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Any suggestions? :p

I'd just like to share my some of my positive thinking on here because in some ways this forum has helped me get to the point I am now, which is pretty okay in general.

(I know this is long and extremely unlikely to get a response, I'm just interested to see if anyone else has a similar story of how they've come to understand their problems with SA and perhaps overcome it in some ways, so please share :))

So my story is...about two months ago I was rather glum about my life. I knew there was something holding me back and it'd had a strong grip on me for a long time. Whatever it was I felt I'd reached a point where I really had to get help with it so I started counselling. Not long after that it became more and more clear that my struggles were related to SA. I signed up on here and started contributing by sharing my experiences and offering advice to others, that along with the counselling really gave me a sense of what I was dealing with and gave me the focus and determination to try and overcome it.
My biggest problem area was my education. In the last year of high school I started avoiding classes when I could get away with it, which wasn't easy and just caused a whole lot of stress. After that I went onto college and the pattern of avoidance got a whole lot worse. Anyway after years of going to different places and accumulating many under-achieved qualifications with probably an average attendance each time of around 20% I ended up in uni. That went just as badly and last year (which was a repeat of the 1st year) I only went to about five classes. I couldn't really understand or explain this kind of behaviour, but put in the context of SA it all made sense.

So these past few weeks I've kept that focus in preparation for returning to uni and this time doing it right. I've also kept it in mind with other parts of my life and it's been going surprisingly well. I've pushed myself into social situations where I thought I'd be uncomfortable and actually I do alright. I accepted a long time ago that part of my personality is quiet and reserved and there's nothing wrong with that. Keeping that belief has made it a lot easier to be around people. I recognise when my mind goes into negative mode and I fight it, for example if I want to say something but I'm too scared I'll question whether there's any rational reason for that fear. I used to get really bad anxiety when it came to making phone calls but now I try and keep calm because there's no rational reason behind getting shaky and upset over it. I'm just challenging how I perceive these kind of things and really holding onto those positive experiences I have to eliminate all the worry the slightest bad ones have created.

Finally I'm back in uni and so far I've endured induction and a class that involved mostly group work and having my photo taken. It's gone well and somehow the anxiety I thought I'd be struggling with has put up a weak fight. I think it's been a huge help that I haven't necessarily had to make new friends..I figured because nobody would remember me from the five classes last year I'd have to reintroduce myself and find friends to help me get through my time there. Fortunately I had my one friend back from the first year so it's much easier to handle going into classes and doing work just because I'm comfortable with someone there. So with that helping I've been able to be myself for the most part and haven't shyed away so much from participating in class and just talking to people.
With those little triumphs over my SA I now feel like if things keep going alright there'll be other big areas I can tackle. An important one is work. Any job just seems like a minefield for anxiety but as long as my confidence and self-esteem doesn't revert to zero again anytime soon I'm sure I can handle it.


So if I was to give some advice based on my experience in the past few weeks it'd be this:
Focus on your problems and things you struggle with, don't dwell on them but understand them and be positive and creative about possible solutions and ways to improve your situation. I'd recommend talking to a professional as that structured time with someone impartial can help take the emotion away from your thinking that might be hindering your understanding of things. Set yourself goals, just little ones like making a phone call or saying hi to someone or going somewhere you've been too scared to. If it doesn't work out you can learn from it and if it does then it should have a really positive impact. And finally, just question your fear and anxiety. Catch it when it appears and fight it with rational and positive thinking. If you think you're always going to be too nervous to talk to that work colleague or whatever then challenge that belief by giving it a go. Basically if you sit around believing negative things about yourself nothing is really going to change, so you've got to get out there and prove these things wrong.
I hope that all makes sense, and really hope if anyone reads at least that last bit they can take something positive from it :)
 

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i force myself to be negative everyday. it keeps me mellow, even though i never see the bright side of things often. i think if i push myself down far enough, i will come back strong and be happy the next time something truly good happens, because, at the moment, when something good happens i do not show any emotion towards it.

when i am happy i make mistakes. when i am negative, i tend to focus better on doing well.
 
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