Red Face: Social Anxiety, Blushing, Erythrophobia
What’s the difference between PTSD and Complex-PTSD? PTSD is often associated with one single traumatic event, while C-PTSD is associated with repeated trauma and different traumatic events.
Trauma is not always categorized as the BIG, HUGE, MASSIVE, CRAZY events. Yes, that’s trauma for sure. But trauma can also be what others would think are minor, silly, small things.
It’s all about how you perceived the situation and how the energy from that event/events was stored in your nervous system.
This is why talk therapy is very effective, but when it comes to C-PTSD, talk therapy will only get you so far. Because the trauma is not just stored in your mind, it’s stored in your body.
For me, this has caused an overactive sympathetic nervous system. Which means my body perceives threats at times when it absolutely SHOULD and at times when it should NOT … mostly when it should not.
It’s incredibly frustrating.
For some it creates excessive sweating, for others it can create chronic blushing or skin flushing.
Chronic blushing can create social anxiety. Social anxiety accompanied by blushing can create a phobia called erythrophobia. A fear of blushing or turning red. It’s an endless cycle of torture for many people. But most people won’t speak on it because the last thing they want to do is draw more attention to their blushing skin.
When I hit my 20s, I started having people call out the splotchy redness on my chest and neck.
“Are you okay?”
They thought I was having an allergic reaction to something.
To some degree, I was.
C-PTSD is … exactly what it says it is …. Complex.
A facial expression, tone of voice, environmental change (from cold to hot, standing in direct sunlight, allergens)... they can all cause a sudden skin reaction.
The nervous system perceives a threat during an enjoyable and passionate conversation, or during intense laughter.
I can be in the safest environment and still turn red and splotchy out of nowhere.
In 2019, I started speaking and writing publicly about C-PTSD, overactive sympathetic nervous system, erythrophobia and chronic blushing. Since then, I have connected with hundreds of people all over the world who are experiencing the same situation and were so desperately seeking others who could relate.
In the past 2 years, since speaking about these topics, I have met some of the most genuine and empathetic people who are desperate to be seen beyond their blushing skin.
And they are stepping out, one by one. Speaking out. Coming out. Expressing their gifts regardless of their insecurities.
I’ve had people tell me they cannot believe I have advanced in my career, or coach, or write books, or speak publicly with erythrophobia.
I say - just do it.
Do it afraid.
Keep on keeping on.
Don’t let anything stop you - not even yourself.
Everyone has insecurities. Some are seen and some are unseen.
But regardless - we all share in these experiences. It’s what makes us human. It’s all part of the experience.
So, speaking of - this book, Red Face, by Russell Norris is INCREDIBLE!!! He shares his experience with social anxiety, erythrophobia, and chronic blushing.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who struggles with insecurity (everyone).
Also, from one chronic blusher to the rest of the world - stop calling out how red we are. We already know it. And the most intense form of judgement comes crashing down on us everytime you call out our redness.
It’s not “cute” or “funny” or “anxious” or “bashful” in our eyes.
It’s our nervous system going nuts at the most random times and causing our blood vessels to dilate and flush red on our skin. We’re aware it’s happening. We don’t need you to point and inquire unless you’re actually curious about our story and why it may be happening. Hell, we don’t even know why it's happening most of the time.
Just living life leaves its mark on us.
And for many of us - it embeds itself in our nervous systems.
Why are we flushing red?
Because we’re alive.
That. That is why.
***You can find Russell’s book on Amazon if you’re interested. It’s so damn good.