Social Anxiety Institute's CBT Series log - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-05-2010, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Social Anxiety Institute's CBT Series log


So, about a month ago I started working on the Social Anxiety Institute's CBT Audio Series (http://www.socialanxietyinstitute.org/audioseries.html). I got through the first few weeks, and then hit a wall of depression. I'm feeling a lot better now, and have really been feeling great this past week or so. So I've decided to pick right back up where I left off, and I'm going to document my progress on here.

I'm in the middle of week 3. I'll post the first 2 weeks later today.

I hope I can go a little longer with it this time.

Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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post #2 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-05-2010, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Week 1

The first week basically gave background information on the Social Anxiety Institute and its founder. He suffered with social anxiety for nearly twenty years, before it was even recognized in the psychiatric community. He spent a great deal of time -- in talk therapy or analysis -- trying to find the root causes of his social anxiety. He found the causes, but this didn't bring him any relief from his anxiety. Eventually, he found ways of coping (cognitive behavioral) went back to school, became a psychiatrist, and founded the Social Anxiety Institute. His story is powerful, and not unlike my own (except for the getting better part).

Now, it must be said that he believes thoroughly in the CBT process, and he goes as far as discrediting talk therapy and psychoanalysis as forms of treat: "By dwelling on our problems and analyzing them to death, we will be making the problems worse. So, instead of trying to figure out every little last detail, we deliberately focus [through CBT] on how to get out of this anxiety trap we're in. We want a solution, not an explanation of the past. ... If we focus on how and why we develop social anxiety and analyze our problems to death, we'll be stuck at this point forever."

I disagree with him. I think that CBT is just one of many a tools. However, he's lived with social anxiety and gotten through it, so I need to at least listen to his opinion. I do, however, agree with this: "The focus in comprehensive CBT is on the present, finding solutions to our social anxiety."

This is interesting as well: "You are retraining or reconditioning your brain through comprehensive CBT, so you can become your own therapist."

Keys to success: Repetition (patience and consistency), Reinforcement, Reprogramming

The rest of week one describes social anxiety, giving background information and detailing why it's often misunderstood. I'm already pretty familiar with all that, so it was all a little redundant. Nevertheless, I still got something out of it.

Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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post #3 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 10:47 PM
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same thing happened to me after the first few weeks, i am restarting the series tomorrow. I appreciate the fact that you are summarizing each session here in this log, i think it will be very helpful for others who have been curious about the program, thanks!
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post #4 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 11:50 PM
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I know a lot of people who've recently restarted this program. I'm one of them. I'm giving it a jumpstart again. After getting to Session #10 last year, then restarting it earlier this year... I got to Session #11 and parts of Session #12, but I neglected the lessons and stopped making time for it

Glad to see you posting summaries on here.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ― Mae West
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post #5 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Honeybee1980 View Post
same thing happened to me after the first few weeks, i am restarting the series tomorrow. I appreciate the fact that you are summarizing each session here in this log, i think it will be very helpful for others who have been curious about the program, thanks!
Good luck! It's just sooooo daunting. Maybe this log will keep me accountable.

Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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Week 2

I started week 2 on Monday. The first part of the CD was pretty much a continuation of the introduction. I pulled a few quotes I liked --

Limitations social anxiety put on the author's life: "I exaggerated, catastrophized, and took everything too personally. Thus seeing the world as a very negative place, and seeing other people as dangers I needed to avoid, because somehow they were going to hurt me, embarrass me, or humiliate me. I had a very low opinion of myself, and all of my catastrophizing and personalizing just made everything worse. I was in a vicious cycle and didn't know how to get out."

"When we think about these real-life situations logically, we know our feelings about them can be irrational. The purpose of cognitive therapy is to catch this negative, irrational thinking and gradually turn it around into healthy, rational thoughts."

This next quote is interesting. I didn't think that CBT could be used as a tool for going deeper into the emotions. I thought it was just superficial. "Because anxiety is an emotion, we have to reach the emotional brain with comprehensive cognitive behavioral therapy. Because if we can't reach the emotional brain and change our emotions, we will not have a chance at overcoming the emotion of anxiety." In other words, by changing thoughts, I can change the way I feel.

"It takes 45 to 55 days of repetition before your brain automatically starts to use these [anti-anxiety] strategies." Persistence and patience!

At this point, the theory behind CBT is over and the real practice begins. I must say that when I've tried CBT in the past, I've been excited up until this point. I'm much more comfortable with theory than actually putting such theory into practice. I'm still excited but a little nervous as well. I don't want to go down the same path that I went down last time. I want CBT to be different this time. At the very least, I want to finish it. Okay, deep breath. Let's begin.


SLOW TALK

The first strategy, called Slow Talk, is "nothing more than slowing your speech down very slightly." I can practice with this by reading the handouts, which accompany the audio series, to myself (out loud) each day. The theory is that once slow talk is mastered, anxiety will decrease because I'll be able to stay calm and focused. I think that when the attention is on me in social situations -- regardless of the situation, big or small -- I generally rush through whatever I have to say in order to get the spotlight off me. Slow talk will help slow everything down so that I'll feel less anxious and be able to get my idea across easier.

As the author indicates, I'm going to work on this daily -- by reading the handouts to myself for ten or fifteen minutes -- before gradually moving this process out into the world.

***

So, I must say that even before I got to practice this technique by myself, I tried to use it in the real world. Immediately after I learned the technique, one of my girlfriend's friends came by and I got in a discussion with him. At first, I felt very anxious and I was talking really fast. Fortunately, since the Slow Talk technique was fresh in my mind, I was able to become aware of how fast I was talking. Once aware, I slowed down and was able to calm down a bit. I even laughed to myself. That said, I really need to practice it by myself before trying it again.

***

On Tuesday I started practicing the Slow Talk technique. I spent fifteen minutes reading over the handouts. It wasn't easy. My mind would race at times, and at other times, I would unconsciously speed up. I'm used to working at such a high speed; it was very difficult for my mind to slow down.

***

After my bout with depression on Wednesday and Thursday this week, I practiced with the Slow Talk technique again on Friday for ten minutes. It felt easier and more natural than on Tuesday. I practiced again on Saturday and Sunday for ten minutes each day.


STOPPING AUTOMATIC NEGATIVE THOUGHTS (ANTs)

This sounds familiar: "Because I expected things to be negative, they were negative for me. I brought on my own worst fears because I expected them to happen." (self-fulfilling prophesy)

By the time I went over the handout (on this technique) on the audio lecture, I had already read the handout out-loud twice while practicing the Slow Talk technique. It's good to go over this material over and over again in order for my mind to become accustomed to my new way of thinking: "The more you go over the therapy everyday, the faster and more permanent your new thinking will become."

This process involves recognizing my negative thoughts, telling my mind to "STOP!", and then distracting myself to keep my mind off the negative thoughts, and finally replacing those negative thoughts with positive, rational thoughts. Sounds easy, but it's not.

I tried catching my negative thought patterns on Tuesday before falling into my depression. The depression itself didn't manifest from thoughts, but my thoughts certainly didn't help. When I recognized the feelings that I new would bring me to a depressive state, my mind reinforced them: The depression is coming. Brace yourself. There's nothing you can do. I understood I was having negative thoughts, and I was trying to stop them. Yet, everything just seemed to happen under the radar. The negative feelings came, and my body just felt tense. I tried distracting myself with activities that I enjoy, but, at the time, I just didn't enjoy them. I wasn't content with anything I was doing. Finally, when I couldn't distract myself anymore, I just tried to accept what was going to happen through thoughts. Sure enough, the depression came. I felt powerless.

I need to practice more. I've already spent over a week on this second CD and I'm still not done with it. I'm going to work on it one more day tomorrow and try to remain mindful of my negative thoughts until then.

***

Last night -- Friday night -- I dreamed that I was teaching The Stopping the ANTs technique to someone. I remember repeating the process over and over again to this person. This must mean the material is moving past my logical parts of my brain and entering the emotional / intuitive portions. Or maybe I'm ahead of myself; I mean, I haven't really practiced the material much this week. Whatever. It was a nice dream.

I finished the week 2 audio today (Saturday). I'm already putting myself down because I have spent over a week on it and haven't practiced nearly enough. The author implied at the end of the session that I should be listening to the lecture all at once and then spending the rest of the week practicing the techniques. I don't like that method because I find it easier to break the lectures up, listening to them piece by piece, along with practicing. That said, I'm going to practice the two techniques again tonight and tomorrow as well. I'll start week 3 on Monday.

***

For the last step of The Stopping the ANTs technique, I have to replace my negative thoughts with positive one's. A list of positive self-statements are provided to help with this process. Some examples:

"I'm going to be all right. My feelings are not always rational. I'm just going to relax, calm down, and everything will be OK."

"I think I have more control over these thoughts and feelings than I once imagined. I am very gently going to turn away from my old feelings and move in a new, more rational direction."

"I can be anxious and still focus on the task at hand. As I focus on the task, my anxiety will go down."

It's important to get these ingrained, allowing them to seep in my mind. I repeated them to myself using the Slow Talk technique on Saturday and Sunday. Repeating them is good, but I want to practice them. It's hard practicing, though, if I'm not having any negative thoughts. Actually, on Saturday I was feeling down. But I didn't know why. There weren't any negative thoughts; there were just feelings. Are there always thoughts attached to feelings, and vice-versa? How can CBT work if it's my feelings that make me anxious and depressed, not my thoughts?

Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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post #7 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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week 3

I started week 3 on Monday, beginning with ten minutes of Slow Talk. I feel pretty comfortable with this technique and am ready to start using it in the real world. Maybe I did practice enough? Regardless, I feel good about what I've accomplished so far: "Every time you practice, even if it's just for a few minutes, you are sinking these new strategies into your brain further and further, which always moves you one step closer to overcoming social anxiety."

Anyway, I'm going to start using Slow Talk with my girlfriend, therapist, and hypnotherapist, and in other situations that generally don't provoke much anxiety.

Also, last night, while taking a bath, I thought I had some negative thoughts. I say "thought" because they weren't tangible; it was more like an abstract awareness. I definitely had negative feelings coming up from my body, and I think my thoughts were trying to talk me into feeling depressed. Once aware, I told myself to "STOP!" The thoughts and feelings went away almost immediately, and then I told myself that those thoughts were irrational and don't serve me. After my bath, I distracted myself with Star Trek and a good book. Success!!

"The more you realize you're having automatic negative thinking, the more you can change things and do something about it."

Interesting: "You are not the one who filled your mind with negative thoughts, criticisms, blame, and guilt. These thoughts were planted by someone else, by other people, and to make it worse, even though other people caused you to develop social anxiety, it is you who has to deal with it now."

THE ANTs HANDOUT


This technique will help reinforce and strengthen the Stopping The ANTs technique. "By continuing to read [the ANTs narrative] over and over, your automatic negative thinking will become clearer and clearer to you -- and then you can do something about it." I need to read it in Slow Talk at least once everyday.

The author gives some examples of ANTs (all are fears based on anxiety):

·“I make a fool of myself if I talk in front of a group of people.”
·"I don't know what to say when I'm introduced to a stranger."
·"I get anxious just thinking about going to the company picnic. What will I say to people? What will I do? I'll get so nervous they'll think I'm strange and weird."
·"Being social is so easy for everyone else. Why is it impossible for me?"

I think it's important to note that recognizing those irrational thoughts are very hard to do. I can tell when I'm having negative feelings, and I know when my thoughts are negative, as well. It's just very difficult to recognize what those thoughts are saying exactly. Talk therapy has helped make it easier to recognize those thoughts and understand what they are saying. In this sense, talk therapy is a wonderful complement to CBT.

Well said: "Many of our beliefs and thoughts are irrational, unrealistic, and damaging to our progress. They are also simply lies. You can already do almost everything you think you can't. It's the social anxiety that makes it hard for you to believe this. But, please notice these negative beliefs and expectations about yourself are liars. They are not telling the truth. They are trying to scare you, trap you, and keep you down in the gutter so that you can't live a happy life. But, nevertheless, they are lies."

Self-fulfilling: "If someone said something to me that could be misinterpreted, I usually blew it out of proportion and turned it into something negative to be used against me. And then I would beat myself up about it more and more. Of course the more negatively I thought, the more socially anxious I became."

"The more you catch your old, automatic negative thoughts, deliberately reject them, and refuse to dwell on them by making a rational statement and using distractions, the more you are moving away from social anxiety and toward a healthier future. Always keep this in mind when you read the ANTs handout"

I spent ten minutes reading over the ANTs Handout on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I started feeling a little depressed about an hour before I read over the handout. I think it's emotional fatigue. Anyway, while reading, I just couldn't concentrate. I had to force my way through it. My head hurt, and I felt tired. I need to give myself a break.

This is where I had to quit because of depression. I started where I left off on 10/11.

THE ANNUAL ANTs CONVENTION


This is the next handout. It’s an allegory, showing how the ANTs build up morale and strengthen themselves. It’s not meant to be re-reading over and over again. It just needs to be read a few times.



Monday (10/11): I started by reading over the THE ANTs HANDOUT in slow talk. It felt strange, yet familiar. I also read aloud THE ANNUAL ANTs CONVENTION handout; it was silly yet I understood the point.


I spent the rest of the week reading over the ANTs HANDOUT and THE ANNUAL ANTs CONVENTION handout each day in slow talk. It’s easy to read but it’s hard to listen—I mean really listen to what I’m saying. I hope I’m retaining some of it.





These positive thoughts, used to replace negative one's, are posted on the door of my apartment, so I see them every time I leave. I don't always read them, but they are just a subtle reminder to stay away from the negative thoughts--
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Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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post #8 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 03:52 PM
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really nice log, mate. cheers!

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you."

-Dale Carnegie

"Nothing changes when nothing changes."

"Be the change you want to see in the world."
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post #9 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-14-2010, 11:02 PM
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this is something I imagine takes some sticking too, keep up the good work

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Real leaders are pioneers. They go ahead, in front, on the basis of understanding and inner convictions, even if they have to go alone.'
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post #10 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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Week 4

Sunday

The fourth CD has two meditations on it. I believe they’re supposed to be used in conjunction with cognitive techniques—i.e., I should be starting Week 5 at the same time—but I want to take a little break and spend the week focusing on the meditations. I must say that the first meditation is nearly twenty minutes long, which is probably much too long for someone just starting with meditation. I would recommend starting with something around the five- or ten-minute mark.

I enjoyed the first meditation. It went by really quick. I was also really tired at the time, and I kept nodding out a bit. But then I remembered the words of a yoga teacher: “You don’t fall asleep—you fall awake.” When you’re completely present, you’re completely aware of what’s going on—hence, completely awake.

Around this time last year, I was meditating a lot—probably at least five days a week. I got frustrated because change didn’t happen immediately, and so I quickly gave it up. (Actually, I continued meditating at yoga and at hypnotherapy, just not at home.) I’d like to be able to stay with meditating this time around. I’ll try taking it a bit slower, rather than diving into it.

Monday


I listened to the other meditation. It’s intended to be listened to after you have mastered some of the techniques from the previous meditation. But I have experience with meditation, so I thought it was appropriate to move on. In this meditation, you’re supposed to pick a word—a calming word, like “peace”—to use in your everyday life, when you’re feeling stressed. You just say the word and it will evoke feelings of calmness and peace. I picked the mantra peace, peace, peace. I enjoyed the meditation.

I like this: “Remember: the idea behind the [meditation] is just to let the feelings of peace and comfort and relaxation come naturally, come from your emotional brain. That you don’t need to try, you don’t need to attempt, you don’t need to concentrate. Those things will just make it worse. All we want to do is accept this peace. We want to accept this relaxation.”


I did one meditation per day the rest of the week. I hope to continue meditating a few days each week from now on.




Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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post #11 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-23-2010, 11:04 PM
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Keep at it bro, update more frequently!
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post #12 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-25-2010, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Keep at it bro, update more frequently!
Thanks! I should update more, but I think I'm going to stick with once a week. A tape a week. I've been meaning to check out your log. I should have some time this week. I hope it's going well.

Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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post #13 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-25-2010, 04:06 PM
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He suffered with social anxiety for nearly twenty years, before it was even recognized in the psychiatric community. He spent a great deal of time -- in talk therapy or analysis -- trying to find the root causes of his social anxiety. He found the causes, but this didn't bring him any relief from his anxiety. Eventually, he found ways of coping (cognitive behavioral) went back to school, became a psychiatrist, and founded the Social Anxiety Institute. His story is powerful, and not unlike my own (except for the getting better part).

Now, it must be said that he believes thoroughly in the CBT process, and he goes as far as discrediting talk therapy and psychoanalysis as forms of treat: "By dwelling on our problems and analyzing them to death, we will be making the problems worse. So, instead of trying to figure out every little last detail, we deliberately focus [through CBT] on how to get out of this anxiety trap we're in. We want a solution, not an explanation of the past. ... If we focus on how and why we develop social anxiety and analyze our problems to death, we'll be stuck at this point forever."
So the guy spent 20 years analyzing his problems and now he says analyzing doesn't help. Maybe analyzing is a step you have to go through before you can reach the other steps which take you all the way to where you want to be.
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post #14 of 72 (permalink) Old 10-25-2010, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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So the guy spent 20 years analyzing his problems and now he says analyzing doesn't help. Maybe analyzing is a step you have to go through before you can reach the other steps which take you all the way to where you want to be.
Yeah, maybe, I don't know. I guess his point is that analyzing does not directly help with anxiety. I agree and disagree with that. I agree that just finding the root causes doesn't directly help, but finding them can allow you to heal and find acceptance. I do think analyzing is a part of the journey.

Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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Week 5


Sunday and Monday


Week 5 begins with a review of Week 3. I’ve been feeling fairly anxious and really depressed these past few days, and so I’m not really in the mood for CBT. I’m going to try to push through though. I feel bad because I haven’t been doing as much of the homework as I should be doing, and I’m still letting my anxious thoughts control me.

“My beliefs and expectations were built on a false foundation. They were built on lies.” I really want to believe this, I really do. But I just can’t. Not right now, at least. I understand the cycle—one negative event goes bad .. and then another .. eventually I begin to expect all social events to go bad. I am socially inept because of this. That’s no lie. I’m 27 but, socially, I’m still 12. I won’t wake up one day having those 15 years of social experience back. I don’t know how to engage with people. I don’t know how to connect. And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that because I’ve lost 15 years of social experience.

I really shouldn’t be doing CBT when I’m depressed.

I also should be practicing Slow Talk more. It’s so hard to be mindful of this when I’m in a social situation. MUST REMEMBER!

I hate when I get into this thinking: I should do this, I must do that ... it just fuels my perfectionism.


“When we use aggression, which is a negative emotion, and try to fight against social anxiety, we only make our social anxiety worse.” You can’t fight fire against fire. So by telling myself to just get over it, or I shouldn’t feel this way, or I should just will my way out of it .. this actually fuels my anxiety.


THE FIGHTING PARADOX HANDOUT


“Resisting the anxiety, fighting the anxiety, battling the anxiety, attacking the anxiety, and getting aggressive with the anxiety—just bring the social anxiety on stronger. … The things you normally expect to do to get over social anxiety only end up making the problem worse.”

“Remember: We are accepting ourselves as we are now. We are learning not to fight and battle our anxiety. And we are learning to stop all pressuring and beating up of ourselves. Why? Because anxiety feeds and fuels itself on these forms of negative thinking. The more we accept ourselves, then the quicker and more neatly we are going to overcome social anxiety.”


“Anxiety is like a drowning child. The lifeguard dives into the water to save the child, but the child is scared, panicking, and sure she is about to die. So she strikes out aggressively with her hands and feet in all directions. She thinks she is fighting to save her life. She kicks. She bites. She battles. And hurts the very person who has come to rescue her, because she is so fearful of drowning and her fear has entirely overtaken her. She cannot think clearly. What is the solution for the drowning child? How can she be saved? Instead of fighting, she needs to calm down, slow down, relax, allow her mind to clear, and simply accept the lifeguard’s help. Fighting and battling the anxiety never works; it only makes you more agitated, anxious, angry, frustrated, and fearful.”

Social anxiety uses the power I give it from my negative thoughts to persist. I must use positive emotions to bring it under control—and accept that I have Social Anxiety Disorder.

“That which you resist … persists.”

Tuesday


I read over the ANTS handout. I could hear myself saying the words over but my mind didn’t believe them; there’s suspicion in the repetition.

I also finished listening to the audio. He stressed doing exercise to help curb anxiety (to burn up the adrenaline and cortisol). I’m already running three days a week, I bike almost everywhere, and I do quite a bit of walking. I think I’m doing enough, maybe too much.

This week I need to ..

  • Keep using Slow Talk in real-life situations with someone I feel comfortable with
  • Keep reading the ANTs handout everyday in Slow Talk
  • Read over rational coping statements everyday
  • Read over the fighting paradox handout carefully this week
  • Try exercising when I’m bothered by anticipatory anxiety

Wednesday


Too depressed to work on CBT, but I did go for a run, which made me feel a lot better.

Thursday


Ran again, and I read the ANTS handout and the fighting paradox handout—both in slow talk.

Friday


Meditated and read the ANTS handout.

Saturday



Read over the ANTS and the rational coping statements

***

Overall, it was a good week, despite the mid-week depression.

Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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post #16 of 72 (permalink) Old 11-02-2010, 11:38 AM
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This is really great Mike. It is giving us hope. The CDs sound good. You are doing great. I can't wait to hear more. It really sounds interesting and useful.

Laugh Loud!
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This is really great Mike. It is giving us hope. The CDs sound good. You are doing great. I can't wait to hear more. It really sounds interesting and useful.
Thanks! I just hope I can stick with it.

Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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Week 6


Sunday


Week 5 Review:

“I refuse to meet anxiety with any negative emotion. I won’t fuel it by getting frustrated, angry, or irritated.”

“Remember: If we stay calm, call anxiety’s bluff, and tell it that we are no longer going to fuel its raging fires, then we are on the right track. On the other hand, if we let the social anxiety and fear, scare us, frustrate us, depress us, or irritate us, we are playing around with our own negative emotions, and then it's like fanning a raging fire.”

Accept anxiety as a temporary condition

“There is nothing wrong with you. It is true that you have social anxiety, but you weren’t born with it—it had to come from environmental circumstances and then have been conditioned repeatedly into your brain. There is nothing wrong with you or your personality. What’s wrong at the present time is that the social anxiety gets in your way; nevertheless, you as an individual are fine, you are okay. There’s nothing permanently wrong with you. What is inaccurate is the way you see or perceive yourself.”

This week:

Interesting: “Your brain will always accept information provided that it is rational.” As long as I keep practicing, I’ll begin to believe what I’m saying.


ATTITUDES HANDOUT


“Our lives are defined by our fears.” I need to bring my fears down to size in order to get over them.

“My belief system is just screwed up. I started believing too many fearful things and these fearful things grew and grew. My perspective on the world is off base right now. I see everything through anxiety-colored glasses. But now I understand and know better. I deliberately refuse to continually give in to my fear.”

“Your beliefs must move in the direction of becoming more truthful and rational. Many times we can challenge our negative beliefs through short statements that are attitudinal in nature.

For example: “WHO CARES?” “SO WHAT?” “WHY AM I DWELLING ON THIS”


HOW YOU SEE YOURSELF & THE WORLD HANDOUT


“Through your perspective on life (that is, how you view things), you literally create the world around you. For example, if you expect others to reject you, they will. If you expect others to like you, they will. You set up these expectations in your mind because of your beliefs, and then you automatically act on them and make what you expect to happen … happen.”

“What we give out—comes back.”

“The way you see yourself s the way you will be. In terms of how you see yourself, whatever you choose to believe about yourself, using common sense, will happen.”

“Whatever you ‘set yourself up’ for—happens.”

I understand this, but what I don’t understand is how I can begin to change my expectations. I expect to fail because I’ve failed in the past. Do I need to take a leap of faith and tell myself I won’t fail, even though I think I will?


TWO COMPETING NEURAL PATHWAYS IN YOUR BRAIN HANDOUT


“You OLD neural pathways (the millions of nerve cells in the brain that transmit messages, thoughts, and emotions) automatically lead you towards your old responses: anxiety, fear, and the related depression. … However, when you began therapy, you also began to develop a NEW neural pathway. … The more you continue to use these NEW methods you are learning, the stronger your NEW neural pathway will become.”

The less you use the OLD, the more you will use the NEW—and the stronger it grows. But setbacks do occur. They are hard, but “you can’t have a setback unless you’ve already made some progress.”

I think over time, as I change, my old ways of dealing with things—my old coping mechanisms—will actually begin to fight for their lives to maintain control. This is not bad—it’s good, because it shows that I am changing and healing.

“When we see ourselves in a negative light, it is our own beliefs that tie us down to our perceptions.”


What I need to work on this week:

·Read ATTITUDES HANDOUT everyday
·Use SLOW TALK more!!!!
·Be easy on myself, take it easy
·Continue reading the ANTS HANDOUT everyday
·Don’t forget the FIGHTING PARADOX HANDOUT (stop beating myself up, negative emotions)

Monday to Wednesday


I took a break from CBT on Monday and I was too depressed on Tuesday and Wednesday to work on it.

Thursday to Saturday


Read the ATTITUDES HANDOUT and ANTS HANDOUT in SLOW TALK all three days. I had a cold on Friday and was feeling really emotional … anyway, when I was reading over the ANTS HANDOUT, I just couldn’t stay focused. I could hear myself saying in the back of my mind, This isn’t helping. You shouldn’t waste your time. I tried to push the negative thoughts away but they stayed. I got very emotional and started crying a bit. The thoughts eventually went away though, but I couldn't really focus again.

Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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post #19 of 72 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 06:54 AM
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I like all of them but the ATTITUDES HANDOUT is something i need to adjust. Thanks Mike for posting all of this, it really is helping us too.

Laugh Loud!
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post #20 of 72 (permalink) Old 11-10-2010, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Becomingfree View Post
I like all of them but the ATTITUDES HANDOUT is something i need to adjust. Thanks Mike for posting all of this, it really is helping us too.
I'm glad. I've been struggling as of late, but I'm still pushing through, somehow.

Please, call me Mike.

My SA and Depression blog: Unhappy Happiness

My CBT log: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/...es-log-102328/
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