Our question today comes to us from Jonathan in Atlanta. Recently, whenever I go somewhere alone in public, I become very anxious. What could be the cause?
You may be exhibiting symptoms of social phobia or agoraphobia. Which one depends on what additional symptoms you have. If you have social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, you may feel that people are scrutinizing you or embarrassing you while you are out in public. So with social phobia, you get anxious in public as you are fearful of social scrutiny. People with social phobia avoid social situations, and they only endure social situations with intense anxiety.
If you have agoraphobia, you may avoid public places for fear that you may not get help if you have a panic attack. Or you may feel that if you are alone in public places, you may not be able to escape, or you may not be able to get help. People with agoraphobia avoid public places and tend to isolate themselves at home.
If you have social phobia or agoraphobia, you may find it more comfortable to bring a trusted person with you to ease the discomfort and anxiety. Having a trusted person with you gives you reassurance that help and validation will be received when you need it. Also, this person that accompanies you can distract you from anxiety-provoking thoughts by changing the subject, helping you to breathe, or helping you to leave a situation if it gets too intense.
To learn more about social anxiety and agoraphobia, as well as methods that can be used to manage it, please go through this site Anxiety Boss. It’s a great resource for all things related to anxiety.