Hi all. Im very new to this so here is my background -
Im a 34 year old male, and for about the past five years I feet that I may have social anxiety. Any social event where there will be some people I don't know going, I stress about it for weeks beforehand. I constantly check the invite list to see who I do know and who I don't, planning who I might be able to talk to and who of my friends is going so that I can go with so I don't arrive alone. If the number of people I don't know outweigh the amount of people I do know, I will just make an excuse and not go.
I usually brush these feelings off as just being shy. However, about twice a year my extended family (aunties, uncles cousins etc.) meet up for a Christmas-eve lunch or other special occasions, which for the past five years I have stopped going to out of fear of .... I have no idea what. As our family don't see each other that much I only really know them on a surface level, and don't feel too comfortable around them.
This weekend my dad has a retirement party with the whole family, which I have told everyone I can't go as im sick (obviously im fine). After me missing the last family event (my aunties wedding) my mum has pretty much indirectly told me that if I miss one more event that im pretty much no longer welcome to those events anymore. To me, thats all I want as I no longer have to feel worried about it weeks before hand. However, I can tell it has upset my mum as all she wants is the whole family to be together.
I have never told anyone how I feel, or even admitted to myself that I may have a problem, but after this weekend and seeing how upset I made my mum, I decided to take the first step. I considered phoning a doctor yesterday but the thought of picking up a phone and calling someone scares the hell out of me.
Has anyone else had similar situations like this? And what were your first steps towards healing.
Sorry in advance if this was long-winded