Don't Let Social Anxiety Rule Your Life
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Health and Wellness

Don't Let Social Anxiety Rule Your Life

Getting out of bed in the morning to go to school or work is hard, but for people with social anxiety, it is beyond difficult.

Girl Alone On Boardwalk

Social anxiety is the fear that people will judge you in social situations, which then causes irrational anxiety that urges someone to avoid that social situation. The disorder is a mental health condition and affects a total of 15 million Americans. The disorder leaves people feeling ashamed, isolated, and depressed. Social Anxiety Disorder is usually treated by therapy (cognitive and psychotherapy) and medication.

I wasn't aware of social anxiety disorder until my best friend was recently diagnosed with it. She had been telling me she lacked motivation, had to talk herself into getting out of the car for class and just wanted to stay in her room all day. I told her everyone has those thoughts sometimes but when it became an everyday issue, she finally told her therapist what she had been feeling. It is sad to see how the disorder can control someone's life, up to the point where they can't do usual activities because their anxiety is too high. Unfortunately, my best friend's social anxiety worsened and she started skipping classes because going became too difficult. Like almost every college student, she is unsure of what career path she wants to take and her social anxiety made it harder for her to stay motivated and optimistic. She has told me many times how alone and isolated she feels and it breaks my heart. We all feel alone sometimes and that is why it is important to reach out to family, friends, or therapists to work through the loneliness.

As hard as it is, you can't let your anxiety control you. Since starting college, my anxiety increased and I have suffered a few panic attacks. There is nothing more frustrating than your own voice in your head saying you won't be able to do something. I once was waiting at the gate for a flight back home from D.C and I had to call my mother to have her calm me down and convince me to get on the plane. For some reason, a part of me started imaging the alternative of not being able to get on and sit in a closed space for a couple of hours. This is unlike me because I have flown over 50 times and have never had any problems. I felt incredibly nauseous, lightheaded and nervous. Luckily my mother was able to calm me down by pointing out there is no other option than to get on the flight to go home. Sometimes people have irrational anxiety and it's important to be able to overcome that anxiety.

I always tell my best friend to think of the alternatives. If she wanted to drop out of school, I'd say, "but what else would you be doing? Would you rather be at your house all day?" I also tell her to name the things she's grateful for. It is easy to forget all the abundance and positive things in your life and by naming them or writing them down, you appreciate the present moment and what it took to get there. Unfortunately, sometimes counting your blessings and living in the present moment isn't enough and medication becomes helpful.

If you or someone you know suffers from social anxiety disorder, you are not alone. In this day and age, more and more people are developing anxiety and depressive disorders. Here is the number to a mental illness and anxiety hotline in case you or someone else may need it: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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