundra, 30 years old)
  • Therapy does not work, but medication has been a good aid. (Nicki, 33 years old)
  • Antidepressants made me worse. Xanax helps tremendously. Therapists and psychiatrists are crazier than I am, so that boosted my self confidence! (K., 42 years old)
  • Works great, no benzo- very addicted. (Shelia, 48 years old)

Social Anxiety Recommendations

Anything you’d recommend for someone with social anxiety?

  • Everyone’s different, just do what you love. (Megan, 13 years old)
  • This is going to sound blunt, but I always say to myself “Just suck it up”. Force yourself through the situation. It might not be the best approach (and is probably quite damaging, so maybe don’t follow it) but it’s the only way I’ve found that makes me cope. That, and I take my partner almost everywhere as he can see when I’m not coping. (Amy L., 21 years old)
  • In terms of “social skills”, they improve with practice. My anxiety is barely noticeable on a day-to-day basis because I have always had to work and push myself. Try to build these skills and do not let your anxiety pile up on you. Having social skills may not necessarily ridden you of Social Anxiety, but they make awkward and uncomfortable situations less frequent and more easy to deal with. The first step is hard, but it does get easier. (Emmy, 22 years old)
  • Therapy, because I feel like it’s helped me immensely. Also learn to be assertive. (Angela, 23 years old)
  • Again trust yourself only, please don’t listen negative comments. Do what you think is best. By the way, if something bothers you, you just need to say “well, screw you”, go straight your way, continue with what you were doing. (Galo, 23 years old)
  • You can do it. (Matt, 25 years old)
  • Everyone is different, so you need to find your own way of coping – but try hard and never give up; it’s possible to win – and it is definitely worth the effort. (Alexandra, 29 years old)
  • Being open about it will help people understand. (Nicki, 33 years old)
  • Find others to talk to who have the same problem. Look for the quiet person who always sits alone, and talk to them! (K., 42 years old)
  • Peace, breathe. (Shelia, 48 years old)

Social Anxiety Resources

What specific resources have you found most helpful?

  • None. (Amy L., 21 years old)
  • SA group. Various accounts of other sufferers throughout the web. With how vast the internet is, you are likely to find at least one account of similar experiences/feelings. It can really lift your spirits to find you are not alone. Finding a sympathetic site and asking a question anonymously (that’s my way!) and getting answers from real people can brighten you up as well! There are options out there, sometimes you just need others to confirm that path! (Emmy, 22 years old)
  • My therapist, therapistaid.com (my therapist has given me some work sheets from there, and they have other useful worksheets), researching online and online support groups. (Angela, 23 years old)
  • Facebook social anxiety groups. (Galo, 23 years old)
  • Social anxiety Facebook groups. (Matt, 25 years old)
  • Various websites. (Alexandra, 29 years old)
  • How to calm yourself down. (Cassaundra, 30 years old)
  • Prozac, as well as having a career in an industry requiring constant phone calls. (Nicki, 33 years old)
  • Breathing techniques, going into nature (best alone), essential oils (cypress oil reminds me of kayaking swamps, which calms me much more than ones said to relieve stress. I think scents trigger different memories/emotions in different people). (K., 42 years old)
  • Therapy. (Shelia, 48 years old)

Social Anxiety Stories

Share an experience you’ve had related to living with social anxiety.

  • One that really sticks with me, and probably one of the worst, is when I had to go to a drama lesson in school (we weren’t allowed to not do it). The teacher was assigning parts, and I just didn’t know what I wanted to be, and just didn’t want to be there at all. My twin sister was in that class with me, and I sat next to her. It was getting closer and closer to the teacher talking to me. I can’t remember what I said, but I remember talking to my sister, and stuttering. I had never stuttered in my life, and it was really bad, and I couldn’t control it at all.  (Megan, 13 years old)
  • No offense to whoever wrote this question, but I think that it’s impossible for someone who has lived with this condition for as long as I have. Every day is an experience of living with SA, so it’s impossible to share just one. (Amy L., 21 years old)
  • In my junior year of high school, I didn’t talk to anyone. I was terrified of everyone, even though they were so nice to me. And even if I wanted to talk to them, my brain wouldn’t let me (selective mutism). People thought I was weird or antisocial, when in reality I’m not. I’m actually naturally pretty outgoing and I love people, but I was terrified. (Beth, 21 years old)
  • Where do I start? I’ve quit jobs, cut people out of my life, dropped out of courses. You name it. I can sometimes go into “reset mode”, where I feel I’ve embarrassed myself enough at a certain job, or with a certain group of friends that I quit and cut people off before the feeling heightens. Dating is the only category I have specifically noticed worsen as time went on. My last boyfriend used to really bully me for my disorder (he was just not a very nice person), so now, I’m convinced all men will do so. There is a really nice guy I was talking to recently – I reply to him less and less because I want to ease him out of my life without hurting his feelings. Guess what? I actually LIKE him too. (Emmy, 22 years old)
  • I once stopped myself from making a very important phone call due to my social anxiety, and it could have had serious repercussions in my life. I put it off for weeks, because I was nervous to talk to an insurance representative. I’ve also had to have other people make doctor’s appointments for me. Since I started therapy, however, it has helped me with making phone calls, even though phone calls are still a struggle for me. While having anxiety when trying to make phone calls has caused me issues in life, it hasn’t affected me nearly as much as my other problems with social anxiety. I have a hard time making and maintaining friendships due to my anxiety, and I struggle hard to start and continue conversations with people I’m not close to. Because of this, the only friend I really have is my boyfriend. (Angela, 23 years old)
  • People often tell me, hey you are shaking, you look nervous, why don’t you hang out? I hate these comments. (Galo, 23 years old)
  • Finding a girlfriend was simply luck, without luck I’d probably never be able to find anyone. (Matt, 25 years old)
  • Now that I am relatively healthy I believe I’m unable to ‘live with social anxiety’; my experience is I never really lived before I managed to decrease the anxiety; now I am a new person, or I’ve finally become myself- as the anxiety blocked who I really was. (Alexandra, 29 years old)
  • It sucks- you’re this huge person, but to you, you’re this tiny person. (Cassaundra, 30 years old)
  • Stuttering while talking has been a huge obstacle for me, but it hasn’t stopped me from being a supervisor at work. (Nicki, 33 years old)
  • The scariest was my first blackout. I’d just moved to a large city from a small town for college. I was sitting in class and the next thing I knew, I was in a bad part of town, lost. I saw a pay phone (back in 1993) and called mom who looked the streets up on a map and told me how to get back to campus (over three miles away). My books were still in the room, and I had no recollection of leaving. (K., 42 years old)