Rilles

Social Anxiety CBT Journal: Steps Up The Ladder

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Here I will post my journey with a professional shrink or whatever you call it, helping me overcome my fear of approaching people. 

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Introduction: I told my shrink that I have a tendency to avoid the lunchroom at work, my friend and I always go to the store outside to buy our food, therefore we dont interact much at all with our collegues, if anything.

Step 1: Start to go in to the lunchroom, MOST IMPORTANTLY, you DONT have to do anything else than to go in and sit down, no need to talk, no need to do anything, just go in. Okay, sounds easy, I mean... Just sitting in there is easy...

Process: My heart started beating before I walked in, I opened the door, feels like everyone is watching me, I feel dissociated, like I see myself being watched from above, crashed as fast as possible into the sofa in the corner, the most comfortable, least exposed place, looked down almost all the time, into my phone. Nervous, trembling.

but... nevertheless...

CHALLENGE SUCCESSFUL

Whats next?

Important, once Ive started a step I have to do it every single day, lunchroom! every day! No avoiding.

Edited by Rilles

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Introduction: I completed your challenge, it was harder than I thought. I sat in the sofa in the corner. I felt exposed. Anxious. 

Step 2: Place yourself in the middle of the room as much as you possibly can, at an empty table. Also, count how many people are actually watching you. Okay... that sounds a bit scary... But Im sure I can do it...

Process: Heart beating, nervous like before, sat down, looked around, noone was actually watching me, everyone is occupied with their own stuff, ALOT of people are sitting by themselves. My friend came back from his locker and wanted to switch tables because of his bad phone connection in the lunchroom. Cool. Eitherway...

CHALLENGED COMPLETED

 

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Introduction: Okay... that wasnt too hard... what now...

Step 3: Sit down, in the lunchroom, in the middle, at a table where someone else is also sitting, no need to talk, no need to do anything, just sit, mind your own business, if someone wants to chat, fine, just be open.

Woah... Thats alot to handle... I will try my best...

Process:

Alot of scenarios in my head of what it would look like... What would I say... What if they dont like that I sit there...

Butterflies... Opened the door... Sat down quickly... Legs away from the table... Sat about two chairs away... Never closer... Real shaky... Minimal eye contact... 

Really feels like Im going against the grain here! Like this is something Im not SUPPOSED to do, like Im breaking some social rule... Perhaps its just my own rule? 

Sat for a while... A bit calmer... Noone watching... Noone gives a fuck where I sit... Everyone is in their own world, as usual. Guy at the table stood up and left after a while, I felt bad... weird... I hadnt even talked to him, why do I feel rejected when he leaves? 

Insight: Its okay to sit alone, it doesnt MEAN anything, you cant tell who a person is by it. 

CHALLENGED COMPLETED

Edited by Rilles

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And so we arrive... at today... the prior steps were achieved over a period of about a month... 

Introduction: Okay, you feel comfortable now sitting at the same table as someone else. Are you ready for the big one? 

Step 4: Sit down at a table... Say Hi to the person sitting there... Or you can say ”Is this seat taken?” You decide. Thats all you have to say, just one word or sentence. Then you can keep quiet.

Im not sure Im ready for this but... I cant stop now... 

Process: TOOK ME ONE AND A HALF WEEK TO BUILD UP THE COURAGE FOR THIS... 

First couple of times... Felt not very nervous but... completely paralyzed... Cant move my mouth... better just find a seat quickly... fuck... Its so hard... I know I can do it though... I wont get sad, there are many oppurtunities, Ive come a long way from ducking the lunchroom to actually approaching strangers... 

 

Today... I dont care anymore... About the fear, I want progress, Im too curious about what I can accomplish in the future... Fuck this fear! Lets do it!

I have an idea... First I will go in and make my sandwich, while Im making it I will scope out a person to sit down next to and say Hi... Having to choose quickly paralyzes me, have to have some space first, some choice.

”That guy looks too nerdy and sweaty... I dont even want to... haha... Oh, that Indian guy looks not so scary, thats the one...”

Making my sandwich slowly... Shit... Have to do it... Nervous... I feel dissociated... Like its not even me... I have never had to force myself to do something this much... Feels so strange and alien...

Marching over...

”Hey...” Guy looks at me surprised... I sit down quickly, avert my eyes and check my phone... Im trembling... Still trembling after 10 mins... But thats all... Nothing bad has happened. He hasnt said anything, we just do our thing.  

I feel dreamy and dissociated... Nervous... Not much positive emotion. But Hey!..

CHALLENGE COMPLETED!!! WOOOH

Edited by Rilles

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