Tell us YOUR examples of Conditional / Rational beliefs developed over time


#1

Okay, so I don’t know exactly what I’m thinking here. This idea came to me when reading your posts and looking over the different handouts in each session of the audio series…

I’m reading your posts and each of us is at a different point in the therapy. Some are relatively early on, doing the therapy well, understanding and practicing the cognitive, but they also talk about not BELIEVING those statements yet. They talk about trying to stop the ANTs and turning it into a rational, conditional statement - but it’s still hard.

Others have posted about irrational thoughts they used to have and how they now see and feel more strongly how those ANTs were liars, and now they believe in a kind of more rational healthier truth about themselves after doing some amount of the therapy and seeing it in their real life, even if they still struggle with anxiety, but they see and feel the positive change actually happening in their thinking and in their world.

So with that in mind, this is a thread to list what used to be a strong ANT belief about yourself, something you saw as even rational at the time supported by your feelings and whatever evidence you believed in at that time - and then tell us your conditional statment or belief now, how that feeling and belief in yourself has changed into something neutral or even positive backed up by new rational evidence. Hmm, does this make sense? Let’s see if it does.

I hope this might help those who are early in the therapy and still struggling with hope - those whose feelings and beliefs haven’t changed as much as they might like simply because it takes our brains time to get there.

To get this started then, I’ll start with my own example:
1. Old firmly held belief about myself (ANT): It is impossible for me ever to give a presentation of any kind without showing the audience that I will completely melt down and look like a complete idiot in front of them. It’s the worst thing in hell, and I have years of failed and pathetic attempts as proof that this is true. I could never have a job with any sort of presentation quality to it. I hate it, I’m not good at it, and people know that I suck at it because they’ve told me that. Once someone sees me in an anxiety meltdown like that, blushing and freezing up, they’ll know I’m a loser.

2. Current rational beliefs about myself in this situation now: It’s not impossible for me to give a presentation. I’ve done it many times in many different situations. Do I always love presenting? No, but that’s okay, most people don’t love giving presentations. Do I sometimes look forward to giving presentations? Yes, I get excited designing a class which I think will be really fun for my students and I can’t wait to see how it plays out live. It’s almost like a creative performance, teaching - it takes a lot of energy, and in some ways to be a good teacher you do need to be an entertainer too. And I don’t think that’s so bad. I spend a lot of time on my lesson plans not because I’m worried so much anymore, but because I’m kind of excited to find neat songs or videos to play that really make a class which helps the students and leaves them feeling like they had a good time. Also, good teaching is not all about me. It’s more about how I can encourage the student to get excited and to feel confident to learn by their own motivation. Yes, sometimes I get more nervous presenting still. It depends on the situation, but that’s okay. It’s natural, and I can even see it as helping me. You need some energy in a performance, so maybe if I didn’t get a little nervous, I wouldn’t have as much energy to liven up classes. I did have a job giving presentations. I became a teacher. I actually enjoyed it. You wouldn’t think so, but I like the human interaction. I like a job dealing with people, especially more in a group where you can create a lot of fun activities. You develop a bond with your students. One on one is okay, but I just find that a little less fun now. Sometimes I’m sick or feel tired one day and I don’t deliver the best presentations, but that’s okay - that’s normal. Teaching is an up and down job. You always need a break. Sometimes I give great classes which inspire my students to do something at home which I’ve seen posted on social media. I mean, that’s cool! So, some students really dig my classes. And I like them too. We have a lot of fun. I used to control a class, trying to discourage any points which might trigger my anxiety again, but over time I’ve found that I care less and less about that. I don’t exactly know why that happened, maybe just time and practice, or maybe that I just don’t spend time defining myself as a loser, and letting go. I laugh a lot more in classes and I think it’s fun. I laugh when I feel embarrassed and I think that’s normal - it’s normal to poke fun and enjoy embarrassment at things which happen naturally. I make a lot of mistakes in classes, just like a lot of presenters do - because when you’re speaking and performing sometimes the words just don’t come out right or you mispell something on the board, and I love it when my students point it out and make fun of me for it. I love it when the students are joking in class because it means they are enjoying class and becoming more confident. I don’t try to control the class because you need follow where the class goes, within reason, let learning opportunities develop on their own. And, I know there is no such thing as a perfect class or perfect presentation. There are one hundred and one ways to do something, and they all might be great. It just depends! And sometimes when I’m feeling tired and stressed out and not in my best mood, like maybe I’m just not a good teacher anymore - I get feedback from some student that they loved my class, that my class has encouraged them to continue on some path. I never would have thought that. It might come from a student who never even really said anything to me and it’s a complete surprise. I could have never guessed what that student was thinking. (By the way, as evidence - what used to be impossible in my mind and “can’t” and “hate”… well since that time I’ve been in really wacky teaching situations. I’ve taught from kindergarten to university ages. I’ve been asked to lead school assemblies of 2,000 people on a sportsground where I had to do calisthenics and sing “Frere Jacques” - and I don’t speak French, but the students wanted to do that. They all wimped out at the last moment and it ended up I was doing that on my own one clear sunny morning. (I’m not a good singer, and it doesn’t matter!) I’ve taught drama classes and speech classes. SPEECH clases - me, giving advice to students on how to be better presenters! Never would have thought that. I’ve taught cooking classes, and I’ve been asked to dance so many times I can’t count - once in front of an assembly of parents. I will never win any awards for my dancing or singing abilities, but at least the crowd got a good laugh out of it. I did too.) So…

Those old beliefs were limiting ANTs in so many unproven and horrible ways. It took me a LONG time to stop believing in them.

All right! So maybe my example was too long or too boring, and I don’t want to hear my new conditional rational beliefs… I want to hear your examples!! How has the “impossible” changed to “maybe” and more in your lives?

Thanks for your sharing! And share anything big or small. It’s all good!


#2

Hi Mateo ye I see what you mean and your post I felt was excellent,
now BEFORE having a rational thought about an issue, ( an IRATIONAL thought ) and then AFTER having a rational thought about it,
Dr Richards in his story, said you can’t wake up one day and say I’m going to be the greatest person in the world, or I’m going to get rid of this social anxiety today it dosn’t happen like that, you can’t just say something and expect your brain to believe it,

Session 2 I think is slow talk, I think this needs to be worked on a lot more,
Well it’s what helped me, I think we have a greater sense of awareness,
I think we are all very reasonable and rational people, but when it comes to ourselfs we are very IRRATIONAL

We are PERFECTIONIST and wont expect anything less and all we do is put pressure on ourselfs, we want to please others, ( like go along with other people’s plans and opinions, )
We accept other people making mistakes, but when it comes to us making a mistake, we are so hard on ourselfs, and can’t accept it, we ridicule ourselfs.

So is it any wonder WHY we have social anxiety,

BEFORE. Example in school I would hope the teacher didn’t call on me, as didn’t like to be centre of attention, and up until I ordered DR Richard therapy, if people called my name, I would shake, my face would froze, I would go blank,
I suffered a couple of panic attacks through the years,
Example BEFORE
I was very self conscious, in a supermarket I would think everyone was looking at me, I would shake, couldn’t make eye contact, like eyes wouldn’t work anymore, I remember leaving shopping in a basket and leaving the supermarket, I panicked and had to get out,
I was worse if I seen someone that I knew, I would duck and dive, which is what I’ve been doing most of my life.
Example v
When I was driving, and stopped at lights, I felt people were looking at me,
And judging me, and I couldn’t focus,

AFTER EXAMPLE
Slow talk, slowing down, relaxation exercises and having a good talk with yourself, I mean you have to teas it out,
In supermarket, I had to say things like this: people are not really looking at me
Like there eyes have to focus somewhere, and people are not really watching me, and judging me, ITS NOT HAPPENING, it’s the ANTS. So this helped me a lot, but you can’t just say this a few times, it’s REPETITION , REPETITION, can’t say that enough times,
Every time I went into supermarket I had long conversation with myself,
NOW I can go into supermarket, I don’t feel self conscious, I don’t have a problem looking at people, I can look at the assistant with ease, and most important I feel relaxed,
I hope this helps I will write some more
Slow talk, deserving statements, accepting myself, there a statement in one of sessions , ANTS PART 3 keep reminding yourself, that despite anxiety feelings, you can and will do fine, after all everyone makes mistakes, and you will too, but al that proves is that we are HUMAN, it’s ok to be human and make a mistake, SO WHAT ITS NO BIG DEAL, THESE HELPED me. Keep reading Ants part 3
I had to send away for a new book, cause my book was in tatters :grinning:


#3

Thanks for sharing!

Before: I thought everyone noticed me sweating and that I had a sweating problem. I could see it and I planned my wardrobe around this - either black shirts so it might not show as much or white for the same reason. (In high school I always wore a thick jacket even, no matter the temperature, just for the reason that anxiety sweat didn’t make it through the jacket.)

Much later: I don’t think of it as abnormal. I sweat when I’m hot, like anyone. One time a colleague remarked that I didn’t seem to sweat as much as “so-and-so”, just in general conversation at work (during a super hot muggy summer). I replied, “Really? I feel like I sweat a lot here.” And again that person said, “Hmmm? I’ve never noticed.”

Of course I sweat naturally, but as I stopped worrying about it, judging myself on that symptom, then I naturally sweat less in terms of anxiety.


#4

Before: I used to be terrified of being wrong and looking stupid. (Reason - I was calling myself stupid and loser all the time in automatic negative self-talk inside my head.)

Much later: No one knows everything and everyone does something stupid. Doesn’t mean I’m stupid. Everyone is smart at something, and clueless about other things. No big deal. I don’t reject myself like that anymore so the view has changed. Plus doing silly or stupid things can be both fun and funny. “I have the right not to know everything.”

While teaching English, I used my stupidity as a class tool, to try to encourage the students - “Awesome! Well done, remember you can do that in two languages when I can only do it in one. Now teach me how to say it in your language.” I tended to do much worse in their language, so this hopefully gave them confidence to speak up more and we had a lot of good laughs at me trying to struggle through badly. It also got the quieter kids to come out of their shells more when they were the “teacher”.


#5

Hi Mateo
Yes it would be nice if we got some feed back, it would help so many people out there,
Recovering from social anxiety is easy and yet so hard,
At the end of the day, we have social anxiety, because we constantly worry about what people think of us, how we are coming across,
We all have the same problem really,
ICanDoIt sufferers with eye contact, I think she mentioned about how everything is fuzzy and dream like state,
I remember feeling just like her, I couldn’t cope with looking at people, it’s like when you have one of those situations where you just want the ground to swollow you up,
I would feel as though I was going to pass out, it was like I was seen a haze in front of me, everything became fuzzy, I think it’s the brain reacting to this very stressful situation, and then afterwards I would feel so bad about myself, I would have no self worth, and go over and over it in my head a million times.and become very depressed.
NOW. I suffered for years with this, I can’t believe today I don’t have a problem with this eye contact because it crippled me, I can look at someone now and find there is a relaxation when you look at them or look directly into there eyes, I feel so much at ease…
I dropped all my safety behaviour, not fighting the anxiety, stopped being angry because I had it, and accepting myself, and saying THIS IS NOT MY FAULT,
I really would love to get across to people how I got over this, because I know it’s sheer hell. No one could possibly understand it unless they suffered with this.
I talked to myself a lot about this like:: for example I would say to myself ( particularly in supermarket or shops )
WHY am I always worried about other people?
Why am I always worried about what people think of me?
what do I always think people are looking at me? ( which I think is where the problem about eye contact came from ) and I would turn it around, I would then say ARE people worried about what I THING of them? NO
ARE people worried that I might be looking at them? NO
this is an irrational thought a strong believe I have had for years, but it’s not TRUE. It’s really not happening,
I teased this out and it’s the repetition, repetition. These positive statements. Need to be said a million times literally, :grinning: You will get over this, good luck everyone


#6

Just to add, I could feel those little changes taken place in your brain, It dosn’t happen immediately, it is slow, but when you feel one smal change, it gives you a sense of excitement, and gives you the motivation to go on.
I still have a way to go, but the difference is now it’s manageable :grinning:


#7

Thank you, Pinetree.

So may I ask - did you start to get over these painful, crippling physical things - such as eye contact (maybe that’s not a good example of a physical thing - but some people speak of feeling like their eyes twitch, so a physical isse in their mind)… did you start to get over that physical thing by finding solutions for the physical thing directly, or did you help yourself overcome the physical thing by focusing not on that directly but instead by doing the cognitive therapy?

My question is leading, but please answer honestly - your opinion and your path. The most common questions consistently we get here at the clinic and on the forums have to do with physical symptom issues and worries - some sort of twitching, neck, face, blushing, sweating, ticks, freezing up, etc. It’s all very painful, I know that personally.

I answer from a place of the cogntive therapy - the series. My answers will seem repetitive and maybe not what people want to hear. I believe, and from my personal experience, that I needed to do the therapy to deal with those symptoms. It is backwards and not-effective to somehow swith this around and ask for fixes for the symptoms alone, because the symptoms are from social anxiety.

Thus this thread - showing once strong irrational beliefs, that change over time…OVER TIME… as you rightly point out, and that this paves the way to correctly become rational about the symptoms.

What do you think on this, Pinetree?


#8

Well I feel mateo there is a lot of physical symptoms as a result of stress that eye contact causes. but again the physical symptoms are not really there. The physical symptoms are as a result of the brain reacting to the stress caused by eye contact.
Example like a child with a high temperture can have a convulsions. They don’t know why the brain reacts in this way, but has a lot of physical symptoms.
Like when you do the therapy and get the strategies statements deep down into your brain.
Like my physical symptoms. You name it is had them all. Blushing was a big problem ( but again the brains acts in this way because your uncomfortable. Rush of blood is like a barrier.
But all those physical symptoms disappeared very slowly for me, like one day I would say gosh I don’t have that panic face,. And I didn’t move my face and neck like I use to. My eyes are more relaxed. There not all over the place like yhey use to.
And I’m more at ease looking at people
I think you need not to focus on the physical symptoms. Because I think as you make a little progress it spills out all over.
Social anxiety is like an umbrella it causes all different problems. Like physical symptoms.
I hope I’m making sense.
I mean I feel I still have a way to go. But like I said.it’s manageable hope this helps


#9

Thank you for these encouraging posts. It’s really nice and helpful to read about people overcoming anxiety. That’s how my recovery played out when I was in my twenties, although I don’t know if I got as far as you guys but I got pretty far with it. However, I didn’t keep up with it. I’m still trying to understand what happened but I don’t really care that much. I’m happy I’m back to this and gradually overcoming social anxiety.


#10

Cyan getting over social anxiety can seem so hard and yet so easy,
Like for years I thought, things I was doing was helping me, but all it was doing was making the situation worse and my anxiety worse,
Like EYE CONTACT: I would look at the floor, hide behind my hair, my eyes
would water and I would have this blinding,burning feeling.
These were my safety behaviors, when I got rid of these, things start to change
SLOW TALK really helped me here, relaxation exercises, talking rational to your brain about your behaviour around eye contact. As I felt little changes, I felt there was a sort of relaxation attached to when you look into someone’s eyes and face and conversations flows easier, it takes practice, practice, and repetition.

When I would try to express an opinion or say say something, I would rush it, to get it over with as quick as possible, again all this was doing was making it worse,
So slow talk help me here and relaxation excerises, and pause here and there as you speak, this helps you relax and your better able to think of things to say, and don’t rush yourself, again this takes practice, practice and repetition.l
Recovery is slow that you don’t notice the changes, but you do feel them taking place in your head. Good luck everyone can over come this


#11

Hi Pinetree,

Thank you for the encouragement. It’s sweet of you. I had a rough day yesterday but I still feel more resilient than I used to, but I’m feeling roughed up. I think I read another of your posts where you said that it’s important to talk rationally with yourself every day and I’ve heard you stress the importance of slow talk before. I’ve kept all of that in mind. I’ve actually tried talking to myself slowly when I can when I’m stressed. I definitely have a side, even when I’m not that anxious, when I can get out of it and just think everyone’s acting like zombies and ignore everyone because I don’t want to be a part of that and have fun with my best friend or just listening to my music on my headphones and getting through my day. I think sometimes that’s a safety behavior and defense mechanism and other times I just need to release excess adrenaline or energy or whatever it is.

I have a quiet father who judged me and acted passive aggressive and even I think disgusted with me at times while he acted like this quiet saint and everyone thought he was. I’m not sure what people think now because I don’t talk with him or any of my extended family anymore. I think I have an aversion to taking things slow and paying attention because I always felt like he was like that and he just so often seemed unhappy and disapproving of me and happy to get on my case in these really passive aggressive power tripping ways. Anyways, I’m trying to learn to be calm and realize that calmness doesn’t mean passive aggressive bullying. I have a confusing past and perhaps repressed memories of severe abuse. Sometimes I wish my parents acted more directly like jerks and not like saints with mental illnesses because then I would just feel less confused. Anyways I’m 40 and I’m trying to let go of that. It’s just difficult because I’ve realized a lot of things in the past few years. I’m getting better with this therapy, meditation, exercise and finally trying to follow my dreams of studying and becoming a fashion designer.

I still wish my parents and sisters and everyone in the world including myself the best possible life we each can have. I’m taking an online summer class and have been spending way too much time in front of my computer. I’m gonna go get a starbucks and go for a walk or bike ride. I’ve been alone all week because my best friend is on a business trip and I’m bogged down with my school work and need to clear my mind a little. I’ve been trying to do behavioral exercises here and there.

Sorry if I said too much. I guess I just needed to express myself. I sometimes think I’m confessional because no one in my family, except maybe my oldest sister, believes me about the stuff I’m saying or even cares that much. I’m not really talking with most of them but I wonder if that’s why I’m so confessional sometimes. I was also made to think I was overly talkative self-centered and obnoxious for much of my life by my family. I have an odd case of social anxiety.

I’m not expecting any response. Thank you again for being encouraging. It’s also just encouraging to see or hear about people gradually and solidly recovering.


#12

HI Cyan No you haven’t said too much, you were just expressing yourself, it’s better than staying in your head, sorry for you that you have problems with your family,
I can identify with you, as I don’t see to my family, it was mostly my mother, causing the problems, just nasty, and she succeeded in turning the rest of family against me, and I suppose we were all afraid of my parents, it was like going through a bereavement, I had counselling which I found helpful. But emotions run high, when it is to do with your family.
I started to think it was my fault, and I was to blame, so having social anxiety and problems with your family, it’s a double whammy😡 which is probably why we have anxiety,
But I did find this therapy good, like we are very rational people in general, but when it comes to ourselfs, we are very irrational, and always ready to believe everything is our fault, but this is an irrational thought,

So that’s why it so important to deal with any anger that could be there as a result of your family, it eats you up.
The therapy lets you see and think clearer,
Just concentrate on the therapy, and get yourself better, you owe it to yourself, YOU are not responsible, for how they treat you, nor is it your fault. It dosn’t mater if they don’t believe you. YOU don’t need there approval, and you don’t need to prove yourself to others. So what? Who cares?
ACCEPT YOURSELF. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. And remember it’s repetition, repetition, and practice, practice take care


#13

Thank you Pinetree for the kind and encouraging message. I know from personal experience it takes energy to be that way so I appreciate your nice messages.

I just wanted to say that I got an A- in my online summer class and mostly A’s last semester despite and with much anxiety. I wanted to mention that because I talk about my problems a bunch and wanted to say that I’m doing pretty well regardless. I’m also proud of myself about it. It’s the first time I’ve been brave enough to pursue my deepest interest, fashion and making cool clothing for women. I also wanted to say that those difficult days from when I wrote last time have passed and although things aren’t particularly easy currently, I’m handling it pretty well and doing ok enough :blush:

I hope things are going well with you. You seem like you’ve come a long way and worked hard for it. It’s awesome and encouraging.

Cyan


#14

Cyan you just proved that you are not your anxiety😀 Just look and remind yourself ( particularly on bad days ) what you’ve achieved,
A’s and not just one, CONGRATULATIONS WELL DONE, I’m a lot older than you, that’s why I feel for young people that suffer from social anxiety,
The suffering you go through, it’s like hell on earth, and you don’t know what to do?
years ago I wouldn’t even have known what this was, I was suffering with, I couldn’t tell anyone, as I didn’t know what was wrong with me, and I thought I was the only one in the world feeling like this, and just didn’t know what to do, when I did go to a doctor, he just thought I was depressed, but I knew I wasn’t,
I went to various therapists, they just didn’t understand,
It’s one of the fears that you can’t face head on, as Dr Richards said it has to be done in a slow step by step approach,
I’ve come to understand social anxiety now a lot more, and the way the brain reacts and responds,
And believe me I know it can seem so hard to overcome this, but it is easy, you just need to put in the work, repetition and practice.
And you have studied so hard to get those As, so you will definitely be able to overcome this,

I love numbers, figures, I did a year of accountancy, but I love cooking,
But love what your doing, dressmaking, I love to make children’s clothes, I have made a some adults clothes, I thought myself, but can see my mistakes, like the finishing wouldn’t be great,
Go for it and don’t let anything or anyone get in your way, well done