Imagine you’re crossing a street and are almost hit by a massive Mack® truck.
You jump out of the way. Your heart is racing and pounding, you’re sweating, trembling, hyperventilating, and short of breath. You feel a pit in your stomach, nausea, choking, and tightness in your chest. Your fingers and toes are tingling.
Most kids and young adults look forward to going back to school. But for those with social anxiety, school and all that comes with it can literally provoke dread.
I’m going to show you what I mean. Let’s consider Sally.
Sally is a sweet, sensitive, likeable 16-year-old girl.
Sarah sits on the couch, clutching her stuffed bear. Her finger nails are visibly torn; they’ve been bleeding again.
Her mom, meanwhile, is calling into work again. She’ll have to explain for what feels like the zillionth time that she’ll be late. It’s not clear her boss will understand this awful situation much longer.
I’ve checked my computer three times today to make sure I’m saving this document.
I’ve also checked twice that my dog’s veterinary appointment is scheduled, and whenever I’m on a plane, I utter a little prayer to whatever deity is listening that the eight tons of steel in which I sit will actually take to the air.
You can also listen to our podcast episode about Cognitive Behavior Therapy, featuring Susan Sprich, Ph.D., Director of the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. Listen below, or search for ‘Shrinking It Down’ wherever you get your podcasts.