Psychiatry & Psychology--General/i hate people seeing my face

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Question
I have this strange problem where I can't handle anyone looking at my face, not necessarily in general but things like, going to the gym, or having to close my eyes in front of someone. Sex is very awkward for Me, Ive never enjoyed it because I can't stand someone seeing my face. Even something as simple as getting my head massaged after having my hair done. It pretty much sends me into an internal anxiety attack. I just can't handle it anymore. Its making Me go crazy. I just want to be happy and enjoy normal things but I just feel like people are staring at me.

Answer
If you asked everyone in the world, "What one thing do you dislike the most, something that you'd prefer never happens to you again?" just about everybody would come up with something. Those are called sensitivities, and they are just about universal. Yours happens to involve your face, but it's really not all that strange because faces are vulnerable and exposed.

The trick is not so much getting rid of this sensitivity, but just finding a way to handle it. You can try to come up with strategies yourself, such as telling the hairdresser that she can skip the head massage, or suggesting that intimacy be tried in the dark or from behind. In the gym, wearing a headband covering the top of your face, using equipment that faces away from the group, wearing a head towel, or finding a time when the gym is least populated ..., well, I'm sure you get the idea.

And if you think you might benefit from having a mental health professional work with you on finding and trying these strategies, that's exactly what clinical psychologists do, and I'm sure they are available and not very costly.  If you want to try a step further and work on reducing your anxiety level, psychotherapy (a fancy word for just talking) usually helps, and there are medications to reduce anxiety.  Both psychiatrists and psychologists can do the therapy, but the former would be the clinician who's an expert on medications.

I hope those comments help a bit Ally, and I thank you for asking us. Wishing you the best of luck in getting this under control,

Alan

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Alan Auerbach

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Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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