I dread social situations, more precisely official situations: presentations, calling on the phone on official matters, handling things at a counter or office somewhere. When I realise I have to do something like that, my heart rate jumps a lot of notches and my face feels like it’s turning red. I have to think how I’m going to start and rehearse a few times.

Still, the situations don’t cause me to blunder; I don’t stutter, get mixed up with my words, or mumble unintelligently. In fact, I’m very normal and seem at ease. Why, then, can’t I remember it when the pre-socialising symptoms start disturbing my calm and collectedness; I won’t make (too bad) a fool out of myself however much I fear it.

I just made a call to customer service to change my parents’ magazine subscription to a discount. I tried to think of a way to state my business, thought I’d figured out a good way to start but still managed to say something quite ungrammatical (it is very easy in Finnish with the 15+ noun cases we have). Nevertheless, I was understood. Don’t get me wrong, I was flushing and well on my way to arrhythmia. But I sailed through it.

Very frustrating.