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  1. pencil shavings are the client's property and should be returned to the client
  2. removing the tags will keep the tea from tasting like cardboard
  3. Genome, good for you for taking the first step to getting help. And good job on the exercise. Whenever you need to approach someone and you get filled with anxiety about what the other person will think about you, I would just encourage you to practice the following, which can be done pretty rapidly once you do it a few times -ask yourself "what is my most distressing automatic thought (e.g., they will think I am ______) -ask yourself "am I mind reading? Am I using a negative bias? Am I making an assumption without sufficient evidence?" (refer to the definitions in my last post) -think of alternative positive possibilities of what the person might think of you or how the conversation will go and pick one that you think best rationally responds to your most distressing thought and the thinking error you see you may be committing and the alternative possibilities. e.g., "Maybe they will think I am OK" or "This could be a pleasant conversation" whenever the negative distressing thoughts come up, make the choice to consciously answer them with the phrase you chose. It helps a lot to write it out for yourself. After you get good at it, you can just do it nearly instantly in your head. So when you feel "they will think I am a freak and won't want me around" you choose to respond saying something like "maybe they will think I am okay" (or whatever phrase you chose). However many times your mind says "they will think I am weak and pathetic" each time you chose to respond with your phrase. Just try it. It's not an instant fix but over time if you practice this your distress level can go down. Good luck!
  4. 1. You answered, "To understand what someone says...." I asked a different question. But I'll put my question differently now to put a finer point on it. Wouldn't you agree that if you wanted to know what someone was THINKING about YOU you'd have to ask them? More specifically, wouldn't you agree that if you wanted to know what the receptionist and GP thought of you, you'd have to ask them? You wrote: If I go there, they will think: -There's something wrong with me. -I'm a freak. -I'm a failure, I have no right to ask for help, I have no pride. -I'm weak. -They could be helping someone with real problems, not some idiot who can't think right - pointless waste of space, broken -Pathetic pathetic pathetic you can't talk to people. 2. Short of actually asking the receptionist and GP what they think of you, wouldn't you agree you have no reliable way to know what conclusions they are drawing about you, if any? That you wouldn't be able to know if they think you are weak, or pathetic, a waste of space, etc. or yet may have entirely different thoughts about you than you imagine. Yet you have quite firmly drawn these specific conclusions. Do you think this is a reasonable thing for you to think about them? 3. Wouldn't you agree that you deciding that the receptionist and GP will think you are weak, pathetic, a waste of space etc puts you in the role of being their mind reader and that your mind is making a thinking error because you cannot possibly or reliably know this? As for alternative possibilities of what they might be thinking about you, they might think: -you are a good person -you are a nice person -you are a worthwhile person to know -you are just quiet but not defective -maybe you are just having a bad day -you are just a person who just needs help -that once you get the help you need you can be a happier person or maybe the receptionist and doctor aren't thinking ANYTHING about you. Maybe the doctor is thinking about her fun golf game this afternoon and the receptionist is thinking about what he wants to have for lunch. Do you see? You have no way of knowing what another person is truly thinking about you. You can't know if its negative, or positive, or neutral. Yet your mind has concluded their opinion of you will definitely be negative. Weak, freak, waste of space, pathetic. What I would like to open your eyes to is that this logical mind is not always so logical or reliable, that it is tricking you and is repeatedly falling into certain thinking patterns that lead to error, and that those errors are making you miserable. 4. People with social anxiety disorder tend to commit certain thinking errors. One of them is mind reading. That means concluding others are reacting negatively to you, without checking out your assumptions. Do you see yourself doing this? What is your answer? 5. Another thinking error common to this disorder is Negative Bias. That means, when assuming what other people think of you, having the tendency to lean toward the negative instead of leaning toward the positive. In your response to my original questions, all of your answers were negative. Are you committing this thinking error? What is your answer? 6. Another thinking error is just making an assumption without SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE. You concluded the receptionist and GP would think you are a freak, weak, pathetic, a waste of space. Exactly what EVIDENCE do you have that this will actually happen? You haven't even been to your appointment yet. If you see that you have no such evidence, then wouldn't you agree that your conclusion about what they will think is error? 7. Now let's look at it from another point of view. Do you see that you are not giving the receptionist and GP a chance? You aren't giving them a chance to accept you or reject you, to think a positive thought or a negative thought about you. You are DECIDING FOR THEM what they should think of you. Is that a fair way for you to treat them? Shouldn't they be entitled to form their own opinion about you? Do you see you are deciding for them and aren't even giving them a chance? 8. So....what other thinking errors is your mind committing? In my CBT class I was taught 14 common thinking errors in social anxiety disorder and I have seen longer lists on the web. Are you open to the idea that maybe your mind may be committing a variety of thinking errors?
  5. Back to the exercise. So there's your GP and her receptionist. The GP might see 30 people in a day. Receptionist might see 100-200 people in a day. However many, you're not the only person they see. So you walk in there and check in with the receptionist, and he tells you to have a seat. A little while later you get called back to see the doctor. You explain your problem, answer some questions, get some advice, then you leave and after maybe 10-15 mins. the encounter is over. From what you've written before, you're concluding in advance of the encounter that the receptionist and GP are going to make specific negative judgments about you. Your mind has already decided exactly what they're going to think. 1. But If you wanted to know what ANY person thought about ANY thing EVER, what would you have to ask them to do? What is your answer? 2. Question. Are you a really good mind reader? Or is your mind making a "thinking error?" What is your answer? 3. Are there ANY other possibilities of what they might think of you? Please write out about 5 other different REALISTIC possibilities of what they might think about you that are not negative judgments about you.
  6. As I said, there is a way out. Tons of people have come before you with this problem. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been peer reviewed and scientifically validated many times on many people similar to you as an effective treatment for your problem. It works. So you have good reason to feel hope. You said this is your last chance. But things can be different now because a new opportunity has opened up for you that wasn't there before. I don't know if you can accept what I'm about to say, and I'm not just trying to say something to make you feel better, it's actually the truth. Maybe you can't accept this right now, but I hope small part of you can hear me when I say the problem is not you. You think it's you, but it's not. The problem is the pattern of your thoughts. You've been using a certain thinking style for a long long time. This thinking style is so deeply engrained that its automatic to you and seems totally persuasive to you. You've been living this way for a long time because Nobody ever showed you how to think differently. When you teach your mind how to think differently, the outcome changes. I say again, the problem is not you, it is your thinking style (the same thinking style you share with other people with social anxiety disorder), and if you change your thinking style, the outcome, your future, changes. Things that were impossible become possible. This means you are actually not as trapped as you think you are and your situation is not as hopeless as you think it is. So you're missing some things, and all the things you're missing can be learned. In a nutshell, what you are missing are skills. Just some skills that nobody ever taught you. In CBT you will learn how to practice these skills and begin experiencing changes.
  7. I am sorry you are in so much pain Genome. This problem must be extremely distressing to you. It must feel sometimes like there is no way out. Actually there is another way out. Just trust me. You can have a better quality of life. But for right now please have a look here. http://www.crazyboards.org/forums/index.php/forum-29/announcement-2-if-youre-suicidal-and-need-help-now/ I want you to write down the phone number that applies to you. Whenever you feel suicidal, I want you to call that number. Their whole purpose for existing is to talk to people like you when you're feeling suicidal. Are you able to make phone calls?
  8. You've made a good start. Good job! Let's put your rational approach on the back burner for now. We want to deal with your raw automatic thoughts, which are the other things you wrote down. So, if people think there is something wrong with you, that you're different, that you're flawed, that you don't know how to talk to people, that you don't fit in, that you're strange, and if it's true that people don't want you around, then what will happen to you because of it? I'm asking you to take your thoughts to their logical conclusion as you see it. If all those things are true about you, then ultimately what will happen to you in this life you're trying to live? Please give this some thought and write it out in full. I'd like you to really try to feel this. How does your answer to the last question make you FEEL. Describe the emotions and how intense they are. On a scale of 1-10 how distressing are these emotions to you? Gotta go again. Back later.
  9. Okay Genome, instead of trying to get what other people will think out of your head, or ignore it, or distract yourself, sit with the thought for a little while, let the thought be there, and try an exercise. Finish this sentence: if I go there, they will think __________________. Write down all that you think they would think or might think. Really think about it and Write it out in full. Next, of the answer you gave, maybe you gave a multipart answer, so decide which one thing they would think about you is the one you find most distressing. Next, let's pretend you go there and they actually DO think that about you - the thing that distresses you the most. If they think that about you, then what does that say about you as a person. About who or what you are. Write it out in full. I have to go right now but There is more to this exercise. If you want to do this exercise then I will check back in later with more.
  10. Genome, yes therapy for SAD helps. Yes you can get better. Yes you can have a better quality of life. Yes things that seem impossible for you right now can become possible. Yes you can become a more comfortable, social person. I highly recommend group CBT. Below are a couple links to things people on this board have written about their own experiences with CBT for SAD. I hope these encourage you. http://www.crazyboards.org/forums/index.php/topic/63285-cbt-for-social-anxiety/ http://www.crazyboards.org/forums/index.php/topic/63692-is-cbt-right-for-me/
  11. Because it sounds badass and makes them feel powerful
  12. I have low self esteem. Will be starting therapy soon. I'm wondering if any of you can say (1) you used to have low self esteem, but (2) now you have pretty good healthy self esteem. If you can say that, can you name just one (or three) skills or practices that produced results in you. I've been trying the positive affirmations and CBT automatic thought/rational response type ideas, trying to repeat positive messages to myself to counter the negative thoughts, but these are not producing CHANGE. It just goes on endlessly with me saying these little mantras to myself but it isn't changing me and just seems pointless.
  13. You have a third choice beyond kissing him and not kissing him. You could set the stage for him so that he still feels like he has to take the initiative but you've made it a little easier for him. You are doing this to boost his confidence but still keeping him in the role of a man You could stop talking (and stop him from talking, right in the middle of a conversation. whatever he's saying just completely ignore it and do what you're going to do), you're taking charge for a moment but only for the purpose of setting the scene. you move toward him, put your face straight facing his to within an inch of his face, slowly exhale inhale exhale open mouth and let him feel your breath on his mouth, smile invitingly using your eyes communicating showing him how friendly and approachable and nonrejecting you are, start doing jedi telepathy on him like you have the power to tell him with your mind "kiss me now...kiss me now.....kiss me now..." and you're communicating that with your eyes. maybe your hand is caressing his chest or caressing the back of his neck, if he tries to talk just completely ignore him, gaze longingly for several second into his eyes, let him see your desire in your eyes, then let him see your eyes drop down so you're obviously gazing at his lips for a second, then gaze back into his eyes, let your tongue ever so slightly portrude from your lips just for a flash of a second as you're looking into his eyes, in all this you want to be creating a sense of sexual tension, then close your eyes, pucker your lips - not a lot, just slightly, and then...without going toward him any more.....hold still and wait If by some chance he still doesn't get it after that, then put your hand around to the center of the small of his lower back and forcefully quickly draw his body against yours so he's actually bumping into you, this works like a shock to his system so you're waking him up into being in the moment so he gets out of his head and experiences the present moment. then if that doesn't work open your eyes, reach up to the back of his neck close your eyes again and pull his neck firmly in the direction of yours but NOT to the point where your lips make contact. All you've done is force him closer, and you're basically firmly pulling on his neck, but you want to set it up so maybe you're traveled the whole mile and all he has to do is travel one inch to the finish line but for some men know that that one inch can be a horribly painful feeling and fearful and risky experience but its really important for his personal growth and self worth as a man that he HAS to take the initiative and move that last inch toward your lips, he has to feel some risk and take the risk and act despite his fear. you want it to be so In the end it is still him taking the ultimate final step, so it still feels like him kissing you, not the other way around. He HAS to know that he is the one who ultimately kissed you. By making him do this you are doing him a favor as a man, you are boosting his confidence. Something like that
  14. I agree with the others. You should not assume lack of interest. The fact that he continues to call/text proves he wants to continue the interaction, which means he is interested. If you have to make an assumption, as a guy I would assume (1) he wants to but doesn't know if it's okay with you or what to do because he doesn't know if it will be warmly received and he is looking for some positive indicator from you that it would be welcome before he does it. Basically, he wants to but he is afraid of messing the whole thing up that you two have started. He is trying to build up his courage and he probably has tapes playing in his head about fear of rejection that are paralyzing him. (2) as clear as you've tried to make them, lots of guys are really poor at reading a woman's body language and subtle signals can fly over his head completely missed.
  15. I have a different experience. For decades up to a month ago I would have related to the OP and some of the other posters. My disinterest in people and socializing was such that I was actually diagnosed with Schizoid Personality Disorder by a psychiatrist. Among other things I told her that if I could have my way I would buy a small cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere and if I never talked to another human being that would be just fine with me. I was completely not interested in any social communication with anyone, including close family. But then something happened. One month ago, In my 45th year, my depression lifted a little bit, spontaneously. And with that came all these new feelings that I hadn't felt before or been aware of before. This has completely shifted my perspective. All of a sudden I crave social contact. All of a sudden I recognize that I've lived an emotionally impoverished life because of being so withdrawn and severely isolated and socially disconnected for so many decades. Like Titania was saying, other human beings deposit emotions and experiences and connection into your soul and if you don't have social connection you don't experience any of that, or experience new things that can make life rewarding. All of a sudden I feel a deep sense of loss and regret at not having had a rich social life for decades. I actually feel a deep and abiding sense of grief at having lived a wasted life. This is all new to me and I haven't yet come to terms with it, and accepted it, and processed it. I am starting therapy soon. This has made it obvious that the Schizoid Personality Disorder was a misdiagnosis. What was actually happening was that my thoughts and opinions and desires about social connecting, deeply convinced as I was, were all the product of my depressive illness, and to my surprise, they did not represent the real me which has now emerged.
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