Are you tired of being held hostage by your anxiety, and avoiding situations to avoid discomfort? If you’re already on a medication for anxiety, or if you’d like to avoid medications altogether, then it would be helpful to do something every day that scares you.
Here’s a secret: I really didn’t want to do it!
My voice has never been something I considered my strength. I've been told that I sound "chill" at best and “monotone” at worst. The few times I listen to my voice on a recording, I want to forget I ever did! Yes, writing has always been much more my forte, which is one of the reasons blogging is fun and appealing to me.
Growing up in my family, a good child was a child who spoke only when spoken to. In my mother's (Asian) culture, you are guaī (obedient, good) if you quietly listen to your elders. I’m sure some of you from similar backgrounds can relate.
Being an introvert by nature, I was more than happy to oblige. In my youth, I didn't realize the possible disadvantages of this in American culture. When roadblocks to professional and personal development started to pop up in my twenties, I decided to join Toastmasters International. This proved to be immensely helpful...but that’s a story for another day!
When I was contacted, I was asked to do an interview. We had established that it would not be a video recording. However, after a few days, the interviewer asked if I’d be willing to have my voice recorded for a podcast. Quiet inner panic ensued.
Interview topics sent to me ahead of time
Helping MentalHealthIO develop their podcast
Reducing mental health stigma
Inspiring high school students (and beyond) to pursue psychiatry
Providing COIVD-related anxiety relief
I wanted to get the experience so that I’d know what being on a podcast is like, and any future experiences or similar would be smoother and easier.
Have an embarrassing voice recording of me floating around on the Internet forever!!!
I don’t believe I’m exaggerating when I say “forever”.
HOWEVER, I quickly realized that the reach of this episode would likely be limited, and buried under tons of other more recent podcasts that are sure to come 😉
I also remembered all the progress I had made over the years in Toastmasters, which taught me over and over again that discomfort usually signals a growth opportunity.
So I went for it!
I learned that things came to me much more naturally and easily then I expected. This was without much advance preparation. I thought about the questions, but that was it.
I actually sounded a lot more confident and professional on the recording than I expected.
I’m no longer hesitant to be on podcasts!
This, my friends, is what we call exposure therapy lite!
Sure, I wasn’t debilitated by anxiety, but I did have a lot of preconceptions about podcasts and my speaking abilities. Preconceptions that were proven wrong by simply doing the thing.
Obviously (I hope), I’m not advocating for anything illegal, dangerous, or damaging. I’lm talking about calculated risks. Things that you might try and either won’t go so well, or will! But you won’t know until you try.
If you’re already cringing, thinking, “I can’t face the pain…I’m just going to stay in bed for the rest of the afternoon” or “Nah, let me finish this Netflix marathon”, then prepare for your anxiety about whatever it is to grow bigger and scarier. Which type of pain are you willing to live with?
I’ll just leave you to ponder those questions. You don’t have to answer them now, but they are nourishing food for thought!
Disclaimer: All blog content is intended for information only, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Using, accessing, or browsing this website does not create a physician-patient relationship between you and Dr. Masifi or any site contributors.