[quote="phil8888, post:1, topic:230981"]
wondering if anyone can help me with this.
I get very shy and uncomfortable around people and generally avoid them whenever possible. This is especially true of relatives. If I see someone I know in a public area, I will do almost anything to avoid them, sometimes leading to very embarrassing situations. If they actually start to talk to me, I can be very nervous.
Usually I try to keep things very brief and impersonal. If I'm forced to, I'll usually just say hey how are you? and try to end the conversation quickly.
I fear the negative judgment of others. I don't want them to ask questions about my life. If anyone says anything bad about me, usually I get very upset.
I also feel intimidated or something. I especially avoid relatives. When I used to live at home, if a relative came to the house, I would usually lock my door and stay in my room until they left. I didn't even want them to know I was there.
On the other hand, if I am with someone else, or a group of people who are really not paying any attention to me, I can be pretty comfortable. Places where there is no judgment.
I have a group of friends who are like this. We don't talk about personal stuff really I guess, unless someone wants to. But we can just be who we are. Thing is, over the past 6 months to a year, we haven't really hung out much. Maybe twice this year. Plus, I have also started to not like being around them as much anymore anyway.
Anyone have any advice?
Cordial greetings and thankyou for sharing the above old chap. Jolly brave of you if I may say so.
It sounds as if you are afflicted with the same sort of mental health problem as myself. Since adolecence I have suffered from what is known as 'Social Anxiety Disorder' (i.e. social phobia), which for me is frequently accompanied by panic attacks, especially in certain social settings involving a large number of people. Even undertaking simple everyday activities such as going into a supermarket or boarding a bus is an excrutiating ordeal for me. As a matter of fact, I cannot leave the house unless I am accompanied by my wife because I feel so publicly self-conscious and nervous.
Moreover, like you I have a crippling fear of being evaluated by others in pejorative terms which prevents me from interacting in a spontaneous and natural manner. As if being painfully shy was not enough, I also have a problem with blushing to boot which makes me feel so inferior because it is not something which can easily be concealed. It is one of the most terrifying experiences to feel one's cheeks flood with crimson as you are talking to another person about an ordinary everyday matter. Sometimes you feel so dreadful that you just wish the floor would open and swallow you up because the person you are talking to begins to look at you askance as they know something is wrong, even if they are not quite sure what.
This restrictive condition has led me to avoid the company of others and needless to say I do not have a wide circle of friends (very grateful for CAF where I have met some jolly decent people) and have to spend a large amount of time indoors. Thanks be unto God, I have a very supportive wife who loves me dearly and without whom I would be profoundly lonely and would become even more introverted than I am already.
Although I have received much treatment for this condition (Cognitive Behavoural Therapy and Drama Therepy and drug therapy), there has not been any radical improvement and my life continues to be very blighted. Were it not for my Catholic faith to sustain me and my Church, I dread to think just how I would cope from day to day. Thankfully, grace has enabled me to manage the problem at least and I try not to dwell too much upon my woes but rather focus upon other men's problems and try to be a source of encouragement to them. Hope I have achieved that in your case, at least a little anyway. There is always someone who is worse off than ourselves and I have seen that repeatedly; I think God shows this to me so that I do not wallow in self-pity and become despairing.
Look dear phil, please do not loose hope as there is light at the end of the tunnel; there are good people around who really care and will endeavour to help if they possibly can. It goes without saying that you can consider me a friend if you so wish and you can always send me a PM. if you want to talk privately.
God bless you and may His peace be yours.
Warmest good wishes,