Thank you for being so articulate about this situation. I think your capacity or self-reflection is important and spot-on. I think you are right in noting your social anxiety may be at the core of this. This blog by Johnna Medina, Ph.D. explains the conditions surrounding these reactions and offers suggestions for improvement. Most people who have social anxiety recognize that their anxiety is out of proportion to the situation and is unreasonable. Although more women struggle with social anxiety than men, men more often seek treatment.
Here are just a few of the conditions that go along with this condition that are elaborated on in the article by Dr. Medina:
- Exposure to the feared social situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may take the form of a situationally-bound or situationally-predisposed panic attack.
- The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable.
- The feared social or performance situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anxiety or distress.
- The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared social or performance situation(s) interferes significantly with the person’s normal routine, occupational (academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.
I would highly recommend a cognitive behavioral therapist (CBT) to help get these symptoms under control. This should give you enough confidence to join a group psychotherapy series. The cure for what you are talking about psychologically has to do with developing tools for dealing with the thoughts you are having and then testing it out in the safe environment of group psychotherapy. In that format, you will learn how to implement this new skills in real-time with real people.
Wishing you patience and peace,
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral