This story is a fictional case, but is made up of REAL clinical experiences from my 15+ years treating people with Social Anxiety Disorder
Meet John …
John came to see me because he was very upset and angry with himself that he had recently been a best man at a wedding and at the last minute “chickened out” of giving his speech, having talked one of the other groomsman into reading out his speech at the last minute.
“As soon as I did that, I felt relaxed, and I sat their as he was giving the speech. How could I could do that, what is wrong with me?!”
As John and I talked it was clear that he knew what he was feeling when he was anxious, was out of proportion to the situation, but that didn’t help. He was largely able to cope at work, but had great trouble with unstructured social situations.
“I can’t go out anymore, I just freak out if I’m anywhere that I can’t leave easily. Pub’s and parties are too hard. I’m worried that people can see how anxious I am, can see me sweating and shaking, and are thinking – what’s wrong with him?”
It was clear that John had learnt to be afraid of fear
“After the wedding I tried to go to a friends party, I knew most of the people there, but sitting in the car outside I had a panic attack and had to go home. Now when I just think about going to a party, I start to feel panicky. I can go to work OK, but I work through my lunch so I don’t have to talk to anyone, and never go to drinks on a Friday night. People have given up inviting me.”
It was clear that John had Social Anxiety Disorder
But like a lot of people he could “cope” at work, when his role was clear and he was largely able to avoid unstructured social situations.
We’ll return to John’s story again soon, but if you can identify with it, then my program to help social anxiety is likely for you.
My approach has helped many people like John to successfully overcome their social anxiety and live a more satisfying life.