Hello Dr. Schwartz,
I am writing to you from New Zealand to ask your opinion and ideas about what my "condition." I think it may be Social Anxiety or something in the lines of that. My "Symptoms" vary so,........here we go.
I get very anxious when I go out of the house. For example, walking down the street in a town I think people in cars may be staring at me and laughing about how I look or act! And when I'm walking down a footpath & People come towards me I either look down at the ground or at a sign or anything but them, especially making eye contact. Even if I'm at my house alone or with someone, but especially alone, I worry a lot about when I have to go back outside. I worry about future events or meetings with people, even family members!
A lot of the time I have this really strange, unexplainable feeling where I feel like I'm kind of in a dream-like state and things are kind of "unreal" and delirious! I have it most of the time but it gets much worse when I'm in an uncomfortable situation & out of my comfort zone. I looked it up on the net and I heard of something called "'De-personalization, and another called "De-realisation" and I'm pretty sure they are somehow connected to my Social Anxiety.
A lot of it has to do with worrying about how I look and appear to other people and how I sound and all sorts of other silly things! I live in a very small town, pretty much a village, but I've only been here a few years. Because of my Social Anxiety, or whatever, I have acted strange and people here have definitely noticed and have commented to me and payed attention to me. So it's definitely not my imagination. I even have people driving by the house I live in and slowing right down to have a look at the house.
Some times I am much more sociable and I can go out and I find it easier but there are other times I cant even go out to the mail box or stand by the window in case someone sees me! I know some of it is probably paranoia caused by Social Anxiety and racing thoughts but I'm pretty sure some isn't.
Like I said before, I live in a tiny town where most people were born and all Know each other. I don't really know anyone except people I meet when I have to hitchhike daily to get to the slightly bigger town for stuff. I know I have acted pretty damn strange when I get really anxious and get that delirious strange feeling. People here have made comments and most likely think that I'm much worse then I really am.
To tell the truth, Social Anxiety, if I have it, is not that serious in some ways but sometimes the physical things that happen and things I may say make me look much worse then I actually am. Because of that I get even more anxious! Because, to tell the truth, a lot of the time I can hold down a proper conversation and do other stuff without acting "strange."
The country I live in is a lot different then the U.S. and other places and people here are very ignorant and narrow-minded so it makes it quite a bit worse! Because of this problem, I have never held down a job and have put a stop to my social life and anything else.
So Dr I would be very much appreciated if you answer my rant and raves! I want to get a respected opinion and work things out from there. After you reply I will also go and see a Local counselor/psychologist. Thank you.
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