Living with social anxiety: Is it a problem?

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It's a common issue, with a statistic of 7% of the population suffering from it at any given time. According to the Social Anxiety Association, it's the third mental health problem in the world today. Nevertheless it's an issue I feel isn't touched upon enough. Why? If you think about it, the world is a massive social construct, the way we interact with others is crucial to the general running of the world; politics, trade, public services, down to the more personal of friendships, relationships as well as work life.































If we were all socially anxious in the way of struggling to communicate, how would the world keep turning?


It's the same I guess for someone suffering with social anxiety, how can an individual's world keep turning if they're constantly frozen?

Quite honestly, it's a peculiar thing as I begin to question whether it is a flaw, a problem, or if social anxiety is simply a human instinct, one that's clouded over by the way the in which the world has to work. A heightened fight or flight response, if you will. 

Taking it back to when cavemen were around, pre-society when humans were hunter/gatherers living in small groups, in families or on their own, I can picture most of them would be extremely cautious of outsiders and whilst I can picture most of their responses would be to clobber the other caveman (not historically accurate!) - an example of a fight response, it can be compared to the way in which people, not necessarily with prevalent anxiety, get a gut feeling - the beginning of the fight or flight response when it comes to strangers. 

As someone with social anxiety, I can relate to this, the discomfort of the unknown and after a lot of thinking I realise I'm not socially anxious when my fight or flight response is down. Sounds blindingly obvious yes, but in context to my previous paragraph, it makes you question whether it really is a problem, or simply something washed over us throughout time, made out to be problematic, purely because of the way society has to work. 

Examples:
  • You have to make eye contact and make small talk with shop owners/workers etc. 
  • Answering the door.
  • Answering the phone.
  • When being introduced to someone new, a friend of a friend perhaps, you have to be welcoming, warm and friendly. 


(let's just refer back to how cavemen would not be happy about this - it's the way the modern world has been built)

To conclude, there are two morals you can take from this post.
One being let's go back to cavemen times. (No thanks)
Two being that, maybe, rather than seeing your anxiousness when in social situations as an issue, a flaw with your being, use this hindsight to remember it's a natural response and maybe you're just more sensitive than others...work with it and don't necessarily follow the unspoken law of socialising (but answering the phone to friends is polite), and finally some advice, in the word's of Marina Diamandis "Not everyone's out to screw you over..."

Side note:

*I'm not a professional and these are all just my thoughts, but I do still believe if social anxiety is causing you so much mental distress that you can't cope with everyday life, go seek help, but I'm an even firmer believer in helping yourself - learning to accept the way you work can help find you the strength to adapt in what would of been a difficult social situation. Sometimes though, it takes seeking help and hearing the words from someone else for example; a psychologist or a support worker - someone to help with C.B.T type lessons (not a therapy, not a treatment - a lesson) in helping you see another side, another perspective to your distressing thoughts.*

What are your thoughts on this topic?



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