Social Anxiety/Phobia Support – Taking The Challenge

I’d like to share with you an event that was another step up the stairs of recovery from my Social Phobia. In early March I was rung by a friend. He asked if I would like a day’s work with his cousin, a casting agent. She needed some extra help at a casting call for the movie “10000 BC.”

My job description was to organize people to go into the casting room. This involved interacting with the public to hand out application forms and explain what was needed on the forms. Also, to direct the direction of cueing people so they would not disrupt the other users of the community centre. And in between times, help take people’s body measurements.

Of course, I freaked out!. I thought “No way am I doing that!” and came up with some lame excuse about being busy. But something made me ask my friend for the phone number of his casting agent cousin “just in case my plans change”,  I told him.  

After thinking about it, I rang and offered to do the job. I knew it would be good exposure. I was anxious about the threat of disapproval but knew I was creating that threat in my imagination.  Imagining the things I might do that would attract what I perceived to be other people’s negative evaluation of me was not helpful. So I worked very hard at not worrying about negative evaluation!!  At the start of the day the thought of measuring people was causing the most anxiety. Even though someone had given me a demonstration of how they wanted people measured, I was thinking “What if the measurements I take are incorrect and I cause more work for someone else later because the people need to be re-measured: people will think I’m incompetent.” 

But, I knew how to read a measuring tape and how hard can it be to run a measuring tape along someone’s arm and read a number?   Besides the casting crew only wanted an idea of people’s size:  it wasn’t like they were going to make costumes from my measurements!.  I was thinking “I’m competent at measuring. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If I do my best at concentrating on measuring then I will measure people  accurately.”

And that’s how it happened. I was so busy concentrating on doing my best at the various tasks, especially the measuring, that it didn’t leave much time for feeling anxious. I found that some people waiting to be cast were nervous. All were friendly and at times I found myself chatting happily with some of them.  My friend’s casting agent cousin and her work partner were friendly and seemed genuinely pleased and thankful for the work I’d done.

At the end of the day I was glad I had decided to ring my friend’s casting agent

cousin. The feeling of confidence gained was great and has definitely been helpful when facing other anxiety provoking situations since then.

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