Are you fearful, anxious or phobic about something such as darkness, a black cat, heights, public speaking, or being in a small, confined space? Even if these fears or phobias are exaggerated or irrational, they cause so much distress and distraction. If these problems plague your life, you may want help with them. At my offices in Colorado Springs & Durango I work with individuals with phobias and soical phobia is often one of them.
When I was a child I had a severe case of social phobia. I never wanted to be called on in class, never wanted to do a ‘show and tell’ presentation, and I would take a zero on an oral book report any day, rather than get up in front of the class to speak. As the years went by my social phobia followed me into my music studies.
I learned how to play the Celtic harp and sing, but dreaded the graded recital performances in college. All alone on a big stage performing for the music department instructors, I feared making mistakes and looking foolish. Later, in my profession as I was called on to do public-speaking presentations before large crowds, I found I was still struggling with this social phobia as an adult, even though I took two public-speaking classes in college.
Eventually though, I found my way out of this phobia through cognitive-behavioral therapy and clinical hypnotherapy. Today, I usually feel at ease socially, even with my public speaking engagements.
In your long list of fears that make life difficult, perhaps one that is most difficult for you to bear is the mental health condition called social anxiety disorder. This disorder refers to the constant fear of being negatively evaluated and criticized by other people socially. If you have this problem, you may feel so self-conscious to the point you feel that everyone around you is looking at you, or talking about you. Your social phobia may cause you to feel afraid of the world around you, and can manifest itself in panic attacks.
According to National Institute of Mental Health, “…social phobia is characterized by overwhelming anxiety in everyday social situations. It can be any type of situation—such as fear of speaking in formal or informal situations.” It can also show itself anywhere you have to be around other people. There is a pervasive sense of “not being enough” that accompanies social phobias.
Shy or insecure people aren’t the only ones who suffer from anxiety in social situations. Famous people like the singer, Donny Osmond also had social anxiety. In a very intimate interview, Donny Osmond revealed that for years he struggled with stage freight and would experience anxiety panic attacks right before a public performance.
Another famous person who conquered social anxiety is singer-actress Barbara Streisand, who in 1967 became so anxious that she forgot the lyrics of a song in front of a large crowd. She felt so embarrassed that she declined performing in public for a long time after her moment of “song amnesia.”
The great actor Laurence Olivier, who stunned audiences with his theatrical genius also struggled with social phobia for five years just when he was at the peak of his career.
Social anxiety disorder isn’t always easy to spot in a person. You may have insecurity and anxiety, while being in the middle of a social occasion and still hide the phobia. Even with all the anxiety, you may still act witty and gregarious. It’s what is going on inside you that feels so painful and difficult to manage.
Or, you may literally freeze whenever you face a crowd or even a small group of people. Your excessive self-consciousness somehow paralyzes you, making you unable to function well in social circles. At first glance, your social anxiety disorder may make you exhibit chronic fear, sweating, trembling, stammering, and blushing whenever you stand in front of people. You are also easily embarrassed or humiliated by even the slightest hint of being at the center of attention of everyone around you.
Social phobia affects more than five million Americans and is now the third most common disorder after depression and alcoholism. It affects all gender and ages but usually starts in childhood or early adolescence. It is often accompanied by depression and some have fallen into the trap of substance abuse in the hope that drugs would help them cope with their anxieties. You may feel distress whenever you are in the following situations:
- Being introduced;
- Being teased;
- Being criticized;
- Being at the center of attention;
- Being “out of place.”
Some of the most common treatments for social anxiety disorder are Clinical Hypnotherapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. I use both of these therapies and additionally EMDR & EFT to help people with social phobias.
Sometimes, medications such as anti-depressants are used conjunction with this therapy, or more holistic treatments such as energy healing and effective herbs that help with anxiety. Social anxiety, as well as other forms of anxiety, can be successfully treated today if you work with a qualified therapist. A therapist or physician can help determine whether the symptoms that alarm you are due to anxiety disorder, or if these are symptoms of another medical condition.
If you want to conquer your fears and social phobia, your commitment and determination to face your fears will lead you to experience greater freedom, self-confidence, and a better appreciation for people and life itself. If you are ready to take that step now, give me a call. I can help you find the compassion, solutions, and relief you are seeking with Clinical Hypnotherapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, & Energy Healing.