Each week I share a case study about how I’ve helped with an anxiety related issue – this week it’s all about social anxiety.
Social anxiety is usually triggered by being in a social context, such as being in a group situation – for example, meeting up with friends or having a family meal out – speaking up or answering questions in front of others, meeting a date.
Anxiety may manifest itself in physical symptoms such as a racing heart, a clenched stomach, nauseousness, feeling hot and bothered, blushing or getting tongue tied.
You may be anxious about getting anxious in front of others, feel embarrassed about not being able to cope in front of others, and worry about being perceived as weak and showing others how your anxiety affects you.
And the more this happens the more you avoid going out and being sociable, and life becomes very inhibited.
So here’s how I help someone with social anxiety:
Lisa is 28, she’s had social anxiety since she was a high school and it’s got progressively worse. She gets tongue tied and unable to hold a conversation when she’s in a group situation or goes out on a date. She feels very self-conscious and hates being the centre of attention. She worries endlessly about how others perceive her, and the conflict she feels in her mind. She is usually able to think clearly and logically but as soon as she is in the company of others her mind fogs up, she can’t think what to say and stumbles over her words.
As Lisa’s anxiety has become more problematic recently, she has stopped going out with friends as a group, she’s almost given up on having a serious relationship and she’s put off applying for a promotion as she’s terrified about doing an interview. Her confidence is at an all time low.
By the time Lisa contacted me she had become highly anxious and was experiencing panic attacks, she was at her wits end.
During our first session Lisa spoke very quietly and avoided eye contact, initially she looked very uneasy and nervous. It quickly became very clear that Lisa was experiencing a lot of inner conflict, her desire to change things for the better was strong but she also really doubted her own ability to do this. Her thinking was focused on all the things that could go wrong if she went out with her friends, and she vividly imagined herself clamming up, being unable to string a sentence together, and her friends thinking she was stupid.
We did some work together to explore the conflict between the part of her that wanted to change, and the part of her wanting things to stay as they were. I guided Lisa through a process to help her identify the positive intentions behind the behaviours of each part. Lisa recognised that both parts wanted the same outcome for her and with some negotiation between them resolved the inner battle within her. She found it a very powerful session and felt that she’d made real steps forward.
The next time I saw her she looked bright and upbeat, she was smiling and looked relaxed and had treated herself to some new clothes and a different haircut. Her voice sounded stronger, her confidence was starting to bloom.
By the time we completed our work together Lisa was enjoying going out more, had got an interview for a promotion at work and was feeling positive about the process, and was planning a holiday with her group of friends.
To find out how I can work with you, get in touch or give me a call on 07890 964288.