Social Anxiety Disorder is not just the fear of public speaking or the fear of being in crowds. It is a mental health disorder that can disrupt your life.
I want to share my own experience here in the hope that it will help someone else. We will also see what some common symptoms of social anxiety are, see what IS the best treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder… the things I have truly benefited from, and finally, I hope that you will share your own comments and experiences with me.
How Does it Feel? – The cold, hard truth
I don’t even know where to start! I had social anxiety as far back as I can remember.
When I was a little kid I acted shy, I would always hide behind my mom, but I think even then it went much deeper than being shy. People would laugh and tease me for being shy which made everything worse.
I would say fear is a strong feeling I’ve always had and I feel like fear is a dominant part of social anxiety.
I would never raise my hand in school for fear I would say something wrong and even if I was 100% sure my answer was right I would still be terrified to answer in front of that many people looking at me. If people laughed at me I would shrink back even further and I would always remember it for the rest of my life… no exaggeration.
I don’t like being teased, it makes me feel stupid and I don’t know how to react which makes me look awkward… I think. You’re supposed to like it right? You’re supposed to think it’s funny? I don’t get it.
I feel fine talking to one person but add a second and I’m suddenly extremely self-conscious.
Sometimes… and I say sometimes because if I’m on treatment it doesn’t happen, thank goodness, but without treatment, it can be quite brutal. So sometimes after any kind of social interaction, I will beat myself up mentally. I think of everything I said and did and that it was stupid. The thoughts are completely out of my control, they just start coming on in waves.
That leads me to intrusive thoughts. I can be just going about my daily business and something that happened a week ago, a month ago, a year ago or even 30 years ago… I’m not kidding! Something that happened THAT long ago, pops into my mind and I cringe. I cringe because it was one of those things I did or said that made me feel bad, stupid, or just embarrassed.
So those are the basics, as you can see it’s exhausting.
Some Common Symptoms
Like most conditions you may not have all of these or you may have some different ones.
- Try to avoid meeting new people
- Very self-conscious in situations that require social interaction
- Always afraid of being judged harshly by others
- Choose places with no people over those with people, for example going to the ATM instead of going inside the bank.
- When public speaking is required you blush, sweat, mind goes blank, heart races. (I’ve seen stars and almost passed out)
- Worry about social gathering for weeks ahead of time
- Tortured by intrusive thoughts of past embarrassing experiences.
- Upset stomach when called on to participate, heart pounds (I’ve SEEN my heart pounding in my chest!)
- Fear of entering a room when everyone is already seated.
- Fear that everyone is looking at you.
- Hate being the center of attention.
- And much more…
There is an emotional toll that comes with all of this.
People who don’t have social anxiety may have an extremely hard time understanding how or why we feel this way.
Can’t we just get over it? After all, no one cares if we gave the wrong answer, or tripped over the threshold in front of a room full of seated classmates who were all looking at us and laughing. I mean they were only laughing because it was funny right? The class clown would have loved that opportunity!
The lack of understanding can make us feel even more abnormal.
Being fearful of going to work or school, the store or the bank, being apprehensive of upcoming events, spending time analyzing your performance, and agonizing over your flaws is emotionally exhausting!
Is There Any Hope for Me?
It’s all been pretty negative this far discussing these feelings and symptoms but I’m very happy to be able to share with you some things that have helped me so much.
They have even helped my 14-year-old son who suffers from social anxiety like me.
There are thousands of people who have been able to get help with social anxiety.
So, there most definitely IS hope for you!
A Genetic Condition? This is where it gets interesting!
People with social anxiety symptoms often have low levels of vitamin B6 and zinc.
Why? The social anxiety symptoms listed above and many more often result from a genetic condition that’s called Pyroluria also known as Pyrrole disorder.
First discovered in 1950, Pyroluria occurs because of the faulty synthesis of heme. Heme is a component mainly of hemoglobin in our blood, heme synthesis is the process by which heme is made. When this heme synthesis is messed up we get elevated levels of … are you ready for this? Hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) It is a molecule that attaches itself to vitamin B6 and zinc which then leaves our bodies in greater amounts through our urine, this in turn leads to the low levels of vitamin B6 and zinc. Along with this often people with Pyroluria have decreased levels of iron or ferritin as my son does.
The greater amount of stress we are under, the more our B6 and zinc will be depleted, which in turn will lead to increased anxiety.
Low levels of B6 mean that our bodies can’t covert the neurotransmitter tryptophan to serotonin. Psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression, and more can develop without adequate levels of serotonin.
The Treatment – The Pyroluria Protocol
These are the supplements and amounts that I take with amazing results!
1. Life Extension Zinc Caps – Take 1 – 50mg cap per day. I like these they are free of copper which can contribute to anxiety. You can also look for a copper-free Opti-Zinc and take 30mg/day.
2. Pure Encapsulations P5P (Vit B6) – Start with 25mg/day* with meals for the first 2 weeks. Increase by 25mg every 2 weeks, up to 75mg. See if your dreams become more frequent.** This is actually P5P, the active form of B6 so your body absorbs it better. Reduce your dose if you notice tingling in your fingers or extremities, it is a reversible condition and will go away as you reduce your dose.
*Note: The P5P form is much stronger than regular B6. If you decide to buy B6, start with 100mg/day for the first 2 weeks, increase by 100mg every 2 weeks up to 400mg/day. Buy NOW Vit B6
**B6: Interestingly, whether you can remember your dreams is a good indicator as to whether you are low in vitamin B6. So if you don’t remember your dreams you probably need B6, even if you don’t have pyroluria. Also, if you have nightmares or disturbing, stressful, or bizarre dreams, these all indicate a need for B6. Increase dose until you stop having nightmares or until you start remembering your dreams.
3. Super Primrose Oil – Take 1/day. People with pyroluria benefit from Omega 6 oils. This will last you 3 months. I keep it in the refrigerator.
4. Source Naturals Manganese – Take 20mg/day. Manganese is involved in the production of neurotransmitters
These are the supplements I purchase over and over because they work and they are not expensive.
Zinc and B6 deficiencies have been linked to diagnosed conditions that manifest with poor responses to stress, learning disorders, behavioral disorders, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorders as well as anxiety, depression, irritability, and short term memory loss.
Zinc, B6, and Primrose might be enough for you but if not add 20mg/day manganese, since manganese can be depleted in Pyroluria cases and also when supplementing with higher amounts of zinc.
Taking Zinc, B6, Primrose, and Manganese can improve your symptoms within a few days. For some with other underlying digestive issues or just very severe anxiety, it can take at least several weeks, with significant improvement after several months.
You have to keep taking them though! Because this is a genetic condition you may have to take them indefinitely. It’s a small thing to have to do compared to living with the nightmarish symptoms though right?
I’m not that good about being consistent so sometimes I’m on a roller coaster of feeling better and feeling worse. That is another way I know it works because when I take everything I don’t dread upcoming social events and when I stop taking the supplements everything starts back up!
Please use this chart with the treatment. It has more information and makes the treatment easier. You can print it out or save it as a PDF to your computer.
There is so much more information on social anxiety, Pyroluria, the treatment, and the symptoms. I need to do another article! Start with this protocol and check back here in the next week or so, I will be posting more information. UPDATE: New article published! Pyroluria Symptoms Checklist.
Please see my article Can Low Thyroid Cause Anxiety for detailed information on how to use Amino Acids for other anxiety and depression symptoms and find out more about neurotransmitters.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only; it is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical or mental health conditions. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider to evaluate and treat your physical and mental symptoms.
Please ask your questions below in the meantime or share your experiences. I’m really excited to share this and I hope for you to experience the relief I have on this protocol.
I would love to hear from you!