(Note: this woman suffered from both panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, as you will see. She was very motivated to overcome both of these disorders.)
THEN: I could not make eye contact. I would look across the room when someone spoke to me.
NOW: I like making eye contact when someone speaks to me. I feel more confident and I can see how they are really reacting and feeling as they speak.
THEN: I could not drive myself to the S.A. groups. My husband would have to take me and pick me up. I was afraid of having a panic attack and was very anxious about going to the groups.
NOW: I drive myself and have to take the freeway. I still do not like freeway driving, but I CAN do it.
THEN: I just know I was the most quiet one in the group and when I did say something it made me sound stupid and foolish.
NOW: I say and do stupid things all the time. I can always laugh at myself. I am learning not to take myself too seriously.
THEN: I needed my "safe" person to go places with me. Even the mall.
NOW: I can do things on my own. I can even go to the mall by myself -or- with someone else.
THEN: I could never say NO when asked to do something I really did not want to do. People learned they could take advantage of me and I let them.
NOW: I can say no and not feel any guilt.
THEN: It was difficult for me to be around a group of people that were talking. I would leave the room.
NOW: I can now join in when I want to.
THEN: When someone asked me a question I would answer with yes, no or I don't know.
NOW: When I am asked a question I can be a little more explicit with my answers.
THEN: I always felt like I was never good enough.
NOW: I know now that I am not perfect and I can only do the best that I can do, but I am just as good as anyone else.
THEN: I could not stand in front of a small group of other people. I could not talk in front of a group of other people.
NOW: I do both of these now on a regular basis.
THEN: At work I was very very quiet.
NOW: I am still on the quiet side, but now I am more talkative and can have fun with my co- workers.
THEN: I could not imagine being a retail store manager who is in charge of all the employees.
NOW: That is what I have been doing for almost two years. There are times when it is overwhelming; but I remember the coping skills I have learned.
These are just a few of my Then & Nows.
There are more, many, many more!
Hopefully I can keep adding to my list.