I’m going to step outside of the box that I keep most of my comments within in this community, and I’m going to write here what I feel since reading many of your posts, AND I’m going to be more direct with you than I would normally choose to be here. So, these are just my opinions, and I mean no harm by them. I intend the best for you, truthfully, but by trying to aim for that, I’m going to be more direct. Perhaps this is more constructive criticism. And such comments are easily miscommunicated over written communications. So, first, please take what I’m going to say here with good intentions.
You’ve written a lot, posting here. So thanks for being an active member of the community. I’ve seen that others are encouraged to write because you write so often. I’ll admit, I haven’t read all you’ve written, but I’ve read a lot, as you tend to post frequently on your day or your week.
Also, I know you have the therapy series, and you likely completed the series a while ago, and now you say you are starting it again. Good for you. We all need the repetition. I’ve seen that you posted in different sessions in years past. That’s great. It also shows me you’re here looking for solutions, not just commenting on the depressing state that is social anxiety - depressing if you choose to stay in it.
Here’s where I start speaking more directly to you. It took me a while to see that you were a therapy series user, mostly because when I read your posts they described loads of ANTs and irrational thinking and dwelling on things. So I assumed incorrectly that you were here to post on the hell of anxiety and not the solutions. I was a bit surprised when I then later saw that indeed you were a series user, because, again, most of your posts are filled with irrational thinking that is not being stopped or checked by yourself. Most of the thoughts, these negative thoughts, you allow to keep going on without applying the therapy to.
One could argue that you’re writing honestly and also in a funny way. That perhaps you are not feeling down, but that rather you are posting on the comedy that is life for us all. But, with the stress and every day worry, and cries for help that I see in many of your posts, such as this one, I don’t feel that you are merely posting for fun. My feeling from reading your posts is that the majority of time you dwell in irrational thoughts, irrational assumptions, negative self-talk, massive pressure you’re putting on yourself. You’re up one day because one good thing happens, but it all comes crashing down the next because of some encounter with a female the next. Your happiness clings to these external things and your contentedness is not based on your inner self.
That is the feeling I get from reading your writing. I don’t get the feeling of a person who is applying the therapy to life. I don’t get the feeling of a person who is doing the therapy daily. I get the feeling of a person, and yes this happens with people here too who are supposed to be doing the therapy, who is letting the ANTs win. I get the feeling of a person who understands now rationally the therapy concepts, but is not actually practicing or applying them or consistently doing the therapy in a calm way so that the ideas can then become more real in their minds. I don’t get the feeling of a person who is even using ANTs stopping techniques to tell your brain, Wait, STOP, I know I might be anxious right now, but MAYBE it’s not as bad as I think. Maybe I can at least slow down and choose to be rational. I might not be rational right now, but I can tell my brain that this is not right and that I want to be rational.
I don’t get the sense of that at all. I get the sense of a person who isn’t applying the therapy at all to the very start of it all - irrational automatic thoughts.
There is a point at which constant dwelling on the maze of feelings of social anxiety does no good. At first, sharing can be nice - let it all out. It can even be funny. But at some point, when we only focus on this, well, that focus has a way of keeping us in this prison. Even just talking about it all the time, without solutions, even if you’re telling yourself that you know the answers, well still - you’re just talking about it and doing nothing solution-based about changing it.
Let’s look at what you wrote above:
…you’re talking about real and practical things - yes, I agree. At some point if you cannot function in society or are making people uncomfortable, that’s very practical. But, I know you can function in society, because you have been doing so for many years. You do have a job, and you might be not doing the best at it now because of social anxiety. So it’s back to, deal with social anxiety.
…You say you are not talking about your feelings. I’d argue you on this in most of your other posts. You always describe how you’re feeling about a certain situation. You’re describing ANFs, and you do so quite often. Again, maybe now you’ve gotten yourself into a bad way with your coworkers or boss, maybe NOT. Nevertheless, we’re also talking about your life long-term here. Worst case you lose this job, well, you’re still going to have social anxiety to deal with, so why not start dealing with it now. On this note of feelings, you say “at the beginning it was all good but later I became extremely anxious”… well there you go with feelings. Anxiety is a massive feeling coming out of our ANTs. All the ANTs that were going around in your head unchecked, unstopped, unchallenged. Feelings “freaked me out” - that’s a big feeling, feeling freaked out. It might have a basis in reality, but it’s not going to help you with a solution.
…I just couldn’t say anything to that person. -Why not? You’ll have a reason, and it will be a social anxiety reason, not a rational reason. Maybe, probably, possibly, you COULD say something to that person or this person or another person when issues arise. But yes, I know the feeling, with anxiety, you aren’t going to feel like you can. So we’re back to feelings. Back to avoidance. You have the right to talk to that person.
…working harder and more accurate - okay, good for you. That’s a lot of pressure, too. Work can be separate, we must all work hard and do our best. It’s hard to work hard in a good way if we’re dealing with social anxiety. It’s hard to keep that in perspective. It feels like you’re working harder here to cover for what you assume to be anxiety issues or issues that came about because of anxiety and NOT because you can’t do your job. You can do your job. It’s anxiety that is making it harder for you to do your job and/or feel like you’re doing your job well.
…I have no idea what to do here now… - This is a thought spurred by ANTs and fear and confusion. Slow down. If you don’t have the ability to slow down, then practice the therapy daily, and I mean daily, because I don’t think you are expressing that you have the ability to apply the therapy to ANTs.
…I am working on the therapy…“doing something good now”…BUT - here you add a but in just the next sentence, and all that does is add more pressure and discount all that you could be doing that is good.
…Do I show up one day and… - STOP. Who cares? You’re getting ahead of yourself. maybe you can show up one day and do just that. Maybe it will never be necessary. Maybe you’ll just do the therapy, slow down, always try your best to stop ants, keep up a daily habit of therapy which will allow your brain to think more rationally in all situations, and then maybe none of that extra thinking was ever necessary in the first place.
Sometimes the hardest thing is for someone to start therapy.
Sometimes the hardest thing is for someone to keep up the daily habit of therapy.
Sometimes the hardest thing is for someone to actually apply the therapy.
Sometimes the hardest thing is for someone to be honest with themselves and realize they aren’t really using the therapy concepts at all. There is a huge gap from knowing to believing.
My impression from your writings is that you know, but you don’t believe. You don’t believe because you aren’t applying it.
I also know that you can apply it, and you can start believing it, and thus you can actually realize the more rational, peaceful side of yourself that is there. I know that you can find within yourself the strength that doesn’t depend on all these external things you mostly describe, all the chance meetings with strangers or each random encounter that knocks you up or down.
I suggest you practice slowing down and you practice with focus the concepts in each session, with a real focus, every day, in the morning, saying it out loud, making this a priority. You might say that you’ve done all that. Your writing, your own expressions of your feelings implies that you are not actually applying it, though.
Living this way is no fun, no fun at all. I wish the best for you.