Social Anxiety/Phobia Support – Past and Present

This Personal Experience is so good it appeared in our January 2003 Newsletter, it is from the Anxiety Network International web site:

“In the past, when I was asked to introduce myself in a group setting, I’d freeze up and could barely speak.  Now, I still don’t enjoy introductions, but I can get through it (I use the strategies I’ve learned to free up my racing thoughts.  I focus on an object across the room take some deep breaths and ignore the negative thoughts.

In the past, I was too self-conscious to be able to act silly in front of a group.  Now, I’m still somewhat self-conscious, but I can actually have fun by acting completely silly in front of other people.  I make great animal noises in front of the whole group and I karaoke to the Beatles (my rendition of “Yellow Submarine†has attracted a lot of attention!)

In the past I’d get anxious whenever I heard ANYONE mention the word “speechâ€.  Now, I hardly notice it.  The thought of having to give a speech is not half as scary as it once was.  I know that I’m ready to start nudging myself to give them , first in the group, then at Toastmasters, and eventually at work.

In the past, my negative thoughts would run freely through my mind, controlling my thoughts and actions.  Now, I can usually catch myself when these thoughts occur.  I stop, turn my attention elsewhere and they usually disappear.

In the past, I would obsess all day long about my social anxieties and how they would limit me in my job.  Now, I no longer feel debilitated by my anxiety.  I know that I will keep working up my hierarchy until there is nothing left to work on.

In the past, I hated meeting new people because I dreaded the thought of talking about my job.  Now, I like meeting new people, and am fine talking about my job.  I still don’t enjoy it, but I don’t pay much attention to it either.

In the past, I never thought that this would be possible to do.  Now, I am learning more and more about the power that I have over my thoughts.  Now, I am the one in control.†J.R.

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