Social anxiety is crippling.

In my case study, Jason’s main issue was social fear coming from fear of abandonment and an insecure attachment to his father. It was his main presenting issue. His narrative shows how utterly disabling it can be, how it encourages avoidance, interferes with normal functioning and interferes with self-care.

“By the time I had reached college, fear had, unknown to me, taken over my life. I did adequately in my Leaving Cert without ever reaching my full potential. The subject I was good at was English, as I had a teacher who took a keen interest in me and really pushed me. I did well in this subject, so it seemed logical to study this further in college. I accepted my place in University College Dublin, with just one other person from school doing the same degree. This was where my problems started. As my brother had gone to college before me, I decided, like him, that it would be a good idea to live with strangers and make new friends. My brother had made a great new group of friends, but unfortunately I only realise now, what was good for my brother might not make me happy. It was, without doubt, the loneliest time of my life. I made one new friend, Darren, out of 200 students following the course. I relied on him heavily and if he wasn’t going to lectures, there was no way I was. I just couldn’t handle the house.
There were three girls and two lads living in the house. They were all nice people and in particular the lads, who had many of the same interests as me. I just couldn’t put myself out there to spend time with them or to socialise with them. I would spend hours locked in my room. I couldn’t even muster the courage to urinate and would often do it in my sink. I was paralysed by the fear of meeting them and I suppose being judged. I never ate or cooked in the house and only very rarely watched television in the sitting room. I would usually only do this when there was nobody around. If I left early in the morning to go to college, I would slip out the door and hope nobody spotted me. I then would often spend hours wandering through the college, putting down time until it was dark and time to go to bed. This could often be as early as 6 o’ clock. I would lock myself in my room and read. Reading would keep my mind from thinking and I grew so dependent on it that I wouldn’t be able sleep without reading. Not even my love of rugby could help me. I was too afraid to try out playing even though I know I was better than some of the players on the team. These were lads with similar interests but I just couldn’t push myself to go to the trials. My only solace was my school friends. I would call down to my school friend, Jimmy, a lot, but as he was studying a different course, he was rarely around. I had friends across city in another college. This was my escape. I would throw some clothes into a bag and head for their place. I could spend days over there, missing huge amounts of college work. I felt comfortable with the lads I knew. We would head out drinking a few nights a week and this was my escape from my college worries. I was getting a bit of a reputation as the guy who loved going out, especially among the older lads from back home. I loved playing up this reputation and when they rang I couldn’t say no. I loved been seen as one of the boys and a ‘right lad,’ but deep down I was really struggling.”

Extract from my recent book – Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
I am the author of six books
When a Child Dies. Footsteps of a Grieving Family
Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying
Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood.
I’ll Meet You at the Roundy O
Priest, Politics and Society in Post Famine Ireland 1850-1891
Prince of Swindlers. John Sadleir MP 1813-1856
I am currently writing a major work on DID (Multiple Personality Disorder)

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