i noticed when i sit in cars or on the bus i overwhelm myself by not knowing where to look and i start to feel self conscious.
Hey omg, one thing you can do is by taking deep breaths and trying to relax as much as you possibly can by thinking about what is rationally happening around. For example you could use the Look Around Technique and prove to yourself that your ANTs thoughts are nothing more than lies and big bullies. Ask yourself questions about whether or not the ANTs are rational or not. But, remember to keep practicing this technique or any other method that relaxes you the most. And remember to not give up, trust me, you will get better as time goes by. Hope you have a good day, omg!!
I see already that you are a therapy series user. The best advice given here will be based on that. If one is not using the series, that must be my starting point for advice. Fortunately you are, and you seem to be in Session 7.
In Session 2, you learned about and practiced Slow Talk. You should still be doing this daily. You should use it as you do your daily therapy out loud to yourself, and you should be applying it when you can as you approach any and all, including this, situation. In Session 3 you learned about catching and stopping ANTs, and Session 4 reinforces what ANTs are. Session 5 gave you Rational Coping Statements that you should be practicing at home and then using them in the “real world” such as when you are waiting to get on a bus or even while you are sitting on that bus. You could remind yourself of these statements. Session 6 specifically introduces the Look Around Technique - something you could and should be applying to the very situation you are describing.
You feel overwhelmed. Yes, we all know that feeling. Slow down, talk to yourself rationally. You don’t know where to look. Rationally, there is no PERECT place to look. This type of idea is irrational and absurd. But, I’m sure everyone here understands that feeling. Remind yourself it’s an ANT. Go back to rational thinking. Where does anyone/everyone look on the bus? They look around, they read books, they look at their phones, they look outside at the scenery, they may make natural, normal small eye contact with other passengers. THERE IS NO PERFECT PLACE TO LOOK.
You then start to feel self-conscious, because you are thinking and getting worked up over this. You are going internal, not focusing out. You are probably then freezing up and trying not to look around at anything. Instead, you could try using the look around technique, try using rational thinking, try slowing down, try reminding yourself what is rational and true, and not reinforce ANTs craziness.
This is for everyone reading this and doing the therapy - apply the therapy as you are learning it. It does you no good to have the therapy stay inside a book of handouts that you understand but never use. Yes, I certainly empathize with all the feelings of anxiety. I’ve had them all, too. I know what you’re talking about and why. It’s good to let these thoughts out and get rational feedback from us. It’s also good to APPLY the therapy that you’re already learning/have learned in each session to these real moments in your life. If you’re not trying to apply the strategies and principles, what, then, is the use of learning them? What, then, is the use of all this effort put into a daily habit of therapy. Yes, it’s not easy. Yes, you won’t feel great at first. Yes, you will still experience anxiety. But, you can find ways to apply these concepts you are learning. Why not at least try to do that, test it for yourself and see if the results are beneficial?
Good luck, omg. I’m sure you can do it. Keep going in the right direction.
Hi omg, I also sometimes feel self conscious when I’m in a setting with a lot of people and I don’t know where to look because I don’t want people to think I’m weird or akward. But I’ve come to realize that the only feeling and thoughts that I can control are my own. I can’t control what other people will think and feel. So why bother worrying about it? If they think a certain way about me, I don’t really care. I know the true person I am inside and I can’t beat myself up or dwell over a situation that probably no one even remembers or cares. Because let’s face it, most people are only worried about themselves.
I do the 30 min therapy study time every morning. I understand everything I’m learning but sometimes I put a little pressure on myself to implement the strategies into my daily life. I guess sometimes I may forget or the anxiety is too strong that it blanks out my mind from using the methods. I have good and bad moments. I am on session 7 and I find that one of the main things I struggle with still is my mouth tensing up. There may be a situation where I didn’t even feel that anxious, but I can feel the muscles in my face get tense which prohibits me from being able to make a normal smile. If I try to smile, it almost feels fake and forced. And also when I make conversations, it doesn’t seem like my natural way of speaking. This is one of my main symptoms. I try not to pay any attention on it but it’s kind of annoying because I love to talk and laugh and this prevents me from doing those things. Will this go away with time? Should I just keep reinforcing rational statements to myself to calm down and relax? Sometimes I listen to calming sounds of the piano or the ocean on YouTube before going to an event, just to calm myself down and clear my mind.
And one other thing to add that makes me self conscious. This may sound strange but I just want to get it off my chest but if I go to a public bathroom, I feel weird looking in the mirror at myself if there are a lot of other people in the bathroom because I feel that everyone is looking at me. It doesn’t matter if my friends are in there or not. I’ve realized that I feeling this way has been a habit for a while now. I may just look at my phone or look down. I’m trying to tell myself that who cares, it’s no big deal but I guess this ANT is strong.
Any thoughts on this would be great!
thanks for the reply. I havent been reading the sessions out loud and in slow talk for a while because i havent found the time or would just simply go over it. Also i find it hard to remember the previous handouts, so ill try to take time to revisit them. I am in college and also have a part time job and having anxiety on top of that is hard to handle im sure you guys can understand. i need patience and to take time to properly do the therapy. i really hope i will be able to overcome my social anxiety by the end of this program.
For your own good, please take my response to be encouragement, then. Something you may consider.
If you don’t find the time to do the therapy, obviously that won’t help you. Simply going over something is more passive than active. That would not engage your senses as much as reading the materials out loud in Slow Talk, as suggested. If you’re going to spend time on therapy, and I know it’s hard for everyone to do so, give yourself the best chance at least to let it work for you. That means, do it as suggested. Don’t listen passively and assume you will change. Don’t refuse to apply the strategies to your day. If you don’t take the opportunity to put it into action, you are then not giving yourself the best chance to move forward.
Consider what’s important to you, where you want to be a year from now, five years. Do you still want to slowly be doing therapy with less motivation, or do you want to feel that you’ve overcome much of this issue? Your answer should determine how you prioritize therapy.
To temper your expectations: you will not overcome social anxiety by the end of this program. I mean within 25 weeks, you will not completely overcome social anxiety and all the related issues it causes in your life. You might want to understand that now. It’s better to have realistic expectations than to suffer a huge setback after week 25 and to give it all up. You, and everyone else who goes through the program, probably needs to, and certainly would benefit by repeating the series when you get to the end. It will only help you to review it again - you’ll see things you didn’t see the first time, understand things more, learn about and work through issues more if you do so. You will not overcome social anxiety disorder in 25 weeks (and this is how the brain works), but you will be along your way to do so.
How much you put into this therapy is what you will get back. So doing this series will indeed help you. Even now, you may be feeling better and noticing changes within yourself. So, things can gradually get better, for sure, assuming you are actually DOING the therapy, and actually applying it to life. You must know this stuff, and that is good. But, as I’ve said before in other posts - knowing is not the same as doing. You need both. You may feel a huge difference by the end of your first 25 weeks, night and day! That can then be the start of doing the therapy again from a place of better rationality and health. You may come to the end of 25 weeks and not be where you would like to be with certain things, feelings, ANTs. And that also can be the start of doing the therapy again, still from a better place than now, and still heading towards a better future.
This process won’t be forever - if you do it. Yes, you will get to a place where you have overcome social anxiety - if you do it. If you do it, keep doing it, and then do it past the time where you had hoped and wished and expected it all to be done and over with. It’s not punishment or all “work”. It can become a healthy habit that you also can be happy to do and realize that it is helping you get to where you want to be in 1, 5, 10 years. But I also want you to understand this is not boot camp. After 4 weeks of regimented efforts you won’t then be declared a full-fledged marine.
You will overcome social anxiety if you stay on track with this.