My therapist recommended this workbook to help me with my social anxiety. The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook by Martin M. Antony and Richard P. Swinson, is comprised of 11 chapters and divided into two parts; getting to know your anxiety and overcoming your anxiety. (The title is linked to half.ebay.com so you can grab your own if you want to.) Shall we?
Today’s post is Chapter One: Shyness and Social Anxiety. There’s a lot of general information about what is social anxiety, briefly touching on panic attacks and the difference between anxiety and fear, men and women, and how many people it affects. There are several sections for listing how social anxiety affects you specifically. I put a few of my answers down below.
-canceling plans with people at the last second because I feared they didn’t really want to see me or that they would cancel
-avoiding intimate relationships because I might be pressured to adhere to gender roles or to change other parts of my personality (like make up)
-avoiding being close to people because I’m afraid I would be considered to abrasive or “not quite right”, that it would be temporary and just a filler friend thus wasting my time
Education and Career:
These ones happening significantly less now, but they were very prevalent in my life.
-avoid applying to schools, because my grades were low, and having to write a personal essay describing accomplishments when I felt I had none. (sort of conquered this by just writing how I really felt about my future goals and deviating from “successful admission essay templates” entirely, was accepted to university this past December)
-missing classes to avoid socializing with classmates and having to participate in class (group anything was the equivalent of being emotionally set on fire)
-avoid applying for jobs , not for the interview, but fear of getting the job and having to talk to coworkers and not being good enough.
Other Day to Day Activities:
-going to stores when they open so there will be less people there, avoiding shopping during the holidays because the experience is just too overwhelming (Went shopping December 23rd to Sephora and almost left without buying anything)
-not responding to messages or phone calls because it might lead to long conversations with questions about me…
-running into people while out on errands is a nightmare
There’s also a chart about the three components of social anxiety; the physical aspects (uncomfortable feelings and sensations), the cognitive aspects (anxious thoughts, expectations, predictions), and the behavioral aspects (for example avoidance).
I made a small mistake at work.
Smothering feelings, poor concentration, pain in muscles, headache, heart racing
Anxiety Provoking Thoughts:
I will be seen as useless and be fired. I will be given less responsibilities and seen as a burden instead of an asset. The customer will turn around and yell at me and other customers will be mad because they will have to wait longer.
I don’t really remember the anxious behaviors. I think I just tried to do better with the next customer. Nothing bad happened with the previous one. The rest of the night was okay work wise, even though I was still thinking about that customer until work was over.
I’ll keep filling this chapter out for the next two weeks, just to have a substantial set of things to look at. I like how the chapter lists examples, because it’s hard to know what is “normal” behavior and remember what you specifically felt like when you’re trying to deal with a situation. I also like that there is a chart to fill out. I look forward to going through it and seeing where I am like six months from now or a year. Will I get better at dealing with my anxiety? Stay tuned for Chapter Two: Why Do You Have These Fears?
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Until next time,
Don’t be hungry for life. Be ravenous.