An occupational therapist colleague of mine, Victoria Prooday, recently posted an image on her professional Facebook page. The cartoon picture showed two people sitting at the opposite sides of a bus. One side of the road faced a sunny landscape and the person sitting on that side of the bus was smiling happily and taking pictures with her phone. The other side of the road faced a gloomy mountain and the person sitting there, observing the uninspiring view, looked sad and miserable. The caption under the picture read: “So much of our happiness depends on how we choose to look at the world.”
Social anxiety (also known as Social Phobia) is a misunderstood condition. People often confuse it with being introverted or shy. But introverts are not by definition socially anxious. A person can be perfectly comfortable around people but may not enjoy loud gatherings. While extroverts feel energized after crowded get-togethers, introverts feel depleted and need to recuperate. Introverts, therefore, prefer solitary activities, but do not suffer from social anxiety. They may stay home on a Friday night feeling perfectly content.
If you are a parent of a child who has OCD, you know only too well how easy it is to get entangled in an endless argument where you try to use logic to no avail. You tell your child how unlikely it is that something bad will happen, you teach her to think positively, you reassure her, and you try to help her out.
Do you wonder whether you may suffer from undiagnosed OCD?
You may have intrusive thoughts and maybe even some rituals, but your room is unbelievably messy, and you don’t feel you have to wash your hands all the time. And even though your thoughts are driving you nuts, they are actually about realistically dangerous things, things that most people would be scared of happening. And nobody even notices your rituals.
As I’m stepping out of my office into the reception area to get my next patient, Michael, I can see that he is distressed.
“What’s going on?” I ask as we take our seats.