We all know the feeling of being nervous or uncomfortable in a social situation. Maybe you’ve clammed up when meeting someone new or gotten sweaty palms before making a big presentation. Public speaking or walking into a roomful of strangers isn’t exactly thrilling for everybody, but most people can get through it.

If you have social anxiety disorder, though, the stress of these situations is too much to handle. You might avoid all social contact because things that other people consider “normal” — like making small talk and eye contact — make you so uncomfortable. All aspects of your life, not just the social, could start to fall apart.

Social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia) is one of the most common mental disorders, so if you have it, there’s hope. The tough part is being able to ask for help. Here’s how to know if your social silence has gone beyond shyness to a point where you need to see a doctor.

For some, today might be a great day. It’s a big day for me because I have social anxiety. I am attending my 40th High School class reunion. They are expecting about a hundred people. Most of these people I have not seen in 40 years. And that makes me anxious. Do I look ok, am I able to carry on a conversation with a complete stranger. I believe most of the attendees I didnt’ hang out with in High School.

I have to realize that nobody is better than any body else. Some are more successful and some are plain happy with how their lives have unfolded. I am very happy with my life with a few snags here and there I succeeded most of my life goals. I lost my life partner over five years ago. I don’t expect to meet another soulmate like I had in mine.

Some of us know all too well the feeling of being nervous or uncomfortable in a social situation. Maybe you’ve clammed up when meeting someone new or gotten sweaty palms before making a big presentation. Public speaking or walking into a roomful of strangers isn’t exactly thrilling for everybody, but most people can get through it. And I did. I didn’t stay long, just long enough.

If you have social anxiety disorder, though, the stress of these situations is too much to handle. You might avoid all social contact because things that other people consider “normal” — like making small talk and eye contact — make you so uncomfortable. All aspects of your life, not just the social, could start to fall apart.

Social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia) is one of the most common mental disorders, so if you have it, there’s hope. The tough part is being able to ask for help. Here’s how to know if your social silence has gone beyond shyness to a point where you need to see a doctor.

Anyone with social anxiety disorder can experience it in different ways. But here are some common situations that people tend to have trouble with:

  • Talking to strangers
  • Speaking in public
  • Making eye contact
  • Entering rooms
  • Using public restrooms
  • Going to parties
  • Eating in front of other people
  • Going to school or work
  • Starting conversations
  • Dating

Well I went and had a good time. I felt like I was in the right place and everyone was so kind. I have a bit too much wine and left the party early. I felt I had stayed as long as I could and starting to feel some anxiety. I am so glad I went and I did the best I could. Another five years I will go to my next reunion. Hopefully by then I can have the right treatment and feel like I really fit in.

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