“I fell into a core belief that I’m fundamentally different and defective and that I have nothing in common with those I perceive to be ‘normal.’”
I am a 33-year-old transgender white woman. I have struggled with depression and anxiety, including social anxiety, throughout my life. I had gender issues as early as I can remember as well as ADHD, and throughout my childhood I was bullied and excluded. In particular, I fell into a core belief that I’m fundamentally different and defective and that I have nothing in common with those I perceive to be “normal.”
I began transitioning when I was 26 and began living full-time as my authentic self when I was 27, and through therapy and progress in my transition, I was able to address many issues and negative core beliefs that had previously hurt me, particularly gender identity issues. I was able to build a new life for myself, land a decent job and even get married.
However, my social anxiety remained and greatly hindered me professionally as well as personally. I struggled with asserting myself, admitting to mistakes, asking for help and socializing with my cisgender and heterosexual people. At my job, I quickly became isolated and my social anxiety poisoned the working relationship with my supervisor. As things grew worse, it became clear that I needed to address my social anxiety. I ended up being fired on the same day as my first group session, and I walked into my first session with a box full of belongings from my desk.
During group, I learned many new techniques and strategies for lessening my social anxiety. I found the cognitive restructuring and mindfulness approaches immediately helpful, and I continue to use many of those techniques now. Using experiments, I was able to become much more comfortable at parties and professional networking events.
During the course of group, my confidence noticeably improved. My job search went from hearing nothing for months to 2-3 interviews per week. Almost immediately after the last session, I was offered a job at an investment consulting firm and I started there a couple weeks later. I’m already getting positive reviews from my supervisor and coworkers. I honestly believe that the social anxiety group was crucial to my success.
Do you have a personal story of learning to overcome your social anxiety you wish to share?
If you are a former client of an NSAC-affiliated clinic or clinician, we welcome you to share your story if you believe doing so will be helpful for you. Sharing your story—or not doing so—will have no impact whatsoever on any future services you may seek from any NSAC-affiliated clinic or clinician.
You may put your story in writing, audio recording, or video. Discuss any of the following: how social anxiety affected your life; what you learned in therapy that was most helpful for you in lessening your social anxiety; how your life has changed as a result of your work.
NSAC reserves the right to decide which stories will be posted or not based on how helpful we believe they will be to other consumers. NSAC also reserves the right to edit for length and clarity, but we will get your approval on any changes before posting your story. All stories will be posted anonymously. Once posted, you retain the right to have the story removed from our website at any time.