Overcoming Social Anxiety

Overcoming Social Anxiety

From Ross Kent

I have struggled with social anxiety. Trying to overcome the challenges of social anxiety without the use of habit forming medications has been a mountainous goal. The struggle is real.

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I was a professional poker player who specialized in live cash games. This way of life was natural for me coming from an early adult hood of criminal activity and social reclusion. I was a graduate of Saint Joseph's Preparatory School who turned down one scholarship to accept another. My social anxiety, insecurities, and inability to identify and accept the proper help lead me to poor choices and I eventually dropped out of University of MD. The best way I knew how to cope with my social anxiety was through the use of marijuana and habit forming medications. I endured a series of traumatic childhood events and never found a healthy outlet for my frustrations of having a different type of family situation than everyone else I knew. I thought I found comfort in criminal behaviors, acting out on resentments towards my family and society became a theme that dominated my life. At the age of 25, I realized that criminal behavior was no longer something I wanted to be a part of but the mentality of a criminal is much deeper than the criminal activity itself. Instead of valuing social interactions and friendships, I valued independence and freedom.  These values combined with a high IQ, lead me to the life of a poker player.  I felt comfortable in casinos.  Many casino patrons indulge in their own risky behaviors and consequently did not pay much attention to me. Although I found a way to sustain a reasonable lifestyle, I certainly was not living the life I thought possible after having graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School with a 3.5 unweighted gpa and a 1400 on my SAT. As social media became more prevalent, my social anxiety became boldly apparent. For quite some time I saw a doctor who liberally medicated my anxiety pharmaceutically. This method seemed excessive so I chose to leave his care. My life was great for a while, I got back together with a woman I loved, I was consistently responsible with my finances, I had a great relationship with my mother, I began to build towards something really amazing. The amazing never came to fruition. My grandmother, my Dad's mother was dying, and some themes of resentment towards my father began to arise. My grandmother did most of my Dad's job as a parent, and being my grandmother's only child, he took advantage of her generosity without embodying the quality himself. My Grandmother was the only person I could actually count on for sound advice, guidance, help, etc., and I was being left her never ending responsibility of a son, my dad, who's primary objective in life is doing the least and getting the most. Moving forward, this was not the only event about to change my world. At this point I was trying to start a life in Collingswood, NJ, when an emergency event occurred in my neighborhood. I didn't think much of it. 

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