Social Anxiety Documentary: Afraid of People



this program is brought to you by freedom from fear a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people who suffer from anxieties and depression remember back in high school that quiet kid in the class who never raised his hand there's out always I'm Outsiders in every high school that me I was I felt like I was on the outside of the outsiders and how about that co-worker of yours who hardly speaks at meetings if they asked my opinion on something I just move you know you're very frightened we've all known people like this before and we've all suffered through our own share of shyness do you brush your teeth every day but for some people shyness goes way beyond what you could ever imagine this documentary will take you on a journey into the world of people who suffer from social anxiety disorder the third most common mental disorder in our country after depression and substance abuse what does it feel like to suffer from this disorder feeling of Terror like a life in that situation how does it affect families it's a chemical situation that has affected just about all eleven aunts and uncles of mine and it's now come down to second and third generations what causes it recognize the disorder we've described it we understand something about the biology a lot the population and how can you get help if somebody does have social anxiety disorder they should know that there is very effective treatment and treatment that's very safe and well tolerated I want to be confident I want to be out guy I want to have a lot of friends I I'd like to move up in my career I really think I have a lot to offer I just have to get past this awful fear one of the things that strikes me is that there's all this loss potential in a group of people who tend to be our most sensitive and often our most caring so it's like those are the people we need to get out when I get up on a Monday morning I get up and I have my coffee but I'm already getting nervous um I procrastinate I spent a lot of time doing stuff around the house I know I have to be there but I try to prolong being home in my little comfort zone as as long as I can as I'm driving to work I can feel the anxiety building my stomach starts to get sick and I start to sweat by the time I get into work driving up that driveway I'm pretty much a mess going up the stairs walking down the hall I'm just dreading every moment of the day social anxiety disorder is one of six main kinds of anxiety disorder that we now recognize in Skytree in psychology it's actually the most common it's also known as social phobia social anxiety disorder affects millions of people worldwide it causes someone like Pam to feel intense anxiety in almost any social situation if I get one wrong look from someone I'm immediately gonna think that I'm an absolute idiot we're gonna have to leave people with social anxiety disorder become very overly sensitive about what other people are thinking about them interestingly they'll often come in the office and say I'm paranoid but they're not parented at all what it is is they have tremendous interpersonal sensitivity so every time they're around other people they think that people are judging them because they think they're actually doing bad looking stupid looking incompetent being inarticulate having people criticize them even if it's not verbalized the idea that people are judging you and criticizing you potentially or negatively evaluating you is a huge fear for these people there's a range of severity so people with who have it to a more moderate degree can function but with enormous effort and pain they maybe can work but they'll do something that's below their capabilities we could rather than have to interact a lot with other people very much to have friends it's very hard to form a intimate relationship it's very hard to socialize for some people the disorder manifests itself only in performance situations but for others it permeates every aspect of their lives in the extreme people become extremely isolated they don't work they end up on disability or being supported by their families they'll be afraid to use public restrooms to become afraid to eat in restaurants because they're afraid people may be watching them and they may spill their food or choke we've seen people who are afraid to endorse a check in front of the teller because while the teller is watching their hand starts to shake well the checkout line is the worst of course and then other than that no first going into the store it's like home I know it's not happening like all eyes and turn see who's coming in and down and then walking around and looking at stuff you know what so it's like um I always feel like I'm you know under spotlight James lives at home with his parents and hasn't worked in four years just being out of his house for longer than an hour is sometimes more than James can bear social anxiety disorder has taken over his life I felt a lot of times I did just like a freak you know just because just because of this I mean I mean how can you how can you be be so mean actually afraid of other people I mean it doesn't have never heard of that we've all experienced moments of shyness but suffering from social anxiety disorder and being shy are two very different things shy people may be uncomfortable or not like doing certain things but they're able to do them whereas the people social anxiety disorder get these actual panic attacks and really cannot do these things while socially anxious people are often limited by their disorder shy people play an important role in society more society rewards with a great deal of dignity and economic reward those who like to work alone like computer programmers scientists poets writers TS Eliot was a very shy child and a very shy adult and so he closed the door and wrote poetry and plays and won a Nobel Prize in Literature it's only a problem when it's over-the-top okay when it incapacitate sus when it keeps us from getting to do the things that we want to do in life when it robs us a pleasure when it keeps us from working it keeps us from having relationships it's a problem the worst time for me was was in a particular meeting where I was having a panic attack and I just I still can remember the feeling of just being frozen I didn't want to turn my head at all I was afraid to look at anybody on the side of me just just sweating and just having this feeling of being outside my body kind of looking down on me it's a feeling of Terror like a life-and-death situation basically and it's totally unrealistic but that's that's how I feel inside chris is a computer programmer he started a social anxiety disorder website to help others who are going through struggles similar to his own right after years of battling with social anxiety chris considers himself 90% better i feel that i've overcome a lot of the disorder and i want to show other people that that they can do the same they've come a long way from where I was in the past and I'm a lot I'm able to handle it I'm that hundred percent cured but I'm able to handle it a lot better barb knows social anxiety as a psychologist and as a patient she lectures on the importance of self-acceptance in overcoming anxiety as she struggles to find that acceptance within herself I'm a psychologist I should be able to have myself more together just feeling like that somehow that's not cool you know that but you know I'm sure doctors get sick and have to go to doctors and get antibiotics so why wouldn't psychologists have mental health problems too one of the hardest things for someone with social anxiety to do is get up in front of an audience today Barbara is doing just that giving a presentation on social anxiety disorder for the general public the anticipation of giving a speech is really the worst for me sometimes I'm a little bit reluctant and you know sometimes get angry or frustrated like you know why do I have to do this but I don't really have to I'm choosing to and part of it is is growth that's why I keep doing it today's presentation is about people who are painfully shy it's also known as social anxiety disorder or social phobia but this presentation is more than just about social anxiety disorder it's about courage I'm going to try something that I haven't done before I'm going to try to share some of my own experiences but it's gonna be hard it's not like I go around and tell everybody that oh I have this problem with anxiety and you know I don't do that I did well in school academically but I never said a word I always sat in the back of the class hoping the teacher wouldn't call on me if there was ever the slightest hint that class participation would be involved that day I felt like I was literally going to die if there's anything I hope I can pass on to my son is the important lesson I've learned it's good to take risks unless you take the risk to break out of your comfort zone to try new things your world stays small and you never know what joy you might be missing thank you very much when I'm done and it's over a lot of times I just feel this huge relief but also there's been times where I feel so emotional like I want to cry because it's just like I think I've built so much into it and it's just been so draining that you know I just kind of I don't know it just all I don't know I'm just sad I guess just talking about all the painful times I didn't know I'm just wondering but I did the right thing to do that it's so much easier just to stay and be the professional over the last two decades experts had explored what causes this disorder we certainly know that it runs in families so that people who have first-degree relatives parents for example who have the illness are more likely to get it than other people but that only explains a part of the reason people get it many people have a situation where maybe they were humiliated criticized rejected evaluated poorly socially and then they felt a loss of control and they felt embarrassed and there was a lot of shame that they experienced in that moment and then what happens is they became more and more fearful of those situations and so more avoidance took place or just negative perceptions of situations like this and so they started to then develop it almost like a conditioned response to their fear of all the adults for adolescents that a psychiatrist would say have social anxiety or social phobia some acquired it they didn't have any special temperamental or genetic bias but some did the temperamental bias which is inherited is not for shyness what you in here it is a tendency to overreact to anything that's new novel unfamiliar we know that a particular circuitry in the brain of animals is reliably triggered when those animals experience fear in particular laboratory situations is something called conditioned fear and it specifically involves a brain structure called the amygdala which is kind of the central part of the brain for fear responses this structure always fires when anything new happens you hear a sound you didn't expect you see a sight you didn't expect a smell you didn't expect and we think that the children who are born with this bias to overreact to novelty inherit a neurochemical are very excitable in a groundbreaking study dr. Jerome Kagan of Harvard University videotaped the reactions of infants to unfamiliar stimuli his research suggests that some infants have a temperamental bias to experience anxiety if you were an infant with such a chemistry then if we showed those infants interesting stimuli they never saw before like Mobile's colorful dolls that were moved in front of their face that if you had this chemistry you would begin to show this motor vigor and begin to cry because we had passed your threshold that is a sign that you have inherited a chemistry in the amygdala that that has rendered it very excitable therefore for the rest of your life you should be biased to react to unfamiliar things with an initial restraint okay well what did you learn yesterday did you have your picture in your desk is your picture in your desk can you share it with us kayla is 7 she suffers from a disorder called selective mutism which is a form of social anxiety disorder there are some children that just manifest social phobia this way they just literally shut down and they do it with their voice because that's their easiest way of not communicating not interacting they find that and over time they learn that's I going to learn behavior so they shut down and they don't speak so no attention will be brought to them then you brush your teeth every day yes or no do you brush them every day yes are you shaking your head yes I didn't hear it rattle should I come back to you okay I'll come back to you these children want so desperately to talk and they can text the words just don't come out they can't speak it's stuck I've had little kids tell me that they're stuck in their throat they're stuck in their chest their tongue is playing tricks on them their lips won't open up right their mouth just doesn't work their brain is telling them not to talk right who's your neighbor I watch my daughter in the classroom um it's very painful to see her struggle and not be able to interact with the other children like like they do and um just breaks my heart but before Kayla was diagnosed Cheri was filled with frustration and anger I can remember yelling at her saying you know why are you doing this you know quit embarrassing me I really thought that it was some kind of control that she was doing this almost on purpose I mean its child was suffering from major anxiety and I just didn't understand it's often difficult for parents to tell that these children have social phobia or selective mutism reason being because at home you're comfortable and they're totally fine can I go fern they're often bossy oh they're stubborn there are um they're very assertive you got that one oh yeah I am I Shh Sheri is suffered from anxiety for many years but she didn't associate her feelings of fear with Kayla's behavior and then one day she had to give a speech to a classroom full of her peers and reality hit a fear that took over my body I mean I was literally feeling sick I was sweating I was and that's when it brought so much light to me I'm like oh my gosh this is what my daughter is feeling every single day close to you the majority of cases this anxiety is hereditary it's passed on from one family member to the next so when these parents find out that the symptoms that these children have are due to anxiety it makes them to take a step back and realize this is me this was my brother this was my sister all these things that my child is going through is what I went through and what I'm feeling it's just been a real eye-opener for me I've learned so so much about myself it helps me to understand myself better and mostly it helps me to understand Kayla this is me on the map of my room natalie is Kayla's best friend in school I cherish their friendship because kayla has come so so far this year and a lot of the credit goes to Natalie and to her teacher mrs. Decker say miss Knope his children tend to bond with very outgoing children because they will do the speaking for them and that's what you see with Kayla you see Kayla having bonded with Natalie well when she's shy the tops just tells me he whispers it to me and I say it and I made a talk cuz the first she was reading to me they keep telling that she could do it Kailas come a long way she's got good friends in school and she speaks with Natalie but in order for her to fully recover dr. Blum has suggested that she take antidepressant medication we're starting on very low doses of medication in order to lower their anxiety level the children are much more receptive when their anxieties lower they're able to perform the things that we need them to do once Kayla becomes more confident and comfortable in the classroom she will be slowly taken off her medication the prognosis of selective mutism when it's viewed from an anxiety perspective is excellent these children overcome selective mutism so if we can give them the coping skills and develop behavioral techniques to be able to deal with a stressful situation they're able to carry that over into their life as they get older now I try to look at things in such a positive way and I know that no we recognized the problem in that route getting help for her and she's gonna overcome this at a young age and she won't hopefully have to go through the pain all these years that other people do kayla is fortunate she's growing up in a time when many doctors and families are recognizing this disorder in children but for socially anxious adults like Chris the diagnosis took years Westham Hakeem Chris is visiting his parents home for the first time since he has started treatment for social anxiety disorder the conversation brings up painful memories of a lonely child as documented by his mother Audrey in her diary but I can see going through this there's a number of times when I do mention shy and I mean even one particular place where I'm actually concerned about Chris's personality he didn't want to leave the yard all last summer he wouldn't talk or even look at others he wouldn't go to the neighbor's houses and had trouble with Sunday school and library school yeah I know there were some problems because I did didn't feel cut remember I'd go down to the bus stop and everybody would sit on one side of the street and for some reason I would stay alone on the other side by myself so there's another aspect in our family I have cousins that have social anxiety situations but I have less events that have had phobias grandma couldn't walk around the block unless you and Cory were with her because her her legs would be like rubber aunt bee couldn't go on a bus they all had heart palpitations anxiety attacks it's a chemical situation that has affected just about all 11 aunts and uncles of mine and it's now come down to second and third generations very heart-rendering to think that you were seeing these things and and I was would have left of try to help you with it social anxiety affects more than the people who suffer from it it also has an impact on everyone who loves and cares for them so do you think you've gotten everything you want to get for your mother for Christmas I feel at times so sad that she has so much capability so much intelligence beautiful woman you know it has everything in the world going for her but she can't recognize it make it the party that's extremely painful for me to watch is somebody that I care so deeply about you know when she thinks okay I'm ugly I seemed unprofessional all of these thoughts my first reaction is to just say you're crazy I think it's hard because I've always seen so much more in her than she sees in herself I didn't know I had social anxiety disorder and I didn't have a word for it back then anyways I mean I was pretty depressed not very happy see I feel bad for even my parents watching this I cry myself to sleep a lot but I don't know if I want them did that I was suicidal you know a lot and they didn't necessarily know that I mean I think I have it in over in my high school yearbook that I wrote some letter in there I think maybe I've hidden it that that I would kill myself at a certain point if things didn't get better in high school I didn't have too many friends I was a lot smaller than some of the other kids that kind of got picked on a lot beat up a lot it's especially tough dealing with this disorder I believe being being a guy because we don't want to show our weaknesses and with the social anxiety being shy and reserved that's a weakness I try to compensate in other areas by doing things like skydiving getting involved in sports bungee jumping I think I did a lot of crazy things who try to show my man listen guess there's our always I'm Outsiders in every high school but me I was I felt like I was on the outside of the outsiders because I was just completely alone what my thumb everything I was going through and everything I went through me and it was tough to just seeing that other people having home at least someone a friend you know just to you know get through it all with and I didn't fit in with the other kids and all that so it mean a lot of that experience is just getting to high school we went looking at colleges I picked the easiest thing I possibly could the closest thing I possibly could when you know at that time in my life I should have been looking for something challenging and exciting yeah went to secretarial school it was the easiest thing I could think of I knew how to type I knew how to do all that stuff I wouldn't be threatened I wouldn't be challenged and it would be easy further progressed in college I would miss my classes that would I'd sleep on the couch all day just a lot of depression I drank a lot if I drink then it eliminates some of the anxiety feel a little more comfortable talking to people one study showed the median age of onset of social anxiety disorder was age thirteen that means that there are a lot of shy anxious socially inhibited children who are probably labeled by their teachers as model students because they are not disruptive they don't disturb anybody they're quiet and it's probably not recognized that these children are terrified to raise their hand having a lot of trouble making friends because they get nervous in these social situations and these children have a very very high risk to grow up to continue to have these problems to develop depression and also develop substance abuse problems because a large number of people with social anxiety disorder realize unfortunately that alcohol is one way to calm you down into social situation so we really want people to pay attention to this even in school-aged children for socially anxious children like Pam Chris James and Barbara there was no diagnosis and no treatment constant anxiety caused them to develop other disorders like depression and the way to deal with acute shyness they were told was to pull yourself up by your bootstraps get over it snap out of it I don't think that really works but that's our attitude toward people with mental health problems behavioral problems and emotional problems so that I think that people tend to think well this is just the way I am and I'm gonna get laughed at if I try to get help for it I went to visit my friend in western New York and she had one TV channel on her TV and all of a sudden this commercial came on for a social anxiety series of tapes that was supposed to help you get past this social anxiety mainly started listening the symptoms yeah I said oh my god that's me it's me on that tape I started to cry because I just there was a name for it sorry so many years there was a name for it and something existed and it looked like I could get help social anxiety disorder was misunderstood for years until 1985 when dr. Michael Leibovitz published a paper about its devastating effects doctor Leibovitz started the first anxiety disorders clinic in the United States the last 15 years we've recognized the disorder we've described it we understand something about the biology a lot about how common it is in the population we can really help most of the people affected by it to a significant degree at the New York State Psychiatric Institute a research team is looking into the brain in a whole new way utilizing PET scan imaging they search for the answer to a puzzling question how did the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin affect patients with social anxiety disorder neurotransmitters are chemicals that help pass a nerve signal from one neuron to the next how do they affect us well when you wake up in the morning it's because certain nerves are flooding your brain with a neurotransmitter serotonin or when you're exercising your nerve endings release dopamine a neurotransmitter that helps muscles move more easily neurotransmitters affect everything we do every thought we have and they have a great influence on our sense of well-being think of a neurotransmitter as an electronic messenger that passes a nerve signal from one neuron to the next throughout the entire body in order to do its job it has to move through a small gap between neurons called the synapse and get absorbed by the next neuron but sometimes for reasons scientists don't yet understand that doesn't happen and when it doesn't people experience a myriad of problems including the effects of social anxiety disorder the reason that really I'm focusing now on serotonin is due to the success of the serotonin reuptake inhibitors and those are drugs which are all currently being used in the treatment of social phobia dr. Kent uses PET scan images in the hope that she can see how the group of antidepressant medications known as the SSRIs help neurons absorb serotonin she starts by doing a baseline PET scan on patients prior to treatment with the SSRI drug paroxetine in the second column here we see the baseline PET scan or the first PET scan that was done before treatment was instituted in the hot areas or the brightest areas here are the areas of the greatest binding or greatest density of the serotonin transporter after three to six months of treatment with paroxetine on rescanning these patients these images show a significant reduction in hot hot spots or brightness indicating that those sites now are occupied by the drug paroxetine it does suggest that at least with this drug that there is very very high occupancy of those brain sites and so you can really see the mechanism of action of how this drug is working in the brain all the patients really were feeling significantly better and actually functioning better in their social lives and really overall much much much less anxious social anxiety disorder shows some difference in symptoms around the world dr. Roberto Luis Fernandez studies the impact of social anxiety disorder on different cultural groups and he's found some surprising distinctions in some Asian groups for example the concern is much more about the impact of your symptoms on somebody else how they feel embarrassed or uncomfortable by you whereas here in the United States it's often about feeling embarrassed yourself cultural differences influence how we view social anxiety disorder they also influence what triggers the u.s. Latinos are Latin Americans in general dancing is very important and a lot of people I see come in because they're concerned about feeling embarrassed about the way they dance in front of other people Thomas de español CIO mojito for new immigrants social anxiety can be triggered as a reaction to a foreign environment people who migrate um might have been in their countries of origin somewhat shy but not to the degree where it would have caused a problem but after migration they might feel much more difficulty in social interactions because they have to deal with following a new set of social rules which they may not completely know about or feel comfortable with whereas if they had not been in that migrant situation they may never have had social phobia to that degree or even have received the diagnosis there are two kinds of treatment that have been proven by good rigorous scientific studies to be effective one is a type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral psychotherapy and the other are medications particularly medications that we usually call antidepressant medications although we now know that they're useful for anxiety as well the medications maybe have a little bit of edge in terms of how potent they are but the cognitive therapy looks more durable in terms of its effects after you stop so there may be ways to combine the two to really get the best of both worlds medication in psychotherapy are intended to change the person and the person is part biology part psychology dr. Richard Heinberg director of the adult anxiety disorder clinic at Temple University uses cognitive behavioral therapy with socially anxious adults in this form of therapy patients learn to change the way they feel by changing the way they think okay she won't go out with me she'll have changed her mind by the time I call okay those very very negative predictions right and the outcome in truth was she went pretty amazing how different those things can be isn't yeah this therapy assumes that part of the anxiety response in adults affected by this disorder is a learned behavior and like many other learned behaviors it can be modified through training a very important piece of cognitive behavior therapy is not only talking about situations but actually doing and learning by doing is she somebody that you would like to call again definitely okay well how about we set that up as our agreement between us that that's that you'll call her this week sometime the next day or two in fact would say because you don't want too much time to pick okay I guess no were you agreed to do it yeah I'll try were you agreed to do it yes overtime patience learn to replace their negative anxious response to social situations with a more appropriate one the first step in getting better is often the hardest finding the courage to ask for help at least now I wanted to do these things you know to reduce the anxiety absolutely I think you're on the road to recovery you know not only that but just coming here yeah and doing what you're doing is very courageous and desperation you could call it desperation um what do you feel better calling a desperation or courage what's gonna make you feel better they're both correct well well I guess whatever people want to call it you know to me it feels desperate they don't get deals desperateness but if you set it courageous say courageous courageous say desperate desperate which feels better well not which feels more real what feels better um courageous feels better for me it's a better thing you know it's so that kills you better but it feels desperate me where you need to go in your thinking is to start balancing that negative thinking that it's desperate yeah – one of Aegeus they're both correct yeah but the other way is gonna make you happier I see I never thought of it that way before that they're both correct yes this tomato just seemed desperate and I was that well think about it as courageous okay okay just two months after beginning cognitive behavioral therapy James start seeing results today I'm going to the to a grocery store because um that is something that has been hard for me to do in the past thank you I have made some progress you know in dealing with social phobia just on by trying to face the things I used to avoid before I've been using a lot of technique something that I learned from the therapist I'm seeing a doctor Caden one of the ones that helps me a lot is just um remind myself you know even if I do feel anxious and um you know even if it is noticed by other people that it's not the end of the world you know I just think so what you know even if they do see that you know about me knowledge thanks you too it wasn't as bad as I thought it was gonna be on I'm learning that about a lot of things lately you know nothing is as bad as it seems it could be another way James copes with his anxiety is by using a talent he's had for years turning his experiences with social anxiety into cartoons I guess it's like with with I'm writing they say right but you know it's like this is something I knew what it was like to go through so I might as well do cartoons on on that you know I can appreciate you know how awful the certain experience can be but then find the humor in it and it put into a cartoon a couple of websites that also deal with this some have put them up got a lot of good feedback it's good just to look at the bad experiences and you know make funny cartoons out of them and if other people can look maybe laughs – and all the better so many people there after years of living with anxiety pam has also decided to fight the fear been about four weeks I'd say since you guys were last here and I've started taking a medication continue to see the social worker who's helping me with cognitive therapy and I've had some ups and downs today Pam is going to the hairdresser an activity most women look forward to but for Pam it has been filled with fear I've been going to the hairdresser in Boston for probably 12 years and I'm still scared to go in and talk to this man the day before I go you try to think of interesting things to talk about so that when I go in and start talking to him I feel like I have something interesting to say in the day of the event I'm a basket case and it's nothing this man has done for some reason he makes me nervous as Pam and her boyfriend Mike approach Boston she waits for the inevitable hit of anxiety to take over her day now this is interesting usually where this time I like to start shaking before my highway well yeah cause if we get closer to the city I start getting nervous well a little but not like usual I think I'm getting better usually when we get to this point on the bridge my heart would start pounding and start breathing really quickly and my legs feel like absolute jelly really yeah that's not happening now no that's cool I mean I'm a little nervous but not Pam and her hairdresser Alan have talked and laughed during their appointments for years in all that time and never let on that inside she was filled with anxiety but today their banter is surprisingly comfortable and her laughter is real coke is great because I love to come in here she loves it this is the first time actually in about 12 years since I started coming to the salon that I've actually really enjoyed being with them as opposed to thinking it myself being nervous it's a great feeling a lot of people would never allow themselves to be filmed while in there and their mind they look the worst that they can possibly look but they're so comfortable with herself you might be surprised about that I can let myself be interview to getting my hair done like this I think I can do anything not the color yeah fuck appeal I feel pretty good actually I didn't feel as nervous they filmed everything like the hair colors really the medication must be starting to kick in or something two months later Pam's feeling even better I'm doing much better since the last time I saw you I feel like I have a sense of my confidence back I'm able to talk to people now where I couldn't before going to a party at one point would really make me very nervous and I would cancel more likely then go to the party I'm much better with that I can talk to people even strangers yeah I get up early I have a long way to go and I have my ups and downs there are weeks when I feel myself getting back into that spiral again all your bad bad bad but you just pull yourself out get your medication go to the therapist in it you just feel much better you can't be friends with people you can be social you don't have to hide in your house or hide from social activities or hide from work there there is a way to get past this it's liberating it's been almost a year since kayla started taking medication for her selective mutism Cayla started on medication shortly after we were here and the medication has helped her tremendously at home here she became much more adventurous she would climb trees and hang upside down or swing sets and just became like a little monkey which was something we didn't read ever really saw in our child before we didn't realize how truly inhibited she was just in everyday life before she started on the medication I mean it's just amazing to see what she can do now versus what she couldn't before but the biggest change in Kayla comes out at school in the classroom kayla has just really become a different child her body language is so different she seems so completely more relaxed than she ever has been ever in the last few years of school she interacts so much more with the kids and you know speaks with them now in small groups doesn't have to whisper although Kayla's come a long way in here there's still some areas that she needs to continue working on where can we find jumbo burger like interacting with your teacher ceilidh you want to point to the jumbo burger sometimes she'll just nod yes and no sometimes she'll say something but usually just one or two sentences and then other times she won't say anything and she'll whisper and her friends ear and her friend will tell me you know the answer Christmas morning Sara run Steelers stocking okay to help Kayla feel more comfortable with her teacher her parents make tapes of Kayla reading at home that she shares with her teacher after school because if Sara looks out her window she makes a wish by doing this they hope to eventually ease Kayla into speaking with her teacher during class hopefully by next year we can get her talking out loud to the teacher in the participating in class verbally in front of everybody we'd uh we'd be extremely happy and I think that's realistic weather happens in a year and I don't know but uh she's certainly on her way there kayla is always gonna have a shy disposition about her she's never gonna be able to walk into a classroom know hey I'm here but just to have her being able to to interact and speak freely with with everybody really would just be a great accomplishment for her and if she can't do it you know what will stall over the same I found out about five years ago I don't know has about 27 when I first found out there was a name behind it I just was shopping in the bookstore and found a book called the anxiety and phobia workbook and it described my symptoms exactly and then I started practicing some of the things that they recommended learning what was happening to my body learning how to control those bodily symptoms and then also dealing with some of the mental thoughts that were going through my head and contradicting those thoughts once Chris started combining medication with his therapy he began to notice a change I didn't see any results for about six weeks but after six weeks all of a sudden I had this big meeting and it was with the top two people in the company now I never I never had a meeting with those two so it was like what these guys want and so I go to the meeting and I just couldn't believe I mean I did not feel nervous at all at that point that's where I knew that the medication was working for me and I've been on it for about a year now and I'm hoping in another six within the next six months I'm going to try to slowly get myself off of it and try to pick up on some of the therapy a little bit more for many socially anxious people like Chris getting better means knocking down the walls of loneliness around them when I first decided to act surely to marry me I wanted to do something different something original let's talk to my sister and she thought it might be neat if I I made a big sign on the building across from my apartment so I thought that's a great idea so ended up making this big sign it was about 30 feet I went over to the building across the street from where my apartment was at I went up there and started putting the sign together and I had my my sister and her husband across the way in my apartment they were filming me and tell me if the sign was it wasn't crooked make sure and it was great they were scared I was going to fall off the edge I got it out there went picked up Shirley brought it over to my apartment I pointed out the sign and she's in college that's not for me is it then I got down on my knee and and asked her she said yes looking back I never thought I would would have the opportunity to get married or find a relationship like this just feels really good to be able to overcome this and get to this point I've come a long ways it's kind of a you know just a little bit a day-to-day progression there's gonna be ups and downs there's gonna be times where you feel like wow I'm making great progress but then there's also times where you have setbacks and you feel like withdrawing again for me that's been important to realize that okay it's not just a total you know linear progression upwards in terms of recovery and the fact that I still struggle with it I don't think in any way negates the progress that I've made or the progress that is possible that I still may make in the future well there's no cure for social anxiety disorder treatment can make a difference what does that mean they'll still have anxiety they may still have more anxiety than you know Joe Schmoe next door who doesn't have a problem with social anxiety but they have a very good chance of starting in a positive way along the road to doing those things that they haven't been doing to doing it with a great deal blessing xiety than they started with that's a huge step forward and I think I really as barb continues to get better she hopes to help others in the process she and her husband Greg have written a book painfully shy which gives patients information on how to cope with the disorder Greg is like the best thing that's ever happened to me and we are a team I feel like he saved my life and getting married to me is kind of symbolic of loneliness being over I want people to know that there is hope and that don't give up I mean if I had known I was gonna meet Greg you know when I was a teenager you know I would have like okay I'll just cruise through the next 10 years but you don't know that ahead of time and I mean there's so many times where I thought okay I want to kill myself because I'm so miserable and what if I had I wouldn't have met Greg or I wouldn't have had Jesse one of the things that strikes me is that there's all this lost potential in a group of people who tend to be our most sensitive and often our most caring so it's like those are the people we need to get out no two paths to recovery are the same each patient must find his or her own way to overcome anxiety and fear actually but for those who have spent their lives being afraid of people there's no greater feeling than knowing you don't have to feel afraid I suffered from social anxiety disorder of quite a few years and since my treatment since I'm able to alleviate that problem from my life life is so much more enjoyable now you don't have to worry about what people are saying about you you don't have to worry about what people are thinking you don't have to second-guess what you're going to say or do in public and think somebody's gonna laugh at you because you can just be yourself and enjoy life may is mental health month and you can receive a free screening on national anxiety disorders screening day for more information call toll-free 888 four four two two zero two two this program was brought to you by freedom from fear a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people who suffer from anxieties and depression




Comments
  1. Advice from my 42 years. Take it or leave it.
    1/Learn to enjoy being on your own – dont fight it or be ashamed of it. But at the same time, make efforts to be around people.
    2/Buy a music instrument. Learn to play it. It takes time but can be a very satisfying way to pass time alone and also to socialise with people once you get good enough if you choose. Piano is best for ease and speed of learning but guitar is better for impressing and mixing with people.
    3/Start a martial art. Boxing, judo, BJJ. Such places seem intimidating but are usually full of people who are not comfortable with people and this makes for a good environment as opposed to school, bars, clubs and social places.
    4/ Beware of using alcohol or being around people who use alcohol. They are invariably morons and the alcohol makes it worse. If your situation allows it, marijuana and its users are usually far better but beware of using it alone as it can become a crutch.

  2. Had it since age 17, got it from a head injury (I believe) and the worst part for me is remembering been "normal" if I had a billion dollars I would gladly give it away to be normal again.

  3. I’m just afraid of confrontation. I feel like if I look at someone wrong they’ll snap for some reason. That and also I always feel like I’m being stared at and judged everywhere I go. Wish I could get rid of those feelings.

  4. I have crippling social anxiety I cant leave my house I am trapped there is no cure, CBT therapy act therapy, hypnotherapy I have tried them all including medications if suicide was an easy option I would of done it already, I want to die because there is no other way out people have no clue what its like.

  5. I don't mean to make this a race thing from my situation but i live where the majority of people around me are white and im the only hispanic I feel if i even go to the store or a public place im gonna get looked at and on top i have social anxiety which make feel like an outcast

  6. This is dead on. I believe for me my social comes from abandonment, on top of being bullied from kindergarten through high school, and dealing with verbally abusive parents and family members. Going to a grocery store makes me sweat bullets. My fiance never could understand why I was always in a hurry never wanna just look around. For me being in a room full of complete strangers any type of social setting is my number one fear. I remember in school I hated doing group work. Even now at the age of 36 I flatout refuse to work a job that involves me having to work in s group or in close proximity of other people. I hate small talk and I avoid eye contact as much as possible.

  7. Not anxiety but depressed for All the things people do towards each other, done for free or "Done Dirt Cheap" …Sad how most all peoples have become, without sympathy/empathy towards others.
    Ive seem most people at their worst, like (kiling for/over a quarter), been around many random shooting [killings], Ive seen the bullies getting rewarded- like this world societies are brought-up to grossly compete with one another at work or play, now that's not cool at all. A Great teacher once said that people should be more Loving & compassionate, towards each other but everyone does the complete opposite- and hate and fight each other (even unto death & within families) now what's-up that? If I was to give my reasons and truths about how a certain culture of peoples act and do others intentionally, without remorse &/or care, for doing so, and those same peoples are very quick to hate, control, judge and label others (as if nothing is ever wrong with them. After very much thought, I think that I like animals over people anytime, they don't judge others, me or you. Dogs will Love you unconditionally, always. While people hate & hurt them and others constantly, without a whim to try and be different.
    Even Psycho-Analysis (mind & social behavior doctors) socialologist & psychologists are very often very cruel and unusually abusive with/towards their clients, whom they should be trying to actually help. They go around, after coming to know of those they're working for, betray their trust of those same, by breaching the own oaths they go straight out and discuss, trivialize & directly go tell others [who they aren't suppose to discuss with], breaking the "doctor with/and patient clause" privacies, without a care and even in a mockingly way…Who really is the the Sick person(s) here?
    No , you just cant trust anyone, these days.
    Anything you say "can and will be used against You" !, even with these doctors or practicing analyzers.
    Just like speaking to police , without an attorney…it becomes "self-incriminating", and believe me, they will turn it and also use it against you in a second, And All while "they " (can) Lie to you & me. "Hey, Forget about it", says the NY Italians & natives !
    Naw, keep on with your little "Dr." labels, I'll be just fine. ☺
    I (like Elvis sung)actually Choose to do &"[Did] it my way"!

  8. I am more nervous than others around new people, I also worry about making mistakes when im at work, I seem to hate being alive most days, which also bring to attention that im also depressed sometimes. Not to mention the fear of coming to a workplace that gave me a massive anxiety attack.

    As a teenager, I faced bullying at high school and bullying at home, there was literarly little to no escape, I even attempted suicide around that time in my life and if it werent for my mother coming in at the last second I would of died painfully.

    Its not that life is hard, its that the risk of "letting people know me well" is that I believe im just gonna get attacked if they dont like me.

    I still have dark thoughts to this day, but help is so far away, getting a psychologist is like waiting outside a shop that closed years ago, it feels futile

  9. I've gotten better over the years but it's still hard for me to look people in the eye and at times I feel isolated and inadequate. I can trace this back to my abusive childhood and the fact that I was bullied in school. I felt like a freak who didn't belong anywhere. I haven't managed to shake it completely, but I've made progress.

  10. With my social anxiety I wake up and I think “I’m going to talk to people today, I’m not going to care what people think” but as soon as I get on the bus, I shrink. I shrink into my own shell and sweat. I think about everything I could do wrong. The thought of people even looking at me brings me to tears. People at school always say “why don’t you talk?” “Are you just shy?” But then when I become brave enough to talk they say “OH MY GOD SO YOU DO TALK!” And that just makes me more anxious. I wish people would understand how it feels. It feels as if people hate you. When people laugh I automatically assume they’re laughing at me. Some days are okay, not good but not bad. Other days are absolute hell. When I have partner work at school I can’t move my head when I’m sitting next to them, I can’t talk. One time at school I had partner work, I didn’t talk to them, I was too scared to ask them for the answer if I didn’t hear what they said. Then my teacher said “Let me see your paper” I let her see it, she asked “Why don’t you have all the answers they have?” I broke, I started crying right there. She then asked “Why are you crying?” I just shrugged my shoulders. I don’t know everyone with social anxiety is like this but with my social anxiety sometimes I just cry in public for no reason. It’s going to be hard for me to post this comment but I’ll do it. I wish everyone else out there that has social anxiety the best.

  11. Oh man. It's been years since I left high school. I had such a horrible time because of social anxiety & depression, plus zero support from parents or teachers… I feel that my fear has only gotten worse 🙁

  12. People don't give in…go to the gym..do online gaming..read books….study hard…you will be a winner when you have a good job and a house and family :)))

  13. just my opinion… just a thought.. we all know the fight or flight shite yes?? humans were never supposed  to live how we do now.. we lived in tiny settlements .. the modern world is taking its toll on all of the species .. now its hitting us .. we weren't meant for this… this is modern life.. we r not evolved enough for this ..  yes we have the ability.. yes we have the knowledge.. but its all before our time.. its too much too quick for the human race .

  14. this is such a misunderstood disorder, the average neurotypical extrovert can't seem to wrap their head around a concept like social anxiety and think you're just 'shy' or 'quiet' and can be so fucking rude about it and only make it worse.
    it has lead me to so many self-destructive behaviors just trying to get some peace of mind..

  15. I am diagnosed with general anxiety and panic attacks last February 2017. I really can't say that it ruined my life but sad to say I lost my job because of this. But, apparently I am composing myself and want to win this battle.. I have to be strong for my family specially for my 3 daughters.. I know this is hard. Everyday is a battle.. I want to stop this agony..

  16. After reading some of the comments I come to realize that I'm not the only one with social anxiety disorder. I'm glad that there are people like myself it makes me feel normal.

  17. It feels like there’s this thing inside of me, and I can’t control it. I used to when I was younger. But now it feels like I’m sitting in the backseat and someone else is driving.

  18. This is horrible, it took me time and money to figure out why I would always feel nervous around people in high school, I always thought it was something everyone goes through. But I was wrong

  19. I live in Adelaide Australia, i can't leave my house at all, except to get food & stuff & that's it, i don't drink – pills just mask problems & then you have to struggle to come off them, which I found was more painful than anything. 😊

  20. I wish I wasn't an outcast in class. My classmates stop approaching me because I have always been a very weird awkward and passive person. No one dares to talk to me. I am dying to make friends with them, but my social anxiety won't let me. I am so embarrassed of myself when everyone hangs out during break time and I am the only one who everyday spends time alone in class.

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