Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SAD - social anxiety disorder

It seems all my life I have battled with a behavior which has come to be known as social anxiety disorder (SAD). It's never been very intense but has nevertheless frequently guided my actions or in-actions when dealing with other people. Throughout my daily life and work, I find that I will do everything I can on my own before reaching out to other people for assistance - especially those that don't know me very well. Calling someone on the phone is something I prefer to avoid. Although cordial, I subconsciously wish for the conversation to end. Sending e-mail is much, much easier and I have no problem with that type of communication - most of the time. When people reach out to me, I'm fine. But I hesitate when it is my job to reach out to someone else. Needless to say, this has held me back in my career. A manager or teacher I am not.

One recent episode involved car-pooling with the husband of my wife's aunt (which we socialize with several times a year). I came up with the idea to share a ride out to a nearby town for a photography class - something we're both interested in. My wife arranged the communication and I was to pick him up on my way. For reasons I don't understand, I had convinced myself that I did not need to stop at his house, but that he would provide his own transportation. I had to apologize to everyone involved for that mess up.

I have always hoped that this type of behavior would eventually stop and my human interactions would be less avoidable. Most of the time I'm OK but occasionally I slip back into that insecurity. The battle, apparently, is not over yet.