The Anxiety Support Network was started in October 2008 by Dan Stelter. The reason that I decided to start the site was because I really wanted to get out there and help people, but unfortunately I was waiting to pass through this massive bureaucratic hoop they call "college." I really have always experienced a personal high from helping people. Even answering a question in the forum sends a burst of excitement and fulfillment shooting throughout my body. I couldn't really start practicing yet, but it seemed possible to begin helping people by giving advice that was their own responsibility to follow or not to follow. So I wondered to myself, "How is that I could help others right here and right now?" I typed in the domain name http://www.anxietysupportnetwork.com, and was astonished to find that the domain name was available! If you believe that some things in life are directed by God, just the fact that the first domain name I typed in was available was a good starting point.
The second main reason that I started a website themed around anxiety recovery is that I myself am a lifelong social anxiety sufferer, and just recently, I have discovered that I am probably also a generalized anxiety sufferer. I have experienced the horrors of social anxiety firsthand. There was a point in my life where I would completely freeze up and not talk to anyone who was outside my small inner circle of friends. I couldn't look people in the face, even people that I knew very well. It was very difficult to perform in athletic competitions. I really enjoyed athletics, but whenever it came time to perform in front of people, I was always shaking from the effects of anxiety. The worst of it really came in late high school, and possibly the first year of college or two. The anxiety would get so bad that my body would just be hit with shockwaves of anxiety over and over again. It was difficult enough just to sit down in class and attempt to focus on the task at hand, let alone deal with all the other stresses of life. Even though I was surrounded by a small group of friends, I always felt very lonely. I desired for a long time to have a girlfriend but the wall put up by social anxiety always prevented it. At times, I would plunge into depression for a few days on end, even feeling suicidal at times. I felt completely stuck at the point in life, like I was trapped in a maximum security prison without any hope of seeing freedom one day.
However, despite the fact that I was stuck in a vicious cycle of social anxiety and led a very lonely life for many years, eventually things began changing. While this is somewhat of a biography section and is supposed to be about me, I really cannot take much of the credit for realizing the anxiety problem and taking steps in life to get better. When someone or something that seems random sets you on the right path, you are able to realize it and that is what happened to me. Very briefly, after those years of loneliness, I was able, but only with much help from others, to make significant progress in a relatively short period of time. Recovering from anxiety led to a fulfilling career, awesome friends, a wife, and just general all-around success! I found out that if you focus on recovery first, everything else falls into place after that.
This site exists to give people the emotional support and guidance they need to get on the right path and get the things that make life enjoyable - family, healthy friends, and a fulfilling career, among other things. To my knowledge, no other site with this aim exists. So, I hope that anyone who takes the time to read this also takes the time to come here and make this site what it can be - a wonderful and supportive place for people recovering from anxiety! If you are in need of any kind of help e-mail me and you can expect a prompt response!Or, feel free to visit the forum!
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