Blushing as a main part of social anxiety


#1

Hi all,
I am in session 3 of the series. I am going to be a senior in high school; so you can already imagine all of the stress I have to begin with. One of my problems is that I overanalyze and dwell on my negative social interactions. I know that this is wrong but I can’t help it sometimes. I’ve been trying to use the strategies that I’ve learned in session 3 but sometimes it’s not useful in certain social environments. I have a fear of blushing in front of people. With that being said, I only feel anxious around people that I feel are intimidating or make me uncomfortable. I feel no anxiety when talking to people I feel are not attractive as I am ( I don’t want this to sound rude, but I just want to be honest because I’m hoping to overcome SA). There are certain people that trigger my anxiety and certain social environments. I have a friend that I must’ve blushed in front of a few years back, and my mom commented on it. Since then, I’ve realized that I blush around that person and their family for no reason. It gets frustrating because it makes me want to avoid hanging out with that person. Then I over analyze and think about why I feel that way. It’s a vicious cycle. For some reason, sitting around a table with people causes me much anxiety. But if I’m at the beach, pool, movies, or at a dance hall, I don’t feel any anxiety. I don’t feel that much anxiety talking to strangers. If anything, I feel more anxious having to talk to a friend or family member for longer periods of time. I find this a little strange. For example, I have a part time job, and if my friend or even an aunt, unexpectedly come in to visit me at work, I feel very anxious. I start heating up, sweating, my muscles get tense, and I feel my throat closing in. This doesn’t happen if strangers come in though. I get anxious if there’s a long line of customers because I feel that everyone is staring at me. It’s ironic because I don’t find myself as a shy person. I love to talk and joke around with people but I feel that when my social anxiety takes over me, it makes me act like someone I’m not and that makes me even more anxious because I want people to see the real me; not the monster that anxiety makes me be. I was wondering if anyone had advice of what I should do from here:-) I’m so happy to have started this series and it’s very comforting to know that I’m not the only person that feels this way. Thank you for you’re time :slight_smile:


#2

I understand. I get red all the time, sometimes for seemingly no reason at all lol. The worst thing you can do, however, is start completely avoiding those people/situations. That will only reinforce to your brain that those are situations you need to be afraid of (which they are not, obviously lol).

The best thing you can do is practice the strategies you’re learning right now. In session 3, you’re learning to catch and stop your ANTs. That means whenever you’re feeling anxious or your thoughts begin to race, you need to recognize that, find a distraction to calm yourself down and tell yourself that you don’t want to think/feel that way anymore.

It’s easier said than done, I know :smile: but at this stage you don’t need to be perfect. If you can do this once or twice a day, that’s good. Just don’t try to rush this, trust me lol.

In the meantime, if you blush, get anxious, embarrassed, etc, who cares? Everyone does, and it’s no big deal for them, right? :wink:


#3

Thank you so much! I truly appreciate your advice and will take them into much consideration! Is it better to start a new session every week? Or to take a longer time with the sessions? I don’t wanna move to quickly or slowly with the series.
I’ve been trying to tell myself that blushing is no big deal and not worth my time getting worried about but my ANTS are sometimes too strong and they tell me things like “If I blush, someone will say something and that will be embarrassing. I will look weak and stupid. People won’t see me for who I really am. I won’t be able to act like my true self.”
Singing and humming has been a useful distraction for when I’m home and feel anxious. But even if I’m in the car on the way to a social setting that I fear will make me anxious, my physical symptoms of social anxiety already start to rise. Then I start feeling frustrated and mad because I don’t like feeling that way but it’s automatic. That’s why I sometimes choose to avoid certain people or situations. But I understand your point!! And because my SA is only triggered around certain people or environments, it makes me dwell on the reason for why it started to begin with. But I am the type of person that never gives up so I will keep on with the series until I overcome this! Thank you !! :slight_smile:


#4

Hi Soccer2000,
I have similar symptoms/triggers, especially the fact that people I know cause me more anxiety than strangers and “closed-in” situations like sitting around a table are harder for me than being in an open space like the beach. You are not alone!

I’ve been working through this therapy for over a year now and I’ve experienced a lot of relief from the strategies. Stay with it and keep practicing.

One sentence in particular (later in the sessions) I repeat it to myself constantly. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you except that you are listening to ANTS thoughts.” This helps me call out the negative thinking and separate myself from it…it helps me see I have a choice about what to dwell on.

The other one that helped was “You are just as good as everyone else. Other people are not better than you.” I realized this was an insidious ANT I was believing. Once I took this ANT on and began “turning the tables” on it (you’ll get to this later in the series), I was able to calm myself faster.

You asked about how fast to proceed through the therapy. I generally did one chapter per week, but there were times I needed longer for the lesson to soak in so I spent 2 weeks on a chapter. There’s no rush-the impt thing is to read or listen to the therapy every day or at least go over/practice the topic and strategies every day.

I can’t say I’ve overcome SA yet but it’s certainly become more manageable. Even my fear of blushing has dwindled. It hasn’t gone away completely, but I’m getting there. You can to. You can do it!


#5

Hi Apricot,
Thank you so much!! Everything you said was very encouraging and motivating! I really appreciate your feedback! I am definitely going to stick with the therapy everyday. It makes me feel better knowing that I am not alone. Sometimes I used to think that I was the only person in the world that felt this way and I would dwell on this and get very depressed. I struggle with trying to let go of the past and my negative social experiences. It’s hard and frustrating but I see a lot of potential!! I am trying to use slow talk to calm myself down. I occasionally feel the muscles in my face tighten which hinder me from being able to smile genuinely. Also, sometimes when I blush, it can last for almost a half hour until it just slowly disappears. I am hoping that with practice and doing the therapy every day, my blushing will come less and less!! I am trying to stop the ANTS as much as possible. Sometimes when I have a good day, I worry about when the next day will come when I will have anxiety. It’s almost like as if some days are too good to be true and I automatically expect that I will have anxiety for the next social experience. That’s something big I struggle with as well. So during my 30 minute a day therapy session, I read over each handout online in slow talk, and I read over the quotes and I sing along to the therapy songs. Am I doing everything I need to be doing during my 30 min sessions? Or is there anything else I need to be doing?

I can’t thank you enough for all of your support. It really means a lot to me! Good luck to everyone!