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Social Anxiety – 6 Tips from a Navy SEAL

Social Anxiety – 6 Tips from a Navy SEAL


Hey guys Sean Ryan with Vigilance Elite
I did aq a a while back on the old IG and I got a question asking me if I deal
with social anxiety and for anxiety and crowds and I thought that was a really
good question and so I answered it and gave me an idea I thought I would do a
video on it so I put a couple of feelers out on YouTube and Instagram and I was
gonna cater this whole thing towards kind of combat that’s transitioning and
the social anxiety that we deal with coming back into regular society but I
want to put the feelers out I realize totally shit a lot of people deal with
this shit me included I deal with it probably on a
daily basis if I leave my house so which is why I bought a place out of the
middle of fucking nowhere because I don’t like talking to people and I get
anxious when I have to go to social functions so so I’m just gonna talk
about these six things that I’ve used to kind of help me power through that shit
and overcome social anxiety so here we go social anxiety really hit me hard
when I left CIA that’s when it really kicked in for me I got out I left CIA I
had no clue what the fuck I was gonna do where I was gonna go I had no hobbies
other than drinking and which made me feel
pretty fucking insecure especially when you go to these social functions and
it’s all you know doctors and lawyers and fucking stockbrokers and this person
has fucking truckload of money and this person you know and you just constantly
feel like you’re being judged because you don’t really have anything going on
at that time and for me the two questions that I fucking was terrified
of is what do you do and what are your hobbies what do I do
well I wasn’t doing anything I could talk about actually I couldn’t I
couldn’t even talk about what I did most of the shit for I never be able to talk
about and that’s fucking embarrassing to me it’s well I’m you know for the past
14 years I’ve been doing this shit but I can’t tell you anything about it and you
know I’m it bothered me and then the other one was you know what are your
hobbies well I don’t have any fucking hobbies other than getting shit-faced
from the time I get up until the time I go to sleep and I don’t sleep so those
are two questions that I would avoid and I amongst the whole slew other emotions
but and things that I was dealing with but I found a couple of things that
helped me out and I’ve kind of broken them up a little bit here two things
that get me through social events still to this day I still use this shit
everywhere I go is one I don’t ever put myself in a situation
that I cannot get myself out of to I need to find things that boost my
confidence doesn’t mean when I mean confidence I don’t mean you don’t have
to be the loudest motherfucker in the room and the one that talks the most you
just have to find things that make you confident which make you a little more
comfortable in that particular setting so let’s go through these six things so
the first thing that I do is that kind of helps me and it relates to
I don’t ever put myself in a situation that I can’t get out of is I don’t do
fucking ubers I don’t do taxis I don’t do burrs I don’t let friends
drive I don’t ride with people I want my car with my car keys in my pocket that
way if I feel the anxiety is starting to come on and I don’t want to be there
anymore I know I can get the fuck out of there at a moment’s notice doesn’t mean
you can’t take a taxi out of there but at least you have that sense of comfort
and which gives you a little confidence knowing all right if I am in a situation
that I just don’t want to fucking be in socially I’ll just leave and that gives
you a little bit of comfort you don’t have to wait on a taxi or call an uber
or make a big scene you just fucking leave so that would be my first piece of
my first tip take your own car if you get drunk leave it there go get it
tomorrow but at least you have it hotel rooms as I kind of mentioned before and
if you want to get more in depth you can click the link above and listen to the
tnq podcast I was on but I had ruined every relationship all of them and it
got real fucking awkward even with family I’m still rebuilding that and I
still get a little anxious sometimes friends family everyone if I’m gonna go
on an overnighter somewhere I always run a hotel it gives me my little buddy
we’ll just call it a safe space but if I start getting angry or anxious a lot of
times my anxiety switches to anger immediately I know I need to leave
before shit gets bad and knowing that I have a hotel somewhere I can go to it
comforts me and gives me that confidence knowing like alright if things get out
of control or if I just don’t want to fucking be here I don’t have to make a
scene and go out you know I’m fucking leaving alright it’s just
no I just I have my hotel I go there I fucking cool off nobody even has to know
why you’re going maybe you just say oh yeah I’m gonna go
turn some emails and or I’m gonna go I gotta make a phone call real quick go
over there go back to your hotel or wherever it is and you know do the whole
blue shopping code words and or little phrases that you can say to a friend or
your significant other or whoever alright but it has to be somebody that
you can really fucking count on okay I use my fiance Katie my special lady
friend and she knows when I say this is my favorite song it’s time to fucking
roll I’m feeling uneasy and it’s time to get the fuck out of there and she makes
it happen I don’t have to do shit she comes up with the excuse on why we’re
leaving or she just says hey Sean I want to go and then it’s not even me it’s her
I just nobody now I’ve got to change it cuz everybody’s gonna know when I say
this is my favorite song it’s time to fucking roll but come up with anything
and it’s got to be somebody that you trust you can’t have can’t be your buddy
who’s trying to pick up fucking chicks at the bar who is not gonna listen it
can’t be you know the football game nut that’s gonna sit there and go just wait
till the end of the fucking quarter when you say it it needs to be somebody you
trust that when you do say it they’re gonna wrap it up then you’re out the
fucking door and just knowing that you have that
phrase and knowing that you have somebody that has your back no matter
what is gonna help give you that confidence
and it’s gonna put you it it’s gonna put you you know at ease a little more it’s
gonna make it a little more comfortable and boom there’s back to I don’t put
myself in situations that I can’t get myself out of so find somebody a trust
maybe it’s just significant other maybe it’s your best friend I don’t know who
the hell it is but find somebody come up with something and stick with it don’t
feel like you have to talk all the time alright I get
intimidated all the fucking time when I’m out in social settings especially in
the very beginning when I got out about four years ago it was real bad you know
you constantly feel like people are putting you down they might not even
mean it but you don’t always have to talk quick story I used to go out to
dinner all the time when I first got out my neighbor’s mom
her name was burned and she was probably mid seventies early eighties eighties
she’s passed away now but I really liked going out to dinner with her because I
felt comfortable with her and I would tell her you know she would ask why I
don’t go out more why don’t you know go to these social functions more and I
would tell her like I’m fucking intimidated I live in Boca Raton Florida
and every motherfucker I meet is a fucking plastic surgeon for a doctor or
a stockbroker or a money manager or some badass attorney and Here I am NOT doing
shit don’t have a clue what the fuck I’m gonna do I’m a social mess and so I
wouldn’t go anywhere and when I did I wouldn’t say anything I’m not a talker
and I remember fern told me Shawn you don’t have to say shit she’s like she
said to me just by you sitting there and listening with your background makes the
entire room intimidated she’s like you’re and she’s like I can’t even
believe they’re telling me that you’re intimidated by these people
she said just do what you do just take it in listen to them you know people
love to talk about themselves let them talk about themselves alright
so and I thought about that and I tried it and I’ll be damned
I think she’s fucking right so don’t feel the need that you have to fucking
talk don’t be the person that’s you know live live live a blob that doesn’t shut
the fuck up okay just take a wrap off you know
did you feel in anxious then just take a wrap off stop and just listen you know
you don’t have to have some badass explanation every question that’s asked
and you know I mean if you don’t understand something that somebody’s
saying tell him yeah I don’t have a quote what the fuck you’re talking about
I do that shit all the time and you know it kind of is uncomfortable at first but
then when they realize oh yeah I’m talking over this guy’s head and he’s
got the confidence to say yeah you’re not fucking impressing me why don’t you
just dial it down a little bit to fucking layman’s terms I don’t know what
the fuck surgery you’re talking about here so anyways that ship really helped
me a lot drinking this is the one nobody wants to
hear but when you’re in a social setting at least how I was is I would pound
fucking vodka non-stop straight vodka on the rocks well if this kind of goes back
to getting yourself into something that you can’t get yourself out of once
you’re fucking hammered you’re hammered which means you can’t reverse it you
can’t get yourself out of it you’re just there and I don’t know you guys are but
when I’m hammered nothing really good ever happens
my anxiety gets worse eventually the anger gets worse a lot worse and I wind
up doing shit that I regret in the long-term so take a wrap off you know
how I did it is I don’t drink hard shit anymore don’t do shots of the fucking
whiskey I don’t do shots of anything I drink wine I have a
couple glasses and I call it quits there’s another thing I get made fun of
sometimes cuz I drink bubbly out of the can but here’s the deal its water with
bubbles in it now look I have an adult drink it gives my hands something to do my hands are doing something part of
anxiety for me was what the fuck do I do with my hands now that I’m not drinking
anymore well now I have a drink it looks like you know it’s got bubbles in it
looks like it’s a fucking vodka tonic or something and it gives me something to
do and I found these like they’re nobody’s business but lay off the booze
it’s gonna nothing bad it’s gonna happen by you laying off those I
guaran-fucking-tee you that and the last thing get some therapy all right I went
to therapy for I believe three years twice a week every fucking week that is
a lot of therapy so and you know what it helped me tremendously and I know you
know there’s like the the stigma behind it where oh yeah I don’t need any
fucking help and you know if you’re like that and you’re worried about what
everybody else is thinking of it you’re fucking weak
alright so just try it nobody maybe it doesn’t work for you I don’t know but I
tell you the one thing that helped me more than anything was going to therapy
getting some help and it’s not all like what you think we’re like oh you know
talking about your fucking problems it also helps you understand what’s going
through other people’s heads and when you can understand what’s going through
other people’s minds that gives you confidence because you don’t take shit
so personally you realize not everything this
asshole is talking about is directed at me in fact I have nothing to do with it
you know and that puts you at ease and then you start you start building that
confidence you know you understand you start to understand how the human mind
thinks and and look I you’re not gonna regret going to therapy and if
somebody’s gonna give you shit for it they’re not your fucking friend anyway
so tell them to fuck off but anyways those are six things that
have really helped me a lot I still struggle with it but I’m leaps and
bounds where I was and anyways remember those things find ways to build your
confidence and don’t put yourself into a situation that you can’t get out of and
those two things combined I think will really help you up if you think about it
so anyways not my typical video and I’m a not an expert by any fucking means but
uh hopefully that shit helps alright see you guys soon go grab a bubbly social anxiety I think it he’ll have a
lot more of us have it than I thought we did so I’m just gonna try to cater it
towards everyone so I’m not a fucking expert on this shit by any means but I
do deal with it probably damn near on a bait on a mother fuck fuck fuck
hey guys Sean Ryan vigilance elite hey guys Sean Ryan vigilance elite and
there’s a fucking airplane going over right now so I’m just gonna stop and
wait till this fucking piece of shit flies over my property a lot of it boils
down to confidence and when I mean confidence I don’t being in the loudest
fucking asshole in the room yeah of course it’s another fucking plane
hey guys Sean Ryan vigilance elite I put a little feeler out on


Reader Comments

  1. Maybe your best video. Insecurities and anxiety live in all of us, how one chooses to deal with it (or get therapy to help) is what makes us all different. Socially unaware people (i.e. assholes) are my #1 turnoff…life is complicated enough to try and steer our bag of unstructured emotions thru that we often lose track and give up. Thank you for being honest and no BS as always – #mentalhealthfirstandthenshooterready

  2. At the end of the day all you have is yourself and the fucks you choose to give. Choose wisely! Thanks for the video Shawn……….. You, just knowing you could take out every motherfucker in the room should be enough confidence. Stand tall my friend…………You're a badass and you know it.

  3. One other question I have: did you find that your social anxiety was worse when you got out of contracting? Did you have an issue with it before you even joined the military?

  4. Can’t imagine this was easy to put on film. Huge respect for this. My dad struggled with anxiety. The stigma needs to be torn down and real help needs to be easier to get access to.

  5. “I don’t know what the [email protected]&$ you’re talking about.”

    Got it! I’ll tee that bitch up next time my Mother-in-Law drops some “wisdom” in my direction😂And the honesty is refreshing…thank you for serving…still.

  6. Dude this will help me so much.
    Thanks for bringing this up.
    As well as the video about just because someone gives you the opportunity to be an asshole you don't have to
    THANK YOU BROTHER!!!

  7. Shawn your first tip was the biggest thing my family didn’t understand when I came home from my first deployment, they wanted to drive me around this place and that but I felt trapped like I knew that I had to rely on someone to get me somewhere. I feel like that is the most important, always be able to control the situation you place your self in

  8. "My anxiety turns to anger almost immediately" . God damn that is me. When I get really anxious in a social setting it can switch right into being pissed.

  9. 24 yr old college student here looking to become an army infantry officer one day. Been dealing with social anxiety since I was 12. Won’t let that stop me from wanting to serve. Thank for your service, personality, and insights. Makes me not feel alone.

  10. Total know where you are coming from and I thank you for the stones to say what helped you! I have been there ! I couldn't stop drinking no matter what I tried, and so I turn to God for help! NOW I KNOW people will cringe but if you are doing everything you can do humanly possible and ask for his help you will receive it! I could not live without drinking and now I don't even think about it! Credit goes to the Almighty!

  11. I don't drink at parties. I will get a virgin drink and carry it around all evening so no one gets freaked out and tries to give me shit. Not being inebriated keeps me in control of the situation.

  12. i been thinking about being a navy seal lately looked up alot of requirements and i want to be ready its crazy navy seals already have one of my social traits.

  13. A lot if good info here . I loved myself when I was drinking . It's the other people that were the fucking problem .
    I'm for sure the quit guy . I only talk if I know what they are talking about . If not I shut up and listen . I also have the attention spam of a ferret on crystal meth .
    Other than work and grocery store . The Range is the only other place I'm around a rack of people . I used to let other people talk so I could see how stupid they really are . Well I found out I was the stupid one lol .

  14. A lot of good food for thought in this one, Shawn. Reminds me of a lesson I learned while volunteering at an animal shelter – "Try not to be so quick to judge people, you don't know all the crap they're dealing with."

  15. Fuck I live on bubbly water. I get anxiety if there isn't one by my bed when I wake up. Head on the the nail too about giving your hands something to do.

  16. That was great stuff. Mostly because it talks to insecurities that many of us have. You may not think that much of your achievements, but believe me when I tell you that plenty of people are damn impressed. Knowing that you deal with this stuff is pretty important. Those tips have great value.

    Thanks.

  17. I’ve dealt with this my whole life because I have a stutter from hell my brother. Like scratched record bad. I’ve been more comfortable as I’ve progressed in life (I’m only 21) but I’ve been through a lot of shit especially being in the Marine Corps Infantry. This video has opened my eyes a lot and I have things to think about and plan for In the future. Thank you brother. Would love to come shoot with you one day. Thanks for all you do, thank you for your service, and can’t wait for the podcast. Have a good one brother.

  18. Well dude you get total respect from me and my family. If you’re ever in or around Hattiesburg Mississippi and need a place to get away let me know callijah61 on instagram. No need to say anything except I need a place to sleep or maybe what I’ve got wrong on my AR. The only thing that might make you nervous would be my two Belgian malinois but that’s a quick fix cause they have they’re own room. This goes to any vet/professional we’d be honored to have you here and have no problem leaving you be. Of course we love professional input on our setups from guns to body armor but if you needed a room of silence we can offer that too. Plus I can cook pretty good. You’ve taught me some stuff so giving back is a no brainer

  19. Thank you for doing this video. With all the sacrifice you've made it takes big balls and tons of courage for a man with your back ground to show others how to overcome. You just demonstrated for everyone who suffered from social anxiety how to destroy and take there lives back . Thats real strength and courage.

  20. Thanks for being so real and honest. I thought you were a stud before but you just jumped to total bad ass in my book. I needed this.

  21. Thanks for this video. Been dealing with my own shit for decades now and I've got a good tool box (thanks to a few years of therapy and learning from my fuck-ups). I've followed many of these steps and I can confirm they are effective. Today – sober, married to a good woman, can actually speak in public, and know when I need to go home.

  22. Exposed to lots of violence. Your ideas are good and you are masculine to discuss them openly. Call anything what it is and it loses a lot of it’s power over us. I quit drinking 35 years ago no drugs etc. like to face my fears and grow.

  23. Thanks Shawn. 58 year old, non combat, 10 years therapy, Always rent motel when I visit family. Try not to drink too much…still needs work. Have done the bubbly trick. Listening to you makes me feel like a cia agent instead of an electrician, that's cool. Thanks again.

  24. Tell me if anybody can relate to this.. I used to be a fun loving, fun to be around, social guy who loved to go out. I am the exact opposite now and have been for several years. The weirdest thing to me is that I’ve been like this for so long that I although I remember the good times, I don’t remember how they felt. I remember the behavior but not the feeling. Am I crazy or does anybody else know what I mean?

  25. Coming from the outside not knowing you I would think what you did for years would give you all the confidence you need. Shows what I fucking know. Thanks for this video man. Social situations are fucking scary for good reasons given how literally fucked society is.

  26. F*** dude, would have never guessed that a Bad Ass Navy Seal would have social Anxiety.
    Thanks for sharing brother. Respect!

    All these guys with all their money and fancy cars and houses if they ever look down on you they must remember you served your country so they could have all of what they have in a free america.

    Never feel less than you are! Only people whose opinion counts in Life is your Wife and kids. To anybody else give two shits about what they think of me.

  27. Australian veteran. I also hate when I fuck up. But more importantly really appreciate this video Mate. I will be sharing this amongst my community. Keep up the fight.

  28. I discovered your channel recently ands it’s the best thing on this bull shit called the internet. I’m 64 years old and it’s good to know we have young guys like you around.
    Keep it up. And keep the videos coming
    RW in NC

  29. Yeah I think driving your own car and having a hotel really helps.There were tons of times when I was on someone else`s car and the driver was like "hey let`s change the plan and go to the beach!" and I couldn`t get home for like 6 hours. Also even if you couldn`t find a hotel you could at least stay inside your own car.

  30. I’ve been using the carbonated water trick for years lol glad I’m not the only one. Much respect for speaking on the topic Shawn. Thank you for your service from my family and I.

  31. Shawn, talking about this candidly is very helpful to me. I do the same things you do, especially having an exit strategy. I never really thought about why but I think subconsciously I was thinking of the same things you state. Katie sounds like a great partner and I love that wing(wo)man example you said. I'm going to finally sub as I have watched about 2 hours of your shit already this morning. Fucking insomnia. (Edit: I have not drank in 962 days)

  32. Good points of conversation. It sticks to the core of the daily grind. It speaks directly to the never give up in alll aspects of life.

  33. Shawn you don't have to talk to everyone. I'm 58 years old now and retired at the age of 48 (I did not make millions at an early age, I had an accident and was force retired by TSA from building international airports because of my prosthetic leg). I hate talking to people. Instead I just listen to the bullshit people spew out of their pie holes. It's a game I play in my own mind of who in this setting is the person with the worst lies and character. I to don't drink and it makes my little game more clear in my mind. This is the way I decide who I will associate myself with down the road. As a certified firearms instructor I will turn people (and their money) away based upon their character and what I feel is their intentions. And yes I teach my 22 year old son to not only protect his character, but to measure others and decide whether to associate with them or not.

  34. U owe no one but yourself and your bride to be any answers. I like the way u bring out your feelings. Means a lot. I say, "gotta go grab a coffee" your never alone bro.

  35. I do a lot of these same things, especially the one about having an escape plan. I hate it when somebody pressures me into riding in their car somewhere, and I've gotten to where I'll refuse to do it. But I read this book a couple of years ago called "Face Your Fears," and it argued that all these techniques we use to avoid anxiety are counter-productive. Supposedly it keeps you from ever being able to get over your anxiety because you're just avoiding situations that make you anxious.

  36. Shit like this makes me understand we aren't alone. Daily fight and we all can learn. Thank you, I'm serious this really will help.

  37. Over the years i had the same thing and these nosy rude fuckers at cook outs and shit would crawl up my ass asking what do you do? As if i owe them an account of my life and how much money is in my bank account. Then if they got the sense that wasnt doing much, they would laugh at me and smirk and scoff. Finally i got tired of feeling cornered and put down and came up with a line of shit. Now when some nosy prick crawls in my ass, i say something like, i am a poet and a porn star and a squirrel circus trainer and i kill old ladies for the insurance money. Nosy people deserve to be filled full of shit, so thats what i do. Fill them full of bullshit. If youre around rich people bragging about their wealth, then hit them up to make a big donation to your charity. That will scare them off pretty fast.

  38. Come on, man. Your background and experience makes you the coolest guy in the room. If you want even more respect, however, you might clean up your language. There's a place for it on occasion, but if you're relying on potentially offensive language to ease some situations, you might be undermining your own goals. Nothing's noble about being competent at constant swearing.

  39. Proud of you for taking a stand and speaking from the heart!! Takes more balls to be yourself and say I got problems than to down play them maybe you touched bone person to do the same so it would be worth that to me to know I eased someone’s mind !! Keep on keep on brother !! That’s why I love your videos you keep shit real!

  40. Just want to say thank you for being so humble, and sharing your story. I've battled with this since my young childhood because of prick parents. It's quite a terrible thing to deal with at times. I'm glad you have a supportive fiance as well, cause clearly she can get you out of a jam. My girlfriend has been doing that for me for the last 16 years. Anyway Shawn, thanks so much brother.

  41. Props to you, way too much stigma especially for men in these positions. A man like you who is courageous to stand up and talk about it is far ahead of many others. I don't even have the courage to do that, or I feel like a total bitch. But I respect those who do, because you can do it. I have bad social anxiety, I shut down and away in social situations because I cannot relate. I'm not even military but I can't ever relate to people to talk about things. I have no confidence in my self and a truck load of self depreciation.

  42. This video popped up as a suggestion for me. Because I have social anxiety, I clicked on it. Funny thing is that I do the exact same 6 things, right down to drinking club soda at events. It took me years to figure this out and to be honest it is still a struggle. Thank you for putting this out there. It takes a lot of courage to talk about things like this, especially for someone with your background. Thank you for confirming that the process I am using works for others.

    Most of all Thank you for your service. Tons of respect, Best Wishes.

  43. I loved this video. It’s my personal favorite. It’s just you, no bull shit. Like most of your videos, but this is gold for me because it’s personal to you and it gives me pause to think about my own social anxiety. Thank you.

  44. As a FORMER "stock broker" and someone who deals with lots of lawyers and doctors I find it sad that our screwed up society has put so much focus on anyone in these professions as being "successful" by default yet someone like you who has done what you have and has been through what you have would feel somehow less successful. Even when you had nothing going on in your life you have already done more of value that most of the people in those professions will EVER do in there's! THANK YOU!

  45. It's no small thing to put yourself out there like that – especially to the whole wired world. This will help so many people. Awesome.

  46. Wow
    Props to you my friend
    To put yourself out there like this.
    And I guess even spec ops dudes have similar problems to all us dorks out there.

  47. man it never ceases to amaze me how on youtube i get to connect with a SEAL who's so transparent and helps me get over my demons. thanks shawn

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