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Hi, I'm new here. I was hoping someone might have some insight as to whether I might have some type of anxiety issue, and what can be done to help.

The best way for me to sum things up is, in general, I DREAD situations in which attention is on me. Like many, I have a huge fear of public speaking and will avoid it if at all possible. Things like your first day of class where the professor goes around the room and asks everyone to introduce themselves?...that is a nightmare for me. I get more and more nervous as we go around the room and get closer to my turn. At that point, I tend to be overwhelmed by emotion (almost to the point where I could just break down and cry), but somehow my voice speaks out, and it's a trembling, fast one. I've had multiple issues as a younger child (6th-8th grades) where talking in front of a class ended up in my standing up there and crying for 5 minutes while I talk.

Of course, my fear affects my ability to advance. For instance, though I'm fully qualified, I don't really want to go into management at work because I'd have to attend more meetings, and I'd have to train groups of people (both of which involve attention on me). Law school was always intriguing to me, but I can't imagine the socratic method of teaching and being singled out to answer questions for an extended period of time. I've been best man multiple times in weddings, and the speech makes the entire night unenjoyable for me. The only way I can get through it is to drink a bit beforehand. I even think about a future wedding of my own, being looked at by everyone, and wondering if I could ever muster up enough courage to recite vows without breaking down because of the attention.

I am somewhat of a perfectionist and I will avoid some things that I tend to not excel at (unless I know that others participating are not as good as me). If someone asks me to play baseball, for instance, with people I don't know, I will avoid it.

I don't like extended eye contact. I tend to make very little eye contact. I look at mouths and often look away or down when talking.

Despite all of this, I would describe myself and be described by others as a very social, and very nice person. I enjoy my friends...they enjoy me. I can carry a conversation and I'm comfortable in small crowds. I can introduce myself to people individually with no problem.

As a young kid, I did spelling bees, acting in plays, and all kinds of sports, all of which required me to be the focus at some point. I had little problem with any of them. I don't know when, where, and why things went downhill.

I know other people have to have this type of issue. I feel that this is WAY beyond a simple fear of public speaking. I'm just wondering if this is common, if it is an anxiety issue, and if there's any treatment for something like this (other than "practice makes perfect", or reading a book, or taking a course, etc.)? Who would you recommend I talk to (particular type of doctor)? Can medication of any sorts help this type of thing?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Sounds like acute, situational SA..I met people like that at a behavioral group I went to. Some of us are like, afraid to walk to the mailbox anxious, other people w/ SA can have it brought on only in certain situations, like meetings at work, public speaking, etc.

It sounds like you're pretty functional, but if it's impairing your life and causing you distress, cognitive behavioral therapy and maybe meds could help. See a GP, psychiatrist, and/or cognitive therapist, I think. Good that you're being proactive about it.
 
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