Archive for August, 2009

Help with anxiety in social situations

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Hi everyone, Todays post is about something I went through and overcame. This was to a degree social anxiety, an anxiety that I felt when I would speak to people. I would get an almost instant reaction of anxiety on meeting people, I would avoid eye contact, the world would seem unreal and because my mind would go blank, I would stutter or ramble my way through and look for a way to escape. No matter how hard I tried, this part of my anxiety would stick around, I never seemed to move forward. As I was never happy with this I refuse to be stuck in this cycle.

The best way to overcome any symptom starts with an understanding, there is nothing worse that being bewildered about how you feel, buried under symtoms not knowing why you feel this way and with no idea on how to move forward.

So back to me and why I felt this way.

Going back to when I first felt racked with anxiety. I truly found it hard to even speak and shook so much I avoided talking to people, I had it down to an art form of how to avoid talking and if I had to, to plan the conversation and escape as quickly as possible. This went on for years and even after educating myself on the subject and progressing so much, this part of my anxiety never improved. I understood that I had built up a habit, an automatic response where my mind would say ‘Person here, oh no, I will feel awful’ so my body would flood me with adrenalin and trust me this is why your mind goes blank and you feel unreal, its just a shot of excess adrenalin. I would then go through the ritual of trying to control or escape. I would then go home feeling this was me forever, bewildered and fed up that no matter how hard I tried, I would never progress, nothing was working.

What did I do?

Well as I said above, I first had to understand that this was now an automatic reaction , this I could not control. So the next time I would not wait and worry that I may feel like this when talking to someone, I knew I would, I could not just switch this off or control it, so it was now fine, no slumping of the shoulders, scrambling to escape, trying to control it. What I needed to do is learn how to stay in the conversation while feeling odd and unreal. And before I go on, this instant feeling of feeling odd and unreal, your mind going blank is just a flood of adrenalin, nothing more and is not harmful in anyway and always passes. So the next time I went out, I expected to feel a rush of adrenalin, my mind may go blank and I may feel unreal, but now it was fine. This time I would not obsereve myself, I would stay in the conversation with these feelings, I had to retrain my mind not to see this as a problem and while I kept running away and avoiding, it always would be.

To be honest the very understanding that it was an automatic reaction and my feelings were just due to a rush of adrenalin, made me fear the way I felt far less, it no longer seemed important and the feelings were not as strong. And as they were no longer getting so much respect from me, the feelings calmed far quicker. Again I had hit on something here, it was my perception of how I felt that brought on such a reaction, the need to run away and control.

I would not even say I practiced anything, I just went into conversation with a new understanding and attitude. I would still sometimes feel odd and lost for words, but this time I would not run away, I would stay in the situation and within seconds these moments of strangeness would pass and I would just feel a sligh disconnection, something I saw as just slight adrenalin that was of little importance. I carried on in this vein and my minds new automatic response was not ‘Oh no its someone I may have to talk to, I will feel awful’ it was ‘Hey so what, I can now cope, I understand these feeling’ and the rush of adrenalin would be no where near as strong, I was finally breaking the cycle.

There was a few times where the old fight or flight would come in, the need to get away, but I smiled and it and stayed put. I went on to be totally free of this part of my anxiety by a better understanding, no gimmicks or rituals. This was how I overcame most of my anxiety to be the person I am today, by a better understanding. I did not want to rely on coping behaviours, that was never going to be me. I was never going to settle for this being me forever and you don’t have to either, don’t be bluffed by a feeling, thinking it to be far worse than it is. I once thought I would never be able to talk freely again, I saw the oddness as a sign that I would never escape, that I had, had this condition for so long that this was going to be forever, nothing could have been furthur from the truth.

I hope the above helps people.

Paul

For more information and help with anxiety visit www.anxietynomore.co.uk

For more information about my book ‘At last a life’ visit

www.anxietynomore.co.uk/the_book.html