Jun 13, 2008

The wavy line of anxiety

I noticed that with anxiety you can't just relax and let things the way they are. You continuously need to push through and challenge yourself. Any time spent in the comfort zone makes the anxiety take over more and more... You can give yourself a dy off, but that's a bout it, next day just start over and get into challenges again and again.

Of course the ultimate cure is living in the moment and realizing that all these things we so dearly care about (like other people's opinions or what X and Z said) ultimately don't mean anything. So complete relaxation is the cure. But even if you get there, there is a lot of work in continuing to do it and not getting back into your anxious spot.

Here's a visual cue that I'm using to think about this: take a piece of paper and write down any activity that involves interaction with other people grouping them from the ones that cause most anxiety to the ones with least anxiety. I would have an interview on TV on the left side and friendly chatting with my husband or interacting with my happy kid on the right. Now draw a wavy line to separate the activities between comfort zone and anxiety zone.

The aim of every day is to push that line more and more to the left including more and more activities that are uncomfortable. Doing them time and time again will make them shift into the comfort zone.

When you relax and don't push, the line will not be stable: it just moves to the right and you get more and more uncomfortable.

So in order to make any progress or even keep the statu quo, you need to work all the time, every day and every hour and push that line. It's a Sisyphus job, but it's the only way you can live and enjoy life.

No rest for the weary! Good luck and keep pushing that line!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was looking at my photos and pictures. I was ashamed of what I saw. No emotion in my face. Please help

Ileana said...

Probably some people are envying you that you don't show any emotions when everybody knows how they feel. We're all different and fine just the way we are.

I'm good the way I am and so are you.

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully, wonderfully written! I myself feel the same way about having to push yourself. I see looking back and remembering some of the things I was so scared to do now they are easier. It takes a lot of work but it's worth it.

CauseILoveU said...

Do you feel when you are in a comfortable setting that you WANT to participate in an activity that involves many other people, or do you always feel frightened of it? My boyfriend says that he wishes he could do things, but he knows he will have a panic attack if he does....

Ileana said...

I only have mild social anxiety and it kicks in at certain times. I am actually good speaking in front of people and in general I feel just fine when I am in control. I am very good in my job and I feel comfortable talking to people about work. On the contrary I am still uncomfortable with this new yoga teaching and I am very uncomfortable doing it in front of people. I am just attempting to do it with friends and one at a time for now.

You need to read this
http://beatingsocialanxiety.blogspot.com/2007/09/marriage-to-person-with-sa-comment.html
and this
http://beatingsocialanxiety.blogspot.com/2007/09/marriage-with-person-with-sa.html
... and this post with important links
http://beatingsocialanxiety.blogspot.com/2007/11/im-closing-shop.html

Good luck to you guys!

Alissa said...

The idea of separating activities with a wavy line is a great idea. I think I'm gonna try that. I am thankful I stumbled upon this blog; I needed a reminder that we just have to keep pushing through SA and never stop.