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Anxiety and the formation of speech

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Old 09-26-2004, 03:32 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: PA
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SeeSaw99 HB User
Anxiety and the formation of speech

Hi everyone--

I am wondering if anyone can relate to my situation. I'm a graduate student, but my social anxiety really is hurting me. The problem is that in class, or at work, I often go blank on what to say when put on the spot to talk or when I have to give a presentation. It's like I'm focused on the process of speaking itself and then I stumble badly and often sound completely unintelligent. Can anyone identify with this? It's like I totally lose my ability to think of things to say because I know people are focused on me--and I end up drawing a complete blank (almost as if the speech-forming part of my brain went on vacation). I'm afraid I might be the only one like this, but I thought I'd post my feelings here. Any support/advice on this would be really helpful.

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Old 09-26-2004, 09:10 AM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2003
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bluetooth HB User
Re: Anxiety and the formation of speech

wow im so like that!

its like you know what you want to say and youve rehearsed it but you get anxious with everyones attention on you and you go blank!
im the exact same and hate public speaking.

this always happens to me in most situations where im not familiar with the people or dont know them enough. i think this kinda thing works better if you have to speak with people you like or infront of friends

i just imagine no ones looking at me and smile alot. try to remember they are only focusing on your presentation and not you, it might seem hard but everytime you say that in your head, those anxious vibes are being replaced everytime you say it cos ur thinking bout something else
thats what i think and thats how i explain it, despite if you comprehend or not

good luck!!! you'll be alright, chew gum if it helps.

Old 09-26-2004, 02:35 PM   #3
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Location: melbourne, vic, aust
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hry33 HB Userhry33 HB User
Re: Anxiety and the formation of speech

to see saw it will help if you learn how to relax and to let go of excess stress

when speaking its important to not listen to the sound of your own voice as this will always cause problems

Old 10-05-2004, 08:53 PM   #4
Romantic Hero
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Romantic Hero HB User
Re: Anxiety and the formation of speech

Originally Posted by hry33
to see saw it will help if you learn how to relax and to let go of excess stress

when speaking its important to not listen to the sound of your own voice as this will always cause problems

I'm having a problem with speech too, and I'm very curious why you said that a person should now listen to how their voice sounds. I've taken to the habit of doing this, and this is exactly, like you said, where I get hung-up.

This is always the case. When I speak to people I know. When I speak in private. Ironically, the only time that I seem to get control of my voice is when I'm talking to a stranger.

So my question to you (or anyone else) is: What to you pay attention to when you speak (other then what you're saying)? I mean, do you pay attention to how the body feels? I realize that this should all be at an unconscious level, where I should be registering how my muscles feel, but HOW DO I GET THERE?

Also, do you have any advice on HOW I CAN IGNORE HOW MY VOICE SOUNDS? Again, what do I replace that monitoring with? The feeling?

Any help. Thanks.

Last edited by Romantic Hero; 10-05-2004 at 08:58 PM.

Old 10-06-2004, 01:15 AM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2004
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dinobites HB User
Re: Anxiety and the formation of speech

I have no advice, I just wanted to say that I have the same problem! It used to be so much worse a when I was younger. Even if I was just hanging around with my friends I could not bring myself to talk. People would always comment on how quiet I was. I just could not bring myself to speak. When I did my words would get all fumbled up and I would sound like an idiot, especially if I was nervous.

For some reason the problem is not as bad recently. I still cannot get my point across when I'm having a stressful conversation, especially with strangers or people I feel intimidated by. I cannot have confrontational conversation or be assertive with anyone besides my husband. I just get so flustered, sound like an idiot and sometimes start crying, even if there's no reason to cry.

Anyways, I just wanted to say that you're NOT the only one!

Old 10-06-2004, 04:31 PM   #6
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hry33 HB Userhry33 HB User
Re: Anxiety and the formation of speech

when speaking in public, if you listen to the sound of your voice, there is a slight delay between speaking a word and hearing it, also usually further delay for an echo, this eventually produces a type of feedback in your brain, causing total confusion.

so you need to ignore the sound of your voice, dont listen in to it

Old 10-06-2004, 04:50 PM   #7
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blownawish HB User
Re: Anxiety and the formation of speech

oh definately. I have always been self conscious about the sound of my voice, and in result to that, I stutter, fumble words, sound unintelligible. People that don't know me and hear me talk probably think I have a speech impediment. Around family, my girlfriend, and best friends, however, my speech is completely normal.

Old 10-12-2004, 04:00 AM   #8
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Posts: 41
Re: Anxiety and the formation of speech

I get anxiety speaking in front of people as well...even personally with people I don't know so well. I think the reason I get so nervous is because I have a problem trying to articulate what I am trying to say. I need more time to put my thoughts together. When I had to do speeches in class, I would just look at the space above peoples heads instead of looking down all the time. If you do look at the audience...try to find someone who looks like they are trying to listen to you..they may either nod their head or smile alittle at you...and imagine you are just speaking to that back at them too...that's what helps me get thru speeches most of the time...of course you may be stuck with an audience that looks not so interested but in the end..who cares what they think..we are all free to speak our minds regardless of what people may think. hope that helps

Old 10-12-2004, 06:50 AM   #9
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ilovethenow HB User
Re: Anxiety and the formation of speech

I think the very first anxiety attack I had (or remember having), involved having to call someone and tell them that the "secretary wouldn't be in until tomorrow....could they come then instead...." Well, I don't know whether I was just THINKING about it too much when I called or what, but when I got through to the person, I was like...."uh, uh, secretary, uh, tomorrow, .. I have to call you back I can't talk right now." Then, I was flipping out cause I didn't know what happened; a guy I worked w/ ended up calling my dad to take me to the emergency room cause they thought I was having a stroke! (and, not that you can't have a stroke at 23, but I was only 23....) On the way to the hospital, I started feeling REALLY stupid, thinking, what am I going to say in the Emergency Room? "Oh, I couldn't talk for a minute....?" I actually didn't find out it was anxiety until I had another anxiety attack, but that's a whole "nother" story.....

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