Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Marianas Trench
Voice shaking, gulping, shallow breathing, low voice--help
Sorry for the long post. I put the Cliffs notes in bold.
When I talk to people, especially groups of people, my voice becomes very soft, almost inaudible. I could be talking to someone literally one foot away from me and they may ask me to repeat what I said because they can't hear it. The anxiety causes the shallow breathing which in turn causes my voice to become virtually inaudible.
The other things of equal concern are: my voice wavering; having to swallow in the middle of a sentence, shallow breathing, not breathing naturally and practically gasping for air after speaking only a sentence or two It's physically and mentally exhausting.
As the SA symptoms begin to manifest, I start to sweat and get even more nervous. I fear these problems because I do not want people to know that I have a severe anxiety problem, that I am very shy, am intimidated people and completely lack confidence. It is something I despise about myself and I try to hide, although many people can see through the facade. Finally, while it goes without saying, the speech would be quite an awful and embarrassing experience for me.
I now drink alcohol before speaking in front of people or approaching strangers. My entire job is speaking to strangers and speaking in front of people, so if you did the math, you would realize I am under the influence of alcohol the entire working day. Besides calming me down, alcohol allows me to feel less trapped by my overly self-conscious personality.
I love joking around and smiling as much as everyone else, but my fear leaves me quiet--mute at times-- I am afraid to talk to strangers because I think they will either ignore and walk away from me, make fun of my appearance or shyness or will give me signs that they are not enjoying the conversation. I am also quite insecure about my personality and being boring, uptight, and scared while sober.
Please help. Does anyone else have similar problems with their voice being low, trembling, needing to swallow half way through their sentences. Benzos and beta blockers do not work for me. Me going through a work shift sober scares me to hell. Doing so feels like jumping off a diving board for the first time, or riding your bike without training wheels and your parent letting go for the first time. In fact, my fear is probably worse than these two examples as my fear has snowballed larger and larger each time I avoid it and rely on the alcohol.
Also, any advice on talking in front of groups of people and starting up conversation with strangers? My social anxiety is severe if you haven't figured that out yet.