I understand that living with, or near someone with Social Anxiety Disorder or, in fact, any type of anxiety can have its trials and tribulations and you probably want to do ‘the right thing‘ but how do you help someone with social anxiety?
I don’t know about you but knowing what NOT to do or say in any situation can be just as helpful as knowing what to do or say. Everyone is different so what goes for one person may be wrong for another but I believe there are a core number of things that are acceptable across the board.
There are plenty of articles, books, videos and programs giving information on what not to do and not to do but sometimes all that happens is a case of ‘Information Overload.
So, although this isn’t by any means the be all and end all of knowing what to do or say when dealing with someone with Social Anxiety Disorder, I’ve tried to put it in a nutshell.
I hope you don’t think that I’m trivialising this in any way as I know how devstating this disorder can be.
If you have a friend or family member suffering with any anxiety issues believe me, suggesting ways to ‘get over’ said anxiety can make things worse.
It’s bad enough having an anxiety disorder without having it drummed in to our already sensitive minds that we aren’t good enough and need to change drastically to be able to hold a position in the world.
Now, I’m not saying that some suggestions don’t have a positive impact on some of us; some maybe extremely beneficial. For example, new research, special offers on different products or maybe a website or article that has some interesting information maybe useful. But not constantly.
Actually, having social anxiety or any other type of anxiety problem usually means you are very well up to date on innovations, tips, products, advice, organisations and therapies that could help reduce the symptoms – we don’t need them drummed into us so we can become ‘normal’.
I have worked extremely hard to overcome my social anxiety as much as possible and it can be soul destroying to be offered advice on how to make myself better – does this ring true with anyone?
It is hard to understand anxiety if your life has been devoid of this type of issue but having anxiety doesn’t make you an inferior person even if that’s how you feel about yourself for much of the time.
Below are my 5 all round ‘don’t dos!.
Maybe you have more to offer or you disagee with my list. I’m writing from the heart and hope that somewhere along the line I can help someone else to feel as if they belong in this unaccepting world.
DON’T recommend – Constantly
DON’T “have you tried”
DON’T offer advice – Constantly
DON’T say “it could be worse.”
So, from a recovering social anxiety sufferer I would like to recommend to all those people who have friends or family suffering from this disorder to remember the following dos…
Love us for who we are and not who you think we should be
Love us because we have social anxiety disorder
Love us in spite of the fact we may not want to paint the town red – or any other colour for that matter.
Love us because of our special personality and character
Love us when we are feeling down
Love us when we succeed
Love us when times are hard
Love us without judging
Just be there.
There are enough people in this world who think they know what is best for us – A few can possible help. Many can cause trauma.
In the end it comes down to the individual. It may be leaving the house will always be an unpleasant and scary scenario but within that house we shine.
I think, what I really want to say, is
Everyone is different and everyone can empathise with someone.
Don’t increase the anxiety of someone already drowning in it by not accepting them, warts an’ all.
We are all different and enjoy the world in different ways.
How about you:
Is Social Anxiety Disorder dictacting your life?
Have you worked through some issues and are now happy with your life?