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Interview With Jamie Blyth

Former Bachelorette Contestant Jamie Blyth Talks About Anxiety


Updated July 07, 2012

Photo: Getty / Myrna Suarez

Reality show contestant Jamie Blyth went on to write a book about his experiences with panic and social anxiety disorder.

Photo: Getty / Myrna Suarez

Jamie Blyth is best known for appearing as a contestant on the first season of the ABC reality television "The Bachelorette". Jamie made it through several rose ceremonies but was eventually sent home by Trista Rehn, who ended up choosing and later marrying, Ryan Sutter.

Unbeknownst to fellow Bachelorette contestants at the time, Jamie was dealing with more than just normal jitters about being on TV.

Jamie suffered his first panic attack in 1994. From the ages of 19 to 24 he battled panic and social anxiety that left him afraid to attend college classes and see friends.

Although he briefly tried medication and therapy, Jamie eventually settled on a course of action that involved working on what he believed to be the cause of his anxiety: low self-esteem.

His "Panic Plan" involved immersing himself in positivity. He flooded himself with positive quotes. He read biographies of successful people in all walks of life such as George Washington, Lance Armstrong, and Hellen Keller. In Jamie's words, he "wanted to study the opposite of anxiety and adopt the attitude that runs polar to the one that creates anxiety".

He entered an intense and challenging technology sales job. "If you missed your quota two months in a row you were fired… 99% of people did not make it past 6 months". Jamie then went on to play professional basketball in Europe. Appearing on "The Bachelorette" was another way to test himself and see what he could handle.

The first public interview in which Jamie talked about his anxiety disorder was with Diane Sawyer. He later went on to appear on Oprah Winfrey and other national shows.

Since appearing on the Bachelorette Jamie has been a reporter, model, inner city baseball coach, public speaker and author. His book "Fear is No Longer My Reality" is a chronicle of how he overcame panic and social anxiety disorder.

In speaking with Jamie, he emphasized that his primary motivator is helping others build their confidence and self-esteem. His advice for building self-esteem is to set short-term goals, and raise the bar after each small victory.

Next, Jamie answers some of my questions about dealing with panic and social anxiety.

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