PSY 1010 Unit V Reflection Paper

Reflection Paper

Columbia Southern University

Reflection Paper

When I was stationed in Florida, I was in charge of about 140 Airmen as they attended the Tactical Air Command and Control Party School. Graduation was very important to these young Airman since the chances of completing this training was approximately 15 graduates per every 100 candidates who attended. My stressful event happened when I was assigned to MC one of the graduation ceremonies. I have always been deathly afraid to speak in front of a crowd, so my panic had already set in days before I actually took stage. To make matters worse, I failed to realize that since I had been working out so heavily, my service dress uniform jacket barley fit my chest and shoulders anymore. When the time came, I did what I had to do and went through the motions. I wouldn’t say I flopped miserably, but my weakness was very clear as I fumbled through my lines and brushed sweat from my brow. The process took about 30 minutes and by the time I was done, it was clear to everyone that I had “Def-Con Level 10” stage fright.

I experienced Selye’s GAS on multiple occasions during this process. First when I found out what I would be doing, and again during the actual graduation ceremony. I’d like to say that the first stage “Alarm” was long gone before I took stage, but it wasn’t. Though I had already been panicked about taking that stage once, it actually seemed to get worse the closer it came to graduation day. Once on the stage I went full alarm stage; I had heavy sweats, trouble lifting my head to face the audience, and an inability to stop shaking in my boots. My face was that of a frightened and nervous child. Thankfully my body’s resistance mechanisms kicked in after a while and I was able to complete the ceremony, but I was never fully comfortable. Even after the graduation was over, I still didn’t feel comfortable for a few hours. Exhaustion came in the form of mental fatigue. I literally had to leave early that day in order to go home to compose myself. It was one of the worst 30 minutes of my life. I had told my boss about my stage fright when he assigned the task to me, but he assumed that since I was very outspoken in normal settings, everything would be fine. After the graduation, however, he realized I really didn’t belong in front of a crowd and I never had to do that again. My coping strategies were simple…run from any opportunity to speak in public! I have never really been able to get passed it and speak comfortably in front of a large crowd. The impact on my career was minimal since I had an understanding boss. If I weren’t so lucky, however, I could have been forced from my possession since leading graduations was technically part of my duties.

When fear of an object or situation becomes irrational and interferes with normal activities, it qualifies as a phobia (Wade & Tavris). My phobia of speaking in front of a crowd definitely had some effects on my future goals and motivations. Since I couldn’t complete that part of my job, I was looked over a couple times for promotion into the lead training leader position. That, in turn, led me to being more self-conscious in other areas. I was very good at hiding it in public; most people would NEVER suspect that I had a fear of speaking since I rarely shut up. This fear may have also had a hand in my future diagnosis of clinical anxiety. Though my anxiety attacks didn’t seem to have a direct connection to this particular fear, I assume the chemical reactions that occurred inside my body during my “learning to fear” stages were similar to the ones in my attacks.

This lesson has been very helpful to me. I never realized the science involved in my phobias and anxieties was so well defined. I think that understanding exactly what and where the chemicals are inside my body and how exactly my brain triggers them will help me suppress future anxiety attacks. I also look forward to using the knowledge from this unit to control my breathing and thoughts as I try to assist my body as it uses the CRF, ACTH, and Cortisol as it combats stress and attempts to return my body to Homeostasis. If it’s true that some people can master “mind over matter”, maybe I can at least master “mind over my own body”.


Wade, C., & Tavris, C. (2017). Psychology (12th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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