Red Face : How I Learnt to Live With Social Anxiety - Russell Norris

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As an adolescent, Russell's face and neck would turn crimson at the slightest thing. In his twenties he began suffering from an extreme form of blushing (idiopathic craniofacial erythema). It sent out all the wrong signals -- to friends, family and to the opposite sex. And it triggered something worse: Social Anxiety Disorder.

Up to one in 10 people develop this irrational fear of other human beings. From university to the workplace, Russell desperately tried to hide his secret from everyone. In an attempt to be 'normal, ' he grabbed every remedy going, from drugs to herbs to bottles of absinthe.

Through trial and error, he discovered a way to overcome social anxiety and live a fulfilling and rich life.

By turns wry and shocking, dark and optimistic, Redface is the eye-opening true story of how one man found his own way forward in a world built for others. It will fascinate readers who are socially anxious, their friends and family, and anyone who wants to know what it's like to travel to the edge of human experience and back. Read this memoir and discover how to conquer your social anxiety and learn how to be yourself.

Extract

Chapter 1: Closed Door

I'm hovering just in front of a closed door. It's in the office building where I work. I can see through the window of the door into the room beyond it. I'm listening carefully for approaching voices. As soon as another person comes into view, I'll have to make a snap decision: commit and go through that door or abort and quickly walk away from it, surreptitiously double back at some point, then try to hold my nerve for a second attempt. I've been doing this in secret for my entire career and if I could calculate exactly how much time I've lost in this state of limbo, all the seconds, minutes and hours spent holding back in hallways or pacing back and forth just behind closed doors, it might add up to a lifetime. And a waste of one.

Because there's nothing out of the ordinary on the other side of those doors.... meeting rooms, breakout spaces, team and coffee points, just spaces designed to help people work together. But people is the key word. On the other side of every door there will be people. People I know. People who know me. People I'm about to meet. People who've yet to meet me. And once I'm on the other side there's no turning back.

...

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is formally classed as a mental disorder, which affects millions of people worldwide - and up to 10% of the UK population. It can manifest itself in many ways. Symptoms often surface as secondary phobias, ranging from a fear of eating or writing in front of others to a fear of being watched in a public bathroom. For me, social anxiety plays out on my skin... Its symptom is called Idiopathic Craniofacial Erythema, which means uncontrollable and unprovoked facial blushing. They are the evil twins who constantly embarrass me.

If you have social anxiety, this book is for you.

If you've never heard of social anxiety, this book is for you.

I've been quietly avoiding people all my life, hesitating behind a door. But I'm pushing that door wide open now. And I'm coming through it.

To talk to you.

Order now to continue reading
Industry Reviews
'Deeply moving and informative - I raced through it. Norris's portrayal of the cyclical struggle of social anxiety disorder is stunning. This book is the perfect response to anyone who's ever said 'Don't we all get anxious about socialising?''

- Lily Bailey, author of Because We Are Bad
'Deeply immersive and raw in its emotional intensity. Norris' Redface invites us into his private world of avoidance, compensation, and adaptation only to captivate us with his struggle with Social Anxiety Disorder... empowering and cathartic for everyone who has experienced SAD.'

- Dr Tracy Cooper, International Consultant on High Sensitivity
'An honest, brave and much needed account of what it feels like to live with severe social anxiety. Having a male writer dealing so openly with topics like social anxiety, shyness, introversion and sensitivity is sadly all too rare and makes this book all the more of a triumph.'

- Tom Falkenstein, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist & author of The Highly Sensitive Man
'Having struggled with social anxiety, and blushing in particular, I found Redface to be extremely comforting. SAD can be incredibly isolating. However, Russell's words gave me insight, as well as hope, at a time when I really needed it.

'Blushing is an issue that affects so many people, and yet is rarely talked about. For Russell to write so openly and frankly about his own experiences is bold and courageous. I've absolutely no doubt that Redface has, and will continue to, help many, many people around the world whose lives are blighted by social anxiety disorder.

'I would urge anyone who suffers with chronic blushing to read Redface. It is the most relatable book on SAD, and mental health in general, that I have ever had the privilege of reading.'

- Jonny Benjamin, a mental health campaigner in the UK

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