siasatmadar

Social Anxiety Disorder

14 posts in this topic

Like many other people, I've had Social Anxiety Disorder since childhood. I could remove many false beliefs about gender discrimination, religion, and other stuff, but despite despite many efforts, I couldn't get rid of this fu** mental disorder. I've tried to get help from many "professional treatments" like CBT and group therapy. But my foundation of thinking and mindset towards other people hasn't changed at all. Now I'm receiving pyschodynamic therapy combined with medication, but it seems it take a long time (at least 6 month for therapy) to work, probably!

Advices like "start gradually and take small steps" and also "face your most scaring fear suddenly" didn't work for me. And I'm sure there are many people out there living in the same situation.

So, guys do you have any idea on how we can overcome this disability? Maybe a combination of psychedelics and metaphysic work. I don't know. 

We are talking about finding a treatment for such a widespread disorder which psychologists are researching on the possible treatments and didn't find an effective treatment yet! Oh God, maybe I'm just fantasizing. I would definitely don't want to continue this hellish life. Rather to eliminate myself than keeping on.

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5 hours ago, siasatmadar said:

But my foundation of thinking and mindset towards other people hasn't changed at all.

Inspect it and it’ll change on it’s own. Then you’ll feel better. The problem is, you don’t think you’ll feel better, so you’re not inspecting. There might be things to release, and that’ll feel great. New ways of looking at things, also great. But there’s no substitute for going deeper into yourself. It get’s better and better until it just totally blows your mind in the best possible way.

Imo, the ‘widespread disorder’, is the thinking of it as a disorder, personifying it and treating it, rather than looking holistically, inspecting,  and self discovering the root (with or without someone else). 

It can take time for the healing, and change in direction. More of you is the best medicine though. Very much a one moment at a time thing. Practices are reliable. Wherever you are is perfect, really. It’s your journey. You’re worth looking into. That really is the metadventure, the biggest ride in town. 


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I've had social anxiety all my life until 25-26. I'm still not too good at socializing, compared to a lot of other people, but there's no anxiety anymore and I'm way better than I used to be. If you see socially savvy people they make it seem so easy and effortless. Like if it's so easy why can't I do it? Don't be fooled by this seemingly effortless appearance. I've found, over the years, that it takes a staggering amount of different skills and correct mindsets to be socially savvy and not awkward or anxious. If you come from a dysfunctional family, developed neurosis, had traumatic experiences in childhood / teenage years, you are set back so fucking much compared to other people who had a functional upbringing.

There are two phases to this. First you develop your ego / chip away all the undeveloped parts of the ego, all the deceptions and incorrect mindsets. You see, your ego development was stunted, your ego didn't mature alongside with your body. Then if you got that covered you learn a bunch of social skills. And then you can socialize like everyone else, free from anxiety, and develop intimate relationships.

I suggest you get off mood regulating medication because you are going to need a clear mind for this. But then again I'm just a random guy on the internet.

Here's the list for the ego / mind:

  • Victim thinking. You believe you can't do the things you want. Wrong.
  • Resisting negative emotions / thinking negative emotions are "bad". Your emotions should be working together in harmony with your rational mind / thoughts. Probably you have a constant battle in your mind between emotions and thoughts. This is a mayor issue. You suppress "bad" emotions. Actually bad emotions are very useful and not unpleasant at all because they help you solve problems. Your rational mind has blindspots and emotions point your attention to problems you cannot see with your logical mind. Socialization involves appropriately displaying your authentic emotions, including the "bad" ones. This is especially important when asserting yourself. If you suppress them you cant do this and this is a big problem.
  • No vision for your life, you don't know what you want. You should have goals / dreams that you are deeply excited about.
  • Your life is ran by "should" statements. For example you think you "have" to help other people. You think you "have" to be a good person. You think you "have" to reach enlightenment to live a good life. Etc. Get rid of it all. The only thing you do in life is what you want, even if it is perceived as "bad" by other people.
  • You avoid emotional effort. You think making effort is "bad". You have this illusion in your head that you want to retire and relax and take it easy. This is a misconception because that is not what you want. You want to be doing the things what you want not relaxing.
  • You compare yourself to other people. If they have something you don't have you feel jealous. You are competing with other people. Recognize that there is no such thing as "value" and you are equal to all other people. And doing things to be a "better" person is nonsense and an ego deception.
  • Thinking you are not "happy" or that your goal in life is to reach "happiness". You think there are things that you "need" in order to be "happy". There is no "happiness". Throw that stupid goal out of your head. Of course this is a bit tricky.
  • You don't know how to use your intuition. Intuition is exactly like your emotions, it's intelligence outside of yourself. You should be listening to it the same way you listen to your "negative" emotions. Your intuition is highly intelligent, far more intelligent that your logical mind. The same with emotions, they are more intelligent than your rational mind. With intuition you get no explanation or rationalization why this is the right thing, you just get an answer. And you trust it. You know deep inside it's right. Appropriate socialization heavily relies on intuition. You don't "think" what's the appropriate thing to say or how to respond, the right thing just comes up with your intuition. If you start thinking with your logical mind you will be too slow and seem unnatural and choppy to other people. Socially anxious people have their minds running overdrive while socializing when it should be almost completely silent. Your attention should be on the other person while you let your intuition handle how you respond. This is going to take training but you'll get better. Anxious people, in general, try to run their whole lives by their rational mind only. This is not how it's supposed to be. Your rational mind is designed for only a subset of all the problems you encounter in life. You need all 4 running together in harmony: emotions, intuition, your drive (what you want) and your logical thinking mind.
  • You don't know how to eliminate distractions. You may have a crystal clear vision for your life but it it's going to be useless if you get the impulse to watch porn and youtube all day. The trick with distractions is that you have to recognize them. Like "Ooohh watching porn is a distraction! Even though it's pleasurable in the short term I don't want to do it because I don't really care about this small pleasure hit, I want to do the things I actually want to do". Your ego generates distractions all the time, you have to catch them all day. Sure some will slip by but you'll get better at it. A big one here, that most people are not even aware of, are distractive thoughts. There is monkey-mind chatter in your head all the time. You get rid of it the same way. A thought comes to your mind, you pause and think about the thought for a second and recognize that it is just a distraction, there's no deeper meaning behind it, then you stop thinking about it, let it go and come back to the present moment. You want to be present and that there is silence of thought in your head.
  • Unproductive daily habits / routine. If you don't sleep and rest well, not keep your body healthy, not have productive routines all the above is going to be worthless.
  • You don't strategize / don't have a realistic plans how to get the things you want. Strategize.
  • You are a people pleaser. You want to get approval from other people. You want to construct a positive image of yourself. You want to popular and well liked. You have to recognize that this is a deception, you want a few but deep meaningful intimate relationships in your life. Also you want to be authentic around other people even if that means you wont be liked because of that. If you are a people pleaser your first priority in life is to get approval from other people. You want to replace this by what you want deep inside. Because deep inside you don't care about approval you just feel you "need" to get it, you feel it's not even a choice you just have to do it. Your first and only priority in life should be what you want.

If you do all of the above, you are going to feel like a functioning adult human. You are now able to relate to other people. Just some social skills are missing.

  • Assertion theory. Learn to assert yourself. Understand what is life space. Why you want to protect your life space from other people, this includes the ability to refuse or say "no" to others. And why you don't want to trespass the life space of other people. If you are able to defend yourself from manipulation / attacks from other people social anxiety will mostly diminish. Social anxiety is largely fear of other people, fear you can't get your needs met with other people, fear you wont be able to defend yourself. Notice that it's impossible to assert yourself if you don't have a clear idea what you want and your life is ran by "should" statements or you feel the need to be liked and approved of.
  • Conflict resolving. Conflicts come up sooner or later with everyone you interact for more that little while. If you don't know how to properly resolve conflicts this will ruin all of your relationships.
  • If you haven't paid attention to this then you most likely regularly use barriers in communication, as they call it. That is you criticize other people, judge them, give uncalled for advice, moralize to other people, use closed-ended questions too much and questions in general too much, argue with other people over values, are late, break your promises, repeat yourself. Etc. There are a few dozen of them that you want to recognize and avoid doing.
  • Listening skills and empathy.
  • Humor and fun. You want to know how to have fun with other people, how to make a joke etc. Humor is entirely based on intuition.
  • Conversation skills. Including interesting storytelling and appropriate symmetrical self-disclosure. And a variety of other things.

And there you go! Now you should be able to socialize anxiety free. It's gonna take some time to get through this list though. Hopefully you have some of those things done already. Leo has compiled a good list too, but it's more in life in general. I think this list will be the shortest way to rid yourself of social anxiety and solve the actual problem.

Best of luck!

Edit: This list may appear long but it's actually cut down to essentials for social anxiety. Can't really leave out any piece or the whole thing stops working. I guess the point about "happiness" and conversational skills and humor are optional but you REALLY don't want to skip any of those.

Edited by crab12
Clarification why intuition is important and emotions; added barriers to communication

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I have social anxiety. What helped me was to face my fear where I could go just a little outside my comfort zone but not too much. After getting used to these kind of situations my fear have diminished in those areas.

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4 hours ago, BjarkeT said:

I have social anxiety. What helped me was to face my fear where I could go just a little outside my comfort zone but not too much. After getting used to these kind of situations my fear have diminished in those areas.

Correct. You must push yourself to social situations and acquire experience. Especially when you are developing social skills. Can't learn a skill by just reading a book.

But there's a trap here if your not careful. Yeah, social anxiety is mostly an irrational fear and once you face it it dissolves. But it's not just an irrational fear. Let me illustrate. A lot of guys who want to get better with women at first have an irrational fear of approaching women and any stranger really. So they spend insane amount of time and energy trying to get over their fear, they argue with themselves, listen to pump-up music, try to psyche themselves, do imaginary exercises to reduce the fear and anxiety etc. All useless and totally silly.

Go ahead, approach a stranger and strike up a conversation. If your a guy, go approach a girl you don't know but like. If you have social anxiety this is going to be incredibly scary and probably you just won't be able to do it, you just can't face the fear out of the blue like this. I suggest you do it anyway. Because then you can immediately see that "ooohhhhh it's not so bad at all! I can do it! I was largely making it up in my own head". But at the same time you will also see that, shit, I am not able to hold a conversation for more than a few minutes. The conversation is awkward and robotic and boring and not fun at all! I don't know how to relate to a total stranger and build a connection. It's more than just the fear, it takes skill too. But you can't effectively build this skill if your ego is still immature.

And this holds true for any kind of social setting. Even with your friends and acquaintances or whatever situations are bothering you. You need to build up these skills.

Edited by crab12

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@crab12+1

What you resist, persists. Most of social anxiety is making mountains out of molehills. 

I had someone recently say to me, "you must be very brave living by yourself", like it took some great amount of courage and overcoming internal struggles to do something like that. 

It didn't. In fact I didn't even think about it. But to them, it's scary and some big challenge to overcome. 

Same can be said with talking to people and socialising.

Maybe not the best example, but I hope you get my point :)

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I have had therapy and medication for social anxiety and it caused me all kinds of issues. A common theme in social anxiety is the fear of judgment and humiliation or embarrassment. Then as you transcend it more and more the irony is that you realise that no one really gives a shit anyway and that you are not so important to worry about what others think. Most people have so much of their own internal drama to handle that they haven't got the resources or motivation to really pick apart your (our) social awkwardness and social mishaps. 

My fear of scrutiny has left me mostly and the actual feeling of anxiety is much less, but the habits I built up to cope still linger at times (some self isolation and ducking out of certain social gatherings). The faulty way I programmed myself is still being sorted out I think. 

 

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24 minutes ago, Bill W said:

the irony is that you realise that no one really gives a shit anyway and that you are not so important to worry about what others think. Most people have so much of their own internal drama to handle that they haven't got the resources or motivation to really pick apart your (our) social awkwardness and social mishaps. 

That is soooo true! I don't have social anxiety, actually the opposite. Im outgoing and can talk to just about anyone, including the one with social anxiety that prays I just shut up, stop drawing attention to them and leave them alone xD

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It's quite unfortunate the way psychiatrists approach this problem. The label "social anxiety disorder" doesn't do justice to it because it implies that the anxiety itself is the problem. They approach this problem in a way that if we give you a bunch of beta blockers and other mood regulating drugs so that your emotions stop working properly and fail to produce anxiety and fear then the problem is solved! As if the anxiety is totally irrational and it just torments people for absolutely no reason at all.

I suspect they don't really understand how negative emotions work or why they are there. Negative emotions are there to point your attention to problems that are hard to spot with the thinking mind. The anxiety is trying to tell you "Hey! Somethings not working, you are not getting what you want with other people! Do something!". Negative emotions don't have the answers or solutions the way intuition provides them, they just point your attention to problems, and now it's the thinking mind's job the figure out a solution. And because people treat negative emotions as "disorders" they try to medicate them away with drugs, distractions, porn etc. Really all that the anxiety wants is for you to stop ignoring it, listen to it, find the problem and start working towards solving it, then it will immediately stop tormenting you. Negative emotions have this feature that if you try to ignore them they can hurt you and make you suffer until you stop ignoring them and finally listen to them.

Yeah, there are all kinds of defects of the body and probably also defects of emotions, so that the anxiety won't ever go away and is the problem itself. But I suspect this is rare, like 9/10 cases of depression and anxiety are actually normal people with normal emotions.

 

@Knock I suspect it actually did take courage to do that. Most people are so comfortable and never to anything that requires courage so it's baffling to them.

@lovedoll Yeah that's a strange development. I suspect most of these men don't actually want a doll but they feel they have no other option.

@Bill W

Quote

A common theme in social anxiety is the fear of judgment and humiliation or embarrassment.

Yeah, this is a big clue that the underlying problem is with the ego.

Edited by crab12

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In my experience social anxiety almost always stem from relational trauma. So it might be wise to address that first.

The psychology field encourages dissociation and has overall a very shallow understanding of the human psyche, so it's only able to help people who are reasonably healthy already. That is, unless you find an exceptional therapist. The field really isn't giving trauma the prominence it deserves.


I am myself, heaven and hell.

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@siasatmadar You're identifying with it it very heavily. Deconstruct it.  What is the social anxiety is protecting you from? After a lot of meditation,  particularly mindfulness meditation as I struggled with something very similar,  now I love standing alone in a group of people,  being completely and totally joyful by myself. We are raised in a society to be sociable,  popular,  funny, confident. This is bullsh**. This is an illusion,  a social construction. Forget other people.  Just be you,  nothing else,  but who is that? Work on that,  your passions,  hobbies,  interests,  loves. Sleep,  diet,  exercise, meditation,  nature.  Drop the social anxiety,  who really are you,  find out who that is and love just that. 

Edited by Surfingthewave

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