You may still have flashbacks of all of the times leading up to treatment where you experienced social anxiety. That time that you stayed home from the school dance because you couldn’t even cope with the people, the dancing, or any of it. That time when you failed that test because your mind went completely blank when you thought those kids were staring at you, and you just wrote stuff. Or that time that you couldn’t even speak when that attractive person said hi to you, and instead, you ran to the bathroom and vomited.
Those flashbacks are in the past, though. Now that you have been in treatment, you’ve got a diagnosis. Perhaps you have been seeing a doctor and also a therapist to treat your social anxiety disorder, you have a plan in place. You have taken charge of your anxiety, and now it is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
The Value of Medical Treatment
The best thing you have done is to seek medical treatment for your social anxiety. Your doctor may or may not have prescribed medication for you. If so, then be sure to follow your doctor’s directions carefully. Because there are certain medications that can produce a dependency upon them, and others that are not as effective for everyone, it’s okay if your doctor did not give you medication. One of the most powerful things that seeking medical treatment provides is validation. All of those painful, nauseating, stressful moments have a name and a reason, and now you have been able to take the steps to put them behind you. That name and reason is social anxiety disorder.
The Power in Therapy
Unlike many other mental health issues, social anxiety can, and often is managed with therapy alone. You learned in treatment that you can be healthy, especially as you continue in maintenance therapy. The most harmful thing with anxiety is not the chemical problem that creates the powerful responses, it is actually the powerful responses your body makes to the situations. Those responses are known as anxiety. Anxiety feels tense, rigid, painful, nauseating, constricting, paralyzing, and more. And yet, you can reduce those responses with the things that you learn in therapy.
During your treatment, you learned specific tools and skills to help curb your emotional responses to stressors and situations that can trigger those intense physical responses of fear, nausea, pain, and overall discomfort. That means your power to control social anxiety lies in therapy. You can look at the fears of failure and embarrassment through the lens of mindfulness, and retrain the way your brain responds in these situations. The more you use your therapeutic tools, the more you see a therapist for support and look at your successes in averting those anxious responses, the more you and your brain can be on the same page and respond in different ways when a previously anxiety-causing situation comes up. That is power.
Conquering those Fears
While social anxiety is much more serious than basic fear, there are specific fears within social anxiety that you have experienced which triggered those powerful physical responses. Those fears of embarrassment, failure, and humiliation used to take over your whole body and take your ability to function from you. When you went through treatment, though, you realized that you have the power to confront those fears, accept why they are there, feel the emotions and physical responses they are creating, and then respond differently. You learned how to conquer the anxiety and make it a thing of your past.
You know that those fears are still likely to continue to come up in your future, but now you are armed with tools and skills to face them and change your body’s response to them. With continued therapy for support, you can do anything.
If you are not mindful and vigilant, you may find yourself experiencing anxiety again. Your health and success moving forward is largely dependent upon your continual practice of your skills and applying those tools you have in your emotional tool belt now. The good news is that the more you practice those skills, the more it comes naturally and the stronger your brain gets at changing the responses. You can move forward with strength and more resilience. Your success depends on how hard you work.
Living with social anxiety was painful. Mentally and physically, without even being cognitively aware of stressful situations, your body responded in ways that were not comfortable. After getting your diagnosis and treatment, you learned that it wasn’t just your imagination. Your body was overreacting to situations that created social anxiety.
Your body’s response was typical of how our bodies respond to fear, only your response was bigger than the actual threat to you or your body socially or emotionally. Now you have found treatment, and taken up your emotional sword and shield through what you have learned in treatment. You conquered your anxiety to this point, and you can continue to do so as you exercise your valuable skills from therapy. With regular therapy to help you, you can truly make your social anxiety a thing of the past.
You have learned how to vanquish your social anxiety with all of your new tools and skills. Should you need backup, just call Embark Behavioral Health at 1-855-809-0409. Together, we can make your social anxiety a thing of the past.