Personal Explanation for Social Anxiety
After figuring out that I've been suffering with social anxiety for years, I have been able to progress and learn a lot about myself. I'm beginning to understand what caused my social anxiety. Please read this and let me not if it sounds accurate and if you can relate to my situation.
I was born an HSP. To me, this means that I'm trapped into the programming of my brain way more than a non-HSP. By the programming, I mean the natural negative and positive emotions that we feel as a result of evolution. The negative and positive emotions make up our neurological reward system and is an evolutionary attempt to control behavior in a way that is best for survival and/or reproduction: We feel the negative emotion of hunger so that we take action and give our body the energy it needs to survive/We feel the positive emotion of love and sex so that we reproduce.
I believe that the strength of these positive and negative emotions is much higher for me because I'm an HSP. This is good and bad: negative feelings can be extremely strong and easy to encounter. However, positive feelings are also extremely strong and easy to encounter.
Because they're so strong, I'm a slave to these emotions because they are easily strong enough to control my life. After all, that is what they're supposed to do. They contradict my free will. Being highly sensitive to negative emotions has caused me to become an obsessive perfectionist in an attempt to avoid negativity because perfection is the complete absence of negativity.
Here's where my life got screwed up. I have never liked how I look. A lot of people don't. But as an HSP, this bothered me a lot. A whole lot. It stood in the way of me having a perfect life. I should have done what everyone else does and tried to fix how I look by getting another haircut, losing weight, working out, tanning etc.. But I didn't. Instead I ran from it and found things that would block out the negative emotions that I experienced when I thought about my inadequate physical appearance to replace them with positive emotions. Playing video games, smoking weed, eating food, creating art etc.. All of these things were successful in temporarily making my life complete/perfect. I have lived this way for about 10 years now but didn't fully realize it until now. How could I realize this when I was constantly trying to avoid thinking about it?
So my main goal in life was to block out the knowledge of my physical appearance. This is easy when you're alone. However, having people look at you, making eye contact with people, and getting teased about your appearance are all things that force the knowledge of your physical appearance and all the negativity that is attached to it into your brain. And this is what led to my social anxiety. I was scared of people because they could see me and notice that my appearance wasn't perfect. And as a perfectionist, I was ashamed of that. I was scared because I knew from firsthand experience that people could and would put me down because of my appearance. It was always a risk. Once that risk wasn't worth taking anymore, I had social anxiety. Only "safe" people and "safe" social situations were worth my time.
All of this could have been prevented if I wouldn't have ran away from my personal problem of being unhappy with my appearance. It's always easier to face your problems than run from them. I could have fixed that problem and learned to live with myself in a few months, but instead I've spent 10 years sprinting away from it.
With this new knowledge, I plan to perfect my physical appearance as best I can and then learn to live with myself. It's the only way out of my present situation. For a while I started eating food to get the positive emotions attached to it in an attempt to block out the negative emotions attached to my physical appearance. This only led to my physical appearance getting worse and thus me needing more food to compensate. I understand how easily obesity can sneak up on you in this way. Luckily for me, I had other things that I was using to compensate but if I would have only used food, I would be morbidly obese right now.
For a few years, I used art as my compensation. This was by far the best method. I was lacking beauty in myself so finding beauty in art was a natural solution. The negativity caused by the ugliness or lack of beauty seen in the mirror can be perfectly balanced by the positivity caused by the perception of beauty in a work of art. My life was closest to normal when art was my only drug.