I started struggling with social anxiety at the age of 15. It may be because I didn’t have many friends and didn’t go out a lot. Here are some tips I used to get over my social anxiety:
- Do something that you fear. For me it was taking the bus to town, going around in town alone, show up at school and stay in classes. Don’t put yourself to fast in a situation you look at as dangerous to yourself, it will only the anxiety attacks. Approach the situation slowly and if you feel that the attacks are closing in on you, get yourself as fast as you can away and breathe deeply.
- Think about what can happen if you find yourself in a situation that may cause anxiety attacks. I always thought that if I were near a lot of people and I had an anxiety attack, everybody would laugh at me and call me stupid. This isn’t the care. Social anxiety is more common than you think it is and a lot of people have experienced anxiety attacks. There’s nobody out there who is going to judge you because no one will notice you when you’re out amongst other people. You’re just one of the crowd.
- Find a place you can escape to if you’re starting to feel afraid. If you’re at the mall, go to the bathroom and lock yourself in until you have control over your breath and stability. If you’re at school, do the same. I would always do this when I started to panic.
- Take someone with you the first time you go out to be around a lot of people. Tell the person about your problem and that you want it to go away. I always brought my mother and we went around the mall, tested my limits and if I started to panic, I told her that it was too much and that I had to go to the bathroom to calm down. We went home after I was done in the bathroom because you have to take one step at a time.
- Write down the things you find scary, do them, and write from 1-10 how scary it was. Take up your notes later and do the same things over again and see how far you’ve come.
These are the things my shrink told me to do and it has helped me a lot. I’m not struggling with social anxiety any more and sometimes I take out my notes and do the same things just to see that I’m not afraid of those things any more.