15. November 2016 Sam Ryter

The case of social-anxieties, panic-attacks and how to move beyond them (8min read)

I would like to share with you the story of Oliver, how he was able to change his world from having social-anxieties and even panic-attacks to an open person that shows up from a place of love.

I believe we all can learn from others stories that’s why this story was written to inspire you and to give you a direction to make a change in your life and the way you show up.

The case of anxieties and panic attacks

Oliver came visit me for a 3 day retreat. I use those retreats to create an unforgettable, emotional and fun experience. I believe that true change happens when we are in our hearts, and not in our heads. For many people it’s easier to make deep, profound changes, if they detach from the familiar environment and from their own limiting beliefs and struggles. A retreat like that, rips you out of the old environment into a neutral place, where people can explore what’s behind all those layers of fear. What’s behind the patterns we live (often unconsciously)

By the way: Having fears is as normal as going to bed at night. Everyone has his own fears, everyone his own struggles. I’ve worked with absolute top-people having 300 USD income an hour and guess what: They also have fears.

Oliver has just started his new job. He got offered a good position in an international company. ‘Naturally’ he would describe himself as an introvert, and since he started to work a the new office, he didn’t really manage to build a connection with others. He was just too much in his head… he told me. Afraid to say or do something wrong.

I personally loved to work with Oliver. He’s an amazing person and I felt truly that he just wants to be happy. A very open and heartcentred man.

At his workplace, there were plenty of very interesting people, but he couldn’t make a first step and interact or connect with them from his heart. There was a fear following him. This fear caused him frustration, because all he wanted was to be a member of the group. Not the outsider. He wanted to feel accepted.

I see these patterns actually many times in public. People are interested in each other, but they don’t dare to make the first step and to be open and curious. That behaviour has cost us uncountable opportunities already.

(Living from a place of love rather than from fear is expression out of the moment. I call it tantric living. But people rather try to impress each other than actually expressing themselves as kids do.)

Our default is openness, love and expression

I believe it’s crucial for our well being to be able to connect effortlessly with others. Human beings are social creatures. Mastering the skill of connecting to people from the heart, without having a needy energy that often pushes people away is a ‘skill’ we have mostly forgotten in our society. But still. It is within all of us.

We all have been kids at one point in our lives, and it’s a natural human behaviour to connect with others. Now, we grew up in a society with totally different values. Rather than connection we value separation. Success is defined by having more than others. We live in a world of competition rather than contribution. If I give something, I expect a trade. Otherwise I would lose something.

It’s an egoistic beliefsystem. And this beliefsystem is what creates the fear. It’s important to understand that: It’s not the person that needs to be fixed but the beliefsystem we have grown into that needs to be looked at.

As we grow up we pick up on so many bullshit rules such as ‘adult-behaviour’ – Adults are considered crazy if they play and run around on a playground. But at the same time society smashes itself away with beer, wine and cigarettes. – But that would be normal.

So some of those beliefs in our society make us feel separated from each other. Oliver faced them too, and with Oliver I would say 99% of the people in our culture face the same struggles, some more intense, some a bit less. Think about the nightlife, where everyone is afraid of each other instead of having fun (Why would people go out trying to impress others, with the constant fear of being observed and without having fun?).

What held Oliver back from connecting with others was his belief that he is not enough, that he has nothing to offer to the others. It got that worse, that he had panic attacks caused from social anxiety.

Again, the problem wasn’t Oliver. Oliver was fine, he was an amazing dude, super inspiring. But his beliefs. His problems. And the problem about his problem was that he identified himself with those beliefs. He thought “I’m a weirdo”, “I’m stupid, not enough, unlovable etc.”

What creates the drama: Holding on to untrue thoughts

Beliefs are made by thoughts. Thoughts that we give meaning and thoughts that come over and over again.

And our thoughts they come and go. I like to compare them with clouds. You could have the most disgusting thought now, and an amazing, incredible thought the next moment. They are like clouds, they come and go.

But those thoughts can appear so real. On cloudy day’s we tend to say that the sky is gray. But the sky is actually blue. It’s just the clouds that are gray.

So do our thoughts work. Sometimes a thought seems so true. Even though they are just thoughts who come… and go… Our thoughts create our lives, and often people resist ‘bad’ thoughts, so they become bigger… and bigger…

What we resist persists

The problem starts as we identify ourselves with those thoughts and the beliefs. This is the fallacy. We give ourselves an identity of “I am this and that”.

Oliver has already seen himself as an ‘introvert’. Just this belief has affected his life tremendously. But what happens when we detach from those beliefs for a moment?

Are those beliefs and thoughts true that we have about the world, about others, about life, about ourselves?

That was the start of an incredible transformation for Oliver.

Identity Reframing

I call this process Identity Reframe and it’s incredibly powerful.

He realised that those scenarios have all been made up in his head. He was seeing a future, that wasn’t even true. He had expectations of an outcome that he couldn’t control anyways. But by seeing and EXPERIENCING (I really believe that we have to experience this feeling not only ‘understand’ intelectually) that he is much more than he always thought about himself. That he is powerful, loving, shining, that he is pure potential and that he has an incredible gift of true, loving authenticity to share with others, changed his whole world.

The first time in his life he was able to accept himself. To find the way back to himself.

Fears may always be a part of us, but we can decide if we want to supress them, suffer from them, or if we want to accept, look at them and learn. What Oliver did in the past, as soon as anxiety flushed his mind, was that he started to fight those fears. “They shouldn’t be there”. By fighting them, they became bigger – Overwhelmingly big.

But fears are always something deep within us that want to show us something, we can literally learn from them. We can learn something about ourselves, but we have to stop supressing them. That’s how we get to know ourselves. (We can decide if we want to learn from fears and have them as allies supporting us or battling them and suppressing like they were enemies. More on handling fears you can read here: http://www.samuelryter.com/overcome-fear-5-insights/ )

Understanding and healing anxiety

After Oliver had this huge esperiences, his panic attacks were gone! Later he wrote me that he now is able to openly interact from a place of love with others, without being stuck in his head (overthinking btw. is one of those avoidance mechanisms from our fears: http://www.samuelryter.com/overthinking/).

This is such a beautiful example of how we create our own reality. Always. Our beliefs shape our world. He is actually doing a service now to others, by showing up from that place he inspires others to do so too.

It’s the perception that creates the perfection.

If you have similar experiences, or if you can relate to Olivers story, you might find some inspiration and understanding in how you can deal with your thoughts, (limiting) beliefs and even if it just gives you a perspective to see how other people go rise from their challenges, then the purpose of this case file is already fulfilled.

The truth is that deep inside, we all face very, very similar challenges. At the end of the day we are all human and we can always honor the struggle, because this is how we learn, this is how we evolve and this is how we get to know ourselves better.

What comes up for you?

Let me know what’s coming up for you. What are your thoughts, questions and points of view related to this story!

Also don’t forget to check in on samuelryter.com/your-truth for the basic program where I explain the 3 pillars of living a fulfilled life. And it’s absolutely free.


Names and key details have been changed to ensure anonymity. It shouldn’t fake the story, rather explain the patterns that I also see in other clients I work with.

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Sam Ryter

Sam Ryter is an author and professional coach. He helps people to create deeper and more fulfilling relationships with others, the world and themselves.

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