Social Phobia: My Story #2

Its never a nice thing to deal with, social phobia, even with a group of people, you feel like you’re the one with the big neon sign above you, which reads ‘look at me everybody’ Its like you can feel everyones eyes on you, burning into you, at times I’ve found myself almost chanting to myself ‘I just want to be home, I just want to be home’

When I’m with other people in public, they’ve mentioned how I suddenly speed up when coming towards other people/strangers, I hadn’t really noticed it before

There was a period a couple of years ago, when I wouldn’t even leave the house through fear of being around anyone, it got so bad that I didn’t even like people seeing me in the real light of day

I’d stay in my room all day, with the curtains an blinds closed, even putting a quilt cover over that, to block out any light, an then living under the glow of a lamp, constantly looking at myself in a hand held mirror, so paranoid, an verging on body dysmorphia

I tried to overcome it, as I mentioned before, by taking a course on confidence, by the end, everyone was talking about how their lives had changed, and how happy they now were, I sat there wondering why it hadn’t done anything for me

But a women standing there each week, telling you how to be more confident, isn’t really going to help me, her basic advice was to be more assertive, an to portray someone who is confident, therefore you become it

Really… Pretend… That’s what I’ve been doing all along, its not real confidence, that’s more about being brave in situations that make you feel uncomfortable

By the end, we all had to pass a piece of paper around that had our names on it, an write a sentence about what we thought of each other, or advice, though it was meant to be a secret, it was easy to figure out who wrote what, by the way they were passed around

The only one I can remember, is that an older man wrote that i needed a make over, yeah, thanks for the advice, weren’t we meant to be inspiring confidence here??

I did take that advice on board, an it did slightly help, so I guess being blunt is the way to go in some circumstances, I do like constructive criticism sometimes, an things have gotten a little easier for me since, though its an ongoing struggle

For a while I didn’t want to share this part of me, its like being exposed, only no one can see, but that person you see in town, staring at the ground as they walk along, or that person trying desperately not to make eye contact as you pass by, could be someone just like me, wanting to run, but can’t….

I’d like to share a poem I wrote that hints at social phobia:

you’re no longer that person you were by day, because by night, you become their pray

None of the safety you had by light, disadvantaged by the night

Scared by shadows, an every sound, someone elses footsteps on the ground

No one can help you, you’re all by yourself, left to rely on wits an stealth

You turn to look, but there was never anyone there, it was all in your head, because you were scared ~

I also once wrote a blog on this before, an touched on some of the things I’ve written here, to save you the time looking for it, I’ve added it below:

~ I’d rather live my life, knowing I’m not perfect, than wasting it, pretending to be ~

I love days like today, quiet, an outside its wet an slightly raining

It clears the streets, which is always a good thing for me, as I’m social phobic, its something I haven’t written about yet, its still something I find hard to talk about openly, I feel I have enough going on in my life, without another thing to try an fix about myself

It has become worse over the years, to the point where I can barely go out alone anymore

I feel so alien in big open spaces, I become so panicked at times, anxious, the level of discomfort I feel is horrible, an I feel like I just need to run, to get away, to escape, its like that ‘fight or flight’ response

In my mind I know the distance I’ll have to go to get somewhere, an the thought of what I’ll encounter on the way is frightening

I think the times that affect me the worst are times when I’ll be walking an cars will be constantly driving by in my direction, or I’ll be in a crowded shop or standing in a long cue, or when I have to walk through a crowd of people, like a big group of friends stood together

I put on a mask to the world, an no one would really know, but inside my mind is racing

Its strange because, after a few drinks, or on certain medication, nothing worries me, I’m so confident an feel so free, which then makes me wonder, why can’t I be that way when I’m just ‘normal’ because I’m still in the same situations

I once enrolled onto a confidence class, I felt like such a failure, the others in the group talked of their progress, while I never found it helpful at all, but then sitting in a room, being told how to be more confident, isn’t really going to change anything, if putting those tips into practice, was your problem to begin with

I once read a blog, where they talked of graded exposure, which I might look into myself, I want to live my life, I don’t want a list of regrets later on

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