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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I read through the different threads, it seems like most people with social anxiety suffer from more one on one or small group anxieties. I am basically comfortable with small groups, where I am not the center of attention for too long. My anxiety is more performance based. I won't even consider making a presentation and even panic at the thought of being in a cirlce of people going around the room to speak about something. Just the anticipation of waiting for my turn is too much. I can hardly speak, my voice gets really shaky, my heart pounds, I feel flushed, and usually will get up and leave the room. Which in turn makes me feel like a huge loser and I get really depressed for a few days after. I have dealt with this since about tenth grade, which was long ago, and after much research have found out that I am not alone and there is actually a name that fits my problem. I just haven't met that many people that suffer from performance anxiety. Are there any out there reading this? If so, have you taken any steps as far as therapy or meds? I have learned of a social anxiety institute that is supposed to be amazing with helping people with SA, I just haven't had the guts to commit to going yet, and it happens to be in my local area. If you have performance anxiety will you please let me know how you are dealing with it?
 

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Well my SAD has always been performance anxiety driven. The larger the "audience" the more anxiety involved altogether but at my worst it didn't take much of an audience (sometimes just one person) to invoke intense anxiety. I haven't really had to deal with public speaking since high school so that hasn't been much of an issue except when faced with a jury summons. The process of getting on a jury sometimes involves forced public speaking but I've never made it that far.

In a sense though everyone with SAD has performance anxiety, it's just that the performance may only involve waking down the street or signing one's name in front of someone. As far as actual fear of presentations and public speaking there seems to be some dispute about how common it is with people with SAD. Dr.Reid Wilson on his site says "Almost all socially anxious people fear public speaking. The four other top ranking fears are: eating in public, signing one's name or writing in public, using public bathrooms and being the center of attention." from http://www.anxieties.com/sap.php
 

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I've always feared getting up and speaking in front of others even in middle school, getting up in front of the class, what a nightmare. Its weird though sometimes i can get comfortable in a small group, depending on the situation, but also the anonimity of a large group seems to be not so scary. I guess for me it depends on the specific situation, if that makes any sense.
 

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I'm extremely afraid of public speaking as well. I think it started in middle school (that lovely time :roll), with actual theater performances and plays. I just couldn't deal with getting up on stage anymore. Rationally, I knew I had a good singing voice and all that, but I would feel awful the whole time. It just got worse in high school, and started filtering over into my speech class and other classes that required presentations.

At college I regained a lot of self esteem, but my fear of presentations and performing only got worse. I knew in my head that I was prepared for the speech, that I had practiced it and I understood the material, but it's like my body had a mind of its own. My face turns bright red and I get red splotchy blothces all over me, I feel like I can't breathe (which makes talking difficult heh), and I start shaking so badly that one person thought I was having a seizure. Ugh.

I still feel anxious about interactions in a small group and even with one other person, but I think the most debilitating aspect of SA has been the public speaking, for me. The nerves attack even when I think about answering a question in class, or making a suggestion at work. I can relate. I really do.

I haven't had any help or meds, though I probably should. I've just recently joined this forum which has helped in its own way. With classes though, I don't want to hold myself back because of my fear. If I ever want to teach, I need to get over this. I hate the idea that my fear limits me.

Advice... oh boy. Scary option: talk to your teachers. I talk to my professors sometimes about presentations, and most of them are understanding. They might let you pick the day you want to present, or the time slot (like going first or last, or somewhere in the middle). They might let you sit down during your presentation, if your legs shake. Little things can sometimes make a big difference.

This may sound lame, but pick a topic you like. If possible, pick something that you enjoy learning and talking about. Sometimes my enthusiasm is stronger than my fear, and I feel more comfortable talking because I think that people will be interested.

Oh, and I always lose my train of thought during presentations, so I practice them beforehand. It helps if you are allowed to have a powerpoint visual aid. Don't try to clump all the information on the screen, but think of it more like clues. A few words, or a phrase, might keep you on track and more relaxed than say, reading from a sheet of paper. I never read from a sheet because I just become more anxious about how my voice sounds, and my hands shake on top of that.

Good luck. I know how you feel! :rub
 

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For me, it depends.
I've been playing in bands since my early 20's, and that's never bothered me. Although I do play the bass guitar, which is a background instrument, and always hated having to start a song because then the spotlight is on me and the chance of me blowing it is very high :( But anything where I have to do something by myself in front of a group is terrifying for me, even if it's people I know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I really appreciate them. It helps to know that there are others who struggle with the same problem. Although I don't wish SA on anybody! :no
 
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