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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had good success getting past social anxiety. It took many years and lots and lots of effort but it was/is well well worth it...

In my teens and into my twenties the anxiety of just day to day living was so great that at night I would often cry for awhile before I would fall asleep, just from the tension....living felt hopeless....

I got to a psychiatrist at one point. This was in the seventies, when I tried to tell him how I felt he seemed to listened but then just kind of dismissed me saying, your just the same as any one....I knew different, I knew I was in rough shape....

So what did I do, well I started working on my confidence and social skills
myself....my starting point was very very low. Much of the progress that I have made over the years has been sparked by books. an early important book was "Shyness; What It Is And What To Do About It", this was in the nineteen seventies when even the term Social Anxiety was not common, I don't know if books on Social Anxiety even existed then???

The shyness book gave me some things to start with, it was the best that I had at the time....Another early book was Dale Carnegie's book "How To Win Friends And Influence People". This book gave me some insight and how to's of connecting/interacting with people. I started trying to do what I could. I will say at this point that this was not instant and transformational but rather little tiny steps, as I could over years.....

There were other books such as "I Feel Guilty When I Say No", this is about setting boundaries, saying No when you need or want to.....Other books would come later such as "People Skills" by Robert Boulten, an excellent book on connecting, boundaries and conflict resolution....Again I want to stress that this all was not a smooth, success only process for me, much of it was extremely, extremely, extremely hard. A good portion of the time I felt like it was not quick enough or that I was not making progress at all,,,depression and
despair were not uncommon...I want to be clear it was no smooth easy process!!!!

And yet beyond my doubts and despair I did make progress...over years I was developing confidence and ability. I was able to start to interact with people with growing confidence and calmness rather than terror and anxiety....

I would do some workshops (years into my process) and courses, one course I did was a eight week public speaking course. Very challenging yet worth it for the increase in confidence and ability, I noticed that after it I was more calm in every day life.......

I did other courses including studying conflict resolution for the better part
of a year, valuable!!!! I also got involved in the public speaking group Toast Masters. I did this for a couple of years, with this I became more confident and sure of myself, again not instantly or smoothly but rather week to week, month to month, bit by bit, some steps forward, some steps back.....

I am writing some of this out because I feel that I am an example that social anxiety can be beat, I hope that I am also making it clear it was not easy or smooth, much of the time feeling hopeless....and yet I got through it, I am now a confident and calm person while connecting and interacting with people more often than not...... I say more often than not because it is not perfect, more often than not is a great place to be, it is where many average people who are not, have not been afflicted by social anxiety probably are... I'm very happy with "more often than not that I feel confident and calm...."

To start to wrap up I hope that some of my success may be encouraging to some,
not that you would do exactly the same necessarily but that it may give you some
ideas and encouragement......

Each person needs to find their own way, I do think that with time that a lot is
possible, again when I was in it I often did not feel that way, but now that I'm
past it I do.......

I just encourage each person to take whatever steps, even if tiny tiny steps,
they can to build confidence and abilities in interacting with people......

Anyone who wishes to correspond with me either on this Forum or directly threw
e-mail, [email protected] , please feel free to do so....

All The Best To You All

John Hutton
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I was looking at how many people had viewed my post, it is right now 30views, nobody replying at this point, just hoping that some are getting some encouragement from my success. As you can tell from my post I worked on building confidence and ability. It was often hard, extremely extremely hard, often felt too slow, discouraging, hopeless, disappointing......
And yet beyond all that around thirty I almost surprisingly found myself being pretty darn confident....
So what I want to say is that I think it is possible to build confidence and ability and that with confidence and ability can come sureness and calmness!!!!! It is a real challenge, particularly from a SA background, this does not mean that progress can not be made.....
With that I want to encourage anyone who reads this to take whatever small, or tiny, or even micro steps they can to move towards confidence and ability......
Again if any one wants to talk to me, to toss around ideas, share experiences or frustrations or whatever please feel free to do so either in this forum or direct through e-mail....
All the best; John H
 

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Hi, John.
I just read your posts, and I find them very encouraging. You said you went to a psychiatrist, and weren't taken seriously? Did you ever go to another doctor, or did you basically do it all on your own through the books and the speaking courses, and such? Did you ever read any books specifically about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
I'm very interested in this, because I've just started "talk therapy" and I've started reading a couple of books (Diagonally Parked in a Parallel Universe by Signe Dayhoff, and Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic by R.Z. Peurifoy.) And, I'm also planning to read How to Win Friends and Influence People. I'm feeling as though the books and my journal are more helpful than the therapy (and a lot more cost effective, too.)
Anyway, thank you for sharing your story. and :wel to the board.

--lostsockmonkey :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi lostsockmonkey

No I never got to another doctor/therapist, back in the nineteen severnties social anxiety was not commonly thought about so I was pretty much on my own... As far as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy I have't read a specific book but in some books that I have, there are CBT sections so have used it and thing it is great stuff!!! The whole being aware of our thoughts and challenging and replacing ineffective and negetive thoughts.....really important!!!!!
A decent therapist for CBT etc. at the right time could have probably helped me a lot, with out that it was the books and courses and what I tried out and practised in day to day life that was my route. All and all though I believe I've done well...
The Dale Carnegie book How toWin Friends and Influence People is probably a little dated but some of the ideas and approachs are still useful. I think that books to do with interacting with people, conversation, active listening, boundaries, assertiveness, conflict resolution are good....skills books
I hope that the work with CBT is useful for you and be like to hear how it is going if you are inclined to share.....

All the best to you and thank you for the welcome to the board.....

John H
 

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Hi John H. Welcome to the board. :wel

It's really Great to hear your story and of the success you've had over SA. Very inspirational & uplifting. :hs

I agree with you 100% about not giving up, to always try, (even fail), pick youself up, and try again and again, and to keep going forward at all cost. (Something I, myself need to start doing again).

Great Advice, Sir! :)

:thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi #2 lostsockmonkey

Even though I am pretty much past SA I am keenly interested on how people can and do grow and heal so popped over to Amazon to look at the books you mentioned; Diagonally Parked in a Parallel Universe and Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic.....
They look very interesting, so many books I'd like to buy, how to choose???

Take care; John H
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi David

Thank You for the welcome!!!

Ya it seems that life often is; "to always try, (even fail), pick youself up, and try again and again, and to keep going forward at all cost"...if there is something important enough to us then often what we need to do....

All The Best to You; John H
 

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Thanks, John for starting this thread. I'm new here. I've been dealing with SA for much of my life. I searched out a website tonight, because I'm backwards again.

I'm just curious, John. I noticed that you signed on here on Oct. 26 of this year with your success story. Why join an SA website now.

I am definitely very happy for you and very happy to be reading uplifting information, but I am a questioner. Which is one of the things that hampers my recovery, I believe.

:wel :hide
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Shygramma

You asked why I signed on now to this website, well in my life one of my greatest personal successes is that I went from being super anxious, introverted and I really very messed up to pretty calm and confident and emotionally pretty good. Yet I remember, it was really really tough over many years, out of this I feel a compassion for those who struggle now. I realize that what I share won't relate to everyone but if it is helpful to some then I'm happy about that......
I've been wanting for sometime to find a good place, on the net to do this......

That's it!!!

All The Best to You; John H
 

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John H said:
You asked why I signed on now to this website, well in my life one of my greatest personal successes is that I went from being super anxious, introverted and I really very messed up to pretty calm and confident and emotionally pretty good.
It sounds like from your post that you went from being introverted to being more outgoing. Am I understanding it right? Do you think your personality changed from being introverted to becoming more outgoing or is it basically the same but you lost some of your insecurities that prevented you from really being yourself and just became more comfortable with yourself?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
lokeau said:
John, did you ever take medication, or did you get over this soley w/ cognitive/behavioral techniques?
Hi Lokeau

You asked whether I took ever took medication, I did not, like I said I got to a psyciatrist once who just dismissed me, that was the seventies and social anxiety was, I think not well known or taken as seriously as now.

So yes it was cognitive/behavioral approaches along with developing and building confidence from developing and building skills and abilities. Particularly interpersonal skills to a fairly high level. This includes conversation, assertiveness, boundary setting, problem solving etc. As I, over a number of year developed to a fairly high level my confidence and calmness is what became, more often than not my experience. Not that I never have some anxiety but that it is perhaps the level of a non social anxious person......

So I think that both the cognitive/behavioral and the learning and practising of interpersonal skill to a farly high level are what moved me to pretty low anxiety.....I think both were really important!!!

AllTheBest
John H
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
seagreen16 said:
John H said:
It sounds like from your post that you went from being introverted to being more outgoing. Am I understanding it right? Do you think your personality changed from being introverted to becoming more outgoing or is it basically the same but you lost some of your insecurities that prevented you from really being yourself and just became more comfortable with yourself?
Hi SeaGreen16

Well it is hard to know exactly whether I changed from being introverted to being more outgoing or the latter of if losing insecurities just allows me to express more of myself. Perhaps it is kind of both. At this point I am by no means a total extrovert (nor do I really want to be) I am kind of fifty fifty and very happy about that. I am a person who likes my personal time but I also like and even need a certain amount of people time......The thing is that now I can shift between those pretty easily....

AllTheBest
John H
 

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Hi, some questions:

Were you ever in a place where you were really demoralized and down on yourself for your shyness problem before you worked through it? If so what got you through that.

And another, what do you mean by interpersonal skills? Do you mean you learned to shoot the breeze and get anyone to open up and have a conversation with you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi Travo

Absolutely, many times, I'm sure there were times that I could have been treated for depression.
No brilliant way that I got through. I remember alot of being on an emotional rollercoaster, sometimes things I had read about (books were really important for me) would work out a bit and I would feel encouraged, other times it just felt like I was to far away from where I wanted to be and had little or no belief in my ability to get there, obviously at those times I pretty often plunged into dispair....
It was, in looking back that I kept trying as I could and at one point the cummulative effect of my efforts is what tipped the balance from life dominated by dispair to one of building to confidence and calmness....
I wish I had a better answer than this but that is how I moved to where I am now....
One thing about now is there is the internet, when I was going through my worst times it was before the internet and I was truly alone in my struggles...

As far as interpersonnal skills, yes I do mean, " you learned to shoot the breeze and get anyone to open up and have a conversation with you", I also mean assertiveness where I could in a effective way stand up for myself, and boundary setting where I could respect myself and not do things that I was uncomfortable with, and group dynamics type stuff where I could be calm and comfortable with groups of people....I think all of these things are part or interpersonal skill and I think when a person has a good, or reasonably good proficiency in these areas that anxiety will naturally start to deminish....at least that was my experience......

AllTheBest
John H
 

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John H said:
Hi Travo

Absolutely, many times, I'm sure there were times that I could have been treated for depression.
No brilliant way that I got through. I remember alot of being on an emotional rollercoaster, sometimes things I had read about (books were really important for me) would work out a bit and I would feel encouraged, other times it just felt like I was to far away from where I wanted to be and had little or no belief in my ability to get there, obviously at those times I pretty often plunged into dispair....
It was, in looking back that I kept trying as I could and at one point the cummulative effect of my efforts is what tipped the balance from life dominated by dispair to one of building to confidence and calmness....
I wish I had a better answer than this but that is how I moved to where I am now....
One thing about now is there is the internet, when I was going through my worst times it was before the internet and I was truly alone in my struggles...

As far as interpersonnal skills, yes I do mean, " you learned to shoot the breeze and get anyone to open up and have a conversation with you", I also mean assertiveness where I could in a effective way stand up for myself, and boundary setting where I could respect myself and not do things that I was uncomfortable with, and group dynamics type stuff where I could be calm and comfortable with groups of people....I think all of these things are part or interpersonal skill and I think when a person has a good, or reasonably good proficiency in these areas that anxiety will naturally start to deminish....at least that was my experience......

AllTheBest
John H
thanks for sharing.. I'm wondering if you attribute some of your success in overcoming this to kind of growing up or growing as a person and having more maturity about things. Like for me, the way that I try to overcome some behavior that makes me unhappy is I first notice what things make me feel unhappy with myself or make me feel bad about myself. Once I identify some of these things, for example it could be taking things personally, I start to realize all the times I do it to myself and how it all adds up to making myself feel pretty bad at times. Once I realize that, I try to figure out a solution so I do it less or so it doesn't make me feel bad anymore. So it's kind of like I'm studying myself and trying to work on some behaviors which contribute to the anxiety. So it relates to the maturity thing because as you grow older you get to know yourself better and once you know yourself, you can change things about yourself that are giving you trouble. So overcoming this anxiety thing takes a lot of time because you need to change one thing at a time, and there are so many different aspects that cause you to have this. Also as you grow older, you understand the world more and have more experiences and you have more resources to draw upon so you can hopefully handle things better and with more confidence.

What r ur thoughts about it? :)
 

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travo said:
Hi, some questions:

Were you ever in a place where you were really demoralized and down on yourself for your shyness problem before you worked through it? If so what got you through that.

And another, what do you mean by interpersonal skills? Do you mean you learned to shoot the breeze and get anyone to open up and have a conversation with you?
travo,

you mentioned about learning to shoot the breeze with people and getting people to open up and have a conversation with you, and I'm wondering why you are wondering about this :). I think that was something I was focused on before, like I wanted to be this person who could talk to people easily, but not anymore. Actually wanting to be that kind of person made things more difficult for me and made my anxiety worse. So I'm just wondering why you are wondering about this topic. The thing is because I wanted to be this way, it actually made it more difficult for me to be myself because I was always subconsciously trying to play that role since I thought people would like me more if I could "learn to shoot the breeze" or whatever. I just thought what you wrote struck a chord in me, and I hope you are not trying to be this person who can strike up a conversation with anyone especially if you don't think that is really you. anyways, just trying to help :stu :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Travo[/quote]
I'm wondering if you attribute some of your success in overcoming this to kind of growing up or growing as a person and having more maturity about things. :)[/quote]

Hi Travo

Yes yes and yes. It does seem that part of my movement was somewhat part of a growing maturing process. That through my twenties I was both creating myself and getting to know myself.
Also I relate to you when you say that you "kind of study yourself" and then try doing different things to have different out comes.
The third thing is yes I think the changing the social anxiety does take changing (or learning and practising) one thing at a time and that is a key reason that it takes a long time, that was my experience to.
Lastly you mentioned "Also as you grow older, you understand the world more and have more experiences and you have more resources to draw upon so you can hopefully handle things better and with more confidence" that was very much my experience as well......
The key thing that I would add is that there is a time period to practising new skills/behavios where a level of compency is reached that sureness or confidence naturally occur........

It seems like you are in the process.....

AllTheBest
John H
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Agreeing with SeaGreen16

I agree that one does not want to aspire to something, such as being able to talk to anyone at any time if that is not who you really are....as long as you have abilities, such as interpersonal abilities, at a level of compency and confidence that support you in doing what you want in life......

John H
 

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Hi Jhon
I'm so proud of you!
I'm 30 now but it was when I was 9 that I got trapped in this. From 10 to 16 my SA was severe and it was back in a small city in Bolivia. I think if I would even had mention my symptoms to anybody they'd had told me I was crazy and it just would had made it worse. But, as a present of life when I was 17 I found some books from Dale Carnegie and Wayne Dyer. I guess without those books I'd probably be in a very severe one right now. I remember "Tus zonas erroneas" and "Evite ser utilizado" (I don't know their tittles in English) were like fresh pure water that I so much needed.
Incredibly, after two therapists I still didn't know about SA a few weeks ago. It gave me back the confidence in who I am. I identify the problem. Finally! So I see hope. Finally!
I'm getting into Comprehensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and I know this is the big step I've waited for so long.
I thank for those books 'cause they stopped me from believing I was just stupid for not being able to even talk to people.
Thanks for sharing! And you stopped my wondering of wether it's a good idea to keep reading and doing other courses until you feel you achieved your goals or just get better, don't obsess yourself over it and don't be a dependant on self-help books the rest of your life.
 
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