At age 39 I began to realize that I had some serious social issues. I didn’t realize that for years I’d been feeling fear and anxiety, to the point of panic attacks, without knowing it. I always thought I was just weird and different, that this is just who I am. And I kept it hidden. Then I started piecing things together…

Here are several links I’ve found useful in my own quest for self understanding. It started with Social Anxiety Disorder which 1 in 10 have experienced at some point in their lives. I watched videos on youtube about this and found these sites were very informative:

Social Anxiety Support
WebMD
National Institute of Mental Health

Then I discovered www.liberationinmind.com which has many, many useful pages. Here’s the big hits for me (I included the “subscriber” pages so you don’t have to bother subscribing):

Self soothing acupuncture tapping (done by yourself with your fingers, no needles)
Online hypnotherapy sessions (I’ve used and had great benefit from the Social Anxiety set).

And then came the Highly Sensitive Person trait. 1 in 5 people can be categorized this way (like being blonde or having blue eyes, this is a characteristic not a disorder). This is Elaine Aron’s (the woman who coined the term and pioneered numerous books on the topic) site, including a simple self-test:

The Highly Sensitive Person

Yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques (pranayama) were and continue to be powerful healing and centering tools for me. If these terms are new to you they are well worth looking into. I find them to be fantastic preventative medicine, they keep me from losing my center.

I also found comedy improv to be extremely beneficial (and frightening!). I joined Dad’s Garage Improv Classes and found comfort in the first class when I discovered more than half of my classmates were also there to explore their anxieties. As the weeks continued I found greater comfort and confidence in my words and actions. Now I love the classes and look forward to them every week, so much so that I’m continuing to Level 2!

And to put myself into new and different social and physical situations, I started going to Friday night Contra Dances at the Clarkston Community Center. Maybe I’ll see you there some Friday night?

As of now I’m diving in to Elaine’s books, I’ll post more here as I learn more down the road. I hope that this information can serve as a springboard for you. This is not a publicly available web page, I sent this to you, for you.