I can recommend CBT for social anxiety because it's helped me immensely.
Disclaimer: this blog is going to be slightly different than the others. I’m really going to open myself up and be vulnerable with Y'all – with the hope that I can help at least one other person.
While I am unapologetically myself in all my blogs and lean on my own personal experiences to share helpful things with you, there are definitely going to be times where my writing is more personal than others.
Just like you would with a friend, I choose to share some things with you and keep other things to myself. As we continue on this journey together, I’ll be able to open up more about what I’ve been through and my personal experiences.
In saying that, you're going to get a little window into that today. After reading this blog, you’ll know me a whole lot better, and I’m so excited to share CBT for social anxiety with you because I believe that it really works.
Let's begin at the beginning. I’ve suffered from a lot of anxiety in my life. If you traced it back it probably started when my Dad left when I was 12 – I don’t think I’ve ever completely gotten over it.
Now, my anxiety manifests in two significant ways, one of which I'll share with you today.
I haven’t always had social anxiety. That being said, I didn’t exactly enjoy school all that much and wasn’t very popular. University was a bit better, but again friends stuck for a while and then fell off when I graduated.
Being a mom has actually helped me make more friends than I’ve ever had – so I highly recommend it (haha). The common interest you have with other moms involves you being able to share and receive support that is invaluable. But let’s get back to my social anxiety.
My social anxiety most likely stems from, as I’ve mentioned, daddy issues which include low self-esteem and body dysmorphia.
I’m naturally more of an introvert than an extrovert, and will always choose staying at home than going out. However, when I do go out, there’s no end to the anxiety I feel.
I'm always thinking about how others may perceive me, what I look like, and how I'm acting. Sometimes I can't believe that I'm worth talking to, and can’t quite understand why the person who’s talking to me is doing so. My main thought is: surely they can see all my flaws and why they're better than me.
It’s so hard not to feel like everyone’s life looks better than mine, as well - on the outside, anyway. Everyone else just seems to have it together while I feel as if I’m barely surviving at times.
My husband has been unbelievably amazing at helping me through these times. He’s naturally more of an extrovert and has helped me to come out of my shell more, reminding me that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
However, the moral support of my spouse certainly hasn't been enough to get me through those tough times. To make a lasting change, I needed something more practical and tangible. I knew that I was going to need some sort of professional help to get me beyond the intense feelings of dread and anxiety I felt in social situations.
When I finally plucked up the courage, the therapist I went to was one who practiced CBT.
Now for those of you who don’t know what CBT is or even stands for, let me explain. CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This type of therapy focuses on capturing the negative thoughts swirling around in your head about certain things and replacing them instead with positive thoughts and imagery that can help shift your paradigm permanently.
My therapist explained that CBT is often used for issues like anxiety and depression.
CBT for social anxiety seemed like something I needed to try. Over the next few weeks and months, I worked hard with my therapist to implement it into my daily life – and let me tell you; it wasn't easy.
This is because actively taking time out of your day and meditating on all the thoughts that are in your mind is hard work. Replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones is even harder.
It’s especially hard work when you have to do this at least seven times a day for it to stick. Like everything in life, our thinking is built on habits we’ve had for many years. This means that breaking those habits is going to take more than a few days of positive thinking and optimism.
When I started using CBT for social anxiety, the changes were slow. There were many days that I cried with frustration, consumed by the thought that I would never break free from this. Freeing myself from social anxiety seemed to be one of the most challenging things I had done.
I think all in all it took me three months of serious, intentional mental and emotional work to bring my anxiety levels down – but it worked.
CBT for social anxiety seriously made my negative thoughts do a 180 on going out and socializing with others. It made me realize that everyone has something going on, no matter how good their life looks from the outside. It also made me realize that I’m worthy of relationships and friends.
No matter what I’m telling myself, there’s always going to be someone who has time to spend with me. Even if there isn't sometimes, I can be okay because I'm valuable and worthy - because I tell myself this every day.
If you’re suffering from something similar, I strongly encourage you to try CBT for social anxiety.
What I want you to know more than anything is that you’re not alone in how you feel. Everyone’s got something going on – hell, I’ve probably got more stuff going on than most people. I haven’t even told you about all of my anxieties! I promise I will though.
If you're looking for a nice, gentle introduction to CBT for social anxiety, I recommend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by Lawrence Wallace. It's an excellent, practical step-by-step guide to CBT for issues like social anxiety.
Once you’re familiar with the concept, I recommend talking to a therapist. While it was hard for me to do, it ended up being one of the best things I've done. If you've recently been experiencing anxiety and stress at work and want to know how the law can help, check out Hogan Injury for more information.
Please also know that I’m here to listen to anything you may be going through, as well. Feel free to drop me an email – even if it’s just to (kind of) anonymously get something off your chest. I won’t judge you – I’ll listen and help you in any way I can.
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