Do I Have Social Anxiety Or Am I Just Shy?


Hi. Do you have social anxiety or are you just
shy? And if you’re just shy, is it a problem? I’m going to walk you through this. Stay tuned. For those of you who are new to my channel,
my name is Barbara Heffernan and I am a psychotherapist, a life coach, and a mindfulness meditation
instructor and a Buddhist. And I bring all of that together in this channel
to help people recover from anxiety, trauma, pain, and live a more joyful life. So if you support what I’m doing here, I would
really appreciate it if you would subscribe to my channel and give this video a thumbs
up if you like it. So social anxiety can be a debilitating, painful
condition to have. It can really, really impact your life, limit
your relationships, your job, your functioning, and it really can make you miserable. And the good news is there are treatment options
you can recover from it. So I’m releasing this video this week about
whether or not you have it. And then next week I’m going to release a
video on CBT for social anxiety. So again, just subscribe to the channel and
hit the bell. You’ll be notified when that video comes out. But for today we’re just going to go through
the diagnosis because social anxiety disorder is an official diagnosis. So there are very specific things you would
need to have to qualify for the diagnosis. And that is written in something called the
diagnostic and statistical manual five DSM five and that is the book that people in my
position as a psychotherapist or psychiatrists or psychologists will utilize to diagnose
somebody, which then helps us offer the appropriate treatment. So for the diagnosis of social anxiety disorder,
there are seven criteria. And the first criteria is a persistent fear
of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar
people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he or she will act
in a way or show anxiety symptoms that will be embarrassing and humiliating. So if you fear being humiliated or embarrassed
or are constantly anxious about what other people are thinking about you and how they
are judging you and that anxiety is so extreme that it limits your behaviors and your interactions
and just continually gets in the way, then you would meet criteria A and for some people
criteria A tries to define a particular social or performance situation in which you feel
exposed or anxious. And for some people social anxiety can be
very tied to a particular situation, say a classroom or giving a speech. But for other people the social anxiety can
be completely pervasive, can impact all social situations, all social gatherings, even to
the point where it makes it difficult to go and buy a cup of coffee. So before I continue, let me ask you, because
for all of us, there are certain situations that make us anxious. Give me a comment below as to which situations
make you the most anxious. And sometimes a little bit of anxiety can
be very helpful. Like anxiety, giving a speech or going on
video or going to take a test. A certain amount of anxiety helps us really
narrow in and focus and help us form better, but too much anxiety shuts us down, causes
us to avoid sometimes can be almost mind numbing. We can’t really think. So let me know in the comments if there is
a particular situation that makes you particularly anxious. So criteria B is that exposure to the feared
situation almost invariably provokes anxiety. So again, if your social anxiety is tied to
a very particular situation such as a classroom or work environment or party, then it is almost
always anxious. You’re almost always feeling anxious when
you are in that particular situation. And again, for people who have social anxiety
where it’s pervasive, it would just be a very pervasive feeling of anxiety almost all the
time. And this anxiety can take the form of a situationally
bound or predisposed panic attack. So sometimes social anxiety can lead into
panic attacks. The third criteria, criteria C is that the
person recognizes that this fear is unreasonable or excessive, that you understand that your
anxiety is way beyond the norm for the particular situation and you wish you didn’t have it. And then criteria D is that the feared situation
is avoided or else it’s endured with intense anxiety and distress. So you might find if you have social anxiety,
you might find that you avoid the situations that make you anxious more and more and more
until your world becomes very narrow and limited. And there’s a pain in that because you’re
not interacting with other people, you’re not moving forward with your life. So the avoidance is a key here. And then the other piece of criteria D is
that if you’re not avoiding, you are enduring. You’re enduring it with anxiety, distress,
not happiness, not joy. It’s not easy. So criteria E is that the social anxiety interferes
significantly with your functioning, which could be occupational, academic or social,
or all three and that there is marked distress about having the phobia. So again, there’s a common theme here that
the phobia and the anxiety creates a lot of distress, a lot of avoided behaviors, and
a lack of functioning in one key area of your life or more. Criteria F is that the social anxiety is persistent,
usually lasting six or more months. Most of the people that I have met with social
anxiety have had it for a long, long period of time. And then criteria G , which is very common
in the DSM five is that the condition is not due to the physiological effects of a another
medication or some kind of substance, some kind of drug abuse and not tied to a general
medical condition. So that kind of gives you the entire criteria
for whether or not you have social anxiety. So again, if you do qualify for social anxiety,
just know that you don’t have to live this way. There is hope. So let’s move on and talk about shyness since
that is part of the question that we are addressing today. So let’s look at the definition here. Shy means easily frightened or timid disposed
to avoid a person or thing hesitant in committing oneself, circumspect sensitively diffident
or retiring, secluded or hidden. And then the last definition, having less
than the full or specified amount or number, just shy of six feet tall. So really the top five are the ones that we
would be thinking of when we think of shy. And in general, I’d say that generally when
we use the term shy, we mean the fourth definition here, sensitively diffident or retiring, someone
who holds back, someone who maybe doesn’t interact as much, who might be cautious about
meeting new people or cautious about talking to people too much. So that’s generally how we talk about shy. And then I love this definition I’m going
to show you, which is from the urban dictionary. So the urban dictionary defined shy as what
the majority of people call you if you are smart enough not to go out every night of
the week, filling yourself up with alcohol, listening to other people’s mind-numbing conversations
about popular culture, and then vomiting all up back on your bathroom floor. So that’s sort of a humorous way to look at
how our society, might judge people who actually are introverted, not shy. So people who are introverted generally won’t
like large parties, but they don’t like them. They don’t avoid them because they’re really,
really anxious and they would like to go to them. They avoid them because they don’t like it. Most introverted people will prefer to have
a deeper one-to-one conversation. People who are introverted tend to recharge
by spending time alone. That’s where they renew their energy. People who are extroverted tend to renew their
energy when they’re out and about. And with a lot of people, so thinking about
whether you have extroversion or introversion, it’s easy to think about where do I get energized,
where do I light up and feel better? And then that kind of gives you a clue to
whether you are extroverted or introverted. And some of us like me are split where kind
of in the middle of the range and therefore we can appear to be extroverted, but we need
a lot of introverted time. So there’s a spectrum here. It’s not black and white. So let’s say you’re shy. The thing to ask yourself if you are shy is
whether or not it’s a problem. So again, if you are shy because you are an
introvert and you’re just quiet and you don’t really like to talk a lot when you’re out
in large groups and you’re okay with that, then that is fine. There’s no reason to worry about it. If your being shy, feels like a natural part
of yourself and it doesn’t negatively impact your functioning, then it’s great. So a few questions to ask yourself. If you’re shy, one, is it impacting your career
or your happiness? Two, do you feel like you can’t trust others? Is that what’s underneath your shyness? And three, do you have a negative concept
of yourself? So if your answer to these questions is, no,
it doesn’t negatively impact my career or I’m okay having a career that requires more
introverted skills, if it doesn’t impact your happiness in your relationships in a way that
you think is problematic, then it’s great. If you do feel like you can trust people but
you just are slow and cautious and it takes you time to get to know someone, that’s fine. And if you don’t really have a negative concept
about yourself, if your shyness really just stems from your preference, no problem. So it really comes down to, are you an introvert? Are you a good listener? And are you okay being shy? So if you do feel that your shyness impacts
your happiness and that your shyness might STEM from a negative concept about yourself
or the world, I do have a free PDF called transform your negative core beliefs which
you can download below and it helps you identify what your negative core belief might be, where
it came from and how to reverse it, how to help your mind rewire so that you have a more
realistic, because a more positive view of yourself would be more realistic whether you
believe it or not. But the PDF will help you, give you a couple
of steps. And then I do have a number of other free
resources. I have a free Facebook group called Awaken
Joy, Empower Your Life as well as a free mini series, the aah! series, which are three guided
visualizations, basically exercises that I do with almost every client in my office. And so this gives them to you for free and
it’s ways to physiologically relax, which is key to lowering your anxiety, whether you
have full blown social anxiety disorder or not. And as I said, next week I’m releasing a video
on CBT for social anxiety. CBT is one of the best researched methods
of recovering from social anxiety, and I will see you then. So make sure you subscribe to my channel. Hit the bell to be notified when I release
a new video. They are usually on every Tuesday and I will
talk to you later. Thank you. Bye.

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