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Does the idea of meeting and speaking to new people cause you to freeze with terror?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million people suffer from anxiety disorders and a young woman named Morgan visits The Doctors to share her story and how she overcame hers.
Morgan reveals she has been diagnosed with a social and non-verbal disorder, which causes her to feel nervous while in public and makes talking to strangers extremely daunting. She says often people thinks she’s making it up or assume that her fears are simply in her head.
“I can’t be normal or have a normal life,” she says of her social anxiety.
The Doctors brought in behavioral expert Gary Coxe to help Morgan.
After working with and assessing her, he determined she could benefit a great deal if he helped Morgan attempt to re-think her situation.
“She’s playing a story and a recording in her mind that causes all these [anxieties],” he says. “So my job is to go in and help her re-wire that and transform that thinking.”
Through an exercise of taking Morgan to a public space and forcing her to interact with strangers, she was able face her fears. Additionally, before heading out, he had Morgan identify and answer the following:
- Why I want to change this behavior?
- What are her empowering beliefs?
- What are these new feelings and experiences?
- What are your limited beliefs?
Following a trip to the super market where she accomplished a list of tasks that would have normally sent her into a spiral, Gary says of Morgan, “She’s learning to lead her feelings, as opposed to being a slave to them.” Morgan used the answers to the questions above as her guide when feeling uneasy or unsure of the situation.
Elated with the results, Morgan tells The Doctors, “I feel a lot more confident than before… it’s a new outlook on life. I hope that anyone out there that faces some of the challenges I faced, I hope that they can look at my story and know that it’s OK and that you’ll be OK.”
When asked about her future, she reveals she has big plans that include being out in the world.
“[I want to] get out and get a job and socialize more with friends and not depend on social media to have friends and relationships. I’m just excited for the future,” she adds.