So I had a quick question regarding something I read in the handout called “De-Stressing Strategies” in session 10.
I was hoping if someone could give me an example of how to use the paradoxical strategy that is mentioned here. “Carry your worries out to illogical, ridiculous lengths and then laugh about them.”
Does this mean to over exaggerate the negative belief I have so that it sounds like something humourous so I can laugh at the craziness of my irrational thinking and try to take everything less seriously
pretty much. sometimes doing that makes the bizare and illogical nature of ants more apparent. sometimes its just funny.
I had so many worries and anxiety over little things, well for me they were big things,
I mentioned a few of these before, for example like being out with friends, and you get a bit tongue tied, and words don’t come out like they should, or you spill something over, or maybe being a bit clumsy, well before I would be so embarrassed, and couldn’t handle it, and I would go home and beat myself up, and feel so depressed about it.
But now I can laugh at this now, and joke about it,
That’s why I think anxiety is all about expecting perfection, and not accepting anything less, and not accepting ourselfs.
We put so much pressure on ourselfs, and that’s why we have anxiety.
And now I can feel good about myself, when these things happen, where as before I would hate myself.
I suppose this goes for most people with anxiety, like I’m a very sociable person, and have a sense of humour,
But this was all lost with anxiety, it’s like you are not your anxiety, hope this helps.
So, how’s it been going with you? Hanging in there?
Thank you so much Pinetree and SillyAnts for your replies!!!
So far I’m doing okay. I have just begun session 11 today. Everyday I’ve been going for short walks and I repeat everything I’ve learned from every session over in my mind. But there are still moments where my strongest ANTS take over my mind and make me feel tense… Some days I feel a little of progress and some days I find myself feeling down… But I do realize that once I get rational with myself, I feel better. I have a few questions…
- When we turn the tables on the ants, do we always have to catch and stop the ants first? And is it okay if I just repeat the rational statements regarding turning the tables on the ants even when I don’t have any ants at the moment? Sometimes I find myself deliberately thinking about what causes me anxiety so that I can catch and stop them and then continue the process by turning the tables on them. Is this okay to do as well?
- One of my biggest Ants is talking to the members of my best friends’ family. For some odd reason, I’ve felt self conscious and intimidated by them in the past and sometimes I fear having to talk and be around them in the future. Should I choose not to be in situations when I know they will be there for right now until I am further along in the therapy? Or is it best to not avoid them now?
I am trying to use PMR a few times a week and I always repeat these statements to myself “I choose to respond with calmness, I will not speed up. Everything will be okay it’s gojng to be alright. Life moves on so I need to let go and let the anxiety pass.”
You seem to be doing the therapy consistently, and applying it. All good. Nothing wrong with that!
The act of turning tables on ANTs comes along with and after ANTs stoppage. So inherent in this process is the fact that the person has practiced enough to be aware of an ANT, to stop it, to break it up. But with turning the tables, we don’t just stop there and find a distraction. We then go to “turning” to conditional. You may have already been practicing ANTs stoppage enough so that you are doing it better and more naturally now. That’s the point, and so perhaps your question is if you must still be so formal about it. You’ll know this. If you haven’t really been stopping ANTs then we can’t get started with turning them. If you have, then some of these reflex muscles are better already, and stopping them is inherent in the process as you are breaking up that neural chain of events by flagging it, and telling yourself the rational Turning Tables self-talk.
You say that you are using these expressions when not in anxiety situations, and yes, that is the work we do in therapy, the practice, so that is good. You also seem to say that you are bringing up anxiety situations in your mind so that you can apply the therapy to it. My feeling on that is, okay… it’s like when we use the exercise of having a daily rational self-talk (conversation with ourselves) we will likely address what is facing us, challenging, perhaps an upcoming event that could in the past cause a lot of anticipatory anxiety. So then we talk through it rationally and let it go. No dwelling. If you are doing that, great.
If someone is bringing up events in their mind and not dealing with it with rational therapy… well, this is just where we were at before - the world of social anxiety and unchecked automatic thoughts. So you seem to be on the right track.
Use rational self-talk, use Turning the Tables, don’t use bold, absolute negative words to describe this situation with best friends and families. Use these strategies and all the others up to this point to deal with this ANT too. Judge for yourself how you best will approach these situations. I don’t think you need a blanket decision to avoid all now. You probably can find many ways to approach the situation from the easiest standpoint. Ultimately avoidance is what we also stop doing to get over social anxiety. And there may be things now, earlier in your therapy which you do not engage with for good reason, you don’t need flooding. You’re the best to feel out these situations. It’s a balance. Don’t flood yourself; don’t avoid. Most of us err on the side of still avoiding too much, and this only extends time we need to progress. These moments are the ones in which we do learn, we do make progress. But again, we all know about past flooding only making things worse. You’re doing the therapy. You’re applying the therapy now, unlike before. And more and more we should be applying this to not avoiding.
Thank you Mateo!! Reading this helped me feel a little better! I will keep everyone posted as I begin session 11. I intend to get through the therapy despite the setbacks that may occur along the way. Good luck everyone! Keep going!