February 2010


“Pater” of Hasses aren’t only avocados sent me an email about my last post:

Very interesting largely because the fear you describe is something everyone feels just not all the time. For example meeting royalty or the big boss of your company would induce the same fear as you described in your fear of day to day dealings. I guess that makes the SA issue easier to understand for a non sufferer because it’s not outside their existence. What you suffer all the time, the non SA sufferer will suffer occasionally. Thanks for the enlightening post.

You’re welcome, Pater! Anything that helps others to understand can only be good.

Here’s another way I’ve heard it put. What’s the thing you’ve done that has scared you the most? Let’s say it’s standing on the edge of a cliff. Imagine standing there by yourself, looking all the way down to the sea, knowing that one wrong step will be the end. Imagine how you feel, your heart racing, your hands shaking.

Now imagine having to walk out and stand on that cliff for five minutes fifty times a day, every day of your life.

Mapelba, one of the blogs I awarded in my last post, has posed another question:

What scares you? What has scared you that you went and did anyway?

I couldn’t answer this as a comment on her blog, because my answer is too big, too all-encompassing. Because what scares me isn’t isolated incidents. I’m scared all the time, every day. I’m scared of every interaction with other people – except for my immediate family. Some interactions are more scary and some less so, but they all scare me and I do them anyway. Because I have no choice. Because behind the mask of a person who’s afraid of society is one who really, really wants to connect with people, someone who yearns to be sociable.

What am I scared of? I’m scared of being tongue-tied, of being unable to express myself properly, of being misunderstood, of doing the “wrong” thing. Most of all, I’m scared of their thoughts, worried they’ll think I’m strange, weird, not “normal.”

That’s the essence of social anxiety, but I’m not typical in that I have never avoided social interaction. I’ve always felt the fear and done it anyway. And despite the theories, it has never really got any easier. Perhaps I need to work at this more, to visit places like The Social Anxiety Parlor (Jon’s mum’s blog, which I also awarded in my last post). The thing that gets in my way when trying to work through the different methods is a failure to see my thoughts as anything but logical.

So that’s what I’m scared of. What are you scared of?

Many thanks to Karen Gowen who has given me my first ever blog award. And very pretty it is, too. I’m delighted.

Now for the more difficult part. Five fascinating things about me. Hmmm…

  1. I have bunions and flat feet.
  2. I’m in the second half of my first century.
  3. I’ve lived about three fifths of my life outside my country of birth.
  4. I love to dance – in the centre, with everyone watching me.
  5. I’m an extrovert, but most people I know wouldn’t agree with that.

And five bloggers who deserve to receive this award. I’ve tried to choose bloggers who haven’t received so many awards that their reaction is no longer, “How lovely!” but rather, “Not again!”

In no particular order:

  1. Jean Davison, who went through hell and came out smiling, and who should blog more often 🙂
  2. Mapelba, who highlights fascinating scenes from her life and always sets me thinking with the questions she poses.
  3. Jon’s Mom, who explains social anxiety amazingly well and should also blog more often.
  4. Elisabeth, for whose blog this award is probably too trivial.
  5. Hasses aren’t only avocados, because it’s FUNNY.

Happy blogging!

EDIT (3 March, 2010): The Jon’s Mom blog is now here.

Just to say that I’m still here and wondering whether to blog about what I’m thinking of blogging about.

Maybe I will.

And maybe I won’t.

Why are decisions so … decisionous?

Being stuck for a word is something I’m used to amongst company. It has a lot to do with anxiety. Even simple words can get lost in the jumble that my mind becomes while I’m trying to ignore interruptions from my inner critic, the voice in my head – the one who says, “Shut up. They don’t want to listen to you.”

When I write, I don’t always think of the best words to express what I want to say. I expect that’s normal. This is one reason why I like to write with a pen on paper; I’m not tempted to keep leaving the writing to search for the right word. So I underline the substitute word or phrase and carry on, leaving the word search for the next stage.

While I type up my work, and also when I’m blogging or writing something online, I sometimes ponder over a word. Often I give up and start searching a thesaurus but, more often than not, exactly as I query the thesaurus, the right word comes into my head. As if the pressure of needing to think having been lifted enables me to think clearly. “Of course,” I think, wondering why I always go through this circuitous procedure. (And I did that just now starting with the word “complicated” and ending with “circuitous”.) Will it ever get easier and faster? I expect not.

I could always give up writing and go and lie in the sun. Relax in the sun? Bask in the sun? Arrrggh!

Sorry to have been awol. I’ve been thinking about Erika’s comment:

I’m wondering how SA and being a mom go together. Sometimes moms have to defend their children in different [social] situations so the children feel someone is backing them up when an injustice happens to them. Avoiding this kind of sometimes unpleasant social contact may cause problems with the child. And also, at what age children of SA moms become aware of this and what is their reaction.

The best way to answer this would be to use my personal experience. I had to think about whether I wanted to do this. While I decided a while back to take the plunge and be open about who I am, I don’t think it would be right to expose my family. So I’m going to try to answer Erika in a general way, based on comments I’ve read from others in this situation.

It’s very hard to generalise, though. Many women are scared of their ability to function as mothers and often decide not to find out. Or they worry that their offspring will suffer from similar problems to theirs and therefore decide not to have any.

But being a mother might force a woman out of her safety zone. Things she might avoid doing for herself she will do to protect her child. So, having children can be very helpful for the mother.

I think children will always have been aware in some sense. They will meet friends’ mothers and notice differences. I’m not sure it’s possible to generalise about their reaction. I suppose their reactions would depend on the type of people they (the children) are. I’m faltering here. Can anyone else throw any light on this?