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Public Speaking Panic Attacks

#21
I have had this fear too, especially in school making presentations before a class.


But when I got older, I found there were work situations when I had to speak or deliver a message in front of a large group. I found when I knew the purpose of my speaking was to educate them on something they needed to know, then I didn't feel nervous in the same way. I think that is because in my mind the focus is on them, interpreting and receiving the information, versus the focus being on me and what I am all about.
 

Kosta

Junior Member
#22
This was one of my greatest fears, and I still have one part of it in my mind. Of course, I am totally relaxed when speaking with a small group of a few people, but this fear applies to bigger groups with fifty, hundred or more people in it. However, according to official information, almost all have similar fears and not just people with anxiety problems. There are some courses that offer training for overcoming the fear of public appearance. I am not sure how much useful this training would be and does it really help, but in absence of other options, it might be worth paying attention.
 
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#23
I learned that a lot of my problem with public speaking was negative self-talk. What if this happens, or that happens, what will they think, etc. Thankfully, I no longer care what most people think, but at the time when I had to give numerous speeches and presentations, I was able to persevere with lots of practice, role playing, deep breathing, positive self-talk, and especially, props. I was never able to do my presentations in the dark, but I found that having some of the group's attention focused on handouts, slides, etc., eased my anxiety somewhat, and gave me enough of a cushion that I was able to get through the task. I also found that having a brief question and answer session at the end was usually helpful, since it was more interactive, rather than having all of the focus be on me.
 
#24
It happens to everybody. You will get through these moments where you don't know if your going to be ok. You got to roll the dice because your life depends on it. You want your life to get better then roll the dice.
 

2deidara7

Junior Member
#25
In my college, we also have this Speech Communication class, which I failed twice. The reason is because every time we had an activity or a practical exam that involved speaking in front of my classmates, I always skip class - as in ALWAYS. I really don't like speaking in front of many people and knowing that their attention is on me. I start to panic and I feel very embarrassed when it happens. I don't want people to know that I'm going through that's why I'd rather skip class during those times. Until now, I still haven't taken that course subject again. I really wish to cure this fear of mine so that I can soon take that class again.
 

yeppeo

Junior Member
#26
I hate public speaking. I took a degree in science and I had a couple of oral presentations and the last one was to present my thesis. I screwed up so bad I had a bad grade, considering all the work I did, and it was confirmed by the judge that the bad result was because of my presentation "lack of skills". But I can't avoid being red until I end up stuttering the words and I basically lose the way into way until I don't even know what I'm doing. The anxiety before it didn't help; I couldn't even eat thinking about it and lost a few pounds actually. I wish I knew the trick to stop being as nervous as I usually am in these circumstances.
 

deanyd_17

Junior Member
#27
Is there any more information you can give us Marshall? Specifically in regards to the number of people in the groups you're speaking to? Is it a large group or a small one? More than ten people? One thing you may try is getting out into a public setting, like a party or other social gathering, and putting really stretching your public speaking skills there. Try talking with new people and about things that you're sometimes uncomfortable talking about. (Politics, religion, etc.)
 
#28
However' date=' according to official information, almost all have similar fears and not just people with anxiety problems.[/quote']
It's so true! Something to remember when we talk about our mental illnesses - some things we might consider "symptoms" could be "normal!" It should provide us some relief when we realize some problems are common even to people not dealing with mental illness. Of course, our mental illnesses may exacerbate what others might find a minor problem.


Last December, my sister got married. I was just a lowly bridesmaid, but on the morning of the wedding, circumstances happened and I was promoted to maid-of-honor.


I wrote a toast in the dressing room right before I was to walk down the aisle. I didn't even have time to be nervous; I was just so proud that I had written something in that fifteen minutes. I read the whole thing word-for-word from handwritten pages torn out of one of the other bridesmaid's journal. As I read, I had to juggle the notebook and the mic, and it was awkward. But I was so proud of myself for stepping up to the plate, I didn't care.


In the end, I awarded myself a "You did pretty good for the circumstances" gold star! And you can, too!
 
#29
I used to teach students how to speak in public. It's not that difficult when you know how. First, you have to fill up with the subject matter until it literally comes out of your ears. Read up on the subject. Watch videos on the subject. Follow up on the latest news about the subject. Then jot down the points. Stand in front of a full-length mirror at home. Tell yourself (the one in the mirror) what you know about the subject. Get a buddy. Go down to the beach. Stand near where the waves rush up the shore. Have your buddy stand twenty paces away. Tell him what you know about the subject. Yes, you will have to shout to be heard but that's the whole point of the exercise. Do this many times until you can talk about the subject at the drop of a hat, so to speak. Then when it's time to do the actual thing, it's just so matter-of-course.
 

clair02

Junior Member
#30
This is one of the first things that I had to deal with because I have a career as a life-coach, speaker and author. I knew I would have to get over my fear of speaking in public before anything else. It really isn't as hard as some may think to train yourself to become more comfortable in front of large groups of people because it all starts in the mind. 
 

kgord

Junior Member
#31
I think that this is one of the more common anxieties to be clear. I mean whole clubs like toastmasters for instance, are dedicated to helping people cope with this kind of anxiety. I think there is something about standing in front of a group and being vulnerable that scares a lot of people. Fortunately, there is help out there for those who suffer from this kind of anxiety. I think seeking out groups that can help is one of the ways to deal with this overwhelming anxiety.
 
#32
I always seek to avoid having to speak to a formal audience because I find that I am usually at a loss for words and may struggle to make a suitable presentation. However, if I am in an informal conversation, I find that I am able to hold my own and put forward convincing arguments.
 
#33
In the past year I began suffering from "panic attacks" when talking in front of a group. The problem is I have to do this all of the time at work. When I was younger, I use to turn red in front of a group. Somehow I gained confidence for public speaking and seemed to get over it. I went into a job where I had to run or participate in meetings and give small lectures. I was actually liking it.. until one day, I had a panic attack in the middle of a speech. It was the worse day of my life... ever since then I have had panic attacks when talking in groups. This isn't good as I have purposely redirected my job to not having to talk in groups if I can help it... I have a feeling it comes from self-esteem and confidence issues... this psychological stuff is horrible... any ideas?
In high school, I had absolutely no problem giving speeches in front of the class.  It was a Public Speaking class, so of course I knew we would be giving speeches.  I was very popular in high school, I don't know for sure if that was the reason I wasn't afraid at all of going up there all by myself and speaking in front of crowds.  But now that I look back on it, I do remember always volunteering to go first.  I wonder if perhaps subconsciously I was a little afraid of public speaking, and by going first, it was my way of "getting it over with" so I could just sit back afterwards and relax while everyone else still had to give their speeches.  In college, something happened where I couldn't give a speech if my life depended on it.  I would actually drop classes if I found out a speech would be required at the end of the semester.  But in college, you don't really know everyone as well as you did in high school.  There's a lot less comfort and support from friends.  I just stayed away from any type of speech-required class, even if we only had to give one.  I was outta there.  :laugh:


My advice to you involving your job -- and this is just my opinion:  Honestly, I would find a way to never have to give another speech again, if public speaking is a main source of panic attacks for you.  I know many might see this as "running away from your problems", but I've had two different doctors tell me the same thing.  If you have a source of stress in your life that is putting your mental and physical health at risk, by all means, FIND A WAY TO GET AWAY FROM IT.  Simply walk away, or find a way to walk away.  I realize public speaking is a part of your job, and it already seems as if you are finding ways around the public speaking for now.  I think that's good.  Speak to your boss if necessary, explain your situation.  If you are a good worker and they value you as an employee, but you suffer from anxiety that stops you from performing this one certain task, then that really isn't your fault.  And it doesn't make you a bad employee. Panic/Anxiety is an illness.  Your boss or bosses will either understand, or they will let you go.  But either way, you need to free yourself from this stressor in your life.  When it comes to your health and mental well-being, it's okay to be a little selfish.  It took me many years of therapy to learn this.  That's what I would do in this situation.  Good luck to you, and remember to take care of yourself first. 
 
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#34
I remember while I joined the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) in high school way back 1970. We were trained to be a good communicator through for it is a prerequisite for a would-leader. And public speaking was one of the training we had to undergo. We were given enough time to prepare for anything we could share for a our 3-minute talk. It was my turn to give a talk. I was terribly perspiring. I didn't know when to start though I had already prepared a written talk for that matter. I didn't know on how to overcome that nervousness. I was already panicking. Well, as it was suggested to begin a talk, you should take a deep breath and start talking as if you are telling a story to a friend, to a family member or to your close friend. I did it. My nervousness subsided. Now I am always ready and I know what to do in case I am asked to give an impromptu speech. 
 
#35
In high school, I had absolutely no problem giving speeches in front of the class. It was a Public Speaking class, so of course I knew we would be giving speeches. I was very popular in high school, I don't know for sure if that was the reason I wasn't afraid at all of going up there all by myself and speaking in front of crowds. But now that I look back on it, I do remember always volunteering to go first. I wonder if perhaps subconsciously I was a little afraid of public speaking, and by going first, it was my way of "getting it over with" so I could just sit back afterwards and relax while everyone else still had to give their speeches. In college, something happened where I couldn't give a speech if my life depended on it. I would actually drop classes if I found out a speech would be required at the end of the semester. But in college, you don't really know everyone as well as you did in high school. There's a lot less comfort and support from friends. I just stayed away from any type of speech-required class, even if we only had to give one. I was outta there. :laugh:


My advice to you involving your job -- and this is just my opinion: Honestly, I would find a way to never have to give another speech again, if public speaking is a main source of panic attacks for you. I know many might see this as "running away from your problems", but I've had two different doctors tell me the same thing. If you have a source of stress in your life that is putting your mental and physical health at risk, by all means, FIND A WAY TO GET AWAY FROM IT. Simply walk away, or find a way to walk away. I realize public speaking is a part of your job, and it already seems as if you are finding ways around the public speaking for now. I think that's good. Speak to your boss if necessary, explain your situation. If you are a good worker and they value you as an employee, but you suffer from anxiety that stops you from performing this one certain task, then that really isn't your fault. And it doesn't make you a bad employee. Panic/Anxiety is an illness. Your boss or bosses will either understand, or they will let you go. But either way, you need to free yourself from this stressor in your life. When it comes to your health and mental well-being, it's okay to be a little selfish. It took me many years of therapy to learn this. That's what I would do in this situation. Good luck to you, and remember to take care of yourself first.
If you're first suffering from panic attacks and/or cannot function on a daily basis because of your anxiety, this might be good advice. But if you're at least semi-functional on a day-to-day basis and are avoiding public speaking to avoid feeling anxiety, you will find that, in time, your life will become more and more restricted as the anxiety starts to permeate other facets of your life. That's the parasitic nature of panic disorder. If you have public speaking anxiety, even start by just reading about public speaking anxiety. Accept the fear you feel by just reading about it. It might be a good idea to find a CBT-based psychologist who can help you deal with anticipatory thoughts of anxiety stemming from public speaking, or at the very least get a CBT workbook to fill out. But the absolute worst thing you can do is to avoid doing public speaking and simultaneously not do anything to try and get better from it. Panic disorder is parasitic in nature, and the only way to stop it from leaching onto other parts of your life is to face it head on, even if it's with giving yourself allowances.

EDIT: I would like to mention that I'm writing this as someone who gets severe anxiety when speaking with people at work, in meetings, presentations, etc. The only difference being, I am starting to embrace the anxiety that comes with it. It wasn't always like this.
 
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