I’m Afraid of People

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I just feel sick around people, when i was a kid i did hang out and all, until one birthday party of my friend, i got invited to it and everyone laughed at me and threw stones at me as i was walking home, that was when i was around 11 years old, since then (im 17 now) i haven’t left my house, of course i go to school, but thats it, sure i hang out with people at school, we make jokes, noone makes fun of anyone, we all get along. But i feel sick the entire time, like a painfull feeling in my stomach, i dont know how to explain the feeling, its like really uncomfortable. I enjoy being alone and talking over skype with my friends, but to go out with someone to talk face to face, id rather not. I dont know why im like this and it makes my mother REALLLLY sad ( kinda the main reason i came here )

A. Your fear of people, feeling sick and having uncomfortable stomach pain might be indicative of social phobia. Social phobia is also known as social anxiety disorder. It’s characterized by feelings of self-consciousness or nervousness in everyday social situations.

You may have developed your social fears after the traumatic incident at a friend’s birthday party.

Though you have social fears, you continue to engage with others. You attend school and have friends with whom you interact with on Skype. That’s encouraging. You are probably less nervous on Skype because of the social distance it affords you. You should continue to spend time with your friends on Skype.

The best way to overcome anxiety is to endure it. Eventually, the unpleasantness will recede. If you were to face your fears, your anxiety will likely dissipate and you will no longer experience unpleasant emotions in social situations.

I would also encourage you to talk about your concerns with your parents. They may be able to help.

Your parents might want to consult your primary care physician. You mentioned having a pain in your stomach and I interpreted that to mean the unpleasantness associated with anxiety, but it’s always prudent to rule out any physical causes.

If this problem continues, then it may be advantageous to seek counseling. You can also read about social phobia or even try self-help techniques to reduce your anxiety in social situations. You might like the book “What You Must Think Of Me: A Firsthand Account of One Teenager’s Experience With Social Anxiety Disorder” by Emily Ford, Michael Liebowitz and Linda Wasmer Adams. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 May 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). I’m Afraid of People. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/05/29/im-afraid-of-people-2/