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:
â€œIn the past, when I was asked to introduce myself in a group setting, Iâ€™d freeze up and could barely speak. Now, I still donâ€™t enjoy introductions, but I can get through it (I use the strategies Iâ€™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, Iâ€™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 â€œYellow Submarineâ€ has attracted a lot of attention!)
In the past Iâ€™d get anxious whenever I heard ANYONE mention the word â€œspeechâ€. 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 Iâ€™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 donâ€™t enjoy it, but I donâ€™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.â€ J.R.