The very nature of social anxiety can make it tough to reach out and connect to others even if you desperately want or need to talk. The Internet, in all of its glory, removes some of the pain of socializing, allowing you to interact with others from the comfort and safety of your own home. If you’re eager to connect with others, joining a social anxiety community (like SAS) can help, but even if you’re on the fence about chatting with others, there are some compelling reasons to join a network of people who understand what you’re going through.
You Are Not Alone
Battling social anxiety can feel like a never-ending, solitary battle against yourself. Being part of a community of people who understand what you’re dealing with can lessen feelings of isolation and provide reassurance, which in turn can lessen feelings of depression.
Even if you aren’t depressed, you might have moments where you’re not sure if what you’re feeling is “normal”. Being able to ask a group of people going through similar experiences can provide answers. Even if you don’t actively engage in the community, you can still review what others have typed.
It Gets Better
Connecting with a social anxiety community isn’t just about what you’re actively going through. With social anxiety, it’s easy to get trapped in the mindset of wondering if it ever gets better. Being able to see and hear from others who are at a different point in their life can be inspiring.
You can also offer your insights to those just beginning to battle with their social anxiety and have a chance to be the person YOU needed when you were just starting to come to terms with your emotions. Not only is the nature of having a supportive community beneficial to social anxiety sufferers, but the feeling of knowing you’ve contributed to another person’s life in an overwhelmingly positive manner can’t be beat.
Communities Can Help Navigate the Field
If you need a new doctor, therapist or support group, a social anxiety community is one of the best places to ask for recommendations. Even if you live in a relatively isolated geographic area, large communities like SAS almost always have someone familiar with your specific metropolitan area.
While recommendations like that are golden, social anxiety communities also offer a safe place to share experiences with different medications, types of therapy and other treatment options. You’ll also be able to find near-expert advice in networks on everything from the least crowded times to visit the grocery store to the most anxiety-friendly parks and recreation spots.
Socialize at Your Own Speed
Sometimes living with social anxiety means exposing yourself to activities that cause you dread. If you’re working with your therapist on in vivo exposure or interoceptive exposure, you’ll intentionally delve into situations that bring about your social anxiety. Social anxiety communities can be a safe way to expose yourself to your fears at your own pace. You can always extract yourself by turning off your computer or phone and you can interact with others in an environment that allows you to re-read and edit what you say prior to posting it. Not only that, but it’s there for you to access when and how you want, allowing you to walk away if you need a break.
Social anxiety communities offer a judgment-free environment to work on your socialization while taking it easy. Everybody is different and everyone experiences social anxiety differently, so not everyone benefits from social anxiety communities in the same way.
Learn and Share Your Knowledge
When you’re working through social anxiety, you learn a lot about yourself and become an armchair expert on the psychology of social phobia. While it’s never a good idea to offer medical advice when you’re not accredited, you can gain a lot of insight by reading the things people have learned on their own journey and sharing the things you’ve learned along your own path.
For example, you may not have known the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy when you started your anxiety journey, but if you’ve gone through it and found it worked for you, you’ll be able to share that with others and explain why you think it worked so well for you.
Vent and Share Your Accomplishments
If you’ve worked on your social anxiety for a while, you’re probably keenly aware that not everyone in your life understands what it’s like. When you join a social anxiety community, you’re able to share the frustrations of living with and working through social anxiety.
You also have a place to celebrate your accomplishments and victories, no matter how seemingly small. For example, your best friend might not be over the moon that you were able to make a phone call without sobbing, but a community like SAS is able to recognize the importance of that victory.
Fighting social phobia feels like a long, lonely battle. Social anxiety communities like SAS can help you realize you’re not alone and provide you with a safe, caring environment to share your knowledge, learn, rant and rave. Social anxiety communities can offer interaction and socialization at your own speed and pace, allowing you to take breaks as needed. If you’re feeling social despite your social anxiety, joining a community can help.