You people terrify me, but that's okay. I still like you.
I used to have pretty bad social anxiety. I would go from home to school back to home. I would only speak when spoken to. And don't get me started about presentations or reading aloud. It could send shivers down my spine, make my mouth dry, and my imagination would send me all these ways of dying violent deaths, just so I wouldn't have to speak in front of people.
It can take me years to feel comfortable around people. It's not that I don't want to be, but it's hard. I'm an introvert, so it doesn't help with the anxiety. I was even diagnosed with social anxiety, clinical depression, and agoraphobia (I disagree with the agoraphobia, though. I don't fear going outside my house. I just prefer being at home than outside.) back in 2005.
All of this is interesting considering my first chosen profession. I wanted to be an actress and/or opera singer. Yeah, I would've had to put myself out there every day. A part of me thrived on it. I was in many musicals and sang in choirs from high school through my third year of college. I auditioned a lot. Auditions were pretty bad, but perhaps the director saw something in me. Once I had the validation I could do a role, then I was fine. I was someone else.
In some ways I could be myself.
I've gotten better as I've grown older. I still feel the panic symptoms when answering the phone. I worry I won't know an answer at work, but I can just talk to people a little better, especially one-on-one or in small groups. I do better if asked questions. I feel like I can be myself.
I think I could even give a speech, if I had to. That speech class and voice and diction class I took in college can pay off.
I still fear reading aloud. Maybe if I had validation, I could do it like with acting/singing, but without it, fear seizes me and takes me back to the dark places.
I guess it's a one step at a time thing, but it gets better.
Do you have social anxiety? What are you afraid of? How do you overcome fear?