Well I broke two of my rules this week: No more than one post per day and five posts per week. This is my third post today and my sixth this week–and there’s still two more days left in the week.
I’ll keep this short.
After my second post today, I felt really anxious. I immediately went home, downed .5 mg of Ativan, and watched Curb Your Enthusiasm with my girlfriend. I felt a little better afterward so I came back up to the library to work on schoolwork. My anxiety was no where near as bad as it was earlier, but I felt much more depressed.
I’m not sure where those feelings were coming from.
I think stirring up a lot of emotions from my post earlier didn’t help. Plus I’m going camping this weekend with my girlfriend, her brother, and some friends. I may have to call a friend later to coordinate a ride. I’m feeling pretty anxious about all that. Oh and I also increased my dose of Lamictal from 12.5 to 25 mg.
Anyway, I left the library around 5:00 and binged. Super burrito. 28 oz of ice cream. Plus a handful of kale. (I need my veggies, too.) I also drank a beer. I probably shouldn’t have drank because I took an Ativan earlier. Oh well.
That’s two binges this week. At what point does disordered eating become an eating disorder?
No more than one post per day and five posts per week
My beliefs about myself and about the world have significantly changed over the past few years. But why hasn’t that lead to any significant changes? Why is my thinking still so irrational during social situations? Why is change so slow? In theory, I know I’m fine. I know I’m smart and I know I can carry on a conversation and I know I’m fairly attractive. In action though (when I’m in the midst of a social situation) I tell myself I’m an ugly idiot who can’t engage socially with others. There’s a huge disparity in how I look at myself in the comfort of my apartment or even in therapy (objectivity) versus when I’m in the middle of a group social situation (subjectivity).
I want to look at some examples. I’ll start with a belief about myself I know is true when I’m not in an anxious social situation, and then I’ll counter it with what I believe in a social situation (in bold).
- I am not ugly. I may not have been the best looking during my formative years, but I’ve changed. I no longer have bad acne or an under bite. People are staring at my jaw. They can see my under bite. I wish I didn’t have these scars from acne. Why do people always have to just stare at me? What can they see that I can’t?
- I’m intelligent, witty, funny, and interesting to talk to. People don’t want to hear what I have to say. They’ll laugh and think my opinions are stupid. I just won’t say anything at all. But I really want to say something. Maybe if I just say some joke really quickly that will be enough. Why can’t I just feel calm and relaxed and speak about myself like everyone else. Why can’t I be witty and funny like everyone else?
- Nobody is inherently better than me. Some people may be better at some things than I am, but I’m better at some other things. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses–that’s what makes us human. These people are beautiful and perfect. They have no flaws that I can see. All my flaws are exposed. People can see them. I can’t hide. They can see right through me.
- People are not talking about me behind my back. They are not laughing at me. They do not have a secret system setup (of glances, of nods) to subtly communicate with one other about me. People are talking about me, telling one other how awkward and stupid I am. They are also laughing about me. What else could be so funny? At the very least, everyone is having negative thoughts about me.
There’s more but I have to stop there. This is too hard for me.
So what’s going on here? If I truly believe my thoughts outside of social situations, then they should carry over into social situations. Why don’t I believe them? It’s because I tell myself that no matter what I’m going to fail. It doesn’t matter what I believe. It doesn’t matter how smart or funny I am–I’m going to fail. But I don’t think just changing those thoughts will help. I can’t just say, “I’ll be fine in this situation” or “I’m going to wake up tomorrow and not feel anxious.”
The work has to be done on changing my beliefs, but I need to have the overall belief that those changes will help–which I don’t have.
I think that changing beliefs works like this–
I state my irrational belief, then state a rational (counter) belief, and then hopefully a synthesis will occur: where I pick the truth from each belief, and hopefully that will change my overall belief to a more positive one. Once the belief has changed, I then test that belief in a social situation. So far, my new beliefs haven’t stuck and so I go right back to my old beliefs. But maybe, somewhere deep within, my beliefs have shifted a bit, and eventually the new beliefs will become set. It just takes practice and a lot of time to change–both of which I don’t feel like I have.
By the way, when I started writing this post I felt good. I felt calm and collected. Now I just feel terrible. I’m extremely anxious, and I feel depressed. Stirring up these thoughts hasn’t done me any good. Hopefully in the long run this blog will help, but right now, in the present, it’s doing more harm than good.
Aside from this blog, there just are not many others out there that deal specifically with Social Anxiety Disorder. I know I talk about other subjects on here, but the main focus is the anxiety. It’s why I created this blog. It’s what I’ve been struggling with for the past ten years or so. Sure, I’m plagued with other issues, like depression and disordered eating, but the main focus is the anxiety–all else manifests from the anxiety, in my opinion. With that said, one other blog of note, which deals specifically with social anxiety, is The Social Phobic.
I’ve been following this blog for a few months. Actually, following isn’t the right word because it hasn’t been updated since March. I’ve really just been reading the archives. I can see myself in the author’s words. It’s comforting to know there are others out there like me. One of the hardest things for me to deal with is the isolation and loneliness. I forget that others experience anxiety too, and I forget that Social Anxiety Disorder is one of the most prevalent anxiety disorders, affecting millions upon millions of people. It’s just not glamorized on TV or in movies. There are no documentaries on A&E. The disorder isn’t represented on The Real World or any other reality TV show. I can’t see myself on TV, or in any of my friends.
That’s why I think these words are so important, and that’s why I found The Social Phobic to be so enlightening. Like everyone, we need to have a voice, we need to connect, we need to be seen and heard. So when I read that first post on that blog, I knew I had to share my experiences too, and I knew I had to begin writing about those experiences in order to understand them and eventually name them.
I know I don’t have many readers yet, but I still want to hear from you if you’re reading this. What other sites would you recommend? Are there are other blogs out there that focus on social anxiety that I’m missing?