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I've been reading this book called "The Self-Esteem Trap" by Polly Young-Eisendrath. I recommend it for its insightful analysis of our achievement-obsessed culture, and its emphasis on accepting ourselves as imperfect. Anyway, she quotes a patient named Andrew. The quote is from another book called "Transforming Lives" edited by Joseph Schachter. Apparently, Andrew suffered from Social Anxiety, and this is what he had to say "after four years of intensive psychotherapy":

"My problems have always been that I am afraid of people criticizing me and realizing my weaknesses, my inferiority. I am afraid of women, of exhibiting my sexual desire to them, of making an idiot out of myself, of taking risks that may make me vulnerable in any way to criticism. To a certain extent, I have taken paths around these fears instead of confronting them. And what I have done about these fears in the past is to feel sorry for myself that I had them and assume no one else had them. Now I realize that I, like everyone else, just have to accept that those fears exist and confront them as best as possible."

This is pretty much me right now. I'm sure I'm not alone.
 

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You're certainly not. That very well could have been written about me when I went by "Andrew" years ago.

"...I realize that I, like everyone else, just have to accept that those fears exist and confront them as best as possible."

I was talking to a middleaged NAMI employee the other day about social anxiety groups and she mentioned her experiences with anxiety when she was younger. What was interesting is that she had very similar problems to what I did (severe anticipatory anxiety, visible and uncomfortable physiological symptoms in the moment, etc.), but she just never avoided doing things. I think that last sentence sums up what she naturally did, despite how uncomfortable it was.

Now, this is not to say that some people don't need structured CBT, medication, etc. deal with their social anxiety, but it's an interesting perspective.

Thanks for sharing!
 

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you are not alone for sure. my worst enemy is myself. i believe everyone feels those feelings whether one has SA or not. the difference is that SA over amplifies those feelings and the 'normal' people have learned how to confront and cope with. SA makes us make mountains of of them.
 
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