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I think with our increasing sedentary culture confined by the virtual vortex of the world wide web, mobile technology (iPods, cell phones, blackberrys), television, and video games we have inadvertently clouded our psyches with self-centeredness and collusion in social situations. Isn't it amazing that a majority of communication with other people is not in person? Teenagers are in front of a screen about as long as their parents are at work (40 hours per week). Before toddlers reach kindergarten they have already put well over 500 hours of tv under their belts. And when we do go out on those seldom occasions, due to these personalized items which control our very existance manipulating our thoughts, we assume that the world revolves around us. You are bombarded with ads online, on television, on billboards, that make you think that you are the most important person here. This is why more and more people, when finding themselves in situations are becoming more and more concerned with what people think about them. They think they are being judged by all eyes when in public, because they assume they are the centerpiece of the region. This has caused the epidemic of Social Anxiety Disorder (S.A.D.) to snowball into developed cultures. The question is how do we distinguish the people who suffer from this condition (including myself, as well as a majority of the people in this forum) from legitimate anxiety or unmerited anxiety.

It has always been difficult (to say the least) for me to walk from place to place. When I walk on campus I find myself hyperventilating before I can make it to my next class. I get sensitive when I pass by someone and they always do one of four things (pretend to look at their phone, fix their hair, walk in a direction slightly skewed to avoid crossing paths with me or simply be so taken aback that they sort of jerk their heads to look somewhere else). And it bothers me because I feel the person walking behind them is watching all of this and I have to pretend like I didn't notice the person's reaction. But when I reflect on it, I think to myself well what would I want them to do? Stare me straight in the eyes? hell no, that would probably make me feel worse. And then I look at people crossing each other's paths from afar, and they react the same way with each other too. So it makes me wonder if I'm just being paranoid. The enigma has given me many sleepless nights. But I never thought I had SAD until recently.

I was recently looking at pictures of this festival in the street a few days ago and a huge crowd was standing around during the day. The first thing that came to mind was "you people don't know how lucky you are to be able to peacefully stand nearly shoulder to shoulder and face to face on an overcast day so peacefully). I know that if I were standing there, my heart would beat fastly, I would hyperventilate, stutter and quiver. And I read up on how these are all symptoms of a panic attack. The thing is, though this is definitely an anxiety of social situations, I feel anyone else in my shoes wouldnt even leave the house. I feel I have as much confidence as a person in my situation can have. I over analyze situations but I know that people have a hard time looking at me (trust me), and that does bother me. But should I just accept this fact? I mean what else could I do? But I hate it when this elephant in the room has never been brought up amongst most of my friends (some are more blunt and told me I was ugly).

I suppose my question is, do we acne sufferers have a good reason to feel this way in social situations (some more then others), or are outside observers correct when they tell us we need to just calm down? Is S.A.D. a condition that though perhaps stems from bad skin also transcends it? Should my pursuit be improving my acne (and financially setting myself back) or improving my psyche? And don't advice me to go out more, because I go out all the time in spite of this, but every time I go out I run into these problems, and I can't live with this emotional stress anymore. I want to either fix the problem or forever distance myself from social interaction (a peaceful yet meaningless existence)

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"I want to either fix the problem or forever distance myself from social interaction (a peaceful yet meaningless existence)"

if you find a way to fix the problem you've far surpassed me. distancing yourself from all social interaction however.. would be exactly what ive done with my life for the past 7-8 years. it might be peaceful at first but you'll find it becomes unremittingly lonely..

a life where everyday, is just another day, and nothing truly matters..

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To answer the question "should I pursue trying to fix my acne or fix my psyche" I would answer psyche. I've actually been diagnosed with SAD. Surprisingly it was before acne played such a huge factor in my life (though acne has made it a million times worse). I remember I had just moved away from all my friends and it was the first day of 8th grade, I didn't know anyone. I was so nervous that I skipped the first day. Ever since then I haven't been the same...I just get so nervous and paranoid when I'm around people, like you. I think you may find that if you fix your acne that your anxiety issues may still be present.

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Should my pursuit be improving my acne (and financially setting myself back) or improving my psyche?

wouldnt this be one in the same? There is nothing wrong with trying to heal your psyche while also looking into improving your acne. Infact I think they tie into one another majorly.

My situation is sort of similar in that I had terrible anxiety from scars/bumps on my nose. I thought I couldnt do anything until the bumps were improved (ie go out, goto school, improve my depression).

It wasn't till a year ago that I realized that I could get help for the anxiety whilst looking into surgeons for my nose. Its not one or the other but both at the same time. So if I dont get help with the bumps then atleast I could get help with the stress and anxiety they are causing me. And if they do get better than I can be pretty sure that the anxiety/stress would figure itself out.

hope this helps.

good luck.

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