I’m Fighting Social Anxiety Through Podcasting

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Photo by Chase Chappell on Unsplash

It’s all in the mind

The Talking Cure was a term first documented well over a hundred years ago. It was used to describe a method of treatment applied to a patient by Austrian physician, Josef Breuer.

In the latter decades of the 19th century, Breuer worked with a patient called Bertha Pappenheim. She was suffering from quite a considerable list of symptoms, but their cause was almost unknown.

Breuer put to use a practice he’d subsequently come to call the ‘cathartic method’, talking at length with Bertha about her symptoms. Later, he’d have the opportunity to pass his wisdom on to another great mind, Sigmund Freud.

Freud is often considered one of the founding fathers of modern psychology and psychiatry. He essentially pioneered psychoanalysis, an extremely effective method used to treat psychological conditions through the act of talking.

Today, this ‘talking therapy’ makes up a huge portion of the treatment used to combat conditions such as anxiety and depression. Although, it’s more commonly know these days as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

The modern-day method

I’ve been living with social anxiety and bouts of depression for more than a decade. While I’ve personally found some areas to be manageable, the ability to conquer my anxiety has always eluded me.

Honestly, I get the most uncomfortable symptoms when I’m forced to interact with strangers, or mingle with a crowd. I get incredibly hot, my heart rate skyrockets, and I stumble heavily over my words.

Take a job interview, for example. I can have every single answer prepared and rehearsed beforehand, and the second I enter the room my mind blanks — I can barely string a sentence together.

I become visibly distressed when I’m anxious, with my face becoming red and my eyes welling up. I fidget an incredible amount, which is likely my ADHD cracking through to the surface.

And yet, when I talk on a podcast, I feel confident, eloquent, and knowledgeable. I’m an entirely different person, and I own the microphone.

It’s the way things are now, right? The current circumstances and our increasingly digital landscape means that even traditional talking therapies are carried out online.

This is my version of the modern method — I sit before a microphone and pour out my thoughts and opinions. I can hold a conversation without any issues, I can project myself, and I feel like people want to listen to me.

How I got there

I started my first podcast with my close friend, back in July of 2020. It was a weekly gaming podcast, dedicated to discussing the latest news, reviews, and announcements from the gaming world.

We enjoyed it so much that we starting producing a second podcast at the end of the year. This time, we created The Vault-Cast, a podcast focused entirely around Fallout, a popular video game franchise.

Within days of starting the podcast, I was hooked. I was writing, producing, hosting, editing, and promoting it on every corner of the internet.

It was such an incredible feeling and people were making such kind comments about our content. I’d never felt more confident — people were hearing me speak and they liked it.

I felt compelled to make as much content as I could, with new podcast ideas brewing almost weekly. Although, I’ve remained true to my origins, and Loot Before You Leap and The Vault-Cast remain my only productions as I write this.

The next level

At the moment, my goal is to create a podcast that involves discussions with all kinds of guests. I’d love to be able to invite anyone to talk with me about absolutely anything, with a particular focus on their life stories.

Think of Piers Morgan’s Life Stories; I’ll sit with a stranger once a week and just listen to their story, and probe into their past. It’s so compelling to me, and the concept of it is genuinely exciting.

Is that the ultimate achievement for someone who has been plagued with social anxiety for over a decade? To invite conversation with strangers, and to walk willingly into the unknown without my heart exploding?

I’m going to give it a go.

I’ll report back with my findings in a little while.

Thanks for reading.

Written by

Writer | Podcaster | Motivator | Big Thinker

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