Why do i hate going out in public

Agoraphobia - Symptoms and causes


Agoraphobia (ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh) is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. You fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd.

The anxiety is caused by fear that there's no easy way to escape or get help if the anxiety intensifies. Most people who have agoraphobia develop it after having one or more panic attacks, causing them to worry about having another attack and avoid the places where it may happen again.

People with agoraphobia often have a hard time feeling safe in any public place, especially where crowds gather. You may feel that you need a companion, such as a relative or friend, to go with you to public places. The fear can be so overwhelming that you may feel unable to leave your home.

Agoraphobia treatment can be challenging because it usually means confronting your fears. But with psychotherapy and medications, you can escape the trap of agoraphobia and live a more enjoyable life.

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Typical agoraphobia symptoms include fear of:

  • Leaving home alone
  • Crowds or waiting in line
  • Enclosed spaces, such as movie theaters, elevators or small stores
  • Open spaces, such as parking lots, bridges or malls
  • Using public transportation, such as a bus, plane or train

These situations cause anxiety because you fear you won't be able to escape or find help if you start to feel panicked or have other disabling or embarrassing symptoms.

In addition:

  • Fear or anxiety almost always results from exposure to the situation
  • Your fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the actual danger of the situation
  • You avoid the situation, you need a companion to go with you, or you endure the situation but are extremely distressed
  • You experience significant distress or problems with social situations, work or other areas in your life because of the fear, anxiety or avoidance
  • Your phobia and avoidance usually lasts six months or longer
Panic disorder and agoraphobia

Some people have a panic disorder in addition to agoraphobia. Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which you experience sudden attacks of extreme fear that reach a peak within a few minutes and trigger intense physical symptoms (panic attacks). You might think that you're totally losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.

Fear of another panic attack can lead to avoiding similar circumstances or the place where it occurred in an attempt to prevent future panic attacks.

Signs and symptoms of a panic attack can include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Trouble breathing or a feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Feeling shaky, numb or tingling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sudden flushing or chills
  • Upset stomach or diarrhea
  • Feeling a loss of control
  • Fear of dying
When to see a doctor

Agoraphobia can severely limit your ability to socialize, work, attend important events and even manage the details of daily life, such as running errands.

Don't let agoraphobia make your world smaller. Call your doctor if you have signs or symptoms listed above.

Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic

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Biology — including health conditions and genetics — temperament, environmental stress and learning experiences may all play a role in the development of agoraphobia.

Risk factors

Agoraphobia can begin in childhood, but usually starts in the late teen or early adult years — usually before age 35 — but older adults can also develop it. Women are diagnosed with agoraphobia more often than men are.

Risk factors for agoraphobia include:

  • Having panic disorder or other phobias
  • Responding to panic attacks with excessive fear and avoidance
  • Experiencing stressful life events, such as abuse, the death of a parent or being attacked
  • Having an anxious or nervous temperament
  • Having a blood relative with agoraphobia


Agoraphobia can greatly limit your life's activities. If your agoraphobia is severe, you may not even be able to leave your home. Without treatment, some people become housebound for years. You may not be able to visit with family and friends, go to school or work, run errands, or take part in other normal daily activities. You may become dependent on others for help.

Agoraphobia can also lead to or be associated with:

  • Depression
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Other mental health disorders, including other anxiety disorders or personality disorders


There's no sure way to prevent agoraphobia. However, anxiety tends to increase the more you avoid situations that you fear. If you start to have mild fears about going places that are safe, try to practice going to those places over and over again before your fear becomes overwhelming. If this is too hard to do on your own, ask a family member or friend to go with you, or seek professional help.

If you experience anxiety going places or have panic attacks, get treatment as soon as possible. Get help early to keep symptoms from getting worse. Anxiety, like many other mental health conditions, can be harder to treat if you wait.

By Mayo Clinic Staff


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24 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because of Your Social Anxiety

Oct 31, 2022 | Resources | 0 comments

Social Anxiety

When people think of social anxiety, many imagine a shy introvert who doesn’t go out and doesn’t say much. While this version of social anxiety exists, living with it is more than being “shy.” Not everyone who has social anxiety is even quiet. Social anxiety manifests itself in many ways, some of which might even surprise you.

To find out how people are affected by social anxiety, we asked people in our community to share something they do because of their social anxiety that others might not realize.


Here’s what they had to say:

  1. “Most people think I’m being rude when I’m not talkative in a group of people. In reality, I’m terrified because my mind constantly tells me I’ll say the wrong thing.” — Maegan B.


  1. “I’m constantly glued to my phone. It’s just an excuse not to look directly at anybody! Constantly going over a sentence I want to say about 30 times in my head, then realizing it’s no longer relevant!” — Grace D.


  1. “Being quiet – I’d rather listen to a conversation than be in one. I feel like whatever comes out of my mouth may seem stupid.” — Juliana G.


  1. “Talking fast, rambling and joking around even though really I’ve zoned out and I’m pretty much not there… I run on autopilot, and later when I’ve grounded again, I go through and recollect what I’ve said or done… a bit like after being drunk! Of course, I joke and talk fast anyway so nobody can tell the difference, including me, usually until after I’ve come out of the fog.” — Suze A.


  1. “I don’t think most people realize that when I’m out with friends, and I suddenly leave, it’s because of anxiety. There’s always a moment when it’s just too overwhelming, and I have to go home.” — Lucas Z.


  1. “Constantly watching the body language of everyone to see if I’m offending them just by breathing.” — Jennifer L.


  1. “I actually find myself talking a lot… in my mind, I’m telling myself, be quiet, you’re talking too much, no one cares, everyone is judging you. But I get so anxious when I’m out with friends, and there is an awkward silence or no one is talking. So I feel the need to talk more even though I’m dying of panic and anxiety inside. Sometimes after large events, it takes me days of no social interaction or staying in bed to recuperate.” — Jessica G.


  1. “Actually, talking on the phone can take days sometimes to muster up the courage. Texting is easier, but it’s still difficult to be the first one to start a conversation. I don’t particularly appreciate talking in groups. Will go somewhere, sit in my car for a half hour and decide not to go in. ” — Tiffany A.


  1. “Being loud, playing the joker, laughter. Anything that will draw away from the fact that I’m extremely agitated and struggling.” — Vikki M.


  1. “I get upset before I deal with people. This usually happens at home and is the adrenaline aggravates me. Still, I get snippy and can’t answer questions in detail until I have to drive and therefore get distracted. Includes, ‘Where are you going?’ and ‘Why?’” — Marilyn B.


  1. “I’ll play with my hair, purse, or anything I’m holding to relieve my nervous energy. I won’t even notice it sometimes until I’m holding a torn-up napkin.” — Katie M.


12 More

  1. “I will always sit with my back to the wall and ask a friend to change seats with me. I sometimes miss pieces of the conversation because I’m busy selecting and planning my exit routes and taking mental notes and descriptions of everyone in the room. ” — Julz T.


  1. “I will either shut down completely and not talk, and people think I’m not sociable. Or if I try to convince myself to appear ‘normal,’ I ramble and talk fast. It’s a lose, lose situation.” — Bryanna B.


  1. “Practicing and practicing what I’m going to say on the phone and writing it down on a piece of paper before calling so if my anxiety becomes too much, I can just read my script.” — Leah O.


  1. “Taking a long time to reply to emails, texts, etc., especially group messages, because I’m terrified of spelling something wrong or saying something that is incorrect or could come across as rude or mean. I’ve had misunderstandings in the past with these types of communication, and it scares me. I feel like everyone hates me already, and when I write something silly, I feel like they hate me even more.”– Keira H.


  1. “Not focusing on a conversation because I’m thinking about if I’ll miss my train or if my hair looks OK or if I look interested enough or if I’m allowing the person to speak enough or if I leave now I’ll get home at X time and have Y amount of sleep. It’s exhausting because my mind won’t stop, and I generally can’t remember anything anyone said during said conversation.” — Stephanie T.


  1. “Social anxiety is part of why I keep my hair long. It’s kind of a safety blanket for me, very comforting to play with, and soft. I feel less exposed with my hair there like a curtain I can disappear behind every so often.” — Opal S.


  1. “Resting bitch face… not that I’m not happy; I’m uncomfortable and can’t really show my emotion. When I zone out, I’m deep in my own destroying thoughts. Constantly find an excuse to leave a room because I’m uncomfortable in a room of people, being glued to my phone or social media to escape myself and everyone around me. Being fidgety.” — Andrea M.


  1. “I cancel plans, often last minute, not because I’m rude or necessarily don’t want to go, but because I’m afraid of going out in public sometimes, afraid of what’s going to happen, who’s going to look at me, am I going to be embarrassed, etc. And afterward, I feel bad for missing out.” — Jessica S.


  1. “I start to sweat ridiculously, no matter the temperature. The worst is the sweat that breaks out on my upper lip because there’s no hiding that. Before every job interview, I have legitimately wondered if this time I should go through with trying an antiperspirant on my upper lip.” — Angela J.


  1. “I always prefer to make plans at least one day ahead. Every morning I mentally prepare for the day. It helps soothe any anxiety and is a comfort to know what to expect. It is difficult to be spontaneous, but as long as a friend lets me know they’d like to do something on a certain day, I can anticipate that social interaction yet is flexible about exactly what we do, where we go or when.” — Jessica D.


  1. “Coming across as completely cold, blunt and uptight – when that’s a direct result of the panic and sheer effort taken just to engage with that person – ironically, in what’s intended to be in a ‘normal’ way. ” — Cat S.


  1. “I zone out sometimes when there are too many stimulants. I just go somewhere else in my head and am physically there, usually staring at something weird, like a garbage can.” — Elaine W.


  1. “I awkwardly smile and try hard not to get in anyone’s way. All the while, I feel like I’m annoying them somehow. I want to leave, even if everyone is nice. It sucks.” — Emily J.


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how to overcome the fear of public speaking

Surprisingly, 95% of people on Earth are afraid to speak in front of an audience. Such statistics seem strange, because even from school we go out with answers to the blackboard, defend our projects in front of the class, participate in conferences, defend term papers at the university, tell our employer about ourselves, and this happens throughout our lives. However, the fear does not subside. At a webinar organized by the Center for Personal Development at ITMO University, Tatyana Afanasyeva, teacher of marketing and personal effectiveness, business coach, spoke about the nature of fear, and also shared life hacks: how to enjoy performances and not petrify with horror. We wrote down the top tips.

Fear of public speaking is the second most common phobia after the fear of death. It is experienced by more than 90% of all mankind.

The secret of this fear's popularity is that it is a manifestation of deeper, subconscious phobias. For example, a person may be afraid to make a mistake, lose credibility, be ridiculed or not accepted by the community. Internal biases form a negative attitude towards a situation where the worst scenario from your dreams can become a reality. Performing in front of a large and unfamiliar audience, which will undoubtedly evaluate you, just fits this description.

The factors that trigger the fear of public speaking can be described by three triggers.

Unknown. A person is always frightened by the prospect of encountering an incomprehensible and unusual environment for him, strangers. Novelty robs us of a sense of control over the situation, and therefore self-confidence.

Risk. The feeling of anxiety grows if you are preparing for a responsible performance, when much is at stake. For example, if you are presenting a project that you have been working on for a long time, defending a thesis, or presenting a business idea to investors, then you are more likely to be nervous, even if you used to calmly speak in front of small groups.

Conditions. You should not attribute fear to circumstances, but they also play an important role in its formation. Even if you know the topic well and have rehearsed your speech several times, you may start to get nervous. For example, if at the time of the performance, noisy repair work began outside the window, it became unbearably hot in the audience, or right before your report, the organizers offered to change the location - that is, the performance conditions have changed.

Fear grows gradually. If we consider it on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is a slight excitement, 5 is a real fear, and 10 is a panic attack, then a person should be able to cope with all levels of tension up to the fifth mark on their own. Therefore, your main task is to prevent the transformation of fear into panic, which completely paralyzes you.

Source: shutterstock.com

Determine the nature of your fear

To get your emotions under control, you need to find out what provokes them. Try to answer yourself the question: “What am I most afraid of at this performance?” Whether you are afraid of being appreciated by the public or losing their attention, perhaps you are afraid of not answering difficult questions or showing your incompetence by making a mistake. Once you understand what scares you in the first place, you can develop a plan to get around the stressful situation.

Change the focus of attention

Quite often people resort to physical tricks to fight fear - breathe, jump, walk, drink water. In fact, the nature of fear is embedded in your mind, which means that you can only overcome it with psychological methods. One of the most effective is the change of focus.

When you think about the upcoming speech, you constantly replay the most terrible episodes in your head: “I will forget the words”, “I won’t open the presentation”, “I will mix everything up and start to stumble”. But try to think about why others love public speaking? What feeds them? Attention, energy, new acquaintances? Discuss what motivates you. Try to take your mind off your fears and focus on how great it is to speak, that this is a rare chance to say something to people, and if you were given it, then you deserve it, your knowledge is valued, and your opinion is respected.

Understand why you are speaking

Answer the question honestly: why am I speaking? Is this a duty that I just have to fulfill, or am I presenting my work, and this is a very important and personal step for me?

If you have to speak out of necessity, then the excitement is meaningless. Why are you winding yourself up, worrying, if for you this is just another task, a formality.

If the performance is your personal decision, and serious goals are at stake, then turn to tip #2, try to concentrate on positive emotions and the results that await you.

Spend more time preparing

Dive deep into a topic: read additional literature, watch videos, talk to professionals to build a solid knowledge base around your topic.

Practice shows that when a person is interested, enthusiastic and familiar with a topic, then he naturally desires to talk about it to everyone - from colleagues to family members. Try to tune in to the subject of the speech, find amazing facts, come up with an unexpected approach to the topic, so that you yourself would be interested in talking about it.

Record a video of your performance

If you doubt yourself, then look at your performance from the outside. Write down your speech from beginning to end, and then analyze how you spoke, what gestures you used, what you were distracted by. The main thing is not to be too critical of yourself - performing is always difficult, this experience comes with years of training. But the first step to this is to learn to control your emotions and fear.

Practice at the venue where the performance will take place

It is not always possible, but if you have a chance, for example, to go up to the stage during a coffee break or to arrive early and at least get used to the atmosphere of the hall, then you will have already done yourself a great favor. This is how you deal with one of the main triggers of fear - the unknown.

Don't be a perfectionist

Striving for high quality work is a definite plus and a sign of mastery, but it's foolish to torment yourself with striving for perfection. Public speaking is a living process. Your speech is influenced by preparation, technique, organization of the event and of course, the audience. It is impossible to foresee and plan everything, but this is the beauty of the report - it is always something new and surprising. Do not set yourself a goal: to do it perfectly, rather focus on quality work and maximum return. And if things don't go according to plan, maybe it's for the best.

In summarizing all the points, remember that speaking can and should be an enjoyable experience for you. No one expects oratory and hat tricks from a speaker. Your goal is to convey your thoughts and at the same time enjoy the fact that you share an interesting topic for you and communicate with a viewer who is not indifferent to your words.

Cover image: shutterstock.com


How to feel confident on stage

June 22, 2016 Life Tips

Negotiations, meetings, presentations and meetings sooner or later force us to speak in public. In a guest post, Irina Shvets, an experienced business coach and aspiring blogger, shares tips on how to fall in love with the stage and deal with performance anxiety.

Irina Shvets

Public figure, director and founder of a training company, aspiring blogger. He has twenty years of successful entrepreneurial experience and twelve years of experience as a business coach.

The ability to speak in public is an essential skill for a business person. Negotiations, meetings, presentations or meetings sooner or later force you to go out in public. Why do some people feel insecure during public speaking? A wall of complexes, fears and prejudices rises between them and the stage.

In my work I have to persuade people to perform on stage and I face their fears. Most often it is the fear of being laughed at. People are also afraid of responsibility, excessive attention, condemnation and even the evil eye. At the same time, they can say “I'm not afraid, I just don't like the stage!”, And when they get a microphone, they get so carried away that they break the rules of the event.

The reasons for these fears often come from childhood. One example is high school. I propose to transfer to a regular class. What can be seen there? The student-activist, having completed the task of the teacher, enthusiastically raises his hand, but the teacher does not call him to the blackboard. The teacher is not interested in this student, he wants to call someone who has not prepared for the report. When an unprepared student receives his deuce, the teacher will get to the one who aspired to the board, and God forbid this "upstart" make a mistake. The teacher can also say to him: “Children, “I” is the last letter in the alphabet!”

What will children learn from this lesson? Don't lean out, but if you lean out, you'll run into trouble. In adulthood, this lesson translates into a dislike of performing in public and a condemnation of those who love the stage.


Now let's be clear about what a scene is. Is it a podium with a microphone around which people sit? And if without a microphone - this is a stage? And if there is no podium and no microphone? Is the area around which people are sitting a stage? And a platform around which people do not sit, but stand, is it still a stage?

Let's go even further. The area around which there are only twenty people is a stage? And now - attention! If only one spectator came, is the venue still a stage? The fact of the matter is that we perform on such a stage every day when we talk with children, partners, friends, relatives, employees and so on. We are on the stage of life. And we already have experience in public speaking - it remains to stop being afraid of them and start loving them.

How to love the unloved? Have you noticed that we often do not like what we do not succeed? And it doesn’t work just because we don’t have enough practice. To practice public speaking, start with a small audience. Appreciate every viewer.

The most sincere (and strict) audience is children. If your speech was understood by a child and he was interested, then everyone in the auditorium will like it. And the point is not in the primitive level of speech, but in the clarity and liveliness that we inevitably use when talking with children. I propose to take this formula of communication for an audience of any status and age. So how do you get rid of fears and anxiety before public speaking?

Use anxiety as a tool

Excitement is even useful, it helps to mobilize. Due to excitement, a slight redness appears on the face, which touches the audience. Your strong excitement will cause empathy in the viewer, as he himself is afraid to be in such a situation. And if you also honestly admit this, then you can safely count on the support of the audience. Just don’t say formulaic phrases, but tell a joke or show a video in the topic and at the same time say: “Please look while I cope with the excitement” or “Well, I’ll tell a joke while I cope with the excitement.

Visualize your speech

Do not write a long summary of your speech, but draw pictures that will give you a hint of what you need to say. This technique will allow you to fuss less, not peer at the text and not wear glasses during the speech.

Talk only about what you understand

Remember an exam in a subject that you understood and adored: you went to it like a holiday and did not worry. So go to the performance as if it were a holiday, since the topic is clear to you and you love it. And if you're asked to speak on a topic you don't understand, be honest about it and decline. Such an act will cause more respect than a speaker who does not understand what he is talking about.

Speak each part of your speech in front of a mirror

After you have spoken each part of your speech, you will determine its duration. Having recorded yourself on a video camera, let a person whom you completely trust see it. Ask to comment on the content of your speech, as well as gestures, facial expressions and parasitic words. Just don't overdo it. This only needs to be done a couple of times. Otherwise, on stage, you will not say what you planned, as the subconscious mind will decide that you have already said it.

Warm up before the show

Calmly stretch your legs - this can be done while sitting, quietly squeezing and unclenching your feet. Just don't jump or squat, it will take your breath away. Do not run out onto the stage, go calmly. Before the performance, sing with your mouth closed, as if mumbling a song, this will warm up the vocal cords.

To look and not to see

It is ideal to look into the eyes of the audience during a speech, but, as experience has shown, this frightens a novice speaker. Look at the hairstyles of the audience - they will think that you are looking directly into their eyes. And if you notice an unfriendly look, this does not mean at all that the listener does not like the story. People, when they listen carefully, as a rule, do not control facial expressions.

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