It’s normal to feel nervous in some social situations. Going on a date or giving a presentation may cause that feeling of butterflies in your stomach, for instance. But in social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, everyday interactions cause irrational anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and embarrassment.
Social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition, but treatment such as psychological counseling, medication and learning coping skills can help you gain confidence and improve your ability to interact with others…MayoClinic.com
Ya know, I’m on my way Sunday to a Spark and Hustle conference where I’ve rented a vendor/sponsor booth to sell my books to a room full of my book subtitle peeps “Empty Nesting, Migraining, and Menopausing”. But as I’ve passed these last ten days in a virtual panic, my husband has twice said to me that it’s OK to cancel. But I don’t want to cancel. I refuse to let this social anxiety win like I refuse to let my migraines win. And I’m winning on the migraine side, so I will win on this social anxiety side.
I literally only have to sit at a table with my vinyl sign up, my free nail files I’ve had printed up, the Square on my iPhone, and a smile on my face, right?
But this stupid anxiety makes me feel that everyone will be staring at me as I wheel in my suitcase full of books, and as I struggle to put my vinyl sign up. Nobody will be giving a fiddler’s fart about me. But social anxiety doesn’t work that way.
I remember a very dear friend of mine calling me in triumph once after she succeeded in standing up at the hair salon, walking across the room, hanging her coat in the closet, and sitting back down! Nobody gets how HUGE that is when you think everyone is staring at you. Maybe one or two people are surreptitiously watching you, but it doesn’t matter. You feel every eye is on you and is being critical of you. And nobody can tell you otherwise.
I grew up with this phobia. It’s never gone away. But prozac helped out a LOT, and enabled me to do my stuff with my husband as his wife at social functions. BP (before prozac), I would have major panic attacks before an evening function, paralyzed in bed, calling and begging off for the evening. Then the guilt would set in for letting myself and others down.
Therapy in the past hasn’t really helped in this situation but the medication has. I think I will use a little of my Xanax just for this coming conference to get me through. That’s what modern medicine is for, right?
But the thing is, after it’s all over, I will come home, and instead of congratulating myself by saying, “There, you did it, be proud”, I will say to myself, “I’m never doing that shit again”!