I went to school for about 11 years. Despite making some friends I also hated it as I was too shy and had lots of bad times and unhappy memories. I went to work for even longer. I  made some good friends here also but had lots of awful times due to SA and never fitted in or got better, I once came close to a mental breakdown. In the present day I live pretty much in total isolation and dont speak to any other humans for weeks at a time. My only contact is an anxiety forum. I have made one very good friend, sometimes speak online to a few people but despite that I feel like I dont fit in, struggle a lot and feel disliked. See, there is a pattern forming. Despite being around people I did not get better although I always seemed to make some friends. However I think these were people who were chatty and outgoing and always made the first contact with me.

Exposure to things has had little success. Thats because my SA behavior always made me avoidant and choose the easy way out of social situations in order to survive. I was often in the presence of other people at school and work but did not make contact with them unless i had to so I stayed in isolation and that made normal people dislike me. When I was forced to interact it often was so excruciatingly awkward that it put me off doing it again. This is why so much exposure therapy does not work for people who are very socially anxious, it only works for people who are a bit shy and need a bit of a push to encourage them. It also ignores depression that long term SA and isolation causes.

Many advocates of such therapy demand you put yourself in social situations, demand you initiate things and assume you will make witty banter as if by magic. They never tell you what to say or how to handle blushing, stammering, sweating or people ridiculing you and laughing at you.They just say keep doing it and once again assume you will get better when in fact these situations are often so traumatic they actually make you worse and even more avoidant. They then blame you for not trying hard enough.


Author: klodo

I am male,English and have had social anxiety since I started school at 5 years of age. I like photography, walking, wildlife, history and moaning.........CONSTANTLY! Oh you must stop being so negative! Shut up! NOW WITH ADDED DEPRESSION!

4 thoughts on “Exposed”

  1. People who just say “just push yourself to do it” don’t understand how we think. We don’t know how to “just do it” without the anxiety taking control. Exposure only works if we’ve got a structure to it, if we’ve got coping mechanisms to implement during the exposure. At least through my experience. Exposure has helped me only through that process. And over long periods of time. I don’t think Exposure alone could make a huge impact on social anxiety but Exposure therapy with depression treatment and anxiety treatment, with self-esteem help, with confidence building can. For some.

  2. Yes,It helped me when I was forced to change jobs and work in an office. I hated it at first but not only learned to cope but actually grew to like it. However the advice of going into your local shop and talking about the weather on a regular basis which I read in a self help book is mostly useless. If you act nervous and awkward you will simply be known as that weird nervous guy who always talks about the weather and is ridiculed. So much advice for SA is to go and talk to strangers and assume it helps if you keep doing it with absolutely no help in how to stop acting so nervous in the first place. People with chronic anxiety are not the same as those who are a just a bit shy.

  3. I can also relate to this,
    And I completely agree when your Social Anxiety is so severe, you can’t put yourself in those situations.
    When you get such extreme symptons such as shaking, excessively sweating, trembling etc, people probably think your weird.
    It’s so difficult, and I’ve tried propranalol a beta blocker for the physical symptons of anxiety but they still don’t work.
    I wish professionals would have a better understanding of SA.
    Take care

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