Memoirist Helen Rivas-Rose’s award-winning publication of Brave: A Painfully Shy Life is the powerful and illuminating account of her own severe shyness and path she took to overcome it. This is a must read, not just for the severely shy, but also for counselors, parents, and educators who are seeking to understand this “invisible” problem that afflicts about one out of every twenty people.
Helen Rivas-Rose lived with severe shyness for 50 years. It truncated her education, denied her a career, oriented her two marriages, and affected her parenting. In midlife, she decided to do what was necessary to overcome it, taking self-directed steps that included: singing solo in public, delivering her own talks at Unitarian-Universalist churches, joining drama workshops to expose her childhood pain, and joining a typical socially oriented garden club. Now, her goals are to give encouragement and specific advice to the severely shy, to bring awareness of the condition to the community at large and especially, to have it included in the DSM list of conditions that doctors will treat.
Long enough have you timidly waded, holding a plank by the shore, Now I will you to be a bold swimmer…
— Walt Whitman, Song of Myself