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Public Speaking Anxiety Symptoms
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An_250498 posted:
I am terrified of public speaking! I have been in counseling for a couple years now and have overcome many fears and challenges, yet this is something I still hesitant to do. Yes, I know the only way to ever be able to deal with this fear and move forward is to actually do it.

Problem is, I experience an wide array of physical symptoms when I have tried to get up in front of a class, everything from pounding heart, sweaty hands, rapid speech, nausea, shaking, and feeling out of control. And it has really been about 10 years since I've actually had to give a presentation. So, I'm have many years to build this up into being an even more horrible experience in my mind. Now, at almost 30 years of age, I'm in my senior year of college and am set to graduate in just over 2 months. I have skipped a couple presentations before without it impacting my grade too much. Now, I don't have that luxury anymore. I have 2 presentations in the next couple months that I have to do. Thankfully they are group presentation, but still.

So, what to do? I go to a counselor and he has recommended that I ask a doctor about prescribing Inderal. Has anyone here had any experiencing this taking Inderal for this type of situation? And I don't have a primary care physician, so if I make an appointment with a doctor I don't know and that doesn't know me, will they be likely to listen to me or be hesitant to prescribe anything? Is it worth me trying to go to a doctor? Also, aside from any medication, I could definitely use some hints, tips, and suggestions for making it through this. I know a lot of people share the fear of public speaking. I'm just tired of it completely paralyzing me and know that I can't skip doing it this time. UGH!
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Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
I can absolutely understand how you must be feeling because I've heard many people experience exactly what you are describing and it is terribly painful for them. You're also correct in that not facing this demon has allowed it to become even more of an impediment than it needs to be. So now is the time to do something about it.

Did you discuss with your counselor the fact that you do not have a regular physician and ask for a possible referral? The medication that is being suggested is used for what is called performance anxiety even though its primary use is to control blood pressure. What it does also is it relaxes the muscles of the body which brings a feeling of calm.

Have you ever tried relaxation breathing? If you haven't, I would suggest that you look in our Tips column and view the relaxation breathing video tutorial I have placed there. It is also on my YouTube channel (drpat22) and you can view it there. We also have a beach scene with calming music that may be helpful. I would suggest that you begin to use this technique immediately, possibly several times a day and to allow yourself to be in situations where you'd normally be hesitant to speak. Prior to being in this situation, use the relaxation breathing and also use positive self talk. There is a WebMD video on this which I recorded and which is also on my YouTube channel. Both of these techniques together can be quite helpful.

I know that graduation must be important to you, so keep that thought in mind and tell yourself that this is something you can do and once it's done you will have won this very important battle.

I hope these suggestions are useful and that you complete your requirements and go on to pursue whatever activity you planned for this degree.
 
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Patricia Farrell, PhD replied to Viktoriya7588's response:
I have asked you not to include your clinic advertisements on this board and yet you persist. I have to wonder what the reason would be that you would persist in this form of questionable ethics. I am a licensed psychologist in Florida and I don't think your actions are appropriate.
 
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Viktoriya7588 replied to Patricia Farrell, PhD's response:
Hello Patricia,

I have never received any emails from you, webmd, nor anyone else in the community regarding my personalized signature. I am a little confused why you would be so offended by it or why my ethics would be questioned. I believe that individuals suffering from anxiety should be allowed to have knowledge about the various treatments/resources that are available for them.
Viktoriya Abramova
Clinical Director
Anxiety Treatment Clinic
915 Middle River Drive, Suite 320,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
www.AnxietyTreatmentClinic
anxietytreatmentclinic@gmail.com
 
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Patricia Farrell, PhD replied to Viktoriya7588's response:
I did respond to one of your posts and, frankly, if you don't see the problem here I would have to wonder why that is. You are offering a service and that's pretty clear.
 
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ScaredButImproving replied to Patricia Farrell, PhD's response:
Dr. Farrell,

Thank you for your response. Yes, graduation is indeed very important to me. It's taken me many years to get to this point and I can't believe it's actually about to happen. What I've found, though, is that this semester is bringing on a ton of anxiety and worries, more than I have experienced in quiet a while. There are so many things I need to get in order; I need to get a professional resume together, apply for jobs, work on interviewing skills. And this semester is incredibly challenging with the course load I have, so I've been feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

I'm familiar with relaxation breathing, but haven't been practicing that. I'll definitely check out the videos you suggested to help me with it, as it has been a while since I have actually done it. Thanks for the suggestion.

This semester has been full of negative self-talk because I am overwhelmed. Every test, quiz, assignment, project I feel like incompetent and am messing everything up. I do have some performance anxiety when it comes to test as well. But I feel like I don't know what I'm doing with anything I turn in anymore. I kept thinking I was failing a couple classes because I had several assignments that I hadn't gotten grades back for yet. Turns out I actually have 2 A's and 3 B's and am doing well in all the classes.

I don't know whether to try to go to a doctor to get a prescription or just try to tough it out. I know that I need to quit looking at the presentation with all the dread and apprehension that I have had about them previously. It's a good opportunity for me take on a challenge that I have been avoiding for years.

Again, thanks for your response.


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