I wanted to share something with my blog that I am working on with my therapist on my social anxiety— a social anxiety fear hierarchy. The point is to first look at the fears related to my social anxiety so that we can use exposure therapy to figure out the meaning behind these fears. For this list, I am focusing on crowds and meeting new people that cause my social anxiety to soar when I explore outside the confines of my house. The hierarchy is from lest fear to highest fear.
Hierarchy of Anxiety Fears of Meeting New People
- Being in one on one conversation with a friend at a coffee shop.
- Taking part in a one on one conversation with a casual acquaintance.
- Engaging in a conversation with three family members about my illness.
- Taking part in a one on one conversation with an unknown person in-person.
- Having to join a conversation with group strangers at a coffee shop.
- Meeting a group of people from school either online or in person.
Hierarchy of Anxiety Fears in Crowds
- Being in the store with a long list of things to buy, and my anxiety rising to the point that I have to leave the store.
- Waiting in a long line at the checkout counter at the store and having to leave.
- Being in a crowded coffee shop trying to stay focused on my work.
- Being in a crowded coffee shop trying to keep my anxiety in check in a sea of conversations all around me.
- Having a panic attack in the middle of a busy store surrounded by people.
- Having a panic attack in the middle of a crowded place like a theater, store, or any place that large crowds gather.
This list will probably adjust over the next few weeks, and I will be writing about what my therapist and I work on in coming weeks. I am exited and a little scared at facing my social anxiety. My social anxiety has been the one thing that I feel is out of control lately.
James Edgar Skye