I am on my 3rd week of therapy, has been doing it almost every day. Today I felt worse than in many weeks, was much more self conscious and reluctant to talk, ANTing away a lot. It was like I didn’t want to fight. I was feeling negative towards myself and others throughout my day at work. I really hope that this is a passing phase, because I desperately want to get over my SA.I guess I am looking for some reassurance…
Now that I have moved on to session 4, I believe I found the answer to my own question. The reminder that “ANTs are NEVER true” and do not argue with them helps. And I believe it was a passing phase after all. For anyone who has felt the same way as me last day, I encourage to not give up stick with and move forward with therapy. Know its all part of ANTs tricks (picturing ANTs as a separate entity has helped me).
I am worried about a “relapse” of a day of ANTS that I can’t get over. I already had half a day and as a recovering perfectionist- it’s hard to accept. I keep trying to tell myself that that is an ANT (the thought of failing for a day) but I do find it rational as well. People have bad days I tell myself. I have also had to couple this program with Self-acceptance RIGHT WHERE I AM AT and meds. I also added in exercise- youtube is wonderful for that bc it’s free and you don’t need to leave the house!
" I keep trying to tell myself that that is an ANT (the thought of failing for a day) but I do find it rational as well. " I think it is almost the same thing that happened to me last day. What has helped me afterward it the decision not to try to figure out if the ANT is rational. When I analyze my ANT thought, although I start off to analyze rationally, I always end up skewing it negatively. So I have decided not to dwell on any thought that make me feel down/ negative. I know I might be missing an opportunity to “learn from mistake”, but until I am really better with my SA I am better off avoiding any negative feeling completely. Its bad enough that I had a bad day, I will not beat myself up anymore about it! I will find a distraction.
I think its very normal to have some really bad days after starting therapy… after all we are starting to address stuff we have avoided int he past big time so it’s like the chickens are coming home to roost.
But then there’s also the hope that if we persevere then the bad days will turn into bad moments and be outweighed by the good ones!
It’s so hard to be kind to ourselves but we must say ‘well done’ to ourselves for even trying/starting therapy.
My challenge is to never give up from now on… no matter how many months/years/decades it takes to really beat this thing (not necessarily a cure but even just have it totally managed out of impacting my life so much).
I will paste a comment here from another community member:
The ANTs and the ANFs have been really strong these past few days. It’s been hard for me to focus. I just wanted to ask you if this is normal. Yes, it’s normal. I feel like I had a really bad setback today. We all have setbacks - that’s how therapy goes, for sure. I know that it’s not good to get angry or upset over the ANTs or ANFs (great!) but it’s been so drilled into my mind. Yes, drilling into the mind these old habits is what social anxiety is. With certain people in my life, my SA is really high and uncontrollable for a few years now. I constantly worry about why I stated blushing around certain people and my mind sometimes gets so consumed on it and makes me upset. It doesn’t allow me to appreciate what else is good in my life. I’m sorry I just need someone I feel comfortable with to rant. Sometimes talking with a close friend or family memeber helps me feel better, but I don’t wanna keep constantly doing that because I don’t want them to get the impression that I’m looking for attention or sympathy. Especially when they don’t fully understand what SA really is. I only feel highly anxious in certain situations with certain people. When I feel SA, it lowers my self esteem and makes me more self conscious and I start comparing my self to other people and how good their life is because they don’t have to worry about blushing or anything… I just really ned help. My SA scares me sometimes. Some days I just feel like crying. Is there an irrational reason for why it started to begin with? I don’t want to keep thinking about what caused it to happen to begin with.
So welcome to the club. Everything you’ve just described is social anxiety. Nothing is unfamiliar to anyone in this community. You’ve only just started the therapy and still there is so much pressure within your writing that shows you must work on relaxing, slowing down, not expecting yourself to be a superhero. There may or may not be a rational reason why your SA started in the first place, but it’s nothing for us to dwell on now. In fact, you won’t find a solution there to overcoming social anxiety. Perhaps just save that reflection for later, when you are more rationally stronger to reflect on your life in a balanced way. Still, so many of us want to discover why. I suggest that you not worry about the why now. It’s not the way forward.
The fears you discuss above are social anxiety fears and worries and ANTs. They make sense from an anxiety perspective and not from a rational healthy perspective. So again, give yourself time, slow down, don’t expect perfection. Don’t expect a life without problems RIGHT NOW. Expect some setbacks, yes. Stick with the process and don’t dissect it at every turn.