Social Anxiety Support Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! Thank you for the welcomes!
Well, my big issue now is sport's performance anxiety - specifically with tennis. But I have a looooonnnnng history of SAD. Over time, I've been able to conquer so much of it. I'm a huge fan of a combo of Lexapro and Welbutrin XL. (Paxil - awful for me. I'll share this experience later on the medication section for the benefit of others). Also aging and having children helped me a lot, because those occurrences put things in more perspective for me in a slow, natural way.
As a child, I walked slumped over with my head down. So nervous, and insecure around anyone I thought was "cool". My father was VERY critical, harsh, alcoholic, and unhappy himself. He made it clear (with his actions) that he didn't like having a family and kids, and that we kids were a burden and disappointment because we weren't confident, "cool", popular and athletic enough. (Ha - how ironic, since it was he who made us not confident, cool, popular and athletic enough!!) He didn't love us for ourselves.Thank goodness he left my mother when I was still relatively young. But in fairness to him, his bossy, domineering mother treated him the same way. She would tell me that I should make my kids fit in my life, vs. changing my life to enjoy them. My father was sent to boarding school very early so she would be free to "do her own thing".
I used to (even as a young adult) quiver, shake, fumble over my words, feel like my heart was coming out of my chest, etc. even when simply being introduced to someone whom I perceived as already having a negative opinion of me. I even forgot my mother's name once when I was introduced to some of my father-in-law's co-workers. SOOOO embarrassing. I once forgot how to spell my own last name one time when I was at a party. In all these cases, I was talking to a small group of people just standing around mingling. (I wouldn't even THINK about standing up in front of a big group or audience at that time - except for the piano recital I had at the age of 9, where I totally forgot how to even play the piano, and just sat on the stage panicking and staring at the keys, while my father and grandmother were embarrassed in the audience. I mean: why would anyone be embarrassed by the performance of a CHILD??????? How is a little CHILD'S performance a reflection on them????). But bad things like this only happened with people I perceived didn't like me already or already thought I was stupid or inadequate. How ironic, huh?: I made the very thing I was worried about come true: I appeared stupid and inadequate!! - ha!! This disease is such a self-fulfilling prophesy!
Sorry to goon so much with this, but I do hope to be able to also help others while I'm on this forum, so please let me know where I should share specific things that might help anyone. Luckily as I matured and had my kids, I was able to get MUCH better! I was determined not to do the same things to them. I was strict with them in what I though were the important ways: safety,schoolwork, manners,I respect etc., but I made it a point to enjoy them as "themselves". If they were interested in something, I tried to view it as NOT a reflection on me, but as a reflection of their own innocent little SELVES. I wanted them to grow up feeling that they were adequate simply because they were on this earth, not because of their actions. This inadvertently helped me too, because I was focused on them and not myself so much. I HAD to overcome my fears of being out with people in order to give them a good childhood. Because of this "forced" interaction with other people, I ended up finding some real niches and strengths of my own that got me into some fulfilling volunteer work. So (again, inadvertently)through this forced interaction, other people started appreciating me for ME and my own personal strengths. We were all working towards the same goals in volunteer work, so we all appreciated the contributions of each other, which in turn contributed to more self-confidence. Volunteer work in itself, is good for self-confidence, because you know you aren't going to be fired, and there are needs somewhere for ANY skill you have, and ANY amount of time you have no matter how small. It lends itself towards building confidence in yourself through even the tiniest successes. Believe it or not, now I can stand in front of a huge audience and speak (even though I still have butterflies).
Sometime in there I also ended up on lexapro and welbutrin XL for depression, which helped my social anxiety too. It allowed me to relax and let me be "OK" with me a bit more. I was able to put even MORE perspective on things: ie: nobody REALLY is looking at me or gives a darn about what I look like, say etc. I would think about how many bazillions of people are on this earth, and how even if 100 people were to think I'm inadequate, there are a bazillion more who don't even know me. Plus, everyone is too busy freaking out inside about themselves to even think about whether I exist. Also, if you realistically compare yourself to the great majority, you'll probably find that you have many things you can mentally compliment yourself about.
So my latest challenge is sports. Tennis to be exact. I am OK with things like public speaking, introductions, parties, etc. (after initial butterflies at the beginning). Over time I've actually discovered I'm a true extrovert, whose personality was beaten down as a child by a parent! But tennis or other performances (music, other sports) are another issue. I have a hard time fighting my inner feelings, because I have to react instantly and perform with my body, and anxiety can show up in the way my muscles move and create it's own little "self-fulfilling prophesy". I can hide butterflies at the beginning of a speech by reading straight from a page until I relax a little, but in tennis it just builds upon itself. I just can't relax, and sports performance RELIES on relaxation!! I AM SO FRUSTRATED with this, because there seems to be nothing that works.
For many complex reasons I won't go into, I refuse to give up on trying. So I'm hoping there are people on this forum who can help me or direct me to another internet area that might help. I would also like to use my experiences in other areas to help anyone else who might gain insight from them!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
I have performance anxiety in sports, along with everything else, too. I can't count how many goals I ALMOST got. It's not like my foot doesn't know which direction to kick in. I guess part of it is that I don't want the attention I would get if I did get a goal. As for advice, the only thing I've heard of is visualization, which obviously never works for me because I never do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
Yes, but specifics. Before you start playing, play the movie in your mind, think about how it feels to make a perfect serve, backhand... Make sure you do it in detail and use as many senses as you can. And try to figure out if there's any hidden reason you don't perform well. As I said for my case, it's about not wanting the attention, so I need to convince myself that the attention is no big deal. Maybe it's a label from school that you weren't athletic, or never picked to be on a team, got picked on in gym class, or whatever else.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top