Social Anxiety Understood

“In any social situation, I felt fear. I would be anxious before I even left the house, and it would escalate as I got closer to a college class, a party, or whatever. I would feel sick in my stomach-it almost felt like I had the flu. My heart would pound, my palms would get sweaty, and I would get this feeling of being removed from myself and from everybody else.”

“When I would walk into a room full of people, I’d turn red and it would feel like everybody’s eyes were on me. I was embarrassed to standoff in a corner by myself, but I couldn’t think of anything to say to anybody. It was humiliating. I felt so clumsy, I couldn’t wait to get out.”

Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is diagnosed when people become overwhelmingly anxious and excessively self-conscious in everyday social situations. People with social phobia have an intense, persistent, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will embarrass them. They can worry for days or weeks before a dreaded situation.

This fear may become so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other ordinary activities, and can make it hard to make and keep friends.

While many people with social phobia realize that their fears about being with people are excessive or unreasonable, they are unable to overcome them. Even if they manage to confront their fears and be around others, they are usually very anxious beforehand, are intensely uncomfortable throughout the encounter, and worry about how they were judged for hours afterward.

Social phobia can be limited to one situation (such as talking to people, eating or drinking, or writing on a blackboard in front of others) or maybe so broad (such as in generalized social phobia) that the person experiences anxiety around almost anyone other than the family.

Physical symptoms that often accompany social phobia include blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea, and difficulty talking.

When these symptoms occur, people with social phobia feel as though all eyes are focused on them. 

Social phobia affects about 15 million American adults. 

Women and men are equally likely to develop the disorder, which usually begins in childhood or early adolescence. There is some evidence that genetic factors are involved. Social phobia is often accompanied by other anxiety disorders or depression, and substance abuse may develop if people try to self-medicate their anxiety.

The use of anti-anxiety drugs may be used and they can help you get through “bad patches” when anxiety becomes too much. It’s possible that these meds can help. Let your doctor guide you.

Understand that social anxiety can be successfully treated with certain kinds of psychotherapy or medications. You probably should find someone who understands what you’re dealing with. They need to be good listeners and have an encouraging voice.

Bringing in a pastor or elder must be considered.

Prayer and counsel are a must. Holding on to God’s promises is necessary and as you deal with this it can be God’s way of strengthening your walk. The Word is packed full of His promises. The Lord knows-He wants you to take up and understand what He wants to give you in this.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

Fear or Faith, [Twelve Spies]


“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed,”

Psalm 42:1-2a

Israel camping on the edge of Canaan is evidence of “fear or faith.” Twelve men were commissioned to spy out the land. They were to specifically to determine if conquest was possible.

Upon their return ten men gave a negative report. “We cannot take this land.” But two came back with positive news. “We can! We can take this land.” Two against twelve! Faith against fear.

Many live with a sense doom and fear. It is a “stronghold” that dominates their lives. It doesn’t have to be a specific issue, but there stiill be a sense of dread about the future. This is a destructive problem that fear brings to our hearts.

We can become disheartened and discouraged by our daily battle. Instead of faith we choose fear. The Lord’s promises are easily forgotten. We are devoid of a hopeful faith and are content to live out of this anxiety.

Believers are not immune to this discouragement. Sometimes the obstacles seem overwhelming. We deduce that this is normal and try to manage our defeated lives. But somehow a little voice tells us that there is something more, something better.

The Holy Spirit is supposed to be our steady companion, not fear. We are to emulate the two spies who came back to announce a complete victory. They tried to inject hope into the people’s lives with a good report.

A word about “panic attacks.” They are real and formidable. But God can guide you through them, you don’t need to suffer alone. Dealing with the fear and anxiety in your life can really help. For me the severity has reduced the attacks. The active presence of God is no small thing.

I shall not fear with the Lord Jesus at my side.

1brobry-sig4 (2)





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