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Old 08-30-2011  
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Default Hello. I'm a teacher with social anxiety!

Hey guys,

I've never ever spoken honestly about my social anxiety, but I started a blog yesterday and have suddenly this morning decided to be honest and open about my situation. I'm about to start my first full school year as a teacher. Excited but anxious. I've done lots and lots of work in the last few months in terms of social anxiety techniques, and now really is time to put this into practise. Even as I write this, I can feel a huge change in myself. I'm actually feeling excited to try out my techniques and push myself into parent's evenings and assemblies - excited to watch myself grow and see if I can break out of the shackles of social anxiety and become a better version of myself. A few months ago, I wouldn't even have had the confidence to write this. I'd accepted my miserable state. One of the best things that I've listened to is Tony Robbins - The Edge and Personal Power. It's really made me think about my life, and use strategies like visualisation/gratitude attitude/distraction from negative thoughts...and I've actually followed through and practised these things! Who knew I had it in me!

Anyway. littlemissteacherlady is my blog site. I'm going to be blogging as often as possible throughout the coming school year, and hoping to inspire others/be inspired. For anyone currently suffering who can't ever see themselves being 'better' - have faith. I was in exactly the same place 6 months ago. I couldn't see any joy in life. I couldn't cope with seeing people - I had every panic attack symptom in the book on a daily basis, and was forced to deal with social situations, including some hefty confrontations with kids at school! I'm certainly not recovered, but I think I'm at least 50% better than I was at my very worst, and I'm absolutely certain that I'm going to achieve all of my self-set targets in the coming school year for a brighter future.

Missy xxx
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Old 08-30-2011  
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Default Re: Hello. I'm a teacher with social anxiety!

Hi and welcome! That's cool that you're teaching and you had the courage to share your thoughts with us. I guess your case of anxiety is not that bad as you're teaching? My respect anyway!
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Old 08-30-2011  
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Default Re: Hello. I'm a teacher with social anxiety!

Hi, and welcome to the forum.

"To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered." - Voltaire

"We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are." - Max De Pree

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anais Nin
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Old 08-30-2011  
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Default Re: Hello. I'm a teacher with social anxiety!

Hi and welcome , i'm sure you will do great , some of us cannot even put a foot outside , you are very brave!

Looking forward to read your progress.
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Old 08-30-2011  
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Default Re: Hello. I'm a teacher with social anxiety!

Hi and welcome. Good luck with your job, sure you'll do great. It sounds like you are really challenging yourself.
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Old 08-30-2011  
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Default Re: Hello. I'm a teacher with social anxiety!

Hi and wow SA and teacher,you must be very brave.I don't even have the courage to give a speech!I'd really like to learn the secrets about how you control your nerves.
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Old 08-30-2011  
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Default Re: Hello. I'm a teacher with social anxiety!

Thank you guys. You're all really sweet!

To be honest, thinking about how severe my anxiety has been, I'm really surprised I got through my teaching year. Being busy though is actually really good. I was completely consumed by lesson planning, marking, gathering evidence etc. getting up at 5am and going to bed at 12 or 1. Awful to think about, but in way, I never ever had time to think about my anxiety until the panics hit just literally before I would have to speak.

I did my training in secondary school though, and I realised a couple of months into supply teaching that it wasn't for me. I'd spent so long beating myself up about it, because I didn't live up to my own ridiculous expectations, and really I just thought - maybe my personality is suited to a career that involves less confrontation?!

Now I'm in my lovely primary job, and just so focused on being happy with myself. Every time I get a complement or have a nice experience, I write it down in my book. I also visualise my 'success highlights' everyday and remember every positive thing that's ever happened in my life. I really suggest doing this. And I also have a little gemstone key chain that I've put on my bag - everytime I see it, it reminds me to say thank you for something I'm grateful for.

I've never been at the point where I wouldn't go out for more than a few days, but I've been at points where I couldn't see any reason to go on. My motto now is feal the fear and do it anyway. It's not how you do something (i.e nervously) but that you push yourself to do it. How are you guys doing? Have you tried things like this? Anything I can help with I'd be really happy to. And vice versa - I'm far from repaired, but definitely working towards it.

Like I said, I've been listening to Tony Robbins. One of the really useful things I did was to write down my thoughts about putting off going to social events, because I've spent my lifetime avoiding them. He tells you to write down the immediate pain you'd experience from doing that thing (the discomfort/panic of the event, the dread, seeing old friends etc.) - then you weigh this up against the long term pain, the reality of what will happen if you continue avoiding (In ten years, you'll still be an antisocial wreck, sat bitter and lonely at home wishing you hadn't missed out on millions of amazing experiences all because of the limitations of your own mind) - and finally, you write down what you would gain if you took action and stopped avoiding (step by step you might find your way to being comfortable in social situations, even to enjoying people's company, you might meet new people who change your lives, you might come to like yourself more, get career opportunities)

I really hope I'm not sounding patronising. But I've realised that whilst I always thought I was just shy, I was always a social phobic in hiding. As a teacher, I've always felt like a complete fraud. Someone pretending to be confident, but really pathetic at the core. Quite upsetting to think that I thought these things about myself only a few months ago. I've most past that now.

Just to continue rambling on - sorry. Aside from Tony, the best thing I do is my 'thoughts diary' - this is what my councillor had me doing from the start. You think of a social situation and write down the thought you had at the time eg. the neighbour is staring at my lips as I talk and clearly thinks I'm a freak, pathetic, someone so wierd they can't even talk to their neighbour. You write down how much you believe in this belief eg. 80% true. Then, you find evidence for this, eg. she looked at my lips when I was talking. Of course then, you must try and find another way of looking at it, find opposing evidence - imagine a friend told you this, what would you say to them - maybe she's not very sociable, it is the first time we've met afterall, maybe she's shy? Maybe she was in the middle of something. Maybe she didn't hear me, which is why she looked at my lips, she might be hard to hearing. Maybe most people look at someone's lips when they speak? And then, you re-rate your original belief - so now with all the evidence, it might be 50%. If you do this every time you have these social/panicked situations, I guarentee 100% that you will see some improvement within a month. Your brain will naturally start weighing up evidence and coming to a rational point of view, rather than immediately assuming some horrible negative crap!

Forget social anxiety, I typed so much I probably just gave myself repetetive strain injury. Good luck anyway guys! This is such a horrible and little-talked about condition, I'll do all I can to get myself out of it, and inspire others to do the same xxxx
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Old 08-30-2011  
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Default Re: Hello. I'm a teacher with social anxiety!

Welcome to the forums! It's nice to meet you, Missy. You must be very brave. I really admire that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlemissteacherlady View Post
Like I said, I've been listening to Tony Robbins. One of the really useful things I did was to write down my thoughts about putting off going to social events, because I've spent my lifetime avoiding them. He tells you to write down the immediate pain you'd experience from doing that thing (the discomfort/panic of the event, the dread, seeing old friends etc.) - then you weigh this up against the long term pain, the reality of what will happen if you continue avoiding (In ten years, you'll still be an antisocial wreck, sat bitter and lonely at home wishing you hadn't missed out on millions of amazing experiences all because of the limitations of your own mind) - and finally, you write down what you would gain if you took action and stopped avoiding (step by step you might find your way to being comfortable in social situations, even to enjoying people's company, you might meet new people who change your lives, you might come to like yourself more, get career opportunities)
That's brilliant. It's wonderful that you're happy with your job, too. I never really thought about how being busy can help, but I think you're completely right. I was having two or three conversations at one time last night, over MSN, and because I was working hard and listening to something on television at the same time, I wasn't really worrying about what I wrote or anything like that. Well, it's wonderful to have you here at SPW! Take care. : )
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Old 08-30-2011  
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Default Re: Hello. I'm a teacher with social anxiety!

Welcome to the forum!
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Old 08-30-2011  
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Default Re: Hello. I'm a teacher with social anxiety!

This is very inspiring and very encouraging to read

"There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face" - Shakespeare's Macbeth
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