Inside: We are talking about the signs of social anxiety in adults and moms.
We've all been there. You're in a social situation and you start to feel anxious. Maybe the person next to you is talking too loudly, or maybe the room is just too crowded for your taste. Whatever it may be, anxiety can make it difficult to enjoy yourself at these events.
But what if this feeling doesn't go away?
What if it's more than just an occasional case of nerves?
I’m making it a point to talk more about social anxiety, or social phobia here, and I think it’s important to address what it really is, and not just ways to deal with it, or how to overcome social anxiety.
There are many conversations we desperately need to have about mental illnesses as a society, and I hope my blog can help open some of those doors.
Feel free to share if you feel this resonates with you.
I am not a doctor, and I am not here to diagnose anyone. This is simply a guide to some common signs of social anxiety. If you think you have this, I suggest getting a doctor’s opinion.
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I used to think that being fearful and worried whenever I was about to be in a social situation (or often thinking about a future social situation) was normal.
Related: Overthinking vs. Anxiety
I would fear neighborhood walks, calling my insurance, and even going to a restaurant.
But there was always a good reason. Let me rephrase that, I could always MAKE a good reason.
What if someone was afraid of my dog, wanted to steal my baby, or tell me that I’m stupid to think my insurance would cover a routine procedure?
It all seemed logical to me, and since there is a huge mental health stigma in America, I had no idea how common it is to feel this way.
When finally, I realized —I am hurting my childrens’ outlook on life— so I decided I needed to find out what all of this meant.
Social Anxiety isn't NORMAL. Being ANGRY all the time . . . isn't normal. I write more about being an angry mom here.
Being afraid to talk to people, reviewing every conversation you've had and mentally beating yourself up for it, or crying before your kids first day of school because you know you're going to talk to other parents– isn't normal.
So like my typical self, I did research. I mean for HOURS. I wanted to know everything there is to know about social anxiety disorder, why I have social anxiety, where it comes from, is it hereditary or a learned trait?
Social Anxiety Disorder is something 15,000,000 Americans deal with every day.
If that's not scary enough, the average person diagnosed goes TEN YEARS with symptoms before seeking help. Here’s what I found. I think if you can relate to what you’ve seen above, you’ll benefit from this list.
Avoiding Social Situations and Gatherings is a Sign of Social Anxiety in Adults
Avoidance is the most common way we deal with anxiety. Think about it, no one WANTS do these things that bring them pain. When was the last time you were excited to get a colonoscopy?
If you find yourself constantly avoiding people and situations, such as never taking your friend up on that mommy and me class, or never going to the playground with your kid's friends, or if you're always cancelling plans with friends even though you love being around them . . . then maybe it's time to consider talking to your doctor.
Related: Managing Mommy Rage
Maybe your anxiety presents as being afraid to pursue as friendship because you fear all the embarrassing things you might do or say.
Let me tell you something, embarrassing things come out when you're friends with someone. Those silly moments become inside jokes, and something you will grow to love about each other. Please, don't let that hold you back from meaningful relationships in your life.
Blushing, Sweating and Shaking When Meeting New People
Social anxiety is a type of anxiety, so it will present with a lot of the same symptoms as other forms of anxiety.
Generally,social anxiety only shows up when you’re in a social setting or if there is a get together approaching and you’re afraid to go. Often, the fear is worse than going through with the actual event.
Some of the physical symptoms are sweating, blushing, increased heart rate, trembling and shaking.
It depends on the person, some physical symptoms can be as mild as butterflies in your stomach, or muscle twitches, or as serious as hyperventilating and feeling like you’re on the verge of a heart attack. These are also signs of a panic attack, which can happen in worst case scenarios when in social situations with social anxiety.
Feeling Like You Are Being Judged or Criticized
Physical symptoms are easier for someone else to see, but emotional and psychological symptoms are usually more prevalent than physical symptoms, and usually what is the most painful for people with anxiety to deal with.
Sweaty hands is not big deal when you compare it to the fear you're feeling or the dread, or the panic from feeling like you are the center of attention.
Think about how you feel and what you think when you get into social situations.
Do you suddenly have an intense worry when walking into a crowded Starbucks?
I get easily embarrassed when someone calls out to me from across the room — all those eyes on me.
Some of the more common symptoms are a constant fear of being judged, thinking you’re going to be humiliated, avoiding talking to others, being fearful that someone will notice your anxiety, or even worse, they’ll want to talk to you about it.
Being overly self-conscious about yourself
This is a big one for me. When my anxiety is at it's worst, all I can think about is what other people are thinking. They noticed my laugh was fake, they think this shirt looks stupid — why didn't I pick the blue shirt?– they think I'm a bad parent because I can't get my children to stop running around.
In the meantime, feel free to look at this other posts I've written about Anxiety.
You may also find this post useful:
Four Amazing Ways to Treat Social Anxiety Naturally.
Managing Mommy Rage – When Your Anxiety Presents as Anger
Essential Oils for Anxiety
Ultimate Guide to Social Anxiety – This post has everything you need to know about social anxiety. Check it out!
Good luck in your journey, friend.