I wanted to use this blog to talk about my last appointment with my therapist and what things I am working on this week. One significant change is that I will be meeting with my therapist once a week instead of every two weeks. The reason for this change is that we are working with a limited amount of time as I have many plans for this summer that are hinged on if I can get my social anxiety under control.
I am still having issues. An example was yesterday (Saturday) I had to go to the store at a time when my worst anxiety happens— from 6-8 pm. I was okay driving, which was a nice change of pace, and for the most part, the trip was uneventful. But, as the length of the trip to the store went on, and as the crowd around me grew, I could feel my anxiety climbing. My level hit a 7, which is usually a precursor to a panic attack. Luckily, my therapist, has me working daily on my mindfulness breathing, which meant I was able to get my social anxiety back under control.
That is a change for me, using mindfulness throughout my day instead of just when my anxiety leads to panic attacks. I am tracking my anxiety levels on a 0-10 scale. My therapist and I noticed my “normal” level that I feel comfortable is a five— that is still high. Typically on the scale, we are using, a level between two and four is ideal. I have hit four on occasion, but my new target is an average level at three (it’s a realistic number.)
I am also tracking my weekly progress with anxiety using the Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale (OASIS), and I have seen my anxiety fluctuate over the last few weeks with scores as high as 15 and as low as 12.
With depression I am using the Overall Depression and Impairment Scale (ODSIS) which similar to OASIS, and while my levels have been okay the last few weeks, with a score as high as 10 and as low as 9. I know this area will go down as I finish up the last few weeks of my current semester. In the past I got my score down to a five on this scale so I am shooting for that type of results.
I continue to focus on my avoidance behaviors which are leading me to work on Emotion-Driven Behaviors (EDB’s) this week. I can use my experience yesterday for the worksheet (which I will find a way to post this week) as one of my EDB’s. The eventual goal for my therapist and I is to use real world situations to focus on what is causing my panic attacks in social situations.
It is a lot of work and I am weary because I don’t know if there is enough time before my first trip to get my social anxiety under control. My focus is there, but I am still losing control when I am out in the world.
So, as always, I will keep fighting. I hope you will too.