Our expert says:
If one has led a fairly sheltered childhood, one tends to develop in one of two directions. Either one begins to discover that company and socializing can be fun, and makes a late start to become sociable and comfortable with others, or one tends to retreat and become more anxious in company, maybe even amounting to a social anxisety disorder, but the high degree of continuing, background anxiety you describe, sounds like a basic Anxiety Disorder. Fortunately, it responds very well indeed to treatment, ideally with CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) which is effective, efficient and not too olong ) and perhaps some medication to assist it. Do see a good local shrink for assessment and a discussion of treatment options, as you need not remain feeling this uncomfortable for much longer
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