Hello there, I've just joined up and wanted to introduce myself.I posted this on another thread but there don't seem to be replies to posts there, so apologies for double-posting! I'll try to keep it brief. I'm 56 and my anxiety seems to be getting worse with age.
I was an extremely shy but quite contented child. My family background was very unstable. My parents were very loving, good people, but my mother had bipolar disorder and my father (I think) had borderline personality disorder. My home life became dangerous around the time I went to university. I escaped from my shyness and anxiety into alcohol, academic studies, fantasy and sex. After university I realised that I could 'put on' another personality, be the life and soul and make people laugh. I now find I can't take that mask off and be my quiet, reflective self. If I do try, people tend to laugh at what I say anyway and then I withdraw (sulk). I take any sort of criticism or perceived lack of respect too seriously and I know I upset people with my moodiness. I think I've learned to see everyone else as having some kind of power or authority over me. I don't think this is classic SAD but I am anxious and unhappy in social situations. Sometimes I worry that I'm just wallowing, haven't got enough to do (found it impossible to hold down regular work) and am just spoilt and neurotic! Dr Richards's book and this forum are a godsend for me. If you've read this far, thank you for your patience!