Help with Social Anxiety!

Posted by | March 07, 2016 | Feelings | One Comment

Hello.
I am 99% sure that I have social anxiety disorder. I haven’t been professionally diagnosed, but I have done extensive research because I don’t want to get this wrong. I’ve talked to my mom about this and she agrees. so here’s my question: I want to get help, because I’ve heard that social anxiety is totally curable, but I don’t know where to start. also, I’m looking for tips as to how I can better deal with this disorder?

One Comment

  • BYS Therapist says:

    Hi there,

    Thank you for getting in touch with us. You said “I don’t know where to start” but I think you are taking some great steps in helping yourself get over your challenges, by doing research and asking questions.

    Social anxiety can be really tough, but you are right, it is definitely something that can get better, and one way is with psychotherapy. The tricky thing is, if you are anxious about social situations like meeting new people, then making an appointment with a new therapist might be really hard for you to do.

    I’m glad to hear you’ve already talked to your mom about it, because perhaps that’s the easiest way for you to get over this first part; ask if she will help you look for a therapist. Maybe you can find a therapist you want to make an appointment with, but she can make the phone call, or give you the nudge to go to the appointment, or sit with you in the waiting room for the first sessions.

    Now – how to find a therapist? If you are local to us (we’re in Bainbridge Island, WA), you can send in an appointment request online (askBYS.com, and click on “Make an Appointment”). If you’d rather see someone in town and not BYS (which might get you an appointment quicker, as there’s sometimes a wait to see our therapists), then you can look up practitioners on bainbridgepsychotherapy.org – it’s a website registry where you can look for therapists based on insurance, or specialty area (like anxiety disorders).

    If you aren’t local to us, you can call a local hospital’s psychiatry unit and ask if they have a referral list for therapists who work with anxiety disorders. (Depending on the hospital, they may call the unit “mental health” or “behavioral health” services instead of “psychiatry”.) The hospital may have a clinic too.

    Find a therapist who feel like the right “fit” for you – if you don’t feel like you can trust them, that will get in the way of working on the anxiety. Talk on the phone with them (or have your mom call) to see how the conversation feels on the phone. If it seems okay, meet them, but be honest with them if after a few sessions, it’s still not feeling right. Working on anxiety can be a long process, but you don’t want to make it longer by working with a therapist you don’t connect with.

    As for tips on managing anxiety in the mean time – one of the things we often encourage clients to do is relaxation breathing or mindfulness exercises. Learning how to slow your breath and calm your mind isn’t easy, but it can be learned, and it takes a lot of practice initially. One way to learn how to do it on your own would be to use an audio guide, like this one from UCLA: http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22

    There are many others out there too, so look around and try a bunch of them and see what you like. It might not work right away, but if you keep practicing, it’ll get easier, and it’s often a helpful tool in tackling anxiety.

    Good luck!

    BYS Therapist

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