Below is feedback from a client I worked with who came to deal with his nerves about having to give a speech at his wedding. The feedback below highlights many hidden aspects to this problem. As the client points out in the run up to his wedding his fear was generalising out to normal social interactions and also leading to stress with his partner. All of this was cleared during therapy to such a point that the client described his wedding as,
“……the most magical and memorable days of my life and I can actually say that I enjoyed every minute of it……….”
I just thought I’d write with some feedback on the work we did with my public speaking phobia in preparation for my wedding.
Everything went amazingly well. I was a little apprehensive the night before and had some jitters in the morning but they largely evaporated when I arrived at the hotel to change. After changing and before going to the wedding venue I met up with some of my family in the hotel reception we were staying at. Everyone was impressed with how calm and cool I was. In fact I
think my sister was a little annoyed by this and was hoping to get some perverse satisfaction out of seeing me nervous. When she realised I was completely calm about everything she kept repeatedly saying, “Oh … I’m really, really, REALLY nervous. It’s such as daunting thing, isn’t it.” I took this as her attempt to try and unbalance me but I sort of found it amusing that she would be frustrated by my calmness. I also found it a little sad that she felt the need to try and make someone nervous on their
wedding day. I took great joy in saying, “That’s a shame, because I feel really, really good. Is there anything I can do for you?” 🙂
When I got to the venue and saw everyone I just wanted to jump out of the car and go and have fun, which is what I did. My mother in-law trembled up to me and said in a shaking voice about putting my button hole on. With shaking, trembling hands she fumbled about putting my button hole on my jacket. I actually felt for her as she seemed to be going through agony.
I secretly enjoyed being the centre of attention for the day, like a very minor celeb. The ceremony itself was really enjoyable. As my wife walked down the isle I could see that she appeared to be vibrating. When I took her hand in mine I could feel that she was shaking at an incredibly fast rate. My focus then was on calming her down a bit, by being centred and calm myself. I would never have thought that it would be me who is the calm one calming others down.
We went for a drive in the fancy car, and did the wedding photos. Once or twice I’d get a little apprehensive about the thought of giving my speech but I’d rub a couple of the EFT points under the pretext of scratching an itch and that kept it under control. When it came time for the speeches I found the whole thing a bit surreal. If you remember, my problem was that the closer it would get for me to speak in public the fear would build and build as the unavoidable draw nearer and by the time I had to speak I’d be in utter panic. I found it surreal because I remember thinking that I’d be speaking in a few minutes and I’d normally be nervous at that point, but I wasn’t. I kept waiting for the nerves to kick in but they didn’t. I found that a bit weird – in a good way. I listened to the father of the bride who was really nervous. I found out later that he’d forgotten his speech and he was having to make it up off the top of his head. I felt for him and once again found myself trying to will him to be calm. When it came time for me to speak that was really surreal. I stood up and took a second to look around the room and smile at everyone. I was immediately struck by the goodwill and friendliness of everyone there. It actually felt quite nurturing. I felt that it didn’t matter what I said and that people would accept me whatever happened. I started speaking and immediately people started laughing and cheering. I wasn’t nervous as in fear but it was very, very intense. Perhaps ‘exhilarated’ is a more accurate word to use. When I sat down, and for some time afterwards I was on a bit of a high from it. Contrast this with how I was before where I would experience such sheer animal panic that my kidneys would hurt!
People kept mentioning throughout the night at how confidently they had perceived I’d delivered my speech. They said it in such a matter-of-fact way they seemed to think it was a given that I’d be that way. The best man’s speech was brilliant, and he’s reasonably familiar with speaking in front of groups, but he was a little nervous. The best man has more pressure speech-wise anyway. People said that because my speech had been so confidently delivered it made the best man seem a little more nervous than he really was by contrast.
So, even though we perhaps had some more work to do I can’t think of how it could have gone any better on the actual day. This problem had started to generalize unhelpfully into other areas of my life and it was starting to become a bit of a social phobia. The few months before the wedding were just awful for me as all I could see was this impending traumatic, painful, tortuous, fearful speech and all I wanted to do was to find a way out of doing it. As I mentioned to you, I started to question whether I wanted to get married, and whether I really loved my partner or not. Our relationship suffered and our connection seemed to becoming less and less. This was me withdrawing. I half joked with friends that maybe the reason why so many people get divorced is that the stress of getting married destroys the relationship, and by the time they’re married it’s irretrievably damaged. I actually felt this was possibly what was going to happen. I know someone who was a pretty heavy drinker, who got so stressed in the months leading up to his wedding that he tried to use booze to deal with it and ended up becoming a full blown alcoholic from which he never recovered. I felt the same thing was happening to me, not with the alcohol but that it was seriously damaging the relationship.
After my first session with you my wife noticed a difference in me almost immediately. Just in the way I behaved towards her and my mood in general. Every day in between sessions I’d tap on stuff By the week of the wedding our relationship was back to how it was before and we were actually getting excited and looking forward to ‘big day’. The day itself was the most magical and memorable days of my life and I can actually say that I enjoyed every minute of it. Everyone had a great time and the whole event seemed to have an energy of ‘fun’ running through every part of it. What had been perceived by me as an impending nightmare turned out to be a dream come true.
I have noticed other things. The fear that was starting to generalize into a social phobia has gone. I’m more comfortable and relaxed around people again. I feel that I’m enjoying life in general a bit more than I was. I feel I’m more accepting of myself, which in turn has made me more accepting of others. I know I have faults and I know I want to correct them, but it doesn’t mean I’m a worthless person. I know I’m a worthwhile person who has idiosyncrasies. My relationship with my wife is great. It feels like I’ve got my best friend back.
So, I thought I’d let you know how helpful you were and how valuable your services were to me. I actually think there is more to do as it seems to be attached to many other things but there’s no rush now and I can do a little bit each day. Thanks again for your expert help. Seeing you has also altered and changed how I self-apply EFT. I am more liking the idea of free-forming around the ‘issue’ as I’m tapping. To me this helps me access and keep in touch with the perturbance much more powerfully than merely repeating a reminder phrase that loses it’s power and meaning for me fairly quickly. Also, it seems that it helps me adjust and follow the perturbance as it shifts with the tapping.
A little side note; during the honeymoon my wife hurt her back. She took painkillers but it was clear it was hurting her a lot. On a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 is the point she should perhaps seek medical help she said the pain was at a 7. Within 10 minutes the pain had gone completely. Not even a twinge. I know it shouldn’t but this kind of thing still sort of surprises me. My wife was even more surprised. For days afterwards she’d spontaneously comment on how she couldn’t get over how good her back felt. She’d check for pain, find there wasn’t any there and be amazed. She’s always been accepting of the ‘weird’ things I’m into and knows that they are genuine and have substance. However, she’s beginning to become open to EFT as something she might be able to use herself.
Anyway, I trust everything is well with you and thanks once again for sorting me out.
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