Jean-Paul Sartre, a famous French writer, once said “Hell is other people”. This sentence can be very true when we are experiencing overwhelming discomfort in social situations.
Those who suffer from social anxiety often think that they are judged negatively by others, especially in situations involving performance (at school, at work, while giving a presentation, talking in a group, etc.) or meeting new people. Sometimes we can feel concerned about humiliating ourselves in social situations by not knowing what to say or how to behave.
Social anxiety may involve intense physiological sensations such as blushing, sweating, shaking, difficulty swallowing, pounding heart, or difficulty breathing. As a result, we may attempt to avoid situations that can trigger these uncomfortable sensations. Unfortunately, this is only a temporary fix and tends to make our anxiety even worse over time.
Social anxiety can greatly impact our daily life activities, for instance by causing us to cancel events at the last minute, making us avoid activities we might enjoy, telling us that we need to disconnect from others, or preventing us from developing new friendships or having intimate relationships. Social anxiety can lead to unhealthy isolation, increase the likelihood of depression, and decrease self-esteem.
Social anxiety is a relatively common problem, but fortunately like other anxiety disorders, meeting with a psychologist can help you develop strategies and skills to be much more at ease in social situations.
Feel free to contact me or fill out the form below if you are interested in knowing more about social anxiety and the different treatment options available!