Social Phobia

When I was much younger I had all the symptoms of someone with chronic shyness more commonly known as social Phobia. Most people have the misconception that shyness is akin to introversion but they are distinctly different issues. Shyness can be defined as a feeling of discomfort or inhibition is social and interpersonal situations which can prohibit one from pursuing goals, either academic or personal. The degree of shyness varies too, from mild social awkwardness to debilitating social phobia. On the other hand an Introvert can be defined as one who prefers solitary to social activities but does not fear social encounters as does the shy. A shy person may not want the isolation that pervades their life and may long for social contact but the thought of doing so may fill them with dread.

The symptoms are manifested as acute worry, increase of heart rate, sweating and other psychological and physiological symptoms. At some point I realised what social phobia was doing to me and decided that if I want to lead a fulfilling life and do the things I want to do then change I must. It was difficult at the outset to change years and years of bad mental programming, to thrust myself into social situations and go through the sheer mental and physical anguish. I learnt an important lesson here; the more I did something I feared the less I feared it and the more I enjoyed it. Along with that came the feeling of having accomplished something, like a hurdle being overcome. The more I socialized the more socially aware I became. The side benefits of that being that I got better in my interactions with women. I could relax around them and enjoy their company without being worried or being ‘stuck in my head’.

Making new friends and meeting new people once ever so often became an obsession, but of late I seem to have slowed down; almost lost the drive. I’ve caught myself in time and won’t slide down to being anti social again. It’s definitely not fun being chronically shy and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.