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Re: let's talk about social phobias
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Published: 18 years ago
This is a reply to # 272,431

Re: let's talk about social phobias

I also purchased "Attacking Anxiety and Depression" made by the Midwest Center. I got mine on an online auction site for a fraction of the price and they didn't know my phone number, so they never called me. :) It's just like she says, "How bad do you want it?" You can't just listen to it and have the information soak in without working on yourself. I have had social phobia. I would visibly tremble when talking with other people. It's true how they say you have to change your way of thinking and then take action. Here's what I did when I listed to it:

1) Get a piece of paper and put a tick mark down every time you think something negative. This makes it so you don't have to write down every negative thing you think and take the chance that other people will read it. For the first day, let yourself think whatever you want. Think as much negative stuff as you normally would. Stop long enough to put a tick mark down and if you drift back into negative thoughts, tick mark it and repeat this process throughout the day. Every day after that, as soon as you put that tick mark, stop thinking about the negative thought and think about something good. Compare how many negative thoughts you are having from the first day. You need to know you're getting somewhere. The first couple weeks I barely put the pencil down.

2) If you encounter a dilemma, or someone has done something to hurt your feelings, first tell yourself that it's not a big deal and they probably didn't mean anything by it. Logically they probably don't mean to hurt your feelings and you're just making it worse in your head. This takes effort because it's your negative thinking that is running your life.

I quit smoking 7 years ago. It was so hard that I paced back & forth from the kitchen to the living room, watching the minutes go by on the clock so I could get through the day without lighting up. Finally, I made it. Guess what? Getting over my anxiety has been a bigger battle, but you fight it the same way! Keep track of your thoughts every single minute. Pace in your head if you have to, stopping bad thoughts as they arise.

3) What makes you happy? Think about winning the lottery, or falling in love, becoming famous, having special super hero powers, ways to improve your life or other people's lives, or think about sex or anything that puts a smile on your face. This may sound dorky, but who cares? It's in your head. Make a list of things that make you happy and go over scenarios of those good fantasies as often as possible and as replacements for negative thoughts.

4) Get a hobby or skill that you can become excited over. Learn belly dancing, start jogging, learn to play an instrument, etc. You know there's something you've always wanted to do. You can buy "how to" tapes for just about any subject so you can do it at home.

5) This is important...Every time you start thinking negatively about someone else, tell yourself that's not true. He/she likes me and they wouldn't do whatever it is I'm thinking about. If you make a mistake, say to yourself, "They don't care". As you get better you will notice that they really don't care. They are too busy thinking about themselves. Don't use the past against anyone and don't expect anything.

6) Learn to be happy with yourself and not hope that others will approve of you. That's where it started with me. I would want everyone to like me so bad, but then I would go over every way they could possibly hurt me and then I'd get mad at them...for no reason..because they hurt me in my own head. Drop that! Tell yourself it's just a cruel fantasy you're playing on yourself. It's amusing and entertaining..I used to sorta like it because it got me emotional..I loved the adrenalin rush. Eventually as the years went by, I paid for it with anxiety and depression.

Another negative one of mine is, "You are going to do something to hurt my feelings and I am not going to like you for it. Then you're going to feel bad because I'm such a nice person and you'll do whatever you can to get me to forgive you and like you." See what I'm saying? It's like, "Who needs who now? Now you get to worry about me liking you for a change..It's YOUR turn". After all, it was only fair because they spent so much time hurting me,in my own head. Sound sick? I lived off this little fantasy for years and I never got bored of it. But I was feeling so sorry for myself and lonely that I needed that attention so much. That was probably my biggest fantasy that hurt my self-esteem.

7) Get rid of all the negative people in your life that make your nasty fantasies a reality. You know who they are. I had four close friends. I recently cut two of them right out of my life. The two that I have left are wonderful! If the people who make your bad fantasies a reality are family, stick up for yourself. Be strong and confident and tell them that you're not amused and you're not going to take it anymore. DON'T make a long speech out of it. Make it short and simple and when you're done saying it, stop going on about it. If they respond, tell them you understand how they feel and you hope they understand how you feel & that's it. Nice & easy.

8) Go to the movies once a week by yourself. Pick movies you think you're going to really enjoy. You will forget everything around you and before you know it, it will be time to go back home. Success! I go to Denny's by myself and read a book. Right now I'm reading, Sting's new book, "Broken Music". It's awesome.
That might be something you should consider after you have gone to the movies along enough to feel confident enough to move on to the next step. I don't even go anymore to prove to myself that I can or to get better. I do it because I enjoy going out alone and having that peace & quiet. How about that? :)

I hope some of this helps. Don't let it beat you. Depression eventually causes physical problems and then you'll need more than the anxiety forum! Good luck :)


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