I just finished session 12 and my biggest struggle is people seeing my anxiety … My blushing. I am seeing a shift in my thinking and have had progress with the program. I am trying to accept myself BUT this is very hard for me and feeling stuck cause I don’t want people to see me flushed and blotchy on my face and neck so I went thru session 12 and I understand not fighing anxiety and trying not to hide it. And that people most of the time don’t see my anxiety. What I struggle with is…people DO SEE IT ON ME (my face red and blotchy neck)… So the look around technique can affirm this. I have people mentioning to me quite regularly that my face is red or I can see their response in their eyes! They see It! I CAN’T HIDE IT…it is a physical response that is very visible. Now my question is …they see it… I have had many people verbally comment on it (just last week I had 2 people say something) … To the point in 49 years I have resulted in makeup and beta blockers to help me get through a high school Pac meeting and employment workshop last week. I am an only child that had parents draw attention to my blushing… Several times they laughed at me when seeing me in public situations (grocery store being my last memory) and even my mom saying to me over the phone a few years ago how I used to as a teenager turn red from my chest to the top of my head!!! I was 47 at that time…and it hurt and was as embarrassing as every time someone mentions how red my face is. I can rationalize that it is my mom’s lack of knowledge and awareness that may influence her comments. But it is very hard as an only child to have parents laugh and draw attention to my blushing. If my parents…who were the center of my universe and the people I looked up to … Judged and brought attention to my blushing … how do I get over this… Not caring when people DO SAY something about the redness and blotchiness of my face and neck? I guess it is hard for me to wrap my head around people not seeing my anxiety…cause in the past …my parents… friends… acquentices and people out of the blue have commented on my red face and neck (and like I said… In the last week I have had 2 people point this out to me). I want to move on through this therapy program… So I would appreciate anyone’s wisdom on how to get over this thank you!
I deal with this EXACT situation. Blushing (also sweating) is by far the most demoralizing aspect of SA. If I’m in a distressing social situation and people notice (and even worse, point out) my blushing, it’s totally devastating and it usually precipitates my worst depressions. I believe that my social anxiety is defined by my blushing/sweating: If I didn’t have visible symptoms then I wouldn’t have social anxiety.
The audio series is really very good, but my one beef is that it never really delves into the visible symptoms. Where you’re at now, chapter 12, is the only place that it’s talk about in any depth (at the end of session 12, “The Social Anxiety Automatic Cycle”). I firmly believe that visible symptoms are so incredibly distressing that people who experience them are in totally different category from those with no visible symptoms, and recovery is far more difficult as a result.
I’ll finish my rant firstly by saying you are correct: Despite the hoopla you hear, “Nobody can even really notice”, and so on, there are people like us who really do show strong and exaggerated blush responses that are VERY obvious. Now, that being said, it is still true that even when you are showing a strong blush response, other people, even though they do notice, don’t really have a clue as to the intensity of the emotion you are feeling. So, even though we can be totally convinced to the opposite, other people don’t detect the intensity of the anxiety you are experiencing, even though they do see the redness, so let that give you some comfort.
FYI…here’s a very good video on dealing with visible symptoms:
Thank you aeon for responding and your advice… I appreciate it It also helps to actually have someone respond that also experiences chronic blushing and understands FULLY what it feels like. My husband really doesn’t understand why it causes me such distress… And wishes for me to be able to not care what others think and for me to be happy. It is slowly getting better with the help of the program in regards to my self talk… May not be beating myself up as much and not rehashing it for days or weeks. But I struggle with the aspect of accepting the blushing … I have a lot of shame wrapped around me blushing so easy and the embarrassment of it. Thank you for the video… It would probably help to watch that every day to get it deep into my brain that blushing is not the end of the world… And the people that draw attention to it unkindly aren’t worth knowing a little hard when my parents have done that and I have tried very hard to keep my social anxiety hidden from them… they just wouldn’t understand and they look at mental illness as weakness. But rationally I know that they just aren’t educated about mental disorders and small minded about it… So I choose not to share that with them. I love them…but I have a boundary set up! Any how…enough rambling… Thank you again aeon!
Hi. I suffered from blushing when in a crowded assembly hall when pupils, parents etc were all there watching a performance, hymn singing etc. I am a teacher.
I hated it when the blushing came on and felt it getting worse as the assembly went on.
I found these techniques really helped me.
I imagined someone throwing a bucket of ice cold water in my face.
I focused, without staring,on another adult in the hall who was in my field of vision and imagined them feeling like me, beginning to bright red as a beetroot.
I kept to this image of them and scanned the room for other people I sensed felt uncomfortable.
I really made an effort to concentrate and listen to what was going on in the assembly and I sat up straight with a good confident posture.
I reminded myself that I would not be sitting there for ever and that the time would pass quickly.
I also reminded myself that I was not as red as I felt.
This really helped me, especially projecting my blushing onto someonelse.
Hope this helps you.