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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I'm a "new" member to the forums, but have been lurking for a while. I wanted to share my most recent experience with public speaking in a work setting with approximately 50 customers. When I was first made aware of the presentation, I was told it would be a round table discussion. After some investigating it was determined to be a 10 minute speaking engagement before I finally found out it was an hour presentation. First off, I don't post ANYWHERE. I hardly make accounts even on forums where the topic I am viewing is something I'm passionate about. The community here is incredible and has helped me immensely. I wanted to share my experiences in hopes that it is able to help someone else. This may resonate very similar to other posts, but I wanted share nonetheless.

Starting off, I wish I could say that I did this completely drug free, but alas I did not. I was going about my day when my boss called me into his office. He explained he was supposed to speak the following week at a conference, but had an emergency and needed someone to go in his stead. This conference was a big deal so I was thrilled that he asked me to go. In that same instant, I was terrified. My heart was already beating out of my chest as negative thoughts raced through my mind. I hate, hate, HATE, any type of public speaking or presentation. People who say, "you'll do fine, or, "just relax", have NO idea what we go through. Racing heart, sweaty palms, constricted throat, and the shaking leg are all in my repertoire. Hell, you could ask me my name and I wouldn't be able to get it out. It's just brutal. I'm 31 years old and have had this problem since high school. It was time to make a change.

After finally realizing I needed help, I made an appointment with a doctor. The SA forums here were a huge step for me. I didn't realize there was medicine that could help me. He immediately prescribed Propranolol at 10 mg and after a little debating, Xanax at .25 mg. Unfortunately, even as a newbie to Xanax, at 6'3" 205 lbs, .25 mg didn't do much for me. I'll break this up a little bit so you guys don't have to read a wall of text.

Xanax

.25 mg as stated, did not do it for me. I had a total of 12 pills. I didn't want to start chugging drugs, but I certainly wanted to know my tolerance before I step on stage. I gently increased dosage until I found the sweet spot. Unfortunately, this about ran me out of pills. :eek: Xanax was good for calming me down. Some people said it takes away all their fears. For me it did not, but it absolutely made me relaxed. Taking it by itself did not stop the physical conditions I had. My heart still was blowing through my chest, which brings me to...

Propranolol

At first, it didn't feel like it did much for me. It also made me very tired. I experimented with a dosage of 10 and 20 mg. It's non-addictive so I didn't feel as bad experimenting with dosage as I did with Xanax. 10 mg was meh, 20 mg seemed ok, and 40 mg was great. I ended up taking 40 mg an hour before my presentation. AMAZING. Without the Xanax I still had a bunch of negative thoughts and was convinced the presentation would go terrible. Mixing 1 mg Xanax and 40 mg Propranolol 1 hour before my presentation was the winner. Someone on these forums used the term "bulletproof" when mixing these drugs. Once I started speaking, this is a spot on assessment. Obviously, dosage will be different for everyone, but it's what's worked for me.

Ultimately, I don't know where I'm going with this. I want to thank everyone on these forums for being open. I'm not thrilled that I had to take two different drugs to get through an hour presentation, but it's such a relief to know I'm not going to choke on my own vomit while I'm trying to get a few words out. One side note is that my presentation was at 1 PM. It was miserable until I was able to get these drugs in my system. My advice to any newbie is don't overdo any drug, but make sure you know what works for you before going in.

Thanks for listening and thanks to you friends with SA!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
EDIT:

Realized I didn't post how the speech went in its entirety. As soon as I opened my mouth, there was no hesitation, no cracking, no nervousness. I remember being amazed at the time. I didn't forget anything. Even when practicing my speech, my mind would sometimes zone out temporarily and I'd forget what to say. This didn't happen once.

I'm interested in joining Toastmasters so I can one day drop the drugs. However, until that day, it's a nice safety net.
 

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Hi Harbinger,
I'm glad that this forum has been so helpful to you. It isn't always the case here. Thanks for sharing your personal experience with us and how much it helped you.
Congrats on your speech!
:wel
 

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I just gave a presentation in college. no drugs. My voice and legs were noticeably shaky and it was obvious I was so nervous. I really dont want to take drugs for this but Im seeing that practice does not help. I try to get over this by repeated exposure but I cant even answer a question in class without my heart beating and my voice being shaky everytime. I hate this. My grades are suffering from poor presentation and participation grades I get As on all other assignments. Im thinking drugs are my only option at this point
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
matthewt - I actually felt perfect on 1 mg Xanax. I as very relaxed without being a zombie and was able to think clearly. I don't know if I'd feel different if I wasn't in a high stress situation, but it worked well for my presentation.

nk685010 - I know exactly how you feel. A lot of people say that practice makes perfect, but for some people, that isn't always the case. The heart beating is so terrible. You could try seeing a doctor and let him know what you're going through. Propranolol is a good start and since it's non-addictive, doctor's seem a little more apt to prescribe it. It's not something you have to take every day, and you could start by taking it about an hour before you know or think you'll have to do some speaking. You should notice a vast improvement with the physical symptoms.
 

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This probably my biggest anxiety related issue. It's weird, because I spoke in front of crowds up until age 14. Other people would ask me how I did that, because they were nervous, and I didn't know what they were talking about at all.

I got social anxiety when I was 14. For some reason, groups of people just started to terrify me. Of course, I had trouble talking in one-on-one conversation suddenly as well.

I'm graduating college officially in less than a month. Between that and high school, I've had to make tons of presentations. I did it all without drugs. Now, I'm not saying that to throw anything in anyone's face, but I'm offering my perspective here, because I've had the same thought process as you.

I thought about Toastmasters and all of that. I even forced myself to take a speech class. It only makes sense that exposure is the key to this. My issue is, Toastmasters only met like twice enough. Not nearly enough in my opinion. Speech class was nice. I even managed to somehow completely get rid of my symptoms and stand there and speak for 10 minutes with out using any visual aids or anything. Of course, the problem here was that it ended.

Repeated exposure seems to be the key, but I don't know anyway where that can work. I'm adamant that I've found the solution here though.

The key is to do something right now. Don't wait until you've got something speaking-related coming up. If you're like me, which you seem to be, when you've got something like that coming up, you can't get your mind off of it. So, you've got to alter your subconscious mind before it starts causing problems for you, if that makes sense. Meditation will do this for you. I remember a time where I practiced one form, and it rid me of anxiety for a month. There were a couple of major things that happened after that, and they would've caused problems for me, but they couldn't shake me. Mind you, I didn't know I was going to experience those major things within the near future, so my mind was clear going into this.

You simply can't wait until you have a problem to prepare for something like this. And that goes with a lot of things in life. Don't wait until a torrential downpour is coming to get your roof patched up.
 
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