Social Anxiety

I never used to suffer from anxiety until the mid-nineties when the ugly face of depression reared it’s head. I thought those who suffered were either attention-seekers or lunatics and sometimes both.

Reading comments and people’s opinions after the suicide of Robin Williams has made me realise that we still have a long way to go in educating people. One blogger even dared to suggest that we should actively stigmatise people who have committed suicide so it would be a deterrent to those who had contemplated such. In that case would shouldn’t show compassion and love to cancer sufferers who by their lifestyle had brought the disease on themselves.

Last night was a wake up call. I realisation. I can no longer function in group environments. You might think this is some sort of “love me” statement. It isn’t. I am just not the person I was 20 years ago. Yet some how people expect me to be.

I used to be the life and soul of the party. Not any more. Give me a glass of wine and my sofa. Keep me away from crowded places. I think this has been a mixture of getting old and not wanting to be amongst silly drunk people who don’t know how to go out without getting into an argument or a fight.

But it’s not confined just to pubs and busy bars. I really don’t like going to the cinema. I need to be at the end of the aisle in a church or anywhere where people gather.

So what should I do about this? Nothing. Not a thing. I am happy when I am at home or with just a handful of people. If you ask me to go out and party I will probably politely decline. My friends know this. Not that I hate you or I am being rude.

My name is Philip and I am social-phobic.

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