As I walked through the mall, my mind was focused on only one thing; their eyes. Am I looking okay today? Is my dress unclean? What if my hair doesn’t seem okay? Is there something on my face? What if somebody came to me and asked me something? Oh my God, they all are watching me! What are they thinking about me? Where should I hide myself? Every time I would go to a public place, these anxiety-provoking thoughts would envelop my mind, preventing me to interact with others. I would blame my avoidance tendencies and the growing fear inside me on only one thing; nausea.
See, it was not in my hands. It may seem that I am over exaggerating, but it is what it is. I felt like throwing up whenever I was at a public place, whether it was a mall, a party, a family gathering or anything. I felt the same and I couldn’t help it. It’s like my tongue didn’t support my words. Whenever I wanted to say something or converse with someone, only silence greeted me. A voice inside me told me to run. It sucked, not able to say something. Thinking that your words and actions would be judged. People will not accept you. My sickness started to get controlled over the years. But what remained within me was the passionate fear. Fear of being negatively evaluated. Fear of being judged. Maybe I am not good enough? Maybe everyone out there is better than me? However, I came to realize that the only fear I had was not the nausea, but it was the fear itself.
We all have our own fears and our own struggles. The manifestation of fear varies from individual to individual. We all might be familiar of being uncomfortable or nervous in social situations. It’s whether you’re giving a speech during an assembly at school or whether meeting someone new or getting sweaty palms while giving a presentation. Entering a room full of strangers or talking to new people isn’t fascinating for everyone out there. Social anxiety is often confused with shyness. An individual encountering social anxiety disorder experiences this stress at a whole new level. They often fear talking to strangers, speaking in public, dating, entering rooms, using public rest-rooms, eating in front of people, going to parties, school and so on. The major fear they have is being judged or negatively evaluated by the people. They often have to deal with rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, dizziness, stomach ache, shortness of breath etc. during these embarrassing situations. They do not tend to believe in themselves. They are afraid of their potentials. Afraid that they are not good enough which makes them hate being the center of attention.
Etiology/Causes of Social Anxiety Disorder
- Social anxiety disorder may be associated with your genetics. If someone in your family encounters social phobia, there are chances that it may be transferred to you.
- However, this disorder can be associated with a history of traumatic incident, child abuse, humiliation, bullying or being degraded. Shy kids often grew up as socially anxious adults.
- Parenting plays a vital role in social anxiety as well, overbearing or controlling parents might produce socially anxious children.
- If you are dealing with a certain health condition which tends to draw people’s attention towards you, this can also trigger your social anxiety.
Managing Social Anxiety Disorder
So hear me out, social anxiety can be managed. People can live like normal individuals, enjoying precious moments in their life without having the dreadful fear hiding within themselves; the fear of being judged, the fear of anxiety!
- Meditation can help people to relax themselves and release all the tension caused by the excessive thoughts.
- Therapeutic intervention can give a new direction of positivity to the thoughts, allowing people to breathe freely and face everyone heads on! Indeed, one could change from an anxious, fearful and isolated girl to a confident and courageous girl. Although people suffering from social anxiety believe that such a transformation is impossible, yet, the therapeutic intervention has proved that the word impossible does not exist!
Therefore, Team Pukaar wants to encourage all of you who are feeling anxious, depressed or fearful to take the plunge and dive into the pool of endless happiness. Need any help? Pukaar is with you to help you in all your hardships. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us as serving others and bringing a smile on their faces is our top most priority.
Written By: Harmeen Khalid and Rida Irfan