Is it normal to never got over your quiet phase

I am angry I am still in my quiet phase in my late 20s. I am always quiet and nervous. Ive come across so many people whos been like "I used to be sooo quiet and now all I do is talk, I guess it's me making up for the quiet years!" but i'm still quiet. I am angry that I can never stop being this way. I used to enjoy being alone and these days I feel so lonely it weighs on me. I am miserable and sad. Ive had exposure therapy and ive pushed through embarrassing and, for me, difficult situations which were just normal social situations really, and yet I never get immune to them. It is like my brain resets itself every night so that any and all progress I made disappears. Today for example when I said goodbye to my coworkers I cringed so hard afterwards I damn near started spasming because the feeling was so hard to contain, my brain simply interprets tiny social interactions like that as something extremely horrible, scary and cringy. Many days I simply skip saying goodbye and just hurry on home and there is no reason for my brain to have such fear about it because my coworkers are very nice and cool people, I am lucky. I feel like I will never have a voice and it is depressing me. If only I knew what the culprit is, what the exact thing is that triggers my mind into shutting down around other people and into making me feel that my voice is so worthless that I ought to be deeply ashamed if I open it even for just one second to say "hello" or "goodbye"...

My mere existance feels like a burden on other people, and I should feel guilty for it. Even when I have dated someone I have felt unworthy of showing my emotions for that person, because I have felt sorry for them for loving me and assumed they did to so I didnt want to embarrass them by talking about future plans for us or telling them how I felt.

I dont feel like myself. I am a bold person with a lot to say. I am funny and I have good ideas, sometimes. Yet I only ever speak to myself, inside my own head, and judge myself for how dumb I am. Ever since I was a child I have stood before a mirror asking myself why I exist.

Is It Normal?
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  • Because what you need isn't just exposure therapy, it's psychotherapy. I am in the exact same position. I feel like I can do anything after a positive social interaction, but these are so far and in between that it doesn't last before my brain goes back to default anxiety. I hope it isn't set in. As you say, I feel my true personality is very different from the disorder. But a counsellor once told me that not everybody has to do sales, and seemed to think I was deluding myself to have ambitions.

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  • You're not alone. I've struggled with this most of my life as well and I think what you're experiencing has something to do with anxiety. I especially identify with cringing after having interacted with people in what would appear to be "normal" circumstances. I bet you're physically insecure, no matter how beautiful/handsome/attractive anyone has referred to you as being.

    Assuming that yours isn't the result of an illness, practice with this will eventually ease the symptoms but I don't know that you ever really rid yourself completely of them. You learn to better manage them so that you're not constantly punishing yourself for living while insecure. Msg me if you'd like, I can tell you some of what i've done.

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