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Do you think this would increase someone’s social anxiety?

Asked By: Anonymous     Views: 590 times

I been through my share of therapists who have no idea how to treat my social anxiety. Over the past 5yrs or so I was told to go to support groups with no real coping skills to be able to even do this. Therapists become angry with me and have labeled me “borderline personality” disorder as I was none compliant to attend these groups/meetings. The biggest obstacle for me and where my question comes in with social anxiety people worry how they will be perceived by other people – I have no teeth or dentures and this has made my social anxiety worse over the past 8yrs and I am severely isolated.  Most of the therapists do not see how that can create more barriers for me.  It’s not in my head people are looking at me strange its very apparent when I speak that I have no teeth and the looks I get that increases the anxiety.  Do you think the lack of teeth could increase one’s social anxiety and anxiety in general?

The first part of the answer to your question is very easy. Absolutely; your lack of teeth can create social anxiety. Every one of my patients who has suffered from social anxiety and performance anxiety has, in some way, been concerned about image. Objectively speaking; your lack of teeth is obvious in interactive situations. You have developed obsessive worry about it which has led to isolation. It’s a good bet that your avoidance has created depression. The resolution to your challenge is a bit more difficult so let me try to provide insight in the form of a short story. Many years ago I was booked on the radio show Opie and Anthony. I had no idea who they were. I had no idea that I was a target for “bad guest day”, the purpose of which, was to embarrass the guests. Indeed, Opie and Anthony, who are two absurd shock jocks, orchestrated “bad guest day” quite well as the questions from callers were over the top and geared to cause me embarrassment. Here’s the punch line to the story. I was not embarrassed. I was angry. While the calls were the stimulus for embarrassment, experiencing embarrassment is an internal dynamic. In other words you make the decision as to whether or not to be embarrassed. People will stare at you. What you do psychically-internally is another matter. I certainly am not saying you have an easy situation. As a starting point for possible resolution to your challenge you may want to go to “area of concern” “performance anxiety” areas of our site and familiarize yourself with the 5 “mind states”. Mind states are internal. Being able to control them, which takes work, is a possible way out of your prison.

The following is part of a collection of questions and sharing by our readership community about a wide variety of aspects of social anxiety. Dive in and receive practical insights and advice. If you have a question that is not included you can contact Jonathan at jberent@socialanxiety.com.

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