Missing out and disappointing others…

social anxiety

 

This weekend I missed yet another important social event, this one a Rock and Roll baby shower in Chicago for my wonderful sister Jamie Lynn Hartwig-Walker.  She and my Mom, Judy,had flow up from Florida for it. I feel terrible for missing this event that is important in their lives.  Last weekend I missed the wedding shower of my nephew Brian Neary and his lovely fiancée’ Katlyn Moore, which was in Spencer. Both events would likely require an overnight stay and I have been having a really difficult time packing and spending a night away from home in addition to my typical anxiety for a social event.  In January, I missed the Rose Bowl, the “Granddaddy of Them All” causing Mark and my Mom to miss it as well. It was a dream of hers to see the Rose Bowl Parade. Heart breaking! My therapist recommended that I NOT travel to these events as did other health care providers.

I participated in a study at UIHC and was told the questionnaires indicated I had social phobia. I knew I was shy, but I had not been given a diagnosis specifically prior to this.  I have been very reluctant to participate in social functions.  This has been compounded by my significant weight gain and body image issues (the lovely ED rears his ugly head). It has also been exacerbated by my gastroparesis and inability to eat and drink “normally”. (I can do this once in a while, but I pay for it for a couple days. I have to plan it for a day that I know I don’t have to do anything for the next day or 2.)

So today’s article http://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/social-phobiais on social anxiety disorder,sometimes referred to as social phobia,which is a type of anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear in social settings.People with this disorder have trouble talking to people, meeting new people, and attending social gatherings.They fear being judged or scrutinized by others. They may understand that their fears are irrational or unreasonable,but feel powerless to overcome them.

As I said, I knew I was shy, but social anxiety is different from shyness. Shyness is usually short-term and doesn’t disrupt one’s life. Social anxiety is persistent and debilitating.

Physical Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder include: blushing, nausea, excessive sweating,trembling or shaking, difficulty speaking, dizziness or lightheadedness, and rapid heart rate.

Psychological symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder include: worrying intensely about social situations, worrying for days or weeks before an event, avoiding social situations or trying to blend into the background if you must attend, worrying about embarrassing yourself in a social situation, worrying that other people will notice you are stressed or nervous, needing alcohol to face a social situation, and missing school or work because of anxiety

It is normal to sometimes feel anxious. However, when you have social phobia, you have a constant fear of being judged by others or humiliated in front of them. You may avoid most or all social situations.  

The criteria for social anxiety disorder include: a constant fear of social situations due to fear of humiliation or embarrassment, feeling anxious or panicky before a social interaction, and a realization that your fears are unreasonable, and anxiety that disrupts daily living.

Read more about social anxiety disorder at: http://socialphobia.org/social-anxiety-disorder-definition-symptoms-treatment-therapy-medications-insight-prognosis

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