In doing the therapy we learn things about ourselfs.
Mateo is trying to put together something that could benefit us all,
HIS heading is TELL US YOUR EXAMPLES OF CONDITIONAL/ RATIONAL BELIEFS DEVELOPED OVER TIME,
It could help enormously to get some feed back from people doing the therapy,
I know what your going through with eye contact,
I know if I had of known years ago what I know now, I could have beaten this,
I think the fact that you didn't always have a problem with eye contact, I feel you are putting pressure on yourself to go back to the way you were when you didn't have social anxiety, or problem with eye contact,
I was like you I just kept thinking about it, when i would meet up with friends to go for lunch, i would have anticipatory anxiety, and sometimes not turn up and make some excuse, times I did go I would try and sit somewhere where I could hide a bit, and not have to face people, I suppose I would stay quiet for most of time,
I was mostly a listener , and when I would contribute to the conversation, I would look anywhere else but at the person, besides hiding my face in my hands, I would fidget a lot, and say what I had to say as quick as possible always rushing myself and when I looked at people I felt very awkward and sheer panic faced.
BUT like I said everything I was doing was making my anxiety worse and not being able to make eye contact was getting worse,
I did a year of accountancy, but found it hard Because i was so self conscious and not been able to make eye contact was a huge problem, I dropped out cause of illness in family, but I could have gone back,
Don't let social anxiety stop you from doing what you want to do.
So I tried to do the opposite to what I had been doing,
( I didn't put as much time as I should have into the therapy, just sometimes it wasn't easy to lock yourself away to do therapy, I still have a way to go )
I worked on slow talk and relaxation, I did use distractions but that was mostly the therapy, I teased it out. ( I literally talked to myself all the time with strategies, statements from therapy )
I kept saying things to myself like:: I've used all the safety behaviour, like hiding behind my hands and hair, looking at the floor and that didn't work so now I'm going to relax, slow down, slow my brain down, and say to myself there no perfect conversation, there no right or wrong thing to say, there no perfect way to look, or no perfect way to look at someone, and it's ok to make a mistake, this was the START for me.
So when I went out to lunch, I started to make little changes, I would sit directly opposite one friend rather then sit to side, I would say things like, I don't have to tell the perfect story, ( as I used to think I was boring people or taking too long to tell the story ) and say things like my friends are not my enemies, and if I make a mistake so what Its no big deal. It takes your brain a while to process all this, and needs to keep hearing it,
I can say that charges were slow, but I could feel those little changes take place in my head,
In supermarkets I was very self conscious and couldn't look at anyone, ( I would talk to myself and have conversations with myself, rational thoughts )
I would say things like people are not really looking at me or judging me, and if I feel people are looking at me, well there eyes have to focus and wander somewhere,
These statements are very powerful, but it's repetition, repetition, I can't say that enough, get the statements, strategies deep down into your brain,
Even when I say something wrong now I might say something like what am I like? And laugh at myself, I couldn't have done this before, Where as before I would want the ground to swallow me up, I can go out for lunch with friends and enjoy it now, where I never enjoyed it before, I just dreaded it.
Hope I'm making sense,