Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I'm not good around people, even people that I know pretty well and would consider my friends. I am agoraphobic and deal on a daily basis with a spectrum of social anxiety issues. What comes naturally to many, is a constant struggle for me. One day I can go through a personal interaction and appear like I am doing fine. The very next day it can cause me to break out in a rash. What seems strange to some folks is that part of what I do for a living requires that I give public presentations at various conferences around the world on a regular basis. I've given talks in front of gathered crowds of many hundreds of folks and was perfectly comfortable. However, I can grow faint trying to make small talk with a co-worker around the coffee station.

Some think that this issue is no big deal. All I need to do is get more practice. Fake it until I learn a bit, and then it'll all be smooth sailing. I can assure you that my anxiety is not for lack of trying. There is something in my programming, how my brain is wired, that runs deep. It is more than questions like where I should put my hands, or where I should set my eyes, or how I should maintain my posture. The feelings of anxiety are not trifling or fleeting. The pain across my chest, the intense headaches, and the screams within my soul can be torturous. Sometimes I can be holding my own pretty well when something tips within me and I know that I have to get away immediately. I know that I have caused people pain with my actions and others to think that I am a real jerk with how I can treat them in some situations. The truth is, even though all of the issues are brought on by the presence of others, my actions and response have nothing to do with these people. I fall into survival mode and it's all about me.