People with a social anxiety disorder can have an irrational fear of what people think (WPT) about them. They fear being judged and watched or being embarrassed and humiliated. This can affect about 12% of the population at some point in their lives to the degree that they don’t want or will not go out in public. This disorder can be short-lived or last many years.
But with proper treatment and on-going care, the quality of their lives can be greatly improved. I have seen people hide in their home to avoid having to meet with others, even if it is just briefly. After treatment, they are able to go on to work outside the home, interact with the public on a daily basis and enjoy it! Proper treatment works wonders.
Using the brief explanation above about social anxiety, let’s look at how social media such as texting and Facebook affect those with social anxiety.
“Texting rather than talking”, can give us time to think about how to respond to someone else’s text; this can be a safe way to communicate as it removes us from voice to voice or face-to-face conversation. This can make contact with those with social anxiety easier and less stressful for the time being. At least they are reaching out, this is good.
It’s interesting to note though, that people with social anxiety may get anxious texting if they don’t get a quick reply, thinking maybe they texted the wrong words, possibly getting the other person upset. When we are anxious, our minds go to the negative very quickly. But people without this disorder don’t seem concerned about delay text. This is how we all should feel.
One of the pros about texting; at least we are making contact with others possibly expressing who we are, hopefully moving in the right direction and not closing ourselves off from the public.
One of the cons; we may be content to continue on with texting and avoid contact with others face to face therefore not really getting help for our problem.
There is a fine line whether social media helps or hinders, depends on our use.
I have read and listened to many opinions from people suffering from social anxiety and their use of Facebook and the effects it has on their social anxiety; different people different opinions.
What I have observed is people with social anxiety in the public, will also have it when using Facebook. Social lives on Facebook are really an extension of their belief system and lives outside of social media.
.Some example – “Posting photos and taking them down. Irrational fear of being judged.”“Following people on Facebook , then feeling bad about it thinking they were like a stalker.”
“Feeling like everyone else is having a lot more fun.”
“Regretting what they have written, as it is out in the universe forever, this is not a good thing, as it cannot be retrieved.”
There are many people that deactivate their account because the stress is too high on Facebook for them.
With the proper training, those of us with social anxiety can learn how to let all the negatives go and enjoy all that life can bring.
For us, that means cognitive behavior therapy; looking at our belief systems, challenging that belief system when it doesn’t work for our highest and best good, and changing that belief system to reflect more the person we want to be.
Change our thinking — this will change our life, this being said change takes work, social anxiety will not go away on its own.
The unfortunate part of this disorder is that statistics show that 80% of the people receiving help and good therapy will not follow through with it and fall back into their old ways.
This saddens me to read these statistics as with consistent and persistent training our lives can be as we dreamed them to be, I have seen many recover.
Be the 20% that follow through with a good program, and then enjoy the life you have created.
With proper therapy, we can go on to do both, texting and face-to-face contact and enjoying both equally.
For your good health.