Should I start again


#1

Hi. I had a glimpse at session 9 and saw it was around starting behavioural therapy. Tight chest, racy thoughts etc. All seemed to happen in an instant! So, perhaps im not ready? I am trying to apply the cognative principles everyday. Particularly telling myself to slow down, calm down & loosen up. I say it but i dont feel it. Even a possibility of something happening that will make me anxious causes the thoughts to bombard me & my chest to get tight. Its like a physical pain & i feel exhausted by it.
Should i keep pushing on, or start again? I wonder if i havent learned enough or dont believe it enough yet.

I recognise this is ANTS. ‘You arent ready’ ‘you will never be ready’ ‘you are stuck with this misery forever’
I recognise them but I still believe them.


#2

Hi Overit!

Behavioral therapy does not have to be very pressuring and stressful. If you are beginning just now, try finding something that cause only a tiny bit of anxiety, and start working on it.

For me, the first behavioral experiment was going to the bakery to buy coffee. It caused me anxiety but was not flooding. So something as simple and easy as that is fine to start behavioral therapy with in my opinion.

Also try not to have irrational expectations. You are on session 9 right now, it is completely normal to not be able to do very pressuring experiments. I am on session 16 and still there are things I would not even consider doing right now as they would certainly backfire (and equivalently, there are many things I am doing to get better and A LOT of things I can easily do now that seemed impossible in the past).

Best of luck.


#3

Hi @savvas

Thank you for the encouragement. I suppose I expected to feel more relaxed by this stage in approaching things. Like you say this is an irrational expectation. I will try to take the pressure off. Thank you.
For me I struggle with anything that requires me to be (or feel like i am) like centre of attention. Only when i have to do something physical, so speaking is fine for me. Writing is an issue because i feel like i cant control my hands.

I do fill out time sheets for our temporary staff in work. This is something i do a few times a week that still causes my anxiety to increase. I have manged to move on a step from only managing to sign my name to now signing and printing it. I can do this by making conversation to distract both myself and the other person from focusing on my writing.

I hope this is enough for now.


#4

Hi overit,
I think it is totally okay for you to be feeling this way at this point in the series. Try not to pressure yourself! You do the therapy at your own pace, whatever feels right for you! I am on session 13 now. One of my biggest fears is sitting around a table and making conversations because then I feel there is no where for me to escape if I start feeling anxious symptoms (blushing,sweating) but these are ANTS. But I also only feel anxious around certain people and certain situations. So what I have been doing is just taking each moment as they come, Day by Day. There’s no way that you can map out and plan what you will do and where you will go every day. That would take too long and be too stressful. So I just live with the flow of what is going on. If I’m at school, I won’t avoid attending events. When I do go to events, I will find an easy person to talk to and use slow talk. I also try to make plans with my friends in ways that make me comfortable such as I invite my friends over my house so that I feel comfortable or I may go for a walk with friends. I am not avoiding doing things with people, I just choose the easiest situations to put myself in… Soentimes going out to eat at restaurants makes me anxious because like I said earlier, I feel confined at a table, so if I know my friends are making plans to go out to someplace that I know I’m not ready to appproach yet, then I will just make different plans and do something I feel more comfortable with. I tell myself that maybe someday in the future, I will be able to do sit at a table in a restaurant and not have much anxiety about it… Also, I feel that my blushing doesn’t last as longer as it did in the past. I feel I have more control over it and that I am more aware of my feelings now. In the past, my blushing would last for like 30 min to an hour. I feel like now it’s not as bad. I keep reading over the Acceptance handout. After a social event, regardless how it went, I try not to beat myself up over it or think about it too much. What happened yesteday, last week, last month, or last year is over and done with. We can’t change it. So why Dwell about something that can’t be changed? Let go and move on.
I understand how you feel about the physical symptom of shaking. I know how it feels when you “think” you can’t control your hands. But this is all irrational. We really can control our emotions more than we think we can. Instead of fighting this feeling, i would just say to myself
“Okay, this is happening again. I just accept it and move on. I have the right to look anxious. I have the right to feel this way. I know that it will pass.” And then just try to ignore these symptoms. With time, it will be easier to do this. I know things will get better for you soon! Just keep continuing the therapy! Keep us updated on your progress !! :blush:


#5

Hi @Soccer2000
Your replies always make me feel better. From what you said you are doing well! Thats great. I like the idea of day by day rather than planning something. Anticipatory anxiety is a hard one to deal with.
This week just seems to be particularly hard but not for any other reason than I am pressuring myself to feel no anxiety. To feel peace & calm. All this is doing is making me feel terrible. The minute i open my eyes in the morning…bang, anxiety!
Due to the nature of when i get anxious this could happen at any point throughout the day, so im waiting for it all day everyday. The possibility i will have to sign something or write something nd that person or this person will see that im anxious is everywhere.
Also things as simple as going to the dentist, thats a pretty normal place to feel anxious for most people i would imagine but i cant go because i know there will be forms to fill in & at the end of the procedure they will hand me a glass of water and see my trembling hands
!
Right now it all feels like flooding. So i am getting impatient with myself. I want to just push myself into it but this what ive done in the past so i know from the therapy & experience this wont work either.
:unamused:


#6

You mentioned “Due to the nature of when i get anxious this could happen at any point throughout the day, so im waiting for it all day everyday.”
By you stating that you are “waiting” for anxiety is only reinforcing that you are expecting that it will come, so it does. The more you expect that anxiety will come to scare, you are only keeping yourself trapped in this negative thought cycle. Think about if you are trapped in a corn maze, and you keep telling yourself “I will never find a way out” Well then this will come true because your brain won’t be focusing on a solution to get out. Your mind subconsciously will try to do what you repeatedly say or think to yourself everyday. Try to get out of the habit of saying or thinking these negative statements.
In my own experience, during my 30 minute study time, I have a talk with myself. I question my irrational thoughts and I ask myself why am I beating myself up over this?
I mentioned before that I over think about blushing and I feel that everyone notices it. Well, I gained the courage to have a talk about this with one of my closest friends a few months back. I told her that soemtimes I get anxious because my cheeks automatically get red out of nowhere and I don’t want people to think I’m weird…etc.
And do you wanna know what her response was!! She said “I honestly never even noticed it. It’s not a big deal. No one even cares anyway because they are too busy with their own lives. And it doesn’t bother me if your face looks red. If I noticed it, I would ask you if you are okay.”
Now think about her response for a second and relate it with your physical symptoms such as shaking. I used to think that everyone noticed my blushing and thought it was weird. And then I heard my best friend tell me this. At the time, I thought that she was just lying because she didn’t want to make me feel bad. But now, as I’m working on my therapy, I can maybe see that she was possibly telling me the truth.
So my point here is that maybe people don’t notice your trembling as much as you think. And if people do notice it, who cares! So what! If they are truly a nice person, they wouldn’t care about the physical symptoms! Don’t let these things consume your mind longer than they need to! You can still do the things you want to do despite your physical symptoms! Keep moving forward. We just need to interrupt these old entrenched habits! Keep moving forward and when you feel yourself overwhelmed, listen to peaceful music on Youtube such as the ocean or a rainfall. And just try to clear your mind. Keep continuing with the therapy! I’m sure the days will get better for you soon!


#7

Thank so much for your advice @Soccer2000. I think your friend was telling the truth. Blushing is not something I tend to notice in people, but maybe I have noticed & its just for a moment then i forget about it. So it is possible people dont notice, because its no big deal, or maybe they do but they soon move on to something else. It sounds like you really understand and apply the therapy & im happy to hear about your success so far! I hope you’re proud of all the things you are doing that once seemed out of reach.

I went back to the ANTS handout today & for the first time I wasnt just saying the words ‘that thought is a lie’ i believed it was a lie. I thought about times in the past when i didnt even think about these things and anxiety wasnt an issue & I told myself strongly…its actually a lie!! This thought has always been lying this whole time and i believed it & I laughed a little because I give it so much of my time. Its ridiculous :slight_smile:
By no means am i fooled into thinking im cured, however it was nice to have that Ah Ha moment today.
Thank you for the encouragement.


#8

I am so glad to hear that! Any small progress is a step in the right direction!! Good luck to you!! :smile: