hi. im alex, im 32 years old. ive been active on this forum for some time now. im several month into the therapy, with varying levels of commitment but very determined.
ive made a huge lot of progress on the behavioral aspect of the therapy and reducing my levels of anxiety when in social situations. i also made a lot of progress on the cognitive part but im still struggling with this.i feel that i cling very heavily to my ants beliefs and thoughts to the point where i often fall back into fighting my ants and general negative thinking mode even tho things are actually going really well for me. i have trouble staying in my positive feelings even tho they come up more and more often and i wonder why that is. my brain seems to think that fighting with ants is way more awesome than the very enjoyable feelings that i sometimes have when doing things (like the other day when i was out with my bike i was feeling ecstatic. i didnt even remember one can feel this great)
there also is this thing where i get very excited about my development to the point where i feel i cannot handle/express the excitement (basically positive adrenaline) and my brain just produces ants as a relief.
my situation is as follows: i used to sit at home for 5 years doing very little. i was feeling bad when even grocery shopping and avoided pretty much everything that had to do with people. i then gradually started to do more things, picked up the therapy again, started behavioral experiments. recently, i started to walk around the city each day and talk to women that interest me. that happened over the period of about 1 year. so far, so good. i am very happy about being able to do these things, and not feel a whole lot of anxiety doing most of these things. i dont even think, for example, about shopping for clothes, when i would get massive anxiety and shame attacks when i first did this last year.
the problem being, i feel it might be a bit of an overload (as i said, i get really excited at times, and i have trouble calming myself down.). i havent been in any relationships with women for a really long time, so naturally, i do have problems with the idea of dating or having sex with a random women i meet on the street, even if there is chemistry.
i also still have problems to talk about personal things with people, and this makes it more difficult to connect with the girls im talking to.i kind of know that my life situation doesnt matter all that much when im ok with myself, but im not fully ok with myself yet and i get scared / defensive when the conversation gets to my life situation (which is difficult to avoid), and then they loose interest even when they initially liked me. i dont have a social circle and im unemployed, so i dont really have any other practicing ground for this either.
on the other hand, the doubts im having about my course of action might be just my ants trying to stop me. maybe this whole idea of "being too happy" is utter nonsense. just a few weeks ago the thought of approaching random women made my guts turn, now it has become fairly normal. so maybe it will be normal to have longer conversations, actual dates, and so on in just a few weeks.
should i just keep going at the current pace, or rather slow down and focus a bit more on other things? problem being that i really dont know how i would go about building a social circle for example, and i am a bit scared of falling back into old habits when i do. one of the reasons i ended up in the situation i was in the last years is that i wanted to get away from my old social circle. i dont know if im ready yet to commit to a job or to take up my studies again, because there i cannot choose to just leave the situation (at least not without causing problems).
other than that, i am very grateful for the progress i have made so far and i wish to encourage everyone who is not at that point yet to keep going. i did not consider any of these things possible just last year, and if you dont think you can make it, youre listening to what the ants are telling you. you will make it, keep going.