Amanda from Cornwall was struggling with social anxiety when she was referred to Quiet Connections via the Positive People programme for coaching during the pandemic (we’re a specialist provider on the programme so Change Coaches can refer to us). Usually, coaching occurs walking and talking in-person, embracing the blue health benefits of the stunning coastal locations we have here in Cornwall, but lockdowns meant that this wasn’t an option for Amanda, who opted for voice-only telephone coaching instead – and found that this worked really well for her! After coaching, Amanda spent some time volunteering within our Quiet Community and also supporting people within her local church. Now Amanda has a very social job role working as a Community Developer! We’ve asked Amanda to share a little of her experience with you, and you can also hear Amanda’s story in Series 1, Episode 20 of the Quiet Connections Podcast.
In Amanda’s words…
“I first reached out to Quiet Connections because I really struggled to engage with people and felt easier and safer to stay inside the house on my own and to not communicate because that way I couldn’t get hurt or let down or whatever was going on in my head on that day. My self-worth was really low, I had no belief in myself and didn’t feel that what I had to say was worth knowing. What I really wanted to say was stuck inside of me.
But by talking that through with you and your persistence with me and just kept hearing me and listening to me and holding me in that space and that reassurance of knowing it was okay, eventually I started to believe that I was okay. That’s the beauty of Quiet Connections, I never felt rushed, it was just allowing me to just unfold naturally with no pressure, allowing me to be, which was a beautiful part of the process really looking back on it.
One of the things that I’ve really liked about Quiet Connections was because I had the option of a phone call, I wasn’t face to face with you and there was some anonymity, and not actually having to sit in a big like a counselling room or anything, and that really helped me open up and be more real. Then building up a relationship and being able to talk openly and honestly and not to scare anyone away and see that actually it was quite normal what I was going through. I just felt really held with no judgement there which very gently helped me to have some more belief in myself and hear my own voice as well. When this stuff was mirrored back to me, it didn’t feel quite so bad because it wasn’t all just trapped in my head. There was a relief just in being able to speak about what was going on for me.
I was given different strategies to cope with some of the things that I was feeling, and I just felt really honoured as a person I suppose by somebody just listening and caring and taking that time out. It helped me to feel better about myself. Which helped me to then, realise not everyone’s going to run away from me when I step outside the door and it restored some of that self-belief. It had a knock on effect that I started to feel motivated, I started to have some more self-worth and felt the old me coming back really which was really good.
I don’t know that there actually was any one thing that helped, I think a combination of lots of things did. The Brene Brown books are a huge help, which you recommended, her work is just amazing. And having that sense of belonging and being heard and being held in that space was a catalyst for everything else that kind of came after that really.
I learnt to embrace the process, because on the other side of whatever you’re feeling and going through is that person just waiting to come out and blossom. I think it’s a bit like the seasons, that we all go through all the different seasons. It’s something that I say to some of my clients now; we’re in the season, a bit like winter when everything’s all a bit dying off and just not there and nothing’s happening. But the root system is there you know we’re still, we’re still here, we’re still present our roots are there; and it’s just not trying to force anything and I’d say well it’s a bit like a plant. You know it’s got all these branches coming off of it. But the plant doesn’t say to itself “ooh I’ve got to try and force this and make it happen” you know for the buds to come out, it just does. You know by god, the universe whatever you believe in, it will just happen by believing. Like the flower just blossoms. Having that faith and hanging on and just digging deep and just trusting the process I think, which at the time I didn’t think it would but it has, clearly, I’m blossoming.”