One of the most damaging misconceptions a person with social anxiety disorder is prone to hold onto is the concept that they cannot be saved. The reason that myth is held so firmly by those who are so unfortunate as to have this debilitating phobia is that the most dominant feeling you have when you are in the midst of a panic attack or suffering the effects of social anxiety is helplessness. But when anybody who is suffering with a disability or an illness gives up like that, doctors as well as family and friends have an uphill battle to try and help you.
You cannot hold someone down and hold their nose and force them to get better. That might work for a child who needs to take his medicine. (Although it can result in medicine being spat on your pants. Trust me.) But any medical authority will tell you that if someone is going to recover from a debilitating disease, they have to believe they can get better and that they have the weapons to not only to fight a battle against their disorder but to beat it once and for all.
For anyone suffering with social anxiety disorder, the will to fight the problem is absolutely essential. There are numerous ways to fight back against this psychological disorder. While drugs may be part of your doctor’s plan to help you defeat social anxiety disorder, much of what can to done to reduce the effects of the syndrome in your life is done through therapy to help you recognize what is going on in your mind and fight it at the only place it can be fought – in your mind.
The very first and most important concept that anyone who is going to beat social anxiety disorder must both understand and believe 100% is that you are not a victim, you are not helpless and you can stop social anxiety disorder in its tracks, Once you get your arms around the concept that you can stop this horrible problem from hindering your life, then you must have the courage to say, you WILL fight it at the only point that it can be fought, when it rears its ugly head to ruin an event, an opportunity or an enjoyable social gathering with loved ones.
After all, you don’t have panic attacks or episode of severe social anxiety when you are having a bubble bath playing with your rubber ducky. Everything is just fine then. You not only know precisely when social anxiety disorder is going to effect you, you know what the early symptoms of the onslaught of the problem feels like. It is when you sense the rising anxiety and you can tell that you are experiencing the opening assault of social anxiety disorder that the time to fight back is at its best.
Like most diseases, if you can help yourself before the disorder disables you, you can derail the effects and make yourself able to cope with a social situation despite your anxiety. The most potent weapon against the onset of social anxiety disorder is self talk. Through self talk, you become both the patient and the doctor in your head and the doctor side of you will not let this ugly disorder ruin another event and make you suffer again.
Self talk means that just as soon as the earliest sensations of social anxiety begin to show up in your mind or body, you take action to deny the disorder power over you and to show it the door. There are several key principles that you should speak to yourself to reinforce what you know to be the truth about the social situation and about your disorder.
First of all, banish helplessness because you are NOT helpless and you do not have to suffer with this disorder. Empower yourself and give yourself permission to not be a victim and to win against the anxiety that wants to paralyze you. Next go to your vault of common sense about the social situation that you have discussed with your doctor or in group therapy. For one thing, everybody suffers with social anxiety to some degree. If everybody can face their anxiety, so can you.
Next begin to review the situation you are about to face and recognize that these people are not judging you and that even if you make a mistake, they will still like you. To assist your self talk therapy, keep a 3×5 card with these key points and other important ways to fight off your social anxiety written down.
By reviewing those notes and using self affirming self talk, you will see the anxiety begin to subside. You might have to glance at the card a few times during the event. But what a victory if you can fight back anxiety and function in a social situation. Not only will you not be robbed of the enjoyment of social times, you will have your first of many wins against social anxiety disorder.