HistorySocial Anxiety Disorder is an extreme fear of social situations. Friends, family and strangers all included. It's not shyness - it's fearing going into a shop and paying for something because of the (however minimal) human contact involved. You automatically think you look stupid, or you'll do or say something stupid. I was diagnosed with SAD when I was 16 and have had various treatments including counseling and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is basically where they talk to you about your issues, try to stop the triggers and change the way you think about socialising. This helped a bit - this got me to college to do my A levels and then to uni where I eventually met Chris.
NowAfter having Charlie I completely relapsed. I think it might be because of Charlie that I worry more and panic more about his safety and my own. I also put myself down a lot more and feel terrible when I see other mammy's socialising together, knowing that I could never have that.
I love being outside, and we're out whenever we can - but I could never do this by myself with Charlie (which makes me feel terrible) but I can't risk having a panic attack whilst caring for him. It always has to be the three of us. Then I feel perfectly safe, because I know Chris will always do the talking. And I don't have any friends or social contact outside of that.
This really isn't good. I can't have Charlie growing up watching me, copying the way I avoid talking to people. I can't help it, but that'll make him seem rude. - or make him grow up socially awkward, or worse, get the same condition.
So today is my new first step towards getting help, and this in itself is scary! I'm getting a phone call from the "Talking Therapy" center in South Shields.
I had to fill in a huge form (Which I just caught Charlie waving around saying "Daddy book!") and rate my feelings from 1-5 depending on how strong - like "How often do you feel bad about yourself" (5= all the time); "How quickly do you become bored/annoyed/tired". So, that was fun! I really hate the statistics of my feelings!
I hate phone calls. I really hate them. Sometimes even more than a face to face conversation. With phone calls there's a protective barrier up between you and the person, but I don't feel like it protects me - I feel like it allows the other person to speak to you how they like without worrying about getting slapped.
I worry that I'm not speaking loud or clear enough, and that the person is going to get annoyed more easily than if they could see my nervous, smiling politest-possible expression!