Dear Dr. Richards,
I am almost finished with the "Overcoming Social Anxiety" therapy series and, first of all, I want to give you a big thank you.
I have been in inpidual counseling for several years and no one has impressed upon me WHY I should be doing the cognitive therapy as you have explained. I know I am not done, and have many areas still to work on, but I feel so much better already! I think it's because not only do I now have hope, but I know that I can and will get better.
I have already been successful at a lot of things that I can't even list them all. But, I started to go to my office parties (I would never ever go in the past), and now I feel comfortable most of the time in talking to people and making small conversations. I can relax in these unstructured situations and I can slow myself down so that I no longer feel anxious! I never thought I would ever be able to do this.
Yesterday at work, a co-worker was sick and I got asked to present her report to a group of six other people. This was a complete surprise to me, and I felt the anxiety wanting to "come up". But, automatically, something else happened too. I took a deep breath, and just KNEW I could talk to them calmly, using slow talk!
I did not have to consciously think about it, it was just there. I went ahead, kept on using slow talk, paused whenever I felt like it (like you suggest on the tapes) and came out feeling OK.
At first, I was bit dazed and my mind started to go into negative assessment-mode, but a rational thought came back to me and I realized I had done a good job. The people on my team told me what I said was clear and calm, and they had virtually no questions. The old me would have become rattled, scared, and jumpy. Then, I would have talked way too fast and they would have asked me dozens of questions.
So, I did congratulate myself, as you say. I did do a good job, and I am still amazed (but happy). I know I need to be in a behavioral therapy group, too, but I am making so much good progress in these areas of my life that I wanted to share it with everybody.
Now I understand why you keep saying "Start your therapy today". I would still be an anxious mess if I hadn't done something about it. Thank you again.