Wednesday 13 December 2017

Anxious Oscar, man behind mask?

Who is the real Oscar Pistorius – narcissist or chronic anxiety sufferer, asks psychotherapist Gayle Williamson

Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria
Oscar Pistorius leaves the high court in Pretoria

Gayle Williamson

I have some sympathy with Oscar Pistorius. South Africa isn't an easy place to live – a country of contradictions, it is stunningly beautiful and packed with culture and diversity; but it also has searing poverty and frightening levels of crime.

It's 13 years since I lived there, after emigrating from Scotland as a child with my family; but that sense I developed then, of always looking over my shoulder, always being aware of who was behind me, has stayed with me. Nothing violent ever happened to me in the 20 years I lived there, but there was the ever-present feeling that it easily could because it happened to so many.

Now, as a psychotherapist, I can readily imagine just how many South Africans are potentially suffering from some kind of anxiety disorder as a result of living in a climate of fear and reading or hearing story upon story of horrific crime – that's aside from their own personal life stories, which for many of us are challenging enough.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss