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emotional anxiety
 sm_victories_sa - (cjel)
05:27pm 24/07/2010
cjel posting in small victories in fighting social anxiety
A lady came to my workplace yesterday to lead some focus groups - basically she wanted to ask us about what was working and what wasn't, so it was a nice little gripe-fest opportunity. I found myself locked in a small office with her and one other coworker who I don't know very well at all, and we were allowed to talk about whatever in answer to those two questions. I found that my anxiety was relatively low, compared to previous situations sorta like this, up until I started talking about certain things that were emotionally charged for me. Talking about these frustrations shot my anxiety up pretty quickly and I started to feel hot and began to worry about turning red, so I would cut back on my rant and put the ball back in my coworker's court. But as I sat back and listened, instead of freaking out thinking about losing control and being stared at, I just focused on both breathing slowly and what was being said. It worked well and although I did glance at a mirror I passed on my way out of the office, I didn't fall back on too many safety behaviours and I stuck it out until the session was over, so I'm calling that a small victory to be proud of.
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Inspiring Quote/Something To Think About
 sm_victories_sa - (rest_in_beatz)
06:09am 19/07/2010
rest_in_beatz posting in small victories in fighting social anxiety
This is from the song "Laura Laurent" by Bright Eyes:

"But you should never be embarrassed by your trouble with living
Because it's the ones with the sorest throats, Laura
Who have done the most singing"

I particularly like this part of the song because I think most of us could understand this. It's about reminding ourselves that we shouldn't be ashamed of whatever problems we struggle with daily and we shouldn't blame or put ourselves down. Because at the end of the day you realize that the people who have gone through the hard stuff every day will come out as the strongest for dealing with a lot and it will help you become a better person.
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making invites
 sm_victories_sa - (cjel)
05:05pm 18/07/2010
cjel posting in small victories in fighting social anxiety
I got a ride home from a woman from church yesterday, whom I'd been chatting with a bit about how neither of us seem to have any gal friends these days (for different reasons - she's married) and where we both live, which is nearly in the same neighbourhood. I was so enthused to hear this that I twice in our ride home invited her (and husband) to come by anytime... a spontaneous and uninhibited thing to do, but I worry that I was (and sounded) overeager. I am, however, doing my best to curb negative thoughts/feelings about it and my victory today was that, upon seeing her at church this morning, instead of avoiding because I felt embarrassed, I went over and said hi to her and her husband. Nothing fancy, just polite and friendly and hopefully it'll help diminish the anxious thought pattern that cropped up and makes me feel stupid when I remember my enthusiasm. After all, I have nothing to feel bad about, really.
mood: nostalgic
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changing the subject
 sm_victories_sa - (cjel)
10:43pm 16/07/2010
cjel posting in small victories in fighting social anxiety
One thing I've always had trouble with, because I have difficulties interjecting, is changing the subject in a conversation. Countless times I've been miserable listening to someone (or more often a group) chatter on and on about something I really don't care about but don't know how/don't feel I have the right to redirect. However, yesterday I found myself in that situation driving around with a friend and I actually gave changing the subject a go when he got stuck on a subject I really didn't care to hear more about because it's a divisive one between us and I wasn't in the mood to debate.

It was moderately successful, which is good enough since I'm not very proficient at this yet, but took a bit because my friend kept returning to the subject after I'd bring up something else. He did get the clue that I didn't want to talk about it at least and I'm proud of standing up for myself and having the courage to not give up after the first time he went back to his subject. Chalk that up as a small victory to build on, I think :)
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 sm_victories_sa - (sinking_upwards)
11:25am 09/07/2010
sinking_upwards posting in small victories in fighting social anxiety
There's a bar I've been wanting to check out, but don't really have anyone to go with (the one friend I would go with is away for awhile). I saw that there were a couple bands playing at this place yesterday so I decided to go alone and just see what happens. I sat at the bar with a drink and asked one person if a band had played already. That was pretty much the extent of my social interaction, I would have liked to interact a little more, but there weren't many opportunities anyway. I felt a little awkward being there alone so I just fiddled with my phone occasionally, but I reminded myself that people aren't noticing me as much as I think they are. I'm glad that I went to a place I wanted to go to and didn't just sit at home for the evening. I don't think I would go back alone, but maybe with my friend.
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 sm_victories_sa - (cjel)
10:39pm 07/07/2010
cjel posting in small victories in fighting social anxiety
At church group tonight, it was so hot that we all sat around the minister's pool with our feet dangling in. It was nice, but the minister opened up the floor for people to ask questions and stuff and when nobody really volunteered much, my anxiety started rising because I knew it was a rare opportunity for me to pipe up, rather than not being able to get a word in edgewise.

I found myself focusing on internal readings - my face felt hot, I started wondering if I looked flushed, if it was noticeable, if anyone was looking, how horrible it might be if they did start staring at me, etc - and immediately my habitual safety behaviours were at the fore. I'm so pleased with myself for not doing them though. Every time my hand reached for my water bottle ('it'll cool me off and stop the heat in my face') or I found myself shifting my posture to try to minimize how visible my neck area was (that's where it gets blotchy and red when that symptom hits full force), or when I started to take off my sunglasses so I could check my reflection in them, I identified the safety behaviour, stopped, and told myself firmly that a) I wouldn't learn anything about defeating this anxiety if I gave in to these habits, and b) I would be fine, I could handle it, the anxiety would peak and then lessen if I just gave myself a chance.

And you know what? My anxiety did go down. Nobody stared at me and I trusted the statement I made to myself that I was with a supportive group and whatever happened would not turn into a catastrophe. And I was able to ask some questions and even share a short personal story with the people there. At the end of the night, I also took a risk in admitting to the minister's wife that my birthday is this Sunday, leaving open the minor possibility that I'll be put on the spot during church. It's kind of a scary thought, but I believe it's something I'll have the confidence to handle.

Anyway, really proud of myself for doing something akin to the homework I was doing during my CBT group. I'm glad for the progress that's evident when I make a conscious effort to challenge my SA and the proof that it is NOT unbeatable, or in control of me. :)
mood: accomplished
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phone call
 sm_victories_sa - (cjel)
11:29pm 06/07/2010
cjel posting in small victories in fighting social anxiety
In the spirit of being proactive and settling a question, I had the idea to get out my cell phone and call my elder roommate, whom I've never phoned before. And so after a brief sit on the fence, I did it. It was short and sweet and it all worked out just fine, such that I was able to do something nice for someone with the information I got from her :)

Today was also a bad day for mumbling and mixing up my words, but I took it in stride and didn't let it bother me, I just stopped and restarted whenever I got things jumbled. Everyone has days like that, I figure, so what's the big deal?
mood: okay
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 sm_victories_sa - (cjel)
05:36pm 04/07/2010
cjel posting in small victories in fighting social anxiety
Since I haven't been out for a while in an official dating sense (and for various reasons), I went out with a guy from an online dating site last weekend. We met for coffee (well, tea) and chatted for about 3 hours, during which time I projected a confident demeanour, was a patient listener, and contributed conversation. One minor 'catastrophe' occurred in that I leaned on the wobbly table too hard and sloshed some of his tea all over the table, but I treated it as no big deal and he was very easygoing about it. Just goes to show that I can handle stuff like that when it happens :)

We went on a dinner date a couple days ago, which was more of the same - 3 hours chatting, but with food. No embarrassing mishaps, but I was a little more quiet this time and found that I didn't feel assertive enough because I would've liked to have left both dates earlier than I did. However, I am proud of myself for not making any attempt to hug or something at the end of our date out of pressure to conform to some idea of what one _should_ do on a second date where the guy bought me dinner. Unfortunately, I didn't feel any romantic spark so if he asks me out again I need to keep my self-confidence and tell him I only want to be friends, if anything.
mood: lonely
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Out There
 sm_victories_sa - (lucidxlunacy)
12:36pm 27/06/2010
lucidxlunacy posting in small victories in fighting social anxiety
Last week I took a leap of faith and asked my boss if, when she had some time, I could ask her a question more on the level of seeking advice from a mentor than the question I'd mainly sent the email to ask (which was also a small victory itself since I know she'd already explained to me what I was asking about, but I couldn't find it in my notes anywhere and wanted to be sure I understood what I needed to do). I remembered that she'd mentioned in a team meeting before that she really loves the opportunity to be a mentor and it's kind of obvious she's taken a shine to me, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. It paid off in a huge way.

I expected a maybe ten minute chat and we talked for over an hour. I got some really good advice and she said if I want to start regularly scheduling some time to talk like this that she's completely open to that, or if our schedules get too busy we can have lunch together and talk over things then. She made a point to reiterate how impressive it was that I recognized my challenges they way I did and that I was being so proactive in doing something about them and said that it has truly been amazing to watch me blossom and see how far I've come in the relatively short while I've been with the company. It was a completely rewarding experience on every front.

The more I put myself out there lately, the more I find that "out there" really isn't such a bad place to be at all. I'm liking it. =)
mood: happy
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 sm_victories_sa - (cjel)
11:03pm 26/06/2010
cjel posting in small victories in fighting social anxiety
I went to a church ladies' breakfast this morning and had a blind-ish (aka only seen his online picture) date this evening. Feeling proud of myself but also, even moreso, surprised at how relatively easy it was to do such 'normal' people things. I must really, truly be getting better. :)
mood: mystified
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