My erytrophobia developed in the almost classic way: as a teen, uncomfortable being the center of attention, afraid to be put on the spot, afraid of embarrassing myself.
I’d blush talking to strangers. Adults. Guys.
I’d blush just thinking about talking to someone, anyone.
I stopped asking questions because I didn’t want anybody to realize I didn’t know the answer.
I froze like a fish when I had to give presentations in school.
I blushed when somebody complimented or praised me.
I avoided situations that might make me blush.
That being said, I was never completely lost. I had family and friends (not that I ever let any of them in on my ’embarrassing’ little secret), hobbies, a stoic sense of pragmatism. But this fear of blushing was always present, always a threat, always a consideration in decisions I made.
It took me a long time to realize – and more time to admit to myself – that I was basing my life choices and decisions on this phobia. That I always took the easy way out, even if it wasn’t what I really wanted.
I realized that this is how dreams are put on hold indefinitely. And I made a decision to never again make choices that were based on fear.
It was the first tiny impulse in the right direction for me. What followed was a looooong journey of readjusting my thoughts and perception of myself. I acknowledged and followed my dreams and passions. I strengthened my self-esteem and built my self-confidence. I turned what was once at the forefront of my mind into a mere sidenote in my life.
I may be an ery. But I’m also a writer. A reader, rock climber and skier. A horsewoman and dog-person. A project assistant at one of the coolest companies in the world. And I’m building a freelance copywriting business.
Being an ery is a part of me, but it no longer defines me.
And I finally feel ready to talk about it. Which is the mission of this blog. To show and exchange experiences. Discuss therapies. Raise awareness. Try to help you or someone you love overcome this often unknown or dismissed social phobia. If this blog manages to give you even the tiniest impulse in the direction of healing, it will have fulfilled its purpose.