One ongoing (or off-and-ongoing) is my fear of group activities. I am fine one-on-one with practically anyone. But more than one and I feel like I morph into someone who is stupid, introverted, shy, uncomfortable, etc., and the familiar feelings of worthlessness and dividedness(is that a word?) and even despair wash over me. Like a kind of depression that only eases as my distance from people increases. Maybe a mix of anxiety and depression. This is one of my most vexing problems. I finally make a friend or two, and soon they ask me to go on a church trip to some local gardens. Or they ask me to come to tea with them and their mother and some elderly relatives at someone's home. At first, I usually pause and then say, "Let me look at my calendar and I'll get back with you. But yes, it sounds nice." And I almost always end up telling them no, that I just can't go. If they ask why, I make up something. A few times of doing this, and they get the picture that I am not interested in going anywhere with them. And it definitely isn't that. I WANT to go, I just can't make myself. I know aversion therapy is supposed to work but I can't face it. Does anyone have a clue as to how I can overcome this?
Actually, I am much better than I used to be -- I taught little kids for 2 hrs a day the last 4 months, because little kids don't make me afraid. But their mothers do. So when the mothers came after the kids, I would hide in a back room with my hands over my ears so I couldn't even hear their voices. I do go to Sunday School and church, but most of it is listening, not engaging in talking or activities that require much face-to-face interaction. And sometimes I do volunteer work with a group of 3-5 other women in a very small room...and although it is rewarding to "do for others" it does do something terrible to me. High social anxiety. I don't want to depend on meds to get me through this.