A message from a former international therapy group member
Dear Dr. Richards,
Receiving your message has made me realise how much I would love to be there in Phoenix participating and assisting people in the journey to overcoming SA.
Firstly it has been four years - but, wow, I feel like I have packed in about twice as much living into those years, making up for all the lost opportunities that my SA prevented me from taking part in!
I credit the following achievements directly to my time in Phoenix and the work I did before that with the audio therapy series:
Learning how to drive a car - I now do not know how I spent so many years without the ability and convenience to go where I want when I want... owning and driving a car has allowed me to be able to have much more contact with the world, I am out and about and involved in so many activities because I can do so easily now.
(For so many years I was too scared to take driving lessons because I thought I would be hopeless and people would judge me badly)
Returning to Study - I am currently finishing off my bachelor of psychology and have every intention of pursuing post graduate studies. This is something that I often thought about before coming to Phoenix but never had the courage to actually go out there and do it. I love the interaction and involvement that I have with people and organisations on campus.
I love the fact that I am intellectually challenging myself and growing as a person. - I am the leader of the student mentor program for psychology students - I am a representative on a student committee to support students who may be experiencing sexual harassment. - I tutor students in academic areas where they are experiencing problems
Involvement in the community - I have become involved in activities in the community which make me feel like my life has purpose and that I am making a worthwhile contribution to the world. I feel connected to my community and to other people in a way that was not possible before.
I participated in a training course and am now volunteering on a regular basis as a crisis telephone counsellor. I participate in a program where I visit elderly people in nursing homes and bring a little bit of happiness and companionship into their lives. I have recently co-facilitated a 12 week program for men involved in domestic violence situations on anger management.
The most wonderful thing in all of these activities is the opportunity I have had to meet and form friendships with so many wonderful people who are also involved in these activities.
Work situation - I have applied for and got several new jobs since returning from Phoenix. I felt stuck before but did not have the courage to make changes because of my lack of self- belief and my anxiety levels.
I have made a change in my current work situation which better suits my arrangements. Before I was too scared to make changes or to tell my employer that the work schedule did not suit my study schedule, and thus I would end up working when I really didn't want to. Now I am more confident in actually conveying my needs to work.
I recently received a job as a research assistant at the university and I am now interacting with authority figures and lecturers etc., in the past this would have not been possible without a great deal of anxiety, but now I feel confident and comfortable in this role.
I have come to realise that people generally do not judge me badly - in fact people seem to hold a great deal of respect for my efforts and contributions.
Overall my life has changed in so many ways, I have an exciting, busy and fulfilling life, I finally feel like my life has purpose and meaning. I do find that there are times where I may feel a little anxious or experience some self doubts, but I know from my experience and from all the things that I am doing that there is nothing to worry about.
I have learnt to have faith in myself and not to stress too much about things...sometimes things work out great and sometimes they don't go as good as I might have wished but it doesn't really matter in the end - it's all good!
I've stopped beating myself up for the things that don't turn out so well because I have come to realise that the more things I try, the more things I find out I can actually do - and that I actually receive a lot of enjoyment from doing them. There are many more positives compared to the negatives, and I try to keep this proportion in perspective - whereas before I focused only on the negatives.
I am just so pleased that I found the SAI web site, purchased and worked through the therapy series, and visited SAI for the international group - I am living the kind of life that I only could dream about before.
The world has opened up for me and now without my SA symptoms to hold me back, I can achieve anything - I can make my previous dreams become a reality. (maybe only lack of money and enough time to do everything is the only obstacles in my way now :-)
I wish everyone luck in the journey to overcome SA - but I know that deep down in my heart that luck has nothing to do with it, it is about working hard with the therapy, staying committed, and believing that you can do it!
It takes time and perseverance but it is worth every second, and every heart ache experienced to get to this point. YOU CAN DO IT!