Hi Hazelnut. Oh you remind me so much of myself, and I really feel for you, but you are not alone, I'm sure there is a lot of people just like you.
YOU CAN BEAT THIS. and cognitive behavior therapy is the way to go.
I'm a lot older and I hope wiser now.
I suffered so much when I was younger, there was no name for it, I though I was the only one in the world feeling this way,
They only put a name on this in the 80s, it was called social phobia and then they changed the name to social anxiety,
I came across Dr Richards therapy on line, and when he described how he suffered, he might of been describing me, ( you should read his story )
I got so excited about the therapy, I thought finally you can get over this,
I just wish it had of been around when I was young like you,
I suffered terrible with eye contact, I would hide behind my hair, my hands, and when you try and use these safety behaviour it makes it worse,
I don't have a problem with eye contact now,
I think we suffer with this because we have a greater sense of awareness, we second guess what people are thinking, we think people are judging us, and this is the anxiety inside us that make us feel this,
You need to tease it out, ( like I was so self conscious in public places, supermarkets, and if you look around you find nobody is pay attention you, again it's the anxiety inside you that makes you feel this,
It's about changing the neural pathways in your brain, changing your whole way of thinking.
It's about learning the statements, strategies, in the therapy and getting them deep down into your brain, re enforcement, reprogramming and repetition, REPETITION can't sat it enough, and don't give up.
I know I couldn't have talked to my family about it, it just you need the support,
I have a son that was suffering with it, and I suppose we can hide it very well, but I asked him, and now I can help him.
Say things like ( why should I worry about what people think of me, people are not worried about what I think of them, so there fore it's an IRATIONAL THOUGHT.
It all about not putting pressure on yourself, there no perfect way you have to look, or there no perfect conversation, we all make mistakes, and so what it's no big deal, hope this helps, try and talk to your Dad, cause I felt terrible that my son felt he couldn't come and talk to me, take care, you will beat this