My name's Stacy and I'm going to share with you some of my experiences in learning to overcome social anxiety. I tried many options first before ordering the audio series "Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step", and this is what happened to me as I learned to get proactive and rational.
Before ordering the audio series, I was 35 and I didn't have a job. Although I had a good relationship with my partner of 12 years, I was extremely socially anxious in every other way. I found it extremely difficult to go outside on my own, and I would feel very anxious when I did. I wouldn't answer the phone or the door. I stayed in bed most of the day, I drank a lot, and after contact with anyone other than my partner I would mercilessly criticize myself. It felt like someone was drilling holes in my brain.
Most of those symptoms are gone now, however, due to the audio series. Now I can't wait to get up in the morning. I exercise first thing, I answer the door and phone, I can go outside without make-up (a huge thing for me as I had Body Dysmorphic Disorder).
I don't drink alcohol, I know what career I want and am doing what I must to achieve it. I talk to people, I am in control, and my relationship is better than ever because I am so relaxed. Everything is different.
In the past I had seen two psychiatrists and a handful of psychologists (a mixture of private and NHS). They didn't seem to believe in the possibility of completely changing people with mental health problems, however. There was a lack of vitality, assuredness and results. So in 1996, I decided to read some books written by experts and see if that would help me.
I have always believed I was going to get totally "better" and I just kept going. The books helped a little but I still had the negative beliefs that led to negative behaviors. These included believing that I was defective, ugly, fundamentally different in some way, intrinsically incompetent and many more nasty things.
Then I finally found my way to the Social Anxiety Institute site and after reading it, I took a leap of faith and sent for the audio therapy series.
I just kept going and going, and when I finished the series after about 4 months, I went over bits I was still having trouble with. I then began the series over from the beginning, and the second time around it really started having a big effect. I started to believe what I was reading and hearing and I had many "of course" moments.
I did join a group and even though it wasn't ideal, and we never did formal behavioral work, actually going there was a big behavioral success for me.
I now know that I am totally fine. I have a tiny shadow of negative thoughts left, but I know that is all they are and they are fading every day. My new beliefs are developing and becoming stronger all the time.
I have had to develop some new skills, having hidden away for so long, but these are fun to do as they symbolize my being a responsible, capable adult.
I feel good and enjoy challenging myself. No longer trapped being a certain type of person because of what I believed in the past and how I thought I had to behave. I am no longer a list of disorders!
This has taken time but it is so worth putting in the time. I remember you saying something about how the audio series would help people get over social anxiety, but more than that it would lead to a never ending journey of development. That has absolutely been my experience.
I read some other books while I was doing the series the second time round - one on body dysmorphic disorder for example. But it was your audio series that broke apart the prison of false neural connections and beliefs I had been trapped inside. You enabled me for the first time to see outside of the box I was in, so that I was able to believe what you and other books were telling me. i.e. That there has never been anything wrong with me and any problems I developed were a result of compensatory behaviors.
Now I am at ease with my past, I see it as a great developmental journey that has led me to where I am, and I feel very lucky. If I had been able to cope, like many other people spend their lives doing, I would have had less leverage to change. Now I am more sorted than most people. A definite tortoise and hare experience, as my life is now going in such a fantastic direction.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
My life has radically changed!!