Damage control?


#1

So, basically, I am very worried about my job and the damage social anxiety can do to me. I am talking about real and practical things, not my feelings

I comunicate very bad at work specially with people in authority. Problem is, it looks like it is pissing them off and that makes a damage to my work. I am not sure, I hope I am wrong.

At the beginning it was all good but later I became extremely anxious and I ignored some very important people at work. Eeg. a person that reports quality of my work. From then, my quality started droppig and lately it has become a problem. That freaked me out even more and I just couldn’t say anything to that person. And we were very friendly before.

I hope I am wrong. Maybe my ANTs are playing a game. But I am working same as before snd lately even harder and more acurate.

I have no idea what to do here now…

I am working on the therapy for the second time. Things will get better.

But, after me acting like an asshole, avoiding everyone and ignoring them, how do I fix this later?

Do I just show up one day and greet everyone and shake their hands? I just can’t see that happening. Again, I hope I am wrong.

Anyone wirh some ideas about this? Am I going completely crazy?


#2

Hello Miron,

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.


#3

Thank you for your post @Mateo.
I kinda don’t like saying this :slight_smile:, but you are right.

I experienced complete separation from reality. This never hapened before in this size. I completely lost touch and I was 100% sure my ANTs are right. Thank god, they are not.

Changing environment can hit anyone badly. Having social anxiety hurts 10 times more. I was so scared for so long about everything.

From your post, I realised I forgot bigger part of what I learned in therapy. Some things I know in theory but I don’t feel them. Working on therapy opened my mind a little and for the moment I feel good. There would be times when recently, I would be proactive and be succesfull in something but I wasn’t systematic about it.

My first try was 8 years ago and it helped a lot. Now, I try to do better. I am strugling with time and I live in the house with 7 people. You can hear everything trough the walls like they don’t exist.

But still, I do my 30 min a day and I listen to tapes and videos on the bus to work. In the house I have to wisper so no ine can understand what I read. I kinda noticed how I speak quiet during slow talk so I will have to find a way around it.

You @Mateo seem to know this material very well. Thank you for pointing those things to me.

PS. I am sorry for constant complaining here. In my crisis, I was hoping to get the advice from someone that understands this condition. If anyone believes I could hurt someone or make any kind of damage, please let me know and I will delete everything. You can send pm.

My original idea was to keep the open and honest diary of my strugles and maybe later it can help someone going trough same stuff.


#4

You point out something that happens to a lot of people. Someone starts the series and suddenly feels so much better. Or then later, when they start to see some progress, there’s a big burst of positive confidence and happiness. But then… they stop. They stop doing the therapy as seriously and consistently because for a few minutes/days/weeks/months they felt better.

The problem with that is that it takes longer than that to really overcome social anxiety. It takes longer to discover that there may be some deeper ANTs. It takes longer to really eradicate them. It takes longer to get these concepts and ideas down into deeper feelings. More time of repetition.

So, things can be going well for a while, and when they do our anxiety seems to be less. But when things get challenging again, as they will becuase life is full of change, then that anxiety can come back. And when it comes back, it could come as quite a surprise and setback because you thought you did all this therapy and know all this already, so now you feel crushed again.

But ask yourself - were you one of those people who kept going and stayed with the therapy even after that initial upswing in your mood? Or, were you one who kind of stopped and didn’t do it as long as you probably should have? How to answer that also? Well, if something comes along later and you’re still reacting in a socially-anxious way, then I’d say you need to spend more time with the therapy. If something comes along and you still deal with it in a rational way, still applying the strategies, then that shows you were doing enough work to keep these ideas more habitual in yourself and now a real part of yourself that generally functions well when needed.

There’s also the discussion of quality and quantity. A lot of what is needed in therapy, learning, practicing, is actually quantity over quality. You just need to do it a lot. BUT, we can’t overlook the quality of how one does some activity either. The quality I’m talking about here is if one is focused on the therapy as they do it, not distracted, not worked up. So, we try to calm down first, as best we can, be focused on what we’re doing in that moment, and then DO what Dr. Richards is saying to do, rather than just understanding what he says to do. Really use Slow Talk. Really speak out loud. Really implement the ideas. One could just passively listen to this for years and change nothing. So yes on quantity for sure - keep doing it. But also yes on quality - make that 30 minutes count. Don’t make it not count by brushing your teeth or washing your dishes or combing your hair or reading a magazine at the same time.

Regarding your posts on your daily life - it’s all fine. Doesn’t bother me. That’s your right, that’s your choice. Go for it! Do whatever you like. Your complaining has no impact on my life - I say that to be rational for your benefit. Not all of what you say is complaining… I wouldn’t even use that word “complaining”. You’re just commenting on your day and your feelings. That’s kind of what everyone online does anyway - comment on life. If someone else here is offended by anything anyone writes, they can post and declare that. What I’m saying is that I don’t really care, just like people don’t really care or think about our “anxieties” or our “embarrassment” as much as we think they do. So I’m giving you rational feedback that your posts are just fine. What I am also saying is that your posts indicate anxiety that is going unchecked and irrational thoughts that are not being challenged by yourself, and self-pressure. So maybe that’s something for you to consider for yourself and your own health. What we tend to focus on, what we tend to think about - that is what shapes our thoughts, feelings, life. This goes back to what it says in the therapy. And to be able to change that focus, well that is the reason for the therapy series. So, as a friend, I would say, consider that. Be honest with yourself and consider what is the best way forward, a solution - not just a temporary bandaid.

Social anxiety has made it so, for many of us, that many thinking tendencies and habits are very, very, VERY strongly entrenched in our minds. That means we need to, if we are being honest with ourselves and the process to turn this around - that we need to spend a GOOD amount of time changing those tendencies. That is more than doing the series just once, for most people. Perhaps people can do the series once and then take those principles and ideas and really be applying them and continuing to use them daily in other ways. Bravo to those people. But those people are still actively doing therapy on themselves, just in a different but correct way based upon the ideas in the therapy series. Most of us probably (really) need to do the series again to reinforce the things we know and have learned, and to hear things we missed, and to allow the ideas more time to become stronger beliefs.

I have met friends from the old groups, years ago. Some are doing great. Some are also doing great in terms of being able to live life and survive, etc., but what also surprises me is how much negativity comes out of their mouths when they speak with me. It all seems good on the surface, but then they speak of such things which to me sound like completely irrational crazy ANTs views, that they just accept as the truth. It’s like “I did that therapy series and the group and I’m all good now, no problem! But hey, I just hate all these people and life’s not fair and this person put me down and that girl ruined my day… blah blah…” Wow, all I hear past “I’m great” is a bunch of “I’m not really great but I don’t realize it or I’m completely ignoring that I should still be reinforcing and using the therapy strategies.”

Simple point: we all need to do the therapy longer than we probably do. Stick with it. This will always pay off better for you if you do.


#5

I wanted to add here: your posts have been many and over a long period of time. They have also encouraged many people to realize they feel the same. I’ve seen that many people like to read your posts. Perhaps you’re posts have encouraged others to start therapy. There could be very many good things, and I’m sure there are, in your posts. To worry or think now that you should delete them all is over-reacting and unnecessary. I hope you don’t worry about that.

We’re all here together working through this - the good parts and the bad parts. Onwards and updwards!
:+1:


#6

I agree, Miron’s posts and Mateo’s replys have helped and encouraged me to stick with the therapy. I have been in similar situations at work and I have also been guilty of getting lazy with the therapy because I’ve been feeling better. Anyway thanks for the posts, there are people out there reading them and taking encouragement and advice from them.