Annie’s Mailbox: Public speaking causes anxiety

Dear Annie: I am a high school senior and am really quiet and shy. I want to be more outgoing, but the problem is public speaking.

I freak out when I have to speak in front of people. We have a project coming up that requires talking in front of the class. I want to be more confident, but I get scared and whisper. Since I’m going away to college soon, I thought I should try to overcome this. Can you help? – Quiet and Scared

Dear Quiet: First of all, you are not alone. Thousands of people suffer from some form of speech anxiety. A lot of this is from the mistaken notion that the speech must be perfect, and a great deal of anxiety can be overcome with relaxation techniques. You can find some good suggestions and tips through Toastmasters International (toastmasters.org).

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Not in the Cards,” whose husband was seriously ill. She wanted his family to be updated about his medical condition, but they gave her a hard time about it.

I want to let your readers know about Caring Bridge (caringbridge.org). It is a free website, supported solely by donations, that allows caregivers or family members to keep friends and family updated on the medical progress of someone with a critical health issue.

My daughter has been using the Caring Bridge website to keep us updated on the progress of our “tiny angel” (our granddaughter), who was born after 24 weeks gestation, weighing only one pound. There were days when our granddaughter’s progress was hard to talk about. The website has been a godsend and has saved my daughter from the stress of many phone calls and emails during this difficult time. – Grateful Nana

Dear Nana: Thank you so much for letting our readers know about this useful and compassionate website. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

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