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Social Anxiety Disorder With Ricky Williams

Dr. Donnica:  How did social anxiety disorder affect your life?     

Ricky: I've never been a really outgoing person but I was never afraid to go out and have a good time.  When I was (drafted to) New Orleans, it got to the point where I didn't want to leave my house. I didn't want to go anywhere.  I didn't want to go to the grocery store. I didn't go out on dates.  Occasionally I'd go to dinner, but that was probably the extent of it. 

Dr. Donnica: When was your social anxiety disorder the most severe?

Ricky: I hit rock bottom after my second year in the NFL.  I was 22 years old, I had all the money I could ever imagine, I had the opportunity literally to go anywhere in the whole world and do anything I wanted.  But for some reason, I couldn't leave the house.  I hated being at airports, where everyone recognized me and was going to try to come up to me and say "Hi."  I was just deathly afraid of it.

Dr. Donnica:  How did you learn about social anxiety disorder? 

Ricky: I was really depressed and I was looking at my life and saying, "There's no reason in the whole wide world that I should be depressed."  So I talked to some friends and a very close friend told me that her mother was a therapist.  And that was easy, I didn't have to go out and look for someone.  It was someone I could talk to on the phone without leaving the comfort of my home. 

Dr. Donnica:  What was the turning point that helped you to get to where you are today?

Ricky: Thank goodness I did talk to (my therapist) and get help, because I probably wouldn't be playing football right now.  When I got on medication and started going through therapy, I had a renewed sense of what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be a football player again.  So I started therapy and a week or two later I was back in New Orleans dedicated to become the best football player that I could be.  That is when I came out and told people that yeah, there's something wrong.

Dr. Donnica:  When did you begin to see a difference?

Ricky: I think with the help of therapy and medication, you can prolong that feeling of feeling better and you can actually start to improve when you see an improvement.

Dr. Donnica: The holidays are here. As you know, they are a very stressful time of year.  How does this affect you and possibly other social anxiety disorder sufferers?

Ricky: For someone with social anxiety disorder, the holidays can be very difficult, because there are more social obligations as far as friends and family go. The way I look at it, during the course of a day, during the course of a week, during the course of a year, there are more difficult times, and the holidays are one of those really difficult times.  With the holiday season coming up, I'd really urge people who think they might be suffering from social anxiety disorder to seek treatment. 

Dr. Donnica:  Any advice for people who think they may be suffering from social anxiety disorder?

Ricky: Treatment really made the quality of my life much better, and that's why I enjoy speaking out about social anxiety disorder, and it's really good to see that Paxil CR is available as another treatment option for people who suffer from the same disorder that I do.

For more information about social anxiety disorder, click here.

Created: 12/20/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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