OP--how many years did you suffer from social anxiety disorder (or if you prefer/don't mind sharing such info, from what age to what age)?
Were you professionally diagnosed?
What severity would you have rated your SA? Like how avoidant were you, were you able to work, socialize, go through a checkout, answer the phone, etc.?
Did you have any family/friends/significant others/therapists helping you? A support network?
Any comorbid disorders?
I don't remember exactly, 2 or 3 years. I wasn't professionally diagnosed but I went to a psychologist, a bad one who hardly helped. Eventually I learned from the internet that I have social anxiety, I had all the symptoms, avoidance, fear, fear of what other people think, fear that I will be or look weird fear of not knowing how to react and so on.
And I would catastrophize everything. If someone would say something bad to me, and I wouldn't know how to react, I would be soft and let it go or make myself small, instead of standing up for myself and defend myself or at least justify myself diplomatically, I thought that would be the end for me, that nobody would like me anymore and people would not want to talk to me anymore because I would be a weirdo.
The reality was far from what was going on in my head, if I would be soft and let it go or make myself small, sure some people would take advantage of me and see me as weak, but others would see it as a quality, the quality of being nice and good. What stopped me was the fear inside my head, rather than the reality outside my world, even if the fear was inside my head I could have done the thing I was afraid in spite of the fear and go out there and talk to people until I would have gotten so many reality-checks that I would have changed my beliefs.
And in fact, that's what I did. Not directly or instantly, but there was this product called "Deep Inner Games"
by David Deangelo, it was mostly about dating but I wasn't interested about dating, it was about your psychology, how to master your own psychology so that you can achieve the best ressults in life. I was a bit afraid but I did it, I took it, listened to it, and watched it. There were many aspects of your life: anger, solving your problems, etc. And there was a section dedicated to anxiety where you will understand what anxiety is all about, also how to deal with it. The short answer is: courage.
I came accros this product, "Deep Inner Games"
by David Deangelo, while reading online about people who overcame social anxiety. There was someone who said that he also had social anxiety and watched "Deep Inner Games"
by David Deangelo and his anxiety got away after that. Not instantly, but in time he started to apply what was described in those videos and he started to feel better and live a more fulfilling life. So I took it, and it turned out it worked, it turns out "Deep Inner Games"
by David Deangelo teaches you how to think.
Being years, I don't remember it as much as I used to, but here's in short what I remember about it. In short because reading this is not the equivalent of watching the videos, you have to watch the videos to get a better perspective:
There are 4 parts of psycholgoy:
- Personal boundry (Makes you strong)
- Decision making power (Gives you more freedom; wiser decisions means more freedom society bestows to you to make even bigger decisions; rise in leadership ability)
- Intelect/Ideas (the way you arrange ideas and manage time gets you to your goals efficently)
- Emotional energy (mastering emotional energy & self-esteem gets you to happiness)
The goal of life is to reach durable fulfillment, durable fulfillment can be reached with:
- Happiness (Happiness is self-esteem\self-respect)
- Success (Reaching a goal)
- Freedom (Decision making power)
Learning curve in life:
- Lack of strength (durableness)
- Lack of freedom (feeling trapped)
- Happiness or unhappiness
The anatomy of a problem:
Emotional -> Leads to hurt (takes the form of anger) or loss (takes the form of anxiety) -> Leads to stress -> Leads to Problems -> Hurts yourself.
Decision based -> Lack of conscience or lack of intuition -> Leads to feeling trapped -> Leads to problems -> Hurts yourself.
Intellectual -> Lack of education or lack of experience -> Leads to failure and rejection -> Leads to problems -> Hurts yourself.
Define your personal boundry:
- Control (Things within your personal boundry of control)
- Suffering (Things outside your personal boundry of control; don't burn energy on things you do not control)
- How strong is your personal boundry (what is your identity? what are your preferences?)
* Patch holes in your personal boundry first before patching holes in other's boundaries.
* Avoid narcissism (as it leads you to complete self-obsession)
* Avoid perfectionism (As it is a hole within your boundry for an image of yourself showcasing you have reached every milestone without putting any effort)
Types of fallible boundaries:
- Thin skinned (not being able to differenciate between the good and the bad)
- Thick skinned (not willing to exchange any views due to preconcieved notions or personal trauma)
- A boundary with doors (make sure the handle is on the inside, not on the outside)
- The doors are controlled by your decision power.
- Every decision you make is either constructive or destructive.
What is stress:
- Stress ressults from either a hurt or a loss situation (it's a negative emotional energy).
- A strong personal bountry twarts off any negative emotional energy.
- Do not burn energy on the past or future.
- We all get the same amout of time, but it's our energy which is our most valueable resource.
What is trauma:
- Trauma is a negative energy which penetrated your personal boundry in spite of you saying no to it.
- If hurts get in it takes the form of anger, if loss gets in it takes the form of anxiety.
- The various negative energies are now your wounds.
Types of cure for trauma:
- Biological cure by medicine.
- Psychological cure by education or therapy.
- Stress cured by you making a decision relating to the stress.
Anger -> Decision
* No decision (passive) -> Depression (sadness)
* Destructive decision (aggressive) -> Hurt -> anger
* Constructive decision (assertiveness) -> Needs not met (low on well-being) -> anger.
* Constructive decision (assertiveness) -> Fill up your well-being -> anger goes away.
- Aggression does not equal anger, it's a win-lose situation, it dumps anger on someone else's boundry. It's immature and childish as it fails to respect other people's boundry.
- The cyrcle of violence creates a negative momentum in your life. Aggression leads to hurt, which leads to anger, which eventually leads to a destructive decision causing a loop. This cycle is simply an anger generator, it's a quick fix.
- Assertiveness is a way to get your needs met, it's independent of other people, it doesn't hurt other people, it's patient, disciplined and mature, it is delayed gradification rather than a quick fix, your well-being improves where as your anger and depression decreases.
- You have to do the constructive decision (assertiveness) over and over again until it works.
Anxiety -> Decision
* No decision (passive) -> Impulsiveness (acting without thinking first; fight or flee)
* Destructive decision (masochism/victim thinking) -> Loss (threatened/immaginary) -> anxiety
* Constructive decision (courage) -> Low on confidence -> anxiety.
* Constructive decision (courage) -> Fill up your confidence -> anxiety goes away.
- Masochism leads to poor-me attitude, worrying too much about the future, regretting the past, hopelessness or helplessness is a mental deficit which is never logically true for an adult.
- Courage is doing the right thing, it is guided by your conscience and intuition, just before the moment of real courage you are completly alone, nobody can do courage but you, the moment after displaying courage you become a leader, everybody wants to join in helping you.
- You have to do the constructive decision (courage) over and over again until it works.
- Constructive habbits lead to a more mature and sound individual.
- Destructive habbits give us short-term relief (in the long term you tend to lose; example: immediate gradification, not recognising others or respecting them, poor conscience and intuition)
- Conscience looks at the inner motives of an individual
- Intuition looks at various enviroment motives
- All in all both look whether the outcomes are being constructive or destructive.
And there's more.
After that I started doing CBT, cognitive behaviorial therapy, which also helped, and I got cured.