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Brad The Therapist
Brad The Therapist, LCPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 549
Experience:  10 years of experience in working with youth and adults
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Hi. I think I have social anxiety. Starting on Zoloft, 25

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Hi. I think I have social anxiety. Starting on Zoloft, 25 mg once daily (started yesterday). It has really impacted me on the job and I have trouble speaking and breathing normally, not only when talking to my boss but virtually any of my peers. I work with elderly clients and with them I am fine most of the time. Just other people, and even outside my job. I find myself "rehearsing" what conversations may take place before I get to work etc, and by then I am getting so nervous I am doing breathing exercises to try and relax. Is there treatment for social phobia that will work?

Brad :

Thank you for your question. Before providing suggestions and recommendations, I have a few questions. First, when did this social phobia first start? What was happening in your life when this anxiety first started? Have you considered attending therapy?

Customer:

I am considering attending therapy. I think this has gone on most of my life when I think about it, I was teased in elementary school, but basically have functioned ok over the years. Happily married. Have a family history of anxiety and some social phobia, a brother and parents. My mom was addicted to Valium since I was in grade school.

Brad :

Thank you for your response.

Brad :

Most social phobia and anxiety occur because of unresolved issues that may have occurred earlier in ones life.

Brad :

It seems as though you have gone through a lot at a young age. What is your relationship like with your parents?

Customer:

I believe it. I did have experiences as a child. Am close to my dad. He was our protector, listened to me and took my siblings and I to museums and exploring (rock hounding). My mom made fun of me and I went to a Catholic school where I was made fun of and sometimes hit by the teachers. I was supposed to respect authority. My dad was the only one who stuck up for me but I didn't know at the time. They are both still living. A geriatric therapist recently told my sister she was surprised my mom wasn't institutionalized at some point in time. I am so nervous when I talk to others my voice breaks up, I freeze up.

Customer:

My brother is being treated for depression, my sister has early onset Parkinson's disease. She found out that my mother had a baby before she was married that was given up for adoption. This child was raised by my uncle who was an alcoholic. I only knew him as my cousin. He passed away five years ago.

Customer:

I used to be able to adapt in social situations better than I do now. I even enjoyed speaking in front of others. But we've had a rough few years (well, about 14 years), some moves, an adopted son that we had to go to Tough Love for, a bankruptcy, and now I am living 1900 miles from where we grew up and many of our close family members still are. We have to stay to build up some retirement before we can afford to move back. But I never spoke in staff meetings, even when I was in my 20's. I've always avoided having to talk to people to some extent. I am told I have a tick where my head jerks now and then. My husband said I've had it all my life but it took others to tell me (he thought I knew I guess and it didn't matter to him that it was there)

Brad :

I apologize for the disruption...i was having internet difficulties. Let me read your response and I will get back to you

Brad :

Based on your response, it seems as though you are going through a lot of stresses in your life. The good news is that you have a supportive husband and engage in different activities.

Brad :

Have you considered doing mindfulness activities such as body desensitization or yoga?

Brad :

Also what thoughts enter your head when you freeze up when speaking to your peers?

Brad :

Since you have started Zoloft, have you experienced any changes?

Brad :

I apologize for the questions, the responses to these will help me formulate recommendations

Customer:

Hi Brad. I just started the Zoloft yesterday. I think I did have it some years ago for awhile, all I can remember is that it seemed like I clenched my teeth more which I wonder if it is a side effect. I was not really getting strong therapy or help at that time and want to make some positive changes now. I am really interested in mindfullness activities. I don't know what body desensitization is but would like to learn. My sister does Yoga for her Parkinson's and it has helped, so am interested in that if it would help. For sure. And what thoughts? Mmmm....very self conscious. Wondering if my head is jerking (and it probably isn't unless I am just so nervous)... more like I am afraid to speak up, afraid to "rattle cages"... afraid of disapproval or them laughing at me...

Brad :

In terms of body desensitization, I urge you to type that in the search bar on youtube, and you will find videos on how to do it (that would be the easiest way for me to explain it).

Brad :

Thank you for sharing the thoughts that enter your mind when you try to speak to your peers. My recommendations for you on that is to write down on a piece of paper what you want to say before speaking up in a meeting to see if what you want to say makes sense. If it makes sense on paper, it will make sense vocally. In terms of feeling afraid of disapproval or them laughing at you, have they done that in the past?

Brad :

Please let me know if you are still there, as I will be getting offline soon.

Customer:

Thank you Brad.

Customer:

My current boss would laugh at my ideas as though they were sort of lame. He didn't take the time to listen. Otherwise my peers did not laugh. If you are off-line now I want to thank you and I will accept the answers you have given. Thank you so much for your time.

Customer:

I think I just felt echoes of the past when it comes to disapproval from peers. Not reality for today. In fact I sense they respect me. So it isn't reality, just my reaction and fears.

Customer:

I will look up body desensitization on youtube. Thank you. And will follow through, continue to move forward as I want to make these years I have good ones. Thank you again.

Brad :

You are very welcome.

Brad :

I hope you found me helpful. I would encourage you to obtain individual therapy if possible

Customer:

Will write things down as well. That's when my voice shows my stress. I have exercises from the Speech Therapist as well, relaxation therapy, etc. And thank you as well. Will look for some therapy. Appreciated.

Brad :

Also another suggestion is to write down the thoughts you have when you feel anxious. When you write down the thought, challenge the thought why it is not correct.

Brad :

So if you write down, they will make fun of me for this idea, write down next to it why the statement is not true

Customer:

oh! Yes! I will do that! I am telling you, I have good ideas, and I am quiet but creative, and not afraid to take on challenges. So this will be good.

Brad :

Great! I wish you the best of luck!

Brad :

Please let me know if you have any further questions

Customer:

Thanks Brad! I will sign off now., will press "accept" and can I ask for you in further chats if I want to? Know that I will take some positive steps!

Brad :

Yes, if you write my name "For Brad" in the beginning of the post, I will get an email that you are requesting me.

Customer:

okay, bye for now. Have a nice weekend!

Brad :

You too!

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