I'm 26, I should be out having fun, drinking and such, that's what people my age do right?  But I'm not, for you see,  I suffer from social anxiety.


It's a problem I have lived with since around the age of 15.  If you're unsure exactly what social anxiety entails, let me explain.  Basically, I'm terrified of people.  I can't stand to be in a group and if I am, I will panic.  I'm afraid to meet new people.  I'm afraid to go places where there might be alot of people...you get the idea.


I have been wondering lately how much of an influence my beliefs (or lack of them) have on my situation.  (There are other reasons too, prominent ones, but I shan't bore you with them here).  I've always felt lost.  Not in the sense that I'm the odd one out in a world of normal individuals.  It's not an inferiority complex.  Rather, the odd one out in a world full of the mentally unstable.  It scares me.  Horrifies me.  And the scariest thing about it is, nothing anyone says or does will change it.


How can I live in a world like this?  Where over 90% of the population would be surrounded by padded walls in a world of reason.  So I wonder, could this be a contributing factor to my issues.  Could it be that I'm simply afraid of what these people might do.  If they can believe such irrational nonsense, ignoring all common sense and reason, what else might they be capable of?  We already know the lengths to which the most extreme believers will go to, but what about so called "moderates?"  Do I have any reason to fear them?  Maybe not, but unfortunately, as rational as I might claim to be on matters of faith and the workings of the universe, I still fall for the irrational fear that has haunted me for 11 years.  If indeed it is irrational...

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I sometimes think my family and I are the lone Atheist of North Ga. I live in a small town surrounded by churches. 4 in a 2 block area. I am a bit of an anti-social to begin with so there is not much interaction with the religious crowd. I can't say I have the same problem as you but I can understand. I am much more out spoken now but I use to hate to be approached by the people who had to preach the word to everyone they met. Still don't like it but I have found out they are very easily shut up. They just don't do well when you start laughing at them. My one good friend is a believer but we get alone just fine. We don't discuss religion at all. I am very wary of religious people that tell you how much they love god in the first few minutes of meeting them. I only have my experiences to draw from but these are normally really bad people. Its like they use religion as a shield to cover up the bad things they do. So yeah, I suppose I see how Atheist views could make you more alert and make you want to avoid people. I just hope someday you can lighten up and take these people with a grain of salt. Its a strange world but its all we got.

Tommy said: They just don't do well when you start laughing at them.


Well, there's something I have never tried---and I won't except just perhaps with the next dedicated door knockers who come along, as one-off experiment. 

The JHs at the door are absolute pests and most will never change whatever truths are thrown at them. So maybe, I could start "Are you serious? . . . " and laugh, and be serious again. 



They used to come to my door regularly too. Last time, they asked what I thought about the passage they were about to read and I simple said "I don't. I'm an atheist". They were actually quite polite, although looked a tad stunned, and asked if I wanted a pamphlet. I said no and haven't heard from them since. Straight forward and blunt seemed to work too.
Hmm, at least you're in a majorly liberal part of the country.  I always find it funny that DC goes something like 90% Democrat, every election.
Well, they're politicians.  You go for the one you think is going to screw us the least ... or at least use lube.

I feel pretty much the same way, and it manifested itself around 15 as well, i am 27 now. Nothing I can do ever fixes it, and if i attempt to medicate it (alcohol, xanax) i go so far off the deep end that i can scarcely believe the stuff I do/say. Ive tried forcing myself to suck it up, such as taking a leadership position in a group or giving a speech in front of 100 people, which does work but only for a little bit, then i'm back cowering behind a potted plant drinking steel reserve and generally feeling like shit. lol good times.


You are a thoughtful person and truely a rational thinker. You may go for psychitric treatment as others are advising, but a little personal touch would also be useful. You may have one or two personal friends or relatives who are very sympathatic to you and may be close to you.You may stat discussions with them  on some serious subjects of your interest, such as for example, religion and atheism. Yoy may also do a lot of reading to dominate such discusions. My thinking is that you may get confidence through these discussions. Your problem may go away if you see that you are getting good social acceptance and respect. You need to create a pride in yourself. You may then enlarge your group slowly. R T, you will benifit most by self help. This sounds very simplistic, but it may work.

I have no intention of being preachy. On the other hand I see a potentially strong thinker in you. If I were near you , I would myself be your discussion partner.

Madhukar Kulkarni.



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