Space is what I need
It’s what I feed on
Exposure,- Peter Gabriel
Of course exposure therapy is also one of the great cure alls for anxiety. Sometimes it works. For instance when I had to change jobs and work in an office. What me? in close proximity to just 5 other people and having to make and take phone calls all day, with my anxiety? Yes and not only did I do it for 6 years but by the end I was totally relaxed and almost happy and coping rather easily, I was getting on with people on the phone almost normally and able to be comfortable with all the people in my office. In fact i would say it way my natural environment rather than working in manual work with blokes whose only subject matter is football and females and their witty banter. I suppose I learnt to adapt, copied other people’s behavior and Jesus Christ! it actually worked and my anxiety faded away to almost manageable proportions. Of course if something goes well Satan appears out of the furnace of hell, farts on you and then laughs his head off when you fail and I was thus made redundant and have not only not worked since but descended into a daily routine of dread, fear, chronic anxiety,paranoia, lethargy, hopelessness, drunkenness and suicidal thoughts. Welcome to my world!
Of course there were certain caveats to success. One being that there were no females in my department as my SA was always worse around girls who never ever spoke and yet still slagged men off for being quiet as they just assumed it was a man’s job to initiate all conversation, even at work. Indeed our supervisor ended up being female although she had worked there for years and had certainly been very uncomfortable with my shyness in the past and looked at me like I was a freak. However she probably just wondered why I was so unfriendly, strange, reluctant to speak and had no idea of my inner turmoil.Hence shy men are seen as weird, creepy, strange. the usual bollocks. Even when girls came in our office from other departments I would feel uncomfortable and not one ever spoke to me first yet a couple thought I was strange for not speaking to them. Well all quiet men are strange, Its called mental illness!
Exposure to anything doesn’t work though as if it fails, sometimes disastrously then it just makes you feel worse and increases your SA. One useless tip I read was to go into the same shop and talk about the weather to the shop keeper regularly supposedly until you create banter. Can you just imagine a nervous stuttery man doing this every week? “Oh no, its him again!” would be the thought of the shop keeper.Stop f**king talking about the weather! You would annoy him. Shy people frequently annoy normal people when they do actually make an effort as they dont act normally and dont entertain them or talk about normal things. It has to be natural which is why a lot of forced exposure therapy makes you worse.
Another example is meet ups with real people in your area. Meeting up with a group of people with whom you probably have little in common might bring on a blushing stuttering anxiety fit. This means going to any activity meet such as a photography one might make the other people think you are weird and then avoid you as they did at work, the usual scenario. Then if you go to a specific anxiety meet where people might at least understand your problmes they could be all quiet and nervous as well so there is little conversation or progress. To be honest though the social anxiety forums are so youth orientated that anyone over 40 should not bother. I would feel incredibly uncomfortable sitting with teenagers and twenty year olds at my age and the oldest one there, especially if they were female. I have enough trouble with normal females, let alone shy ones! There has also been posts on forums that people still SA at a certain age just deserve it as they simply have not tried hard enough to change. Wankers, I worked for 20 years in a job which almost pushed me to suicide. who are they to judge?