With CBT I’m often asked to record a thought diary and more recently I’m starting behavioural experiments.
I was at work one day and we were all to meet for lunch in the meeting room as we’d recently recruited new staff so it was a “Getting to know you” type of get together. Buffet food was provided.
Leading up to this I began clock watching, my mind telling me to fear the impending doom. My therapist always asks me “What’s the worse that could happen?”, “What are you scared of?”, etc and I usually find it hard to answer. I really have to look inside myself to pull something out. When it was time to leave the safety of my lonely office I was dealt a surge of adrenaline to fight the monster.
Once everyone had milled in to the meeting room one of the GP’s suggested that everyone should introduce themselves by stating their name and role at the practice. I didn’t really want to or feel that it was necessary but I also didn’t want to bring attention to myself by not participating and walking out seemed a bit excessive.
Once it was my turn I give my blurb with some humour and threw in my soon to be new surname which was received with cheers and smiles and thankfully that was it. The attention continued to move around the room. I momentarily relaxed knowing I’d done my piece but was soon thrown back to the realisation that mingling and conversing was required next as we were dismissed into a “free for all”. People began tucking in to the food provided and pouring themselves glasses of juice. I had already eaten a wrap so I wasn’t particularly hungry and as the meeting went on I felt myself becoming more dizzy and tired.
I noticed some safety behaviours including touching my hair, yawning, grabbing my cardigan, crossing my arms and finally near the end when I’d decided that I’d had enough and walked out.
I managed to mingle to some extent or more like I felt abandoned as the people I was with started going off to speak to others. A few different people appeared by my side to chat to me and I felt that I did reasonably well with this. It helped that they knew I was getting married as it gave them a safe subject to talk about.
I didn’t manage to speak to everyone but in fact others started leaving in dribs and drabs. Perhaps they found it equally awkward.
As soon as I’d left the situation and went to go back to my office, I instantly felt rubbish and then began to wonder why that was. Partly because I’d left a little early when people were still chatting to one another and partly because I still feel in myself to be an outsider, to have not really made any great connections and I felt that some of the chat was just for the sake of it and was of no true substance or genuity. I felt I was only spoken to because they wanted to keep themselves busy rather than having a genuine interest in me. This is something I need to work on within myself as the self-doubting doesn’t help my confidence.
I felt inadequate, pressured, panic, moving too fast and too rushed.
How do you feel during similar situations?