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I've Had Good Success Getting Past Social Anxiety

2909 Views 22 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  John H
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 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 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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Hi I'mgonnamakeit

That is a great screen name;"I'mgonnamake". It is also great that you are taking steps to learn, heal and practise.
We have something in common when it comes to Dale Carnegie in that one of the very first books that gave me some hope of interacting with people was Dale Carnegie's book "How To Win Friends And Influence People", it did not obviously make everything better but it did get me started!!!! I came accross this book at one of my worst periods of hopelessness. The right book at the right time can be so helpful!!!

It is also great that you are getting into Comprehensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. We all carry at least a certain amount of ineffective and even destructive thought patterns and to work on challenging and changing them is a very positive thing to be doing. Good for you, good for you, good for you!!!

As far as books like I've already said they were important, even crucial to me. I still buy about a book a month on some aspect of growth or healing, as we are all ''works in progress' the books I buy are part of my ongoing growth. I buy books now not so much because I need them but that I enjoy them. They are part of what supports me in ongoing growth....

"I'mgonnamakeit" -I hope you have good progress over the next number of months and years, I'd like to hear, if you are so inclined, how you are doing, either through this site or directly to my e-mail......

All The Best To You
In Fact the Very Best
To You
John H
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John, Love your post. I also read Dale carnegie's "how to win friends and influence people." It has helped me tremendously. Just recently I feel that I am overcoming my SA. I'm comfortable in social situations, but I still prefer to be alone alot. There are a few things now that are holding me back. I don't know if these things are SA related or just some other problems I have.

1) I need constant approval or acceptance from other people. e.g. There were 2 people that I tried to befriend who seem like they really wanted to be my friends, but they never return my calls. I know to some it may seem trivial, but I have been in a deep depression over this. I feel embarrassed about my life and I don't know if I can open up and make close friends for fear of rejection which is what happened in these 2 instances.

2) I feel like I've been in a coma almost all my life and I'm now waking up and the world has gone on, the world has changed, but I am still that little girl at the point where I first went into the coma. Now that I'm conquering SA, how do I make up for that lost time? I feel like I've wasted alot my life because of SA up to this point and now I have no friends. It's hard to make friends because people either think you're weird if you're 35 with no friends or they already have all the friends they want and their life is too busy to take a chance on someone like me, or they feel I have too many issues. Maybe I divulge too much or burden people with my problems? Maybe I'm no fun?

3) I wonder do I really care about other people. I know that I do enjoy being around people sometimes. Do you like people and being around people?
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Hi NJolet

I think I hear what you are saying, particularly about a couple of things. First about wasting time and feeling like I'm behind. I feel great about pretty well getting past SA but feel like I missed out and am "behind". I think the truth is that I probably am dealing with much of the doubts and challenges that a "normal" person may experience. I am in a place of how do I build my life now....

I am in a similar situation when it comes to friends in that I have so far not established long term friends. I know that it is most likely possible so I continue. Making and having friends is something that many people develop at a younger age, for some of us, possibly particularly those of us that have been significantly affected by SA this is I think more of a I think it is possible? Yes! Do I think it is worth it? Yes! Do I think it is a challenge and frustrating at times? Yes! Am I still working at it? Yes!!!
The good thing is that I am pretty well past SA, the bad part is that there are still challeges in life.....
NJulet , I would be happy to talk more about these challenges, to perhaps be supportive to each other. Pls reply either through this forum or directly to my e-mail.......

All The Best
John H
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