How to get over depression and social anxiety | advise from a previous victim
Social anxiety and depression have always been linked to each other. Their relationship has perhaps become more apparent in recent times due to the observation of the behavioral responses of the youth to progress. Feelings of anxiety and self-doubt even while being surrounded by others can evolve into depression pretty quickly. Hence, it’s imperative to find ways to combat the problem before it evolves and becomes irreversible.
The Underlying Problem
Perhaps the first step towards answering the question of How to get over depression and social anxiety, is to look at the underlying problem. For most, the problem revolves around situations that force them to doubt themselves. This could be anything from going to a party, a regional basketball tournament, or any other anxiety-provoking gathering. They just give up and relieve themselves of the stress by avoiding the situation entirely. The problem with this approach is that we tend to maintain those fears of being judged and scrutinized by others. It simply nurtures and strengthens the feelings of humiliation and loneliness to a point where it becomes harder to find solution. Your brain adapts to these situations, and adopts a coping mechanism, and inverably we alienate ourself from anything that results in feeling the pain of anxiety. Our anxiety simply escalates to were we feel nervous about literally every situation that we encounter. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is often the ‘go-to’ method for alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety. The process is of often initiated by locating the underlying problem. We need to make a list of all the possible situations that ignite the feelings of tension, fear, and self-doubt. in doing this, it's important to break down these situations into smaller events and identify the areas where these stress levels appaer at their peak. For example, being a member of a Netball team, identifying extreme levels of stress at the when your passed the ball, or when you initially enter the court on match day, apposed to practise sessions weeks before the event.
Let's look more into how to get over Depression and Social Anxiety by exploring safety.
Eliminate the safety mechanisms
If you’ve been dealing with social anxiety and depression for a while, you’d probably have figured out ways of alleviating stress. These safety options are entirely subjective, and likely to differ in their effectiveness from one person to the other. For example in a party, some find themselves in the habit of murmuring to avoid the shame of being judged. They quickly finish verbalizing their thought and revert back to listening mode, where they feel their safest.
Furthermore, some people tend to take drugs or alcohol to get in the right mood. Some continuously take in deep breaths to word off the negative sensations. Whatever, the coping mechanism maybe, it's important that you unlearn them, and generate the courage to face the fear (we'll talk about this later).
Putting things in perspective
When you’re confronted by a stressful situation, you need to put things in perspective, clarifying what the implications of your behavior is. The first thing that you’d probably think of is 'what response are you likely to get from people?' .The second thing to become aware of is, what are they likely to do?. For the most part, they are inclined to think about you for a fleeting minute and then focus their attention on someone else, or they may (at worse) pass a comment or two. In working through this exercise, we realize that the probability of adversity generating from situations is much lower than our expectations. We over scrutinize things, when in fact, very few people even care about or remember them. This evaluation, allows us to battle our inner demons with the reality of a clearer perspective. Building a ‘nothing to lose’ approach to life. It is only when we understand the futility behind depression and anxiety that we can move ahead in our lives.
Facing your fears head-on
Once you're done with listing the stressful situations, their intensity, and putting things in a clearer perspective, it’s now time to face your fears. For example, if you fear public speaking and you backed out of a presentation, go back and sign yourself up again. Once you take this step of comittment, start weighing up the situation based on the facts.
Ok, when you eventually take the mic and deliver your presentation, there are several things that could go wrong for you. You could’ve possibly left your zipper unclosed, you could forget what you're saying, you could suddenly fall asleep etc. All of these possible outcomes are in your control, and you're able to make a conscious effort to prepare. However, there are many that are outside of your control. Like, how the audience will react to the things you have to say. This is what may matter to you the most, and this is why it's so benefitial to understand and fully accept a big truth - 'things are simply not in your control'. No matter how perfect you you may well be or aspire to be, there are always people who will criticize, dislike and attempt to disempower you, for a plethora of reasons.Sometimes they'll be unaware of their own opinon of you, heck, they may even grow to love you. The point is, the more detached you can be from other peoples opinion, not dependent on them for your emotional well being, the better.
Hence, if you truly understand these points, it’s now time to take the leap of faith, and start facing your fears head-on.
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