Hi! I’m John, and I’m a new blogger here at PsychCentral! Nice to meet you all! I’m going to be talking about social anxiety, mental health issues in general, and how society deals with mental illness. The world needs to alter its priorities.
I suffer from extreme social anxiety/phobia and have been mostly housebound for years. We housebound folk are misunderstood. People think we’re lazy and weak, and need to just man up a bit: “We all manage to get up and go to work each day, so why can’t they?”
It’s a lot more than being weak. Social anxiety is a crippling, debilitating illness, which can frequently stop you from even getting out of bed and going into the kitchen, never mind outside.
Most days I wake up scared, worried and ultra-fearful. I’m terribly frightened of the neighbours. Where I live, on a housing estate in Berkshire (Southern England), the rows of houses are all tightly packed together, like sardines. We only have thin walls between us and the next houses on either side. Can hear the neighbours move, talk and even breathe. A nightmare.
So, I’m scared to get up. Frightened of life…. Every day is a battle, mostly against my own mind. It’s a battle I have to win. Suicide cannot be an option. I believe we are on this earth in order to learn lessons, and if we don’t pass these tests, then we’ll only have to learn the same lessons next time round. We have to learn to be happy in this lifetime for the benefit of our souls.
Define Social Anxiety then!
But what is social anxiety? Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as social phobia, is frequently described as an illness whereby sufferers have a fear of being judged by others. Yes, this certainly comes into it, but there is another aspect to it for me. It’s the fear and stress of having to be near people. I just much prefer to be alone most of the time. I get extreme stress the moment I am in close proximity to someone else. The only people who do not scare me are my mother and brother, and I even have difficulty when all three of us are in a room together. Stress, stress, stress!
Sufferers of social anxiety disorder, have a fear of being with other people. Therefore, we can have great difficulty going into shops, making phone calls, going to work, and even seeing a doctor etc.
Not all sufferers are affected to the same degree though. Many manage to function in society and, although they live with this illness every day of their lives, they can live relatively normally. Other sufferers struggle to even get out of their own houses, and become hermit-like in their behaviour. I fall into this latter category.
But I’m trying to turn things around now. I have studied about my disorder, and am now putting into practice the techniques I have learned. I’m trying to transform my life, and I’m having success doing it.
I shall be posting here at least twice weekly, covering various topics, and would love some comments and feedback.
I also have a blog at www.ibeatmysocialanxiety.com. Please stop by and visit if you can!