im new on these forums, so go easy on me
Thought I would share my knowledge of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as an ice breaker.
Ive had social anxiety for as long as I can remember (Im 30 now). After telling myslef a zillion times over the course of many years, I finally sought help a few years ago when social phobia claimed my second job.
I have been attending a CBT group on and off for a couple of years now, but please dont consider me an expert or an authority on it, this is just what I take from it.
I have been taught that we all have 'core beliefs'. Core beleifs are ones which are embedded inside us and that we never question. Unfortunatly, some of these beliefs are damaging. One of my core beliefs is that if I go into a shop then I will be anxious, will sweat profusely, will loose the power of speech etc etc. CBT has taught me to try and change my thinking to something like: if I go into a shop then I might be anxious, might sweat profusely, might loose the power of speech, but I may not, and even if I do, then it is not the end of the world, rather it is just a part of me and that I should accept it as a part of me.
Sounds easy huh? Course it isn't
It takes effort and practice, and Im still just a beginner. It took me a while to figure out that it takes effort, but its gradually dawning on me. In my CBT group relaxation excersises are mentioned alot, but again it takes effort to learn them, and a certain amount of faith in yourself. Im starting to put the CBT techniques to work. I don't work at the moment, but I do attend a work focused mental health service five days a week where I get to keep active and mix with other people. In the mornings, I spend some time closing my eyes, controlling my breathing, and saying positive but realistic things to myself, such as 'Its probable that I will be anxious, but not inevitable, and Im gonna have some fun at some point in the day and Im going to achieve something during the day'. Then during the day I will do the same excercise again and take pride in the small steps I am taking.
I havn't turned into a socialite yet
Im taking it one day at a time. The hardest thing for me is accepting who I am and that my problems are part of that. Unfortunatly I've been quite skillful in hiding my problems over the years, but Im trying to embrace them a little now.
anyway, I've waffled on far too long
As I mentioned earlier, just wanted to break the ice a little, now feel anxious that ive said something that might offend someone
im off to relax for a bit