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How one victim of social phobia broke out of his comfort zone

07/16/2009 10:53 PM | By Biju Mathew, Web Coordinator

Dubai: Life often stood still for J*. Shame and fear drove him into his shell. In a familiar world he hid. Out of the comfort zone life became a harrowing experience.

J. was shy and always bothered about what others might think about him. He grew up "lost to the world". Though he was good at studies and managed good grades, he failed miserably in social activities.

J. never wanted to attend any social events. If forced to attend, he would find a quiet corner.

If someone unfamiliar tried to strike up a conversation, he would feel very uncomfortable. In the south Indian state where J. grew up, those behavioural traits of his went unnoticed.

As time went on, parents and society labelled J. a "poor communicator".

J., however, was good at studies and managed to get a job in the UAE. In the unfamiliar work environment, the ugly nature of his phobia started to emerge with a vengeance.

As a financial expert, he met and dealt with many people. Communication and assertiveness were at its lowest ebb for him and at the age of 30 he decided to seek professional help.

He has since been to psychiatrists and psychologists. Medication and behavioural therapy have helped him slowly to overcome social phobia and become a normal person.

"I used to take revenge against my colleagues who bullied me after three or four days. And it seemed funny, because being assertive and giving a proper reply on the spot are different to thinking about it and reacting after some days," said J., looking back.

J. firmly believed in overcoming any situation and that belief came to his rescue at all times. He has been on medication for a while and has quite successfully tackled the problem.

He has changed jobs since then and now lives happily with his wife and children.

* Name changed on request.

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