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Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby emloja » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:03 am

Hey Em,
your messages always make me smile- you have a lovely style and your humour comes across really well. Have you ever been into, or thought about creative writing/writing? i feel you definitely have a book or two in you!!
Well done on calling MB- that was mega brave and inspirational. As i read your message about the inner critic it makes me laugh as this is just how my head works- it sounds like you have managed to get that distance and are in a place where you see the thoughts for what they are-annoying words which have no power over you and so are meaningless. I feel a real strength in you right now. No wonder you are tired!
It is great when you have people you can just be yourself with- that is fab- i bet you two together are hilarious!!
So i was on the phone for an hour to this guy and he did lots of questionnaires which i hate as i never know what the answers are or should be!!! I was so nervous before he called and annoyed that he was 4 minutes late :) It was fine he offered me CBT, online CBT or access to a worry person!! In the end i went for online CBT as the others have a 3 month waiting list and i can almost start the online stuff straight away. I did almost brave the real person to person stuff but then thought i kind of need the help now- not in December. So i am waiting for an email. I get a supporter person who i can call a few times and email. I did feel good after the chat to be honest sometimes it needs to all come out and to have someone reassure you and kind of not react to what you are saying (reaffirming those negative thoughts) is obviously good for me. I also felt reassured that i have asked for help again and that's okay. So i am off now for a blood test- hopefully sort this anaemia thing out. Then day with dog- lots of cuddles.
I am however inspired to reactivate and energise that positive rational voice in my head, which although is hard work is needed. Every now and then, no matter how much i have learnt about myself-i forget that i am not those negative thoughts. Just words! Have a good day- i hope you 100% hear about the job and have a good day too- onwards and upwards!!! Thanks for the morning boost :D

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:12 pm

Hiya! :)

Woo! Glad you felt a boost this morning!

Glad the phonecall went well, too. Well done you! :) Could you go on the waiting lists anyways whilst accessing online CBT? Best of both worlds then, nothing to lose and no pressure to commit.

Hope you start feeling less tired soon. :)

Thanks for your kind words. I do like writing, yes! I used to keep a blog and occasionally toy with the idea of starting one up again. ;)

I haven't heard from the job yet. Sure I will tomorrow. :)

Bit miffed today. My eating disorder therapist 'forgot to tell me' she's changing her job so our sessions will be in a different location. It's a nightmare for me to get here! 20 minute bus, 1 hour and 10 minute bus or 30 minute train, 10 minute bus.... and the same back! It's a bloody day out, haha! And the new place is highly triggering for me.... Bad memories, a certain staff member who 'supported' me previously who I do NOT want to see, plus having to see anorexic sufferers is very triggering for me. I'm also supposed to have sessions twice a week for five more weeks but already she's dropping them to once a week?! :x :?

The eating disorders support group also added me to their WhatsApp group. They post nice positive messages etc. Anyways, the one who runs the group posted something yesterday and I replied referencing her in my message. People replied to her but not to message... Not even a smiley face as a recognition. Then today, the same person posted something else after my message and others replied! I know this is all very 'high school drama' of me, but when your self esteem is low you can start questioning things, feeling stupid.... :?

If they're being funny, that's their issue. I was only being positive and friendly. I didn't mean to offend anyone.

Just made a 'white dog box' today which is a box full of things to make me happy. Going to add some nice photos to it tomorrow and it will be finished. :)

The ACT session was good. A lecture format rather than a small group, but I picked up a few different snippets of interesting information and some helpful mindfulness exercises, too. I think mindfulness would help me greatly.

Wishing you a happy Friday and a lovely weekend.

Love Em xxx

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:36 pm


I got the job!!!!! Yayayaya!

Hope all is well with you.

Love Em x

Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby emloja » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:00 pm

Whoop, whoop, whoop!!! Well done- i am so pleased for you! Just enjoy the feeling!
It seems like you have many different things on the go- but i can see how your blog would be quite popular-it is the honesty and humour!
I can understand you feeling miffed about the change of venue and way you were told about this. What is your plan? Are you able to tell her your concerns?- they all seem very valid. Did she explain why she is reducing your sessions? It doesn't sound much of a partnership- shouldn't the communication be open and honest and your future treatment and any changes be talked about and discussed? I guess it is thinking about what you need or want from your work with the Therapist out of the next five weeks and ensuring you get to achieve it.
I think written technology leaves us all open to issues. If the people on the what sap group are being funny then it is not towards you as a person as they don't know you. I also cannot see how a positive and friendly reply can offend anyone. The only thing i can think is that they are an established and tight group and may take time to trust and embrace newbies? If you feel the group generally post nice positive messages then don't not use this resource because of this experience.
What else is in your white dog box and why is it called this?
Mindfulness rocks- i am a big fan.
I saw some friends last night. I am generally feeling more positive and realise i was prematurely panicking a bit about the return of some symptoms. I let my thoughts control me for a bit into completely freaking me out, but no longer. It is funny how you lose touch for a bit. I feel that my reduced working week has helped with my energy levels- not that i have yet done anything productive with my days off. I hope something productive comes from my blood tests as i am sure that i feel like an OAP somedays with my energy levels, even after a nap or a lie in.
Anyways, what are the next steps with your job?
Take care, Congrats again, Emma

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:01 pm

Hey! :D

Whoop, whoop, whoooooop! Haha! :lol: Aww thanks. :) I have a training shift on Saturday and then officially start the following Thursday. We are all a new team so will be starting out together. Nervous, naturally, but feel good about it! :D

Thanks for saying my writing comes across as honest and humourous. I'm glad it's authentic. I'm very much 'me - blurted out on the page!' :lol:

Saw my care coordinator today. Immensely reassuring. She offered even to take me to this other clinic (only 45 minutes by car but I don't drive!) She said she refuses to let the therapy slip now I've come so far.

On Friday, my therapist has said that we will stop and evaluate therapy so far before planning how we want to go forward. My mother is also planning to attend this session.

My care coordinator discussed housing options with me. There's shared accommodation with other people experiencing mental health problems. It's very recovery-focused and works with individuals to help with life skills, managing finances, socialising etc. They have optional social gatherings in their communal area so I wouldn't be isolated. I should find out more by next week.

Care coordinator has also suggested to see me on a weekly basis to get me out of the difficult tension at home and to talk about my feelings aside from 'the eating disorder'. We went for coffee today by the seafront and I could have a good vent, haha! She's nice and we get on well.

She was pleased with how far I've come and said she never thought she'd see me attending groups! So was impressed with that, haha! :lol:

She and my therapist both suggested family therapy. This has helped in the past. I would be willing but I can't speak for my parents. It would start in a few months anyways.

I used a technique that I learnt recently in therapy to tackle the anxiety I had all weekend about having no support etc. I will share it with you in the hope that it would benefit you, too. It's helped a lot.

.... Problem Solving... (Can apply to anything!)

1. What is the problem?
2. Why is it causing distress?
3. What are the options available for dealing with this problem?
4. Pros and Cons of each option.
5. Then choose the best option(s)
6. (Hard but essential part!!) DO!!! what options you've chosen.
7. Evaluate (what happened, what was helpful, what actions could I use to apply to future situations? Etc.)

Last thing I need to apply it to today is the support group (the one with the WhatsApp group). I will let you know how that goes.
Thanks for your reassurance about this. :)

Well 'The Black Dog' is a term for depression so a 'White Dog' box is the opposite to this. A box full of happy things! I have things from my time in India, letters from friends I made travelling, family photos.... I've even stained paper in black tea and baked it in the oven before writing Bible quotes that help me on them! It gives an 'old Scripture' kind of look..... Plus my favourite positive quotes. I then filled my card wallet with little photos of those who mean most to me. It's small enough to keep in my pocket and pull out whenever I need help with putting a smile on the ol'face! Haha!

There's an 8-week mindfulness course starting next January that I'm keeping in 'mind'. :lol:

Weekend unfortunately was absolutely shit. Life at home is just unbearably tense and uncomfortable. I wish I felt as positive as this post sounds! Constant anxiety, sick to the pit of my gut, scared, guilty, ashamed, unwanted, a failure, a disappointment, a bad person..... All when I think of home. Not good.

Still, I am focusing on the positives!!! Whoop!

How are you? Good weekend?

Hope all is well!

Love Em xxx

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Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby emloja » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:21 pm

Hey there,
How great that it is a new team and everyone is starting new together-that way you can all start out as newbies together-everyone will be new! Yes some nerves is natural- i remember when i first started feeling better and recognised the difference between some natural nerves and crazy levels of anxiety- i got quite excited that i was just feeling nervous- how funny!
I love a blurt! let it out! cathartic!
Your care coordinator sounds fab. It sounds like you two have a good relationship and that she has seen your progress and really wants to help you. She sounds easy to talk to too. That must really be reassuring.The discussion about housing sounds good too- how are you feeling about that?
I have made a note of those questions, thanks for sharing, for me it is the choosing part i struggle with as i often spend too much time thinking of options and no longer being able to make a choice- this must be related to the anxiety etc as i never was a procrastinator- i used to be a real do-er. I agree though that it is important to think about why it causes distress-as this is often something quite irrational for me.
Good luck with the support group.
Oh yes i get it now- white dog! So it sounds like you enjoyed travelling and india. I went for a month years back and loved it-i think i was an indian princess in a former life! The people, the food, the music, etc etc-amazing and exciting. What did you do in india? I used to travel lots however a few years back i realised i was using travel to escape my real life and decided i had to settle more and embrace real life- this somehow led to a depressive episode (not just due to me returning home but a number of factors) which also accompanied some major anxiety and also crazy insomnia. So since then i have been gradually building myself back up-trying to make a life for myself. I also love the idea of carrying the pictures of those who make you smile.
I did the MBSR course- i hear the MBCBT is good too. I just hated the sharing and it always seemed like my issues were far worse than everyone else's and so there was no way i was going to share-then i got worried that the others would think badly about me not sharing etc etc. At the end of the course i wrote a long email apologising and letting her know i did work hard on the course and do stuff but was just not able to share this-it is so funny when people's opinions seem to matter so much. I didn't know this lady and would never see her again and yeti felt so embarrassed by my behaviour. I asked her some questions about breathing and she offered to bring some things in and share these with me at the start of the next session- so i came early and she had obviously forgotten- i therefore sat in the room (looking like i was early) not reminding her because i suddenly thought it was a bad idea.
Sorry your weekend was so difficult. IT sounds really tough atm. Boo to all those negative thoughts clearly your behaviour alone and recent achievements prove many of them wrong! Well done for still focusing on the positives and being open with those around you about where you are right now and what you need. Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey!
I am generally good. Just mega tired. I also had the offer of a date and this is something i have avoided for the last few years- it also causes me crazy anxiety and upset. So this is something i am deliberating about at the moment. I then become annoyed and start to think negatively about myself as i don't really have reasons to be so rubbish at this dating thing-the voice calling me pathetic is quite strong- and you know when there are times when you fail to see your thoughts as words-and completely agree and fuse with those thoughts- well this is one of them. This is also something that has gone on specifically with dating for a few years and in other areas of my life forever and a day- so i become annoyed that nothing changes- i don't change and that things are never going to change.Rant over! Why can't our negative core beliefs be swopped for positive ones- automatic positive ones! I am thinking i may need to go back to having some affirmations- have you ever used these?
Right better go- my essay is done for now! Take care, Emma :lol:

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:14 pm

Hello!! :D

I feel excited (a rare emotion for me!) and nervous (in a 'normal' way) about this housing option. Some of the women from last night's group shared positive stories of people they'd known who had stayed there. One for instance lived there for several years, met her partner there and she still goes back to visit staff and friends even though she's now moved out. I told my mother about it today and she is in favour of the idea!! :shock: *collapses in shock then gets up and starts celebratory dancing* :lol:

I went to the group. I'm glad I did so because I could leave KNOWING that there was no issue around the whole WhatsApp/me being insecure situation. Everyone was so positive about my job and housing options. :)

However, a certain member of the group was clearly VERY tightly gripped by anorexia. She was very negative and evidently not in process of recovery. I (and I think others too) felt uncomfortable by this. I won't not go again next time (hey, this person might not even be there!) and with time will be able to confirm whether it is a suitable group for me or not. Positives though.... I overcame anxiety AND I was able to see how much further along in my recovery I actually am.

Please apply the CBT formula and this problem solving technique to your previous and to future group experiences!

1. Do not think you should not share because your problems are 'worse' than others. Somebody last night shared something incredibly painful and shocking from their past. However, the outcome was positive. I actually personally thanked her at the end of the group for sharing that. I was inspired by her courage and her strength, her honesty and self acceptance and her fighting spirit! I also felt so much compassion and empathy for her. We all have our stories. We do not know eachother's situations as they do and what is unbearable to one person might be part of the everyday for another. You are in control of what you share but you can't control how others will react to this. So don't hold back because of anxiety alone. What you say could just be what another person needs to hear. Besides, you might feel better getting it off your chest too! :)

2. Okay. Now the lady....

Did you ever consider that she might not have forgotten?

1. Maybe she was waiting for you to approach her and didn't want to pressure you.
2. Maybe she was feeling that YOU had forgotten!
3. Maybe she had similar anxieties of her own!

And if she DID forget...

1. Perhaps she saw you, remembered she forgot, and felt embarrassed/worried about telling you so (with anxiety) avoided! Again, HER own insecurities.
2. Maybe she did genuinely forget! But she WANTED to bring you the info and therefore has no reason to have just changed her mind! Perhaps if you questioned her or even just approached her or said 'hello', she most likely would have said something like 'ohhhhh! I'm so sorry! I forgot!' before you carried on as normal nattering about something else. No problems!

Let's say (I refuse to believe this scenario though) that she forgot on purpose.

1. This is a negative reflection on HER and has NOTHING to do with you. Her problem- not yours!

Okay. Ahem. Lecture over. Hehehe!

I worked with the poor for eight months in India. INCREDIBLE. Best time of my life. Returning home didn't help with the onset of my, ahem, total mega breakdown though. Still, I have peace with that part of my past now at last. Sadness and loss, yes. But no regrets and for that I can not look back and say, 'I wish I had done this....'. Sure, maybe I wish life had been different but I cannot argue with what happened externally. The external leads to my sadness and loss but I accept it. Internally, even though my actions then have led to my mental health problems now, I can look back and honestly say 'Everything I did then, I did for a reason'. There is thus an acceptance and peace with the internal. I hope that made sense.

Where did you visit in India? I would like to go back again one day- but only when I KNOW in my heart that the time is right. Hey, look at me getting all deep. Probably too much therapy. Hehehe! :lol:

Did you (not your anxiety) want to go on the date? THAT is the important question.

Ahhh.... Negative to positive.... Get on that waiting list, girlie! CBT for the win! Trust me.

Yes, positive affirmations all the way! Keep some in your purse. You can also listen to them as hypnosis whilst you sleep. I used to do that when I felt I needed it!!

I could give you LOADS about you from my perspective if you like!! :D You are genuinely caring, thoughtful and empathetic with as positive and encouraging warmth which is evident. I enjoy chatting with you and feel that you are great company. You are sensitive to others feelings and I sense you have a great wittiness to your character.

Easy! :D

Take care my lovely (virtual!) friend.

Keep me posted! Love Em xxx

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby emloja » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:16 am

Ha, ha, thanks- i think we both have an interesting sense of humour- and 'get' each other in that way! :lol: This is a good thing as humour can be very difficult to portray through words- as we both know from reading into messages in many different and mostly negative ways. :lol:
Yay to the rare emotion of excitement!!! May it become a more common emotion. I tend to get very excited sometimes over very small things!! this does make others laugh. My colleagues see it as enthusiasm and passion- so it cannot be bad-even though i think this is responsible for my lack of energy- i need to learn to do things in moderation. Great to hear you know people who have lied in the housing and report good things-plus it sounds like a little community, which is so important for everyone's mental health and is sadly a lacking thing today in the UK. Even better that your mum is supportive here!
Yay (i don't normally yay or wow so much!!) also to the group and to you going and your positive response (anxiety 0- Em 1). It makes sense to try again as you need to make sure it is something you are comfortable with and that it can work for you.
Thanks for the break down re the lady at the group. You should go into teaching CBT one day. The thing is- i can tell myself stuff but i still end up feeling the negative emotion (associated with the negative thought). Does that make sense? I did want to go on a mindful compassion course- i emailed the lady in charge to ask how much sharing was involved and explained i struggled with it. She was reassuring and then i pulled out. Maybe this could be my next challenge-once the weather is warmer and nights lighter he he.
Wow to working with the poor in india- that is proper hard core! Where in india? I spent two weeks travelling around the south and two weeks in the north-just loved it. Sorry to hear you had such a difficult time when you returned from india but it sounds like you are in the best place you can be in terms of accepting what happened next and where it led-you make complete sense and articulate yourself so maturely.
Re the date- i half wanted to go, i fully thought i should go and my anxiety fully didn't want me to go!
I have two great hypnosis tracks an old counsellor made for me- one is on anxiety and the other on seeing how far i have come and knowing this in order to have motivation to continue on. They are great and i do listen to them often. so i guess it is yay to hypnosis!!
Thanks for saying all those nice things about me- in real life they would make me cringe completely! i am trying to fully accept them and not allow my thoughts to butt in and ruin the moment!
I have to go now and do some work! Now i have read through the email and realise i haven't really asked you any questions- i have implied some. Promise i will work on us having a more balanced discussion next time (cue mcfly- its all about me!- i do hate how selfish my difficulties make me sometimes).Take care, your amigo Emma :P

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:33 pm

Hello!! :D

Lovely to hear from you. You're not selfish at all. :) Uhh, have you seeeeeeen how much I waffle on about myself? ;) :lol:

Ah, I'm afraid the feelings are the last to change. Once you've altered the thoughts..... it's about DOING the thing you don't want to do to test them out.... with time the following emotions will become more positive. Maybe a technique to try at your upcoming mindfulness compassion-based course, hey? :lol: *wink wink* ;) *nudge nudge* :P ......

CBT teacher!!!! :lol: Ooops, guess I do get a bit carried away as a hardcore advocate for CBT! :lol:

I was in Calcutta. It was incredible. :shock: :D

Could you rearrange the date? :)

Hope you're having a great week. Take care,

Em xx

Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby emloja » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:00 pm

Hey, love a bit of waffle!
I might write down a few challenges and then order then in difficulty level- and face one at a time!
I love your passion for CBT-it is great- I have started my online course-nothing groundbreaking yet but I'm grateful to access it.
I am working on completely switching off from work on my days off- i think i did well today. I took my dog to the woods- almost got lost!! Something i am very good at. Then later went to get my nails done- it was hilarious- the ladies never speak to you (which although is good, it is also very rude) and she kept breaking the silence to tell me to relax my hand. I hadn't realised my hands were anxious however once she said that i definitely couldn't relax them!! Like when you are driving and are waiting to cross a roundabout and someone bibs- like that is going to help. I wanted to say- stupid woman i suffer from anxiety- but i didn't. On my way home i stopped off at a charity shop and ended up getting a really nice hoodie of an expensive make i had been wanting for a while. I love it when you find things your size, make and style- i am an advocate for charity shops. Anyway- that was my busy day off!
I hope your week was okay and you have had some time to rest.
Have a good weekend,
Emma 8-)

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