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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's a quick summary of my story. I haven't posted on this site in probably a year soo I realized I had social problems when I got in my late teens. I realized my behaviors in social situations weren't normal. Anyway.. as I grew older I thought to myself I need to put myself in a situation which forces me to be social. We often learn in life that it's easier to change by force then choice. So I learned and became a personal trainer. How more personal and social can you get? I learned how to make small talk.. I learned how to approach people, I learned how to talk to all types of people and yet after 5 years in the industry my anxiety just continued to get worse and worse till I realized I couldn't handle it anymore and I need to get out of the gym and out of the situation. I've come to realize that SA does not get better.. you can only learn to avoid situations that trigger it. Interesting cause I have never been in therapy and my friends that have say the same thing. I am now doing personal training on my own.. 1 on 1 which I seem to be handling well. I don't see myself ever going back into a gym. Just too many people to deal with at one time. I realize I need to have a occupation that I can control or I'm left alone to do my job and go home. So I'm starting fresh.. A 5 year study and test has come to end. It's weird how in some ways I am socially better yet the anxiety remains. Like I could go up to a complete stranger and talk to them having the confidence I can do it yet the anxiety of doing it always remained the same. That's what real SA is all about and why people that don't have it just don't understand. Just thought I'd share. Please ask questions you might have.
 

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Fitting In Here & There
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Hi. I can't believe you "forced" yourself to become a personal trainer! That's really something if you ask me.

But you complain that even tho you can go thru the motions of social situations, your anxiety level inside hasn't improved over the years. Do you actually have panic attacks? Or is it more of a high anxiety? Have you tried anti-anxiety medication? And I wonder what is going thru your mind when you have the anxiety-what kind of thoughts? I do think you realizing that working one on one and being your own boss is more comfortable for you is a really good thing. At the same time, I do think you could improve/change what is going on in your mind and that will help the anxiety level drop/lessen. You did a great job with changing your behavior for so long, I just can't help wondering if you worked on your negative thoughts a little, it would make you feel better too!

Don't give up altogether! Maybe you could take a break, but don't give up! :D
 

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unashamed perv
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That's really interesting, thanks for sharing. I'm not going to give up hope that one day I can get my anxiety levels down to normal and change my unwanted behaviour though. I can't stop trying.

It's a shame that you worked so hard and yet didn't get your anxiety levels down. Maybe if you'd done something differently? And yet you achieved a lot, and you don't sound said or frustated, but fairly content with your lot - is that true, or am I misinterpreting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Courage has never been a weakness for me. I think that many people with SA have little courage and can improve greatly if they tried harder. But not everyone is the same with SA.

Yes I have panic attacks. I have had many.. Haven't had one recently though.. Doing good there ;) I started noticing I was having panic attacks 4 years ago. That's when I identified them. I guess besides typical nervousness these were worse where I felt like I was going to die. They progressively got worse till I realized how to prevent their cause.

I have a lot of education in nutrition where I self medicated myself for years. I found out what works and what doesn't work and so on. No prescription drugs. Before getting into nurtrition i medicated with alcohol. It was the perfect fix till I realized the path I was going down. That was a long time ago though and I am almost 2 years sober though. I've seen a phychologist which was more like a person to vent to. I didn't like that. I felt awkward and it seemed distracting more then helpful. I have made huge leaps on my own but I got to that point where I realized the negative was overpowering the positive.

I was born a pecimist I think. I've always been one of those people that feels the worse or sees the worse before he can see the good. Fortunately for me i've always tried to see through the bad. That's what has kept me going. I've taught myself more then anyone has taught me. For me getting out of a negative enviroment makes the negative thoughts smaller. I feel better already.. and I'm starting a new chapter in my life. I'm nervous and and little scared but I have plans. I'm not about to give up yet ;) I'm excited to see how I feel after the weight has been lifted long enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's really interesting, thanks for sharing. I'm not going to give up hope that one day I can get my anxiety levels down to normal and change my unwanted behaviour though. I can't stop trying.

It's a shame that you worked so hard and yet didn't get your anxiety levels down. Maybe if you'd done something differently? And yet you achieved a lot, and you don't sound said or frustated, but fairly content with your lot - is that true, or am I misinterpreting?
We can't ever give up because hope keeps us going. I often wish I could get my anxiety to where it was when I was younger but for me I think that's unrealistic. Now if I don't have panic attacks for awhile.. that is success! Those panic attacks are debilitating.

Like I said I gained a lot of confidence in ways. I know I can do things I didn't know I could do yet.. the anxiety remains. I don't regret the path I took. Life is a lesson.. we learn as we go. You got it right.. if I could go back maybe I would do something else but I wouldn't know what I know now. Maybe my anxiety wouldn't have ever gotten this bad either if I did something else? Well.. I have a fresh start now and my head has felt more clear in the last couple days then it has in months. I'm taking one day at a time now.
 

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Don't give up, trust me.

We're following each other over on Twitter, and I saw your message about giving up on SA.

Don't give up. Don't STRESS if you aren't going to be actively working on it, but don't ever give up.

I have had severe panic attacks, SA, and the 'usual' cocktail of stuff.

I'm working now using SAM-e and to my utter surprise, it seems to be working. I am not an affiliate selling stuff, just someone who's willing to try something that offers the slightest help.

I get it in packs of 90 at Costco ($39) and take 2 a day. It took about 2 weeks and I didn't realize anything was happening until I realized that I had just BEEN THROUGH an experience that would have triggered me.

And it didn't.

So, I'm going to keep on taking it. Why not give it a try. It's not a 'drug' per se, more like a supplement.
 

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Hiding In My Den
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It was brave that you tried despite your high anxiety, its good that you're getting yourself out of that situation if its making you so unhappy. Alot of people don't understand that sometimes "giving up" is the best thing to do for some people.
 

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I think the problem with "forcing" yourself to do things with SA is that it doesn't make your anxiety go away. You CAN do all those things, but it's still difficult. If you move up a behavioral hierarchy slowly, being honest with yourself, you'll be able to do new things without finding them so difficult. You have to fully 'engage' the exposure therapy. I speak from experience. The closest analogy I can come to is that "forcing" yourself into situations is like holding your nose when you dive underwater - it keeps you from getting water in your nose, but it doesn't allow you to grow fully comfortable with being in the water.
 

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This is not good news for me. I am just beginning to start exposure therapy. However, I have the same concerns as you. I asked my therapist and read some good books dealing with the question of why exposure did not work in the past. It seems to me that you jumped into the deep end of the pool by throwing yourself into a situation which you were not capable of handling. A strategy that would work for you is starting out with mastering the minor anxiety producing situations. In fact, starting out one-on-one (although you wouldn't have the credentials to do that without working as a trainer for five years, so it probably wouldn't have worked out) would be a better starting off point. Then, you could have moved towards working in a gym after you gained confidence dealing with people one on one. CBT therapy is what I would recommend. Just because it didn't work with other people doesn't mean they approached exposure the correct way. I hope it works for me. But, please do not give up and always look for other avenues to take to help you achieve a comfort level that you would be satisfied with. I say, start in small, controlled situations. Learn to examine your thoughts and feelings closely and constantly battle with them in order to rationalize your delusional thoughts. Learn a system through and through, such as CBT, work closely with a therapist for a couple of months and come up with a gameplan. The point is you got to force yourself into situations with a new mindset. Let the fears take its course and tell your fears that its ok to feel scared. No one can hurt yourself emotionally but you. Keep at it day after day. But, you have to be in the proper mindset in order for it to work. This is what I was taught I just got to put it into practice. I have a good feeling that I'm going to come out on top.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
When I started out I was the "quiet" trainer. The layed back one. Not your typical personality type you would think of a personal trainer. I was nervous all the time. Over time I gained more confidence as my knowledge grew and I helped many people. This helped me get through the hard times of anxiety. But as time went on and on I realized every year I would get more and more tired. No energy.. more depression. It seemed like the job was zapping everything I had and leaving nothing left for myself. I realized this is when I had to make a change. I've tried every supplement you can get your hands on but nothing works anymore. I think I've abused them at times. I've built tolerance to everything. Nothing works the same. I feel pretty good now.. but i'm spending a lot of time at home .. controlling my own schedule. I guess avoiding exposure lately has helped.

I want to emphasize.. I'm not giving up all together.. Just this 5 year plan came to end.
 
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