Getting Back to my CBT Roots

Fixing My Social Anxiety

jessica-oliveira-562085-unsplash.jpgI have thought a lot recently about my habits, what works, and why I decide (consciously or unconsciously) to stop doing the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy things that make my social anxiety just a bit better at the moment. When things are right, I tend to move away from things until it gets to the point where I am isolating myself and barely leaving my house. The funny thing is that everything in my life tends to go that way, I continue to go against what is the right thing to do to a point where I am spiraling. Then, and it seems only then do I finally pick myself up off the floor and try to recalibrate my life.

One of the best things I can do day in and day out is mindfulness breathing. It is easy and a straightforward thing to do. It is great to use when you need to refocus your daily routine when anxiety seems to take over control. Concentrating is an amazing and useful tool and one I have found works– and yet I don’t always use it until my anxiety reaches new levels of anxiousness.

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Recently, I started a list of things I wanted to add to my daily routine. Things that have gotten away from me as isolation begun to become a part of my life.

  1. Begin to integrate my workout routine– again.
  2. Meditate in the morning and in the afternoon.
  3. Eat healthier.
  4. Make plans to go out and have a cup of tea or coffee at my favorite coffee shop.
  5. Focus on sleeping better through the night.
  6. Restart my bi-weekly therapy appointments.

simon-rae-732820-unsplash.jpgWhile these are great things and I am always a work in progress, there is so much more to do. I recently did the unthinkable. I drove past this bubble that I created in the city that I live in. Until recently I don’t more than 10-15 miles from my house, but I drove on a trip almost 25 miles one way. I got stuck in traffic. It was touch-and-go for a bit, but I survived with some help from my Ativan and my work with CBT (mindfulness breathing). I did have some pre-anxiety feelings, but I approached it with CBT, and I survived.

I realize that isolation, while helpful to get back to my roots, is not the solution. Being out in the world and not being this awkwardly social person while I am in society doesn’t have to be my future. I can continue to focus on what helps me get through my social anxiety outside my front door. The journey to conquering social anxiety has to start somewhere.

I want to end with this, to my readers, how did you go about ending isolation associated with anxiety?

Always Keep Fighting

James

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoIhor Malytskyi

Jéssica Oliveira

Glenn Carstens-Peters

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20 Replies to “Getting Back to my CBT Roots”

  1. Not too long ago (a few years back when I was in college and most of my childhood including high school) I was isolated from society mentally and when I could physically. If I found myself in a social environment I became mute. I completely shut down and wouldn’t interact unless forced. Beyond that I stayed locked away in my room. My only willful social interaction was online and even that was sparse. Around my early twenties, I decided I had to make a change. The only problem was that I was awkward and socially inept. Just looking a person in the eyes while talking was a chore for me. I am not sure how I got passed all that other than I had a strong desire to become independent. My home life with my mother and her husband wasn’t ideal, and I just wanted to get away from that. So I used that urge to be independent to force me out of my old habits. It wasn’t easy, but I had a dream/goal that I just couldn’t let die. I am thirty now, and I still suffer from anxiety and other mental illnesses. However, I am not that mute kid anymore. I can go places that make me uncomfortable, interview for jobs, and hold light conversations. The drive for independence still keeps me steadfast and through my failures I get better at socializing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s great to hear your story because it helps to feel less alone in the fight. I have always been socially awkward and it is so easy to just not socialize but I need a change. It will be a process.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I find it’s cyclic as well…one of the things that helps me the most is having a close friend along, unfortunately this means I have a harder time doing things alone now. I’m working on getting that back now. One of the things is rarely backing out…once you back out of an event or even going to the grocery store it’s too easy to back out again and again.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ending my isolation associated with my anxiety is a pretty constant battle. That being said, becoming a yoga teacher, going out and physically sharing the practice that helped me, has helped with my isolation.
    Allow me to clarify. I am passionate about it because it helps. I have classes I teach but I also have terrible anxiety which makes it difficult to even get to the studio sometimes. I am also very proud of my professionalism and not letting people down. So I must go to the studio you see. Then I get there with the students and begin to practice, I feel their amazing, sweet, positive, CALM energy, and I feel my anxiety start to slip away.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is amazing. I am not sure I could do such a thing, but I have been asked a lot over the past two years by my therapist to lead group therapy. Maybe I can start with group and work my way up to leading.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I started small and personal. So, I taught a couple of friends. Then moved to a private client, then started really getting out there with people I did not know. I still have tough days of course.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. As someone who suffers from anxiety, and works from home most of the time, I had to start making an effort to go into my college office even just once a week. Making coffee dates with colleagues really helped me too. It can and should be a slow process, don’t rush yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m not very good at keeping up with CBT practices either, even though I know they help. Maybe it is my attention deficit issues, that make it so easy for me to get distracted from anything and forget all about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I understand. I have been slack lately also and ended up with a bout of IBSD. I was not eating well. Not meditating. No doing anything I should. I am also going back to what works.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Isolating myself is something that I still struggle with. Social anxiety is something I haven’t really even scratched the surface of yet, working on the manifestations of my GAD first. I am working on CBT…sadly I am still finding what works for me and what doesn’t. And the discouragement is big right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a process because no two sufferers are the same. I wish CBT was a bit more straightforward but I am working on it too. I wish you luck.

      Like

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