I arrived relaxed to the meeting resolute to give my “presentation” via pictures/drawings as quickly as possible. This would afford me the opportunity to decide my own faith – control of my own “destiny” – in relation to the schedule of the role-plays but also, I think, that I would avoid the anguish of having to wait for it to me my turn. In some cases my motto is: “Just do it and do not think”. However, I must stress that I normally only apply this dictum for situations where I feel I have a high degree of control.

The illustrations were to convey how it felt to be in a socially anxious encounters. I tried to convey how I felt during the event. The feeling of being scrutinized, laughed at, ridiculed and so forth. All the illustrations were very good and they essentially conveyed similar points: the before, the during and the after, anxiety behaviours that were referred to in my earlier blogs. I will not discuss them any further than this, as many were quite personal. But I would like to add they were all very good!!!

After the schedule for the role plays was decided, the group took time to delve into the reasons for the manifestation of our anxieties. I will not discuss these in any detail other than to say they all at some level were associated with social rejection/humiliation leading to a degree of isolation and the need to develop ways of being accepted. In general this resulted in behaviours that craved some sort of attention by controlling situations and trying to please others by not making mistakes and avoiding situations where we did not have a large degree of control: namely socially awkward events such as parties, chit-chat. Some were able to pin point specific situations while others believed their struggles were the results of a range of situations.

This meeting was without doubt, the most intense and revealing thus far. It has probably prepared us to some extent for the upcoming film festival (where each of us will be central characters) as I know that I will have much in common with my empathetic audience.

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