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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:52 pm
by littleem
Hey Emma! :)

Good to hear from you! Don’t ever feel you need to apologise for your posts. It matters not whether you write ten pages, two words or just a smiley face emoji. What matters to me is that you care enough to take the time to read my post and write back despite your own struggles. So thank you. :)

Have you ever tried mindfulness? I learnt a ‘grounding technique’ the other day called ‘5...4...3...2...1’ where you relax and slowly focus on 5 things you can see.... four things you can hear... three things you can feel.... two things you can smell... one thing you can taste.... and open your eyes. (or fall fast asleep!) :lol: It really gets you ‘out of your head’.

You’ve made some really positive steps to manage and ease your anxiety. :)

Could you speak to your doctor about taking something alongside the AD specifically for anxiety?

Do you use any other techniques to lessen your anxiety? Definitely worth exploring! Nothing to lose... only something to gain! :D Relaxation music, positive hypnosis CDs to help you drift off to sleep, developing a ‘before bed’ routine (e.g. warm bath, lavender oils, relaxing music, hot cup of chocolate.... Zzzzz! ) 8-) Gentle exercise during the evening can help you feel sleepy and relaxed... try yoga, pilates, swimming, walking... and a sauna and steam room work wonders if you have a local leisure centre!

Is there anything you could do during the evenings as they draw in to make them feel more pleasurable? Any local clubs you could join? You mentioned you wanted to exercise more.Any clubs you could join? Doesn’t have to be anything intense.Something fun and sociable perhaps! I know you have a lovely pup, too. Could you schedule some evening dog walks? Or get stuck into a new series, some films or a good book. Try out some crafts.... painting passes hours for me!

Now who’s waffling? ;) :lol:

Interview went well thanks! Was an hour long! I did my best with it and will find out by next Wednesday. I hope I get it because it’s a great step forward but I’m prepared to accept not getting it, too.

I hope some of that helped!

Love Em xx

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:56 pm
by littleem
Thanks Deb :)

You, too, are a fighter. We must remember our strength in the difficult times for with mental illness... whether it’s a good day or a bad day, we still remain strong!

I hope you’re feeling a bit brighter. Do be kind to yourself.

Much love,

Em xx

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:20 am
by emloja
Thanks for your reply Em- it does mean a great deal! :D
I just find other people, like you, are so eloquent in their writing. I just blurt it all out on the page, in no particular order. I sometimes forget that not everyone is in my head!
Thanks for the advice- sometimes it can be hard, especially after a bit of a good period to recall and get back into using all the strategies-but i will defy try out the grounding technique. I do need to walk my dog more and just do more things. Funny you mention about the hypnosis, i found a recording a previous counsellor made for me a while back to help me relax and it is very good.
I did finally go to the GP today and she recommended some more CBT and I'm going to have another blood test. I am thinking my iron may be low again and that lethargy really doesn't help with everything. I was honest with her about my concerns and she did remind me i have done well and come far (part of me says she is just saying this) but it did mean a lot to hear. She said i need to believe in myself more- which i do think is true. Why i can't be content with my own praise and like a child seem to need external validation, i don't know. I initially turned down the CBT as i have done an online course (for depression) and read lots on it, however when i got home i thought it might be what i need to get me through the next few months. I am also sitting with my SAD light on as i type- i found some good research about using the light alongside antidepressants and so i am going to try and use it once a day- almost like medicine. I am going to start to be proactive with this all now and regain control- no longer a victim (for today anyway!). It is all one step forward in my acceptance of my own mental health issues (hopefully one day me and my anxiety and depression will be friends!!).
I am glad your interview went well- an hour is a long time. Yes, i do believe acceptance is the answer. Hope you have a good weekend. I am relaxing (!) now after a stressful morning forcing myself to the doctors.

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:00 pm
by littleem
Hey Em :D

Doesn't matter how you write it. It's authentic and just how you feel on the page. You can't really get any better than that. :)

Just be gentle to yourself during the more difficult spells. We all get our ups and downs.

You should be really proud of yourself!! You've achieved so much today! I'm proud of you for being so honest with yourself and with the doctor. Well done for taking the time out to relax, too! You deserve it!

I hope you start feeling more energised soon. I also highly recommend CBT. It helped me immensely. Nothing to lose hey? But so much to gain! :D

Lots of positives in regards to moving forward. Just be aware not to be too hard on yourself. Baby steps for the win! ;) But seriously, you don't want to be pressuring yourself any extra. Set small, achievable goals that you want to achieve (not what you feel you 'should' achieve). And be sure to take note of your achievements.

Acceptance is a real weight off the old shoulders! Do continue to be self-compassionate.

Great to hear you're using the SAD lamp. What do you feel about it? I've never tried one.

Thanks, I hope you have a lovely weekend too!

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:24 am
by emloja
Thanks Em. It does help to have a 'friendly face' (even though we don't speak i feel you have a friendly face!!) to talk to. I do also appreciate it as i know you have your own battles- your advice and support is really good- you have some real skills here! I did feel empowered after your message yesterday, and have decided i need to be more pro-active-slowly though :)
I am realising i am still not as far as i thought on the road to acceptance- i actually hate my depression and anxiety and do take every opportunity to ignore, dismiss and hide them both. When i am well, i completely convince myself that this is the real me and i will never feel or have bad days again- i am totally cured. Only two people (well apart from all of the virtual world) know about my struggles and that i am on AD- the doctor and my previous counsellor. I did start my working on my own self chat and trying to be kind to myself but once stuff goes bad i start to hear the words that i am pathetic and needy etc etc- so my work is a bit superficial. I know true acceptance would be being open and honest with those who love me- but i am very far away from this. This is i guess what i need to work on! :?
Just started with the SAD light- 30 mins at a certain distance in the morning. We will see. I did find some good research papers showing positive results of my AD and the light therapy. I will keep you updated once i have been using it for some time.
Just did my hypnosis track and then went for a walk with my pup and juiced some oranges- and the sun is shining!!
Laters Kind Em x

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:51 pm
by littleem
Hello lovely Em! :D

Haha, I'm glad I give off the vibe of working a friendly face! ;) It is pretty friendly as faces go! Haha! I feel you definitely have a friendly face, too. :D

Sounds like you're having a great day! You enjoy - much deserved! :)

I have a good feeling the CBT is really going to help you with acceptance, self-compassion and most importantly to be able to see your true self in all your wonderful, positive goodness!
I hope the SAD lamp makes a positive difference. Well done for be so open to trying different types of support.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Love Em xxx

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:16 pm
by emloja
Hi Em,
Believe it or not i am a genuinely positive and friendly person when i am well- i smile a lot- i think that makes it harder sometimes as i feel robbed of who i am.I also hide behind my smile and laugh, a lot.
I am having a phone interview on Wednesday eve about the CBT, so we will see what they say- i will try not to think about this too much as things like this really make me worry (e.g.will they think I'm ridiculous? too needy? too severe? not severe enough? lying? What if they offer me something or offer me nothing, what if they can't help? etc etc). I did an online CBT course for depression over a year ago- i liked the fact it was online as I'm not good face to face and i also got a 'supporter' which helped- someone checking in and replying to emails once a week. i feel a bit of a failure for not running with it more after the course. But am reframing this!
Anyway, how are you? How was your weekend? How is it all going?

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:54 pm
by littleem
Hiya! :D

I have every reason to believe that you are a positive and friendly person. :D This doesn't surprise me at all. Remember though, that it's easier to be more upbeat when our health is at its best because the positive vibes come much more naturally. It's tougher when we're not well because to be more positive and upbeat we have to first overcome so much more (i.e. the symptoms such as low mood, low motivation, poor concentration, exhaustion, anxiety etc.) But this isn't a negative reflection on who we are. Being able to be positive or even being able to pretend to be positive when we're mentally unwell actually shows strength, resilience, persistence, diligence and motivation (all excellent qualities!) :) So take note always of the positives and of your achievements however great or small, and allow yourself to have a crap day. Everybody has them!

Your therapist is not going to think any of those negative lies that your inner bully is trying to torment you with. Firstly, they are not true. Secondly, if they think that then they are clearly in the wrong job and probably in need of a few therapy sessions themselves, haha! :lol: They're going to completely understand that you could be experiencing a number of negative thoughts, emotions and behaviours regarding this phonecall. They are there to help you, remember. They actually CHOSE to train in this field to help others. :)

What if they CAN offer you support? :D And if not, I'm sure they will be able to direct you as to where you can access the best form of support for YOU. They're there to help and support you.

Also, you'll be super-mega proud of yourself and totally relieved once you've made the phonecall whatever the outcome. :D Let me know how it goes! I have every faith in you and will certainly be thinking of you tomorrow.

You're not a failure whatsoever. Remember what you achieved throughout the online therapy. You can always pick it up as and when if you want to (not because you feel 'I should be doing this!!) I highly recommend face-to-face one-to-one CBT though.

I'm doing alright thanks. My parents are away for the week which is great for them (and also for me!! :lol: ) I have coped incredibly well with my meal plan and to meeting all committments. :D I feel SO much better not being on supplement drinks and eating actual real human food, haha! I no longer have to lie every day about drinking them so I don't have the horrible excessive guilt and shame and fear! That's decreased significantly with my parents being away, too. I love them to pieces but I'm more independent and feel more free when I'm on my own. I'm going to discuss housing options with my CPN on Monday. She's coming for the 6-8 week check in on me.

I went to MIND today and had an assessment so that I can attend the depression and anxiety structured support groups. I'm going to one on Thursday. They run for two hours twice weekly. Looked good today there.

Just got back from a course on overcoming depression and low mood. It was the third session and the last one is next week. I'm going to a four-week course on ACT Acceptance and Commitment Therapy this Thursday evening, too.

Did an online anorexia support group last night for the first time in ages. It helped but it's not the same as face-to-face. They have eating disorder support groups online one hour each night so I will pop on that when I've finished my essay to you, hahaha!! :lol:

I volunteered at the shop yesterday afternoon. I left early. It's been great in many ways for me and I've stuck it nine months, but I feel I've got everything possible out of it. It's dead, I work alone.... There's only so much re-organising organised stock I can do! Hahaha!! So I'm reeeeeeeeeally hoping I get that job tomorrow. If not, I have an interview and trial at The Body Shop the day after. I just feel I need (and want!!) more now. I'm ready. So fingers and toes crossed for that!

Therapy is continuing to go well. My therapist wants to 'get me back out there!' and has given me 'homework' to find pleasurable, accessible courses and/or clubs that I can and WANT to join.

Mood has been weird. But not bad. Just spaced out. Think it's the meds but I can't be risking coming off them just yet, haha!

So lots going on. Much waffle. Guess I needed to get that out, hey?

All the very best for your phone call tomorrow. Have a good week.

Much love and waffles,

Em xxx

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:48 am
by emloja
Just a quick one to say how impressed i am at everything you are doing and involved with- one word 'wow'. It sounds like a positive and productive week so far! I know exactly what you mean about living with parents. I have a close relationship with mine and moved back in after being away-this also coincided with one of my very low stages-after a number of months i went back to my house and felt free-to be myself and not worry about them or their views of me- plus i could have as many naps as i wanted!!! It think it is great you have found out what works for you- e.g. courses. I did a MBSR course and really struggled with the whole group thing-as i am always thinking about what others think of me and am not that good at being open with others-i really, really struggled. That inner bully really had a field day! I see how groups help others but not for me right now. I am however really interested in the ACT course- you will have to know how you get on. When i started counselling years ago i was recommended 'The happiness trap' by Russ Harris- whilst it is a bit american it really was a slap learning curve and did help me to relate to my thoughts differently. Have you read it? I loved the acceptance stuff -which obviously i am still working on- just the commitment bit i struggled with at the time due to my depression- i found making a plan or goals or even thinking about the direction of my life-a bit hard. I would be keep to access more. Seems like there is a lot to offer where you live and you are definitely taking every opportunity to learn and get better from it. I think i recall you explaining a while back about your social anxiety and how it affects you- well i think you do really well to go to a group and participate- these are all important social skills and personally show your strength.

Thanks for your genuine reassurance-it does mean a lot and helps me to feel a bit braver and not listen to the inner bullies! Boo to feeling spaced out but yay to meds that help. Good luck today too with the interview verdict- remember some things happen for a reason and it already sounds like you have a back up plan! Laters x

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:35 pm
by littleem
Hello! :D

How are you? :) How did the telephone call go? I hope you had a positive outcome. :)

Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. Means a lot. :) Going to groups was never ‘my thing’ either because they involve....*gasp!*... other ‘scary’ human beings. :lol: I know how you feel about being self conscious and concerned about what others think - trust me, I know. :roll: But, though I’m starting very slowly with the whole ‘group’ thing, I’m glad of it. The fear won’t go away if I don’t face it. It might even increase. But facing it has shown me the ‘fear’ was nothing to be afraid of after all. You could always ask someone to tag along whilst you dip your toe in. I asked my mam to come first time which helped. :)

Molton and Brown didn’t ring me so my ‘inner voice of negative predictions’ had a right field day. ‘They don’t want you’, ‘You can’t get a job’, ‘You are a failure’, BLAH BLAH BLAAAAAH. :roll: :lol: So I called them. Twice in fact. Turns out *applauds CBT* that there was a very valid explanation as to why they hadn’t called. The outcome has to be finalised by the area manager BUT the manager and deputy manager who interviewed me both put me through for the position. She insisted, ‘Please do not think we didn’t call because we don’t want you, because we do!’ :D Inner bully, saaaay whaaaaaaat....? ;)

So I postponed the other trial today until next Wednesday juuuuuust in case the area manager disagrees. *inner bully at whispering level now* :lol: Saves me wasting money on a new specified black outfit just for the trial as well as potentially saving me and them time. Also, I got to get some rest in today. It’s been a positive and productive week.... but I am POOPED!!! :lol: So I had a nap. It was glorious and much needed. ;) Positive outcomes left, right and centre, really. Haha! A ‘problem solving’ technique I learned in therapy (plus cbt skills) have been of great use.

Aaaaaaaanyways. ;) I haven’t read ‘The Happiness Trap’ but I have heard good things about it. I will be going to the ACT course shortly so will fill you in, soon. I’ll also look to get that book in the library. :)

Had a nice day yesterday. Met with my dear friend and auntie. I want to make a concerted effort to meet up with her more! We have such a laugh together and can talk about anything. She’s the one person I can really, fully be myself with. We’re on the same page, you know? ;) And both totally bonkers, of course. :lol:

Take care of yourself and be sure to have a cuddle (and a nap! :lol: ) with your pup - it’s the perfect rainy weather for that where I live!

Speak soon,

Em xxx