I am on session 4 now. I think that the ANTs handout has been very helpful so far. For me, I feel that most of my ANTs are not so much as “thoughts” but more of a visual component. I sometimes find my mind dwelling on a bad social experience that already happened in the past and I picture the experience re-happening in my mind. It’s almost like as if a movie is happening in my brain! Lol I can actually feel what I felt at that time and I dwell on everything I said or did. And I also dwell in anticipation of the future. If I know that I have to attend a social setting that causes me high amounts of anxiety, I will dwell for days before the event in fear of being anxious. I don’t like feeling anxious. I hate the way it makes me look or act. My muscles get very tense, I blush a lot, and I find it hard to focus and make eye contact. I hate feeling like that because it prevents me from acting like my true self. I dwell on this ALL the time. I worry that I will feel this way in the future and that scares me. My anxiety is usually triggered by certain people. I don’t feel anxiety around everyone. There are certain social settings and environments in which I feel high levels of anxiety. Overthinking is a big issue for me. I always try to think about what caused my SA to begin with. (This is probably an ANT) and then I dwell and overthink that. My mind runs around in circles.
I have been listening to positive affirmations and calming music every morning to help me feel relaxed to start the day. I talk to myself and tell myself that I want to be happy and relaxed. I sometimes find it hard to stop the ANTS. What does it mean to “catch” the ANT? Does that mean I have to re-say the ANT in my head before using a stopping statement, so that my brain knows what statement I am trying to block off? Also, is it better to use the same stopping statement every time?
I am going to keep on with the therapy every day. I need to keep practicing and applying the strategies as much as I can. I find that I try to use slow talk with people I feel comfortable with. I know that if I keep at it, I can overcome SA for good! I sometimes am impatient and want immediate results, but I am telling myself that it takes time!!
Good luck to everyone! Please share your thoughts if you can! I would be more that happy to hear your story because we are all in the same boat and in this together! The more encouragement and motivation that we share, the stronger we can become! Thank you for your time!