Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Comments on fear of going to work

Ysbeth Wordsmith made the following comment on my post concerning fear of going to work::

Isn't one of the problems with social phobia a near-total lack of recognition and support from other people? That includes not just bosses but doctors (who should know better, but often don't). So you tell someone, and they mock you and say it's all in your head and you should just stop whining. Then you have to can that doctor and try to find another one who doesn't have his head up his ass. That can take a lot of extra time, money, and energy.
Yes, I agree that social phobia is an illness where understanding and support from other people seems sadly lacking. This also is complicated by the fact that the social phobic in general tends to be secretive about it and tells very few people if anyone. The result is often social isolation and a great feeling of loneliness. This can often turn into depression which then makes the psychological situation of the individual even worse. To that extent I think that the Internet can really help. There are any amount of forums out there where people like us who suffer from phobias can find people who really do understand. Also the fact that this kind of networking has a degree of anonymity helps. By that I mean it is probably easier to write and tell about your phobia than to sit, stare someone in the eye and talk about it. The latter would also increase the fears of rejection or being misunderstood.
The picture of how one shoudl be as an indiviual is often painted by the media and we should not underestimate that influence. Television to a large extent makes big money telling us how we should look, how we should dress, what we should eat, etc. But it also does the same in painting some imaginary picture of how we should behave - energetic, social,  outgoing. Phobics thus tend to suffer from a very weak self-esteem since many feel they do not live up to be what they should be. It does take some doing to rise above these fake clichees which we are fed, especially when we feel extremely vulnerable.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Fear of flying - a phobia or just plain common sense.

Perhaps I may seem to be playing the devil's advocate but I want ot try and determine in my own mind if there is a thin line between phobias and just a plain and rational fear of something. I wish to take the common example of fear of flying or fear of driving. Firstly, statistics would show that both activities can be dangerous. Planes do fall from the sky and cars do crash with horrific consequences. Logically I can be afraid of using such means of transport. Even within my life-time flying has become an everyday event for many people. Growing up as a boy in Ireland I imagined it as a once in a lifetime experience. Habit, social conditioning have taught us to treat flying as the most natural hting in the world - perhaps it isn't?
Let me take another example to show you what I mean. If I was afraid to go outside because I had a fear that an aircraft - like the actual one in the picture - woudl fall from the skies and kill me. I think we could all accept that this is a fairly irrational fear as the number of people actually struck by an aircraft crashing is very, very small and the chances of it happening are very, very small. There I would agree that this could be described as a phobia as it lacks rationality. Flying, on the other hand, seems to me a rational fear - should we call it a phobia?

Monday, 14 September 2009

Social phobia and fear of going to work

I just read a question of phobias which was sent to yahoo answers a couple of days ago by someone who is unemployed and has been placed to work in a charity shop. She explains how a few days ago she was so nervous about telling her superior she would be a little late in coming to work that she took the flight choice from the "fight or flight options" and did not call. Of course this did not solve the situation. She also has a terrible phobia of using the telephone which makes matters even worse.
From what I gather the person is also suffering from depression which is quite a natural result of the phobias. She was begging from someone to tell her what to do as she also did not attend an appointment with the employment services on the same day.
This is quite a normal situation for the phobic - who had not sought medical assistance and by the way only one in four do seek some sort of assistance with their phobias. I have the deepest sympathy with this person who feels trapped in the situation she finds herself but this is so typical of the social phobia situation in general. My advice, as always. Stop making a secret of the phobic condition and seek medical aid  i.e. go and see your doctor and just tell the plain truth - it is as simple as that. I know this will fill you with fears of feeling stupid or abnormal or whatever and you will fear what the doctors thinks of you. While this is the typical feeling, it is wrong and you will be very pleasantly surprised by how your doctor reacts and even better, he can help you with some light medical which will make a great difference to how you feel.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Social phobia - it is not as simple as that.

While many believe that the actual symtpoms of social phobia are fairly generic and can be basically seen as a fear of people and a fear of inter-action with people resulting in avoidance tactics, we sometimes forget that such symptoms can take on forms that are difficult to explain. Let me give you one example of a married couple, both successful in their careers - she in spite of suffering from social phobia. One of her greatest fears is not acting correctly around her husband's superiors and she is so afraid of this that she simply avoids such situations.
Since she has not confided in her husband that she suffers from her condition, rather than admit it she just pretends when their is any sort of social meeting with his superiors that she forgot and has arranged something else important work related for herself. Of course this may be acceptable once or even twice but when it starts to re-occur the husband becomes upset.
He sees his as wife as irresponsible or uninterested in his career as she simply avoids any social contact but does nto realise that the underlying reason is a phobia. I give this example as what we would not always consider to be a symptom of a social phobia can be easily misinterpreted.