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Living with Social Anxiety

I’ve never really talked about this part of my life, living with social anxiety.  It was always there, my family knew I was anxious at times, but I don’t think people really understood the severity of it.  Being the center of attention was the worst feeling in the world.  And making eye contact, I would just turn away if someone looked at me.  It got so bad that I thought, maybe I need medication for this…maybe this is something that can be treated.  My doctor prescribed me some anxiety medications which unfortunately made me worse…worse to the point of depression, all the way to suicidal tendencies.  My doctor ultimately had me committed to the hospital for a day to make sure I wasn’t going to harm myself.  Needless to say, I was off the medications shortly after that and had to find another way to cope with this condition.

I did a lot of online dating as well.  It was easier for me to meet and communicate with people via writing than it was to put myself out there at clubs or parties and such, so that’s what I did.  I ended up meeting an amazing man, Scott.  We wrote back and forth for about a month, and then finally talked on the phone for a few weeks.  When it was time to meet up, we met in a very public place, the Harvest Crusade, in Anaheim and amazingly, the amount of people there didn’t bother me.

Looking back, I think the Lord knew that this would be a special day, and just the beginning of a very special future.


We dated and got married a year and a half later.  We now have 2 girls, 3 and 6.  There’s something very unique about them, too.  I’m a numbers girl, so I kept track of when we were trying to have kids.  It turned out that they had the same conception date, same due date, and same birth date, 3 years apart.

smiley girls

I remember my anxiety starting when I was young, about 6-8 years old.  In elementary school, we were given an assignment to go to the library and do some research for a project.  I couldn’t find a certain book but I was scared to death of walking up to the librarian to ask her where it was.  I was completely consumed with fear.

My parents used to like to go out to dinner every Friday night with the family.  I always knew what I wanted to order for my food, but I could never tell the waitress what I wanted to eat.  My parents had to order for me.  (My almost 7-year old daughter has been able to order her own food since she was 4.)

As I grew a little older in elementary school, I had a nice group of friends.  We always hung out, but when I was asked to go swimming at one of the girls’ houses, again, I was overwhelmed and filled with so much anxiety.  She would call me up and ask if I could come over and play with everyone.  My answer to her was, “Is anyone else going to be there?”  She told me who was going to be there, and I quickly shook my head NO to my mom to say, “No, you can’t go,” so my friend would hear her on the other side of the phone.  My friend asked me numerous times if I could play over the next  few weeks.   My answer was always the same.  Then one day she asked me if I could come over to play…ALONE!  I was ecstatic!  Of course, I went over.

In junior high and high school I was involved with the school Colorguard.  For some reason I never had a problem with the events and competitions…maybe because we were a team, somewhat of a family.

I started working in Records of the police department after I graduated.  That’s when my anxiety got worse.  I dreaded the phone calls I received from the angry civilians.  I dreaded being watched over my shoulder by the supervisors, telling me everything I did wrong.  I hated having to go to the jails to do searches of the female inmates.  I was so consumed with fear and overwhelmed with anxiety, and no one understood that.  They just expected me to get the job done.

I was at the police department for about 10 years before they let me go.  It was a blessing in disguise, though, because it really was a dark place for me.

The next week, the Lord opened another door for me in a law firm.  I was hired on as the receptionist and assistant to the office manager.  I was right there…in the front…where everyone could see me as they walked by.  More phone calls, more upset clients yelling at me, attorneys yelling at me, subpoenas being served to me that I was unable to accept (And I was not very assertive, which made refusing them that much harder.), and young office assistants who were reluctant to relieve me when I needed to take breaks.

I then got pregnant with Alyssa while I was working there.  I had planned on having the baby and 6 weeks later coming back to work because there was just no way that I could stay home with her…we needed the money.  I had it all worked out to where my mom, dad, and mother in law would watch the baby 4 days a week if I went back part time.  I could pump milk for the baby on my breaks as well.  But then something happened.  We discovered that my mother in law was just not very reliable, always coming up with excuses as to why she couldn’t watch the baby for me, which left me with 2 days to work, and only depending on my parents to babysit.

The office manager there had gone out of her way to create a brand new part time position for me, in the back of the office, no longer a receptionist, working as her right hand girl.  Because I could only work 2 days a week instead of the 4 we had initially talked about, she had to let me go.

So now what?  I’m home, with a brand new baby, without a job.  I had no idea what I was going to do.  I cried to my mom about my situation and she has always been very supportive.  A few days after we had talked, she called me up and told me that she was talking to my dad and that they wanted me to focus all my time and energy into this precious new baby.  They didn’t want me to go back to work.  So the Lord blessed us immensely by my parents giving us $1,000 a month for a year so that I could stay home and care for my little one.

During that time, I also studied a little bit online on how to be a work-from-home medical transcriptionist.  I thought this would be a great way to earn some extra income and help out a little.  I didn’t have to work with people or answer phone calls.  All I needed to do was download my voice files and type reports.  Easy peasy.  I completed the training within that year and eventually became a F/T MT from home.  I did this for about 2 years or so until I started getting carpal tunnel and had to limit my workload.

I later found out we were expecting our second baby and we were so excited!  I had my home business going, I was making decent money, so everything was great.

Around my 3rd trimester, 8th month or so, my workload was just too much for me again.  I was working about 8+ hours a day, sitting with nonstop typing.  Not only was I stressed out but the baby was getting stressed, so my doctor told me to stop working effective immediately.

That took some pressure off…

But I also had something else going on the side to make extra money and help the family, something I was even more passionate about.

About 6 months after I had Alyssa, I was seeing photos and home videos of me, and I noticed how much weight I had gained.  Being short, you can really see the extra weight.  I was pretty much living in sweats, and none of my pre-baby clothes fit.  One night I discovered something when I was nursing Alyssa around 3 a.m.  I saw an infomercial for the home workout DVD program, Insanity, from Beachbody.  I thought, oh my gosh, this is it!  I can get back to my pre-baby weight from home, not worry about having to get a baby sitter, (I didn’t have one anyway), I didn’t have to go to the gym (I dreaded the gym too because of all the people and eyeballs on me, plus fighting people for equipment did NOT appeal to me), so I told my mom to get this workout program for me for my birthday.  I completed it, the entire 60 days, from November to January…all the way through the holidays, without cheating, and dropped most of my baby weight.

It was through this workout program that I discovered an amazing online community of health and fitness coaches. I jumped at the opportunity to sign up as a coach because I really just wanted the discount on my Beachbody workouts and Shakeology.  The last thing I wanted to do was be a coach though; I just wanted the discount.

But something happened.  I fell in love with the fitness community, the team, the camaraderie, the family.  I fell in love with our virtual fitness groups.  I made some of the most amazing friends, some even my best friends, introverts like me, and I thought maybe I can actually do this!  I don’t have to really worry about people either as a coach.  Yes, I work to help people with their health and fitness, but I’m working from home, and I have control of who I talk to and connect with.  If I’m feeling overwhelmed I can just walk away.

I have been a coach now for 5 years, living out my passion of health and fitness, meeting new people every day, conquering  my fear daily, and building up my confidence with personal development.


But let’s go back a little bit to some more anxiety issues.  Every year, Beachbody has an annual event called Summit. I had always put it off because THOUSANDS of coaches go, like 40,000, and I did NOT want to have any part of that…way too much anxiety for me, and away from my family at that.  It scared me to death.

But last year I decided to step out of my comfort zone and go.  I  bought my plane tickets, I had everything ready to go, and 2 days before, I told my success partner that I didn’t think I could go.  I was ready to just skip it and write off all my expenses, I was that scared….plus traveling alone for the first time in my life didn’t help either.  But I prayed about it, and I decided to do it and go.  I was so thankful that I did, too, because I got to meet so many of our team members, my incredible success partner, Shannon, I got to shop 😀 and I learned SO MUCH about how to be a better coach and how to help others change their life.  And now, Shannon and I are best friends.  If I didn’t go, I never would have had this new, amazing connection with her, nor would she be my best friend either.  I’ll be going to Summit every single year now, Lord willing.


I love Jesus, and He’s who helps me get through each and every day.  I have such a desire to connect with other people too, and being someone who struggles to connect with people, it makes it that much harder, but the desire is still there.  A few months ago, my husband and I were looking for a home church, and I wanted a MOPS group to belong to.  I posted in one of the local mommy groups on Facebook (since I’m a social media girl now) looking for a new church, and Coast Hills was highly recommended by a couple ladies.  I reached out to one of the gals, Kim, who responded to my post with “Coast Hills” and she gave me information about their MOPS group, so I attended the first one which started a few weeks later.

I met so many amazing ladies too!  But keep in mind this is also a huge step out of my comfort zone, going to a new church, with tons of new people, not knowing a single one of them.  But I did it to try and conquer this fear.

One night we had a craft night at one of the ladies houses, and I was so excited to hang out with my new friends and do this beautiful craft.  The night was amazing, I got so into my project, and we were all happy.  But something happened after we were done.  While everyone was chatting, I was all of a sudden overcome with this overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety once again.  I felt I didn’t belong.  I was unable to make conversation.  I got really hot, yet I was frozen still.  I decided I had to leave…RIGHT NOW.  So I said goodbye to the host, thanked her, and ran out.


The next couple days was really hard for me.  I now had to recover from this anxiety attack.  That’s what it was, an attack.  When I have these attacks, I go into isolation mode and “crawl into a hole”.  I become very emotional and feel like I’ll never be able to connect with people, or live a normal life.  People don’t understand me.  They think I’m not friendly or want to be my friend.  The fear is still there, even though I try to face it.  I have to remember that medications won’t work and that it’s just something that I have to figure out how to deal with.  One of the sweet ladies from church was a doll to help talk me through this day when I needed someone.  My best friend and success partner is really good at this too.

Kim, who was my first connection there at Coast Hills, asked me about a week or 2 prior to this if I would be what’s called a “Spotlight Mom” at one of our MOPS meetings.  Basically this is just sharing to the group of mommies on stage who we are and getting to know who that mom is.  I was scared to death, terrified.  So I decided to pray about it…

I’m going to back up a little bit now…right after the craft night and my anxiety attack, I isolated myself, remember, and I contacted Kim and told her to find another mommy for Spotlight.  I completely shut everyone out, and stepped away, even contemplated quitting my MOPS group.

I did recover and tell sweet Kim a week or so later that if she still needed a mommy for Spotlight that I would do it.

Maybe this is God’s way of being funny…He does have a sense of humor sometimes 😀

Or maybe this is His way of helping me overcome anxiety, and helping others understand who I am.

Maybe my story will help others with similar conditions.

Maybe I’ll be able to have an instant connection with a new special friend because I am the way I am.

I decided to do it and be obedient to the Lord.

The night before I was supposed to talk, I didn’t get a wink of sleep. The day of, I was scared to death.  I prayed, all night and all morning.  I missed a lot of my story when I spoke to the ladies, but I believed that what I said was what God wanted me to say, no more, no less.

Sharing my story the other day inspired me to blog my story in it’s entirety in hopes of helping and inspiring others who struggle with social anxiety.  Speaking in front of  people, especially for the first time about this condition, I left out a lot of pieces.  Writing helps me to put the pieces back together.

If you struggle with social anxiety as well, know that you are not alone and I’d love to hear from you.  Maybe we can even help each other out when in need.  <3

Cortney Weiss

Cortney Weiss

Hi!! My name is Cortney Weiss, I am a mom of 2 girls, 3 years apart, and with the same birthdays!! I've been married to my loving, godly husband for over 6 years, and I love health and fitness. I raise monarch butterflies year round which the girls love, and we all learn a lot from their life cycle, the good and the bad. It is my passion to help busy mommies become healthier and fit, work one-on-one with like-minded individuals, and help them to succeed in their health and fitness goals. I look forward to learning more about YOU and helping YOU to live a happier, healthier, fitter life. :)