So apparently you get over SA by doing stuff, getting used to it and getting better. Of course this makes the assumption that you regularly improve due to your familiarity with difficult situations resulting in a reduction in fear, a confidence growth and then it’s onwards and upwards. Except….. just because it has worked for some in certain situations doesn’t mean it’s a cure all for SA. If exposure results in regular humiliation and failure then of course you confidence is shattered and your SA worsens and you are likely to become even more avoidant in future.
An example was a trip to John Lewis to buy a camera. As I wanted it in mint condition I had to talk to the sales rep and ask to see it. Basically I started to feel uncontrollably awkward, I guess as usual my body language and mannerisms betrayed by nerves and I then felt he started to deal with me with somewhat contempt and was glad to see the back of me. There was no friendliness from him or sales pitch, just a bad atmosphere. Now I know it’s quite possible it was just him, he was having a bad day or my overreactions as someone with chronic paranoia was to blame but you see, it probably wasn’t. I recognise this reaction from years when I was working, from many other occasions. I tried to force myself to go into this situation and it turned out badly. Exposure to failure thus made me more avoidant and I felt worse for a long time afterwards.
Example number two. A few weeks ago I want to Argos to buy a lens. Again I wanted to look at it to see if it was used. I talked fine and told him about how Jessops used to sell tons of repaired stock as brand new which seemed to amaze him. I talked OK. I left feeling good and not a freak. Now is it simply he was a much friendlier person, my mood beforehand was much better or a combination of other factors? I am still not sure, maybe all of them.
However every time I come across another failure it destroys my confidence and I fall to pieces for months. The good situations don’t give me the confidence to try more and more stuff like they are supposed to. They never have. I suppose deep down I know everyone is really judgemental. Human nature can be relentlessly cruel like school bullying. Kids aren’t bullies because they don’t know any better; they are bullies because their natural human instincts are still dominant before they are taught to act differently. Animals pick on the weak, the faulty, the sick, difference. Look up the history of humanity and it’s been very much the same. It was like that at work and I don’t think it’s been any different on forums. Once people have judged you and found you of no use they ignore you from then on. Going on walking/photography meets or other similar events and I feel like I would have to cover up and hide my situation all the time which immediately makes me defensive and paranoid. Why are you unemployed? How long has it been now? Where do you live? Do you live alone? All the things that mark me out as different, not normal.
Of course I keep coming back to the conclusion that its human society that forces many people with problems to be alone. If you are not one of us then we don’t want anything to do with you. “You don’t like football, you don’t like chatting up girls, you don’t like going to nightclubs.” That was when I first started work; if you do try you are often shunned for being nervous and awkward and no fun. The cure for SA it seems is often acting like everyone else from the very beginning in order to be accepted. Learning to do this is often far more difficult.