Now you can challenge your unhelpful thoughts by asking these questions.
1. Is there any evidence that contradicts this thought?
Example: I coped fine last week when I was introduced to my brother’s new partner. I never run out of things to say to my friends, so why should this be different.
Reality:Actually things often went very badly when I met new people so I became more avoidant. I have social anxiety, not minor shyness.As a result my confidence was shattered and did not improve. I often don’t cope fine at all. People really do dislike people for being awkward and quiet. You don’t have to be nasty or cruel to be disliked and avoided. I was called a zombie and mental at work and many people disliked me for being quiet.
I dont have any friends as everyone dislikes me. I often cant think of anything to say and run out of conversation and when I am with new people this is much worse so I come across very badly and they never want to see me again.
2. Can you identify any of the patterns of unhelpful thinking described earlier?
Example : I’m predicting the future. I’m imagining that it’ll go badly but I can’t say for sure how it will go.
Reality:That’s because experience has always taught me that I am usually right. I am a 40+ year old unemployed virgin after all. Things did go badly and never got better.
3. What would your friend say to you if they knew what you were thinking?
Example: They would probably say – don’t be silly, you’re always good company.
Reality:What a load of bollocks. I don’t have any friends now and when I did most thought I was odd ,weird and left me as I was such awful company and boring. I’m even avoided on anxiety forums. People with chronic anxiety and depression are not good company. As someone on a forum once said, they are hard work.
4. How will you feel about this in 6 months time?
Example: I probably won’t care. Even if it goes wrong I’ll have forgotten about it by then.
Reality:What utter shit. I still remember everything from over 30 years ago and relive them. It still hurts all the time and makes me cringe.
5. What are the costs and benefits of thinking in this way?
Example:Costs: It’s making me nervous before I even go into the situation. It’s made me feel inadequate.Benefits: I can’t really think of any.
Reality:True, there are no benefits. I wish I could be given therapy so I dont give a f**k or care what other people think. So far nothing has worked except alcohol for short periods. Lets all get drunk!
6.Is there a another way of looking at this this situation?
Example:Even if I don’t have anything to say, it’s not just up to me to keep conversations going. It’s everyone’s responsibility.
Reality:Yes, I tried to think this way and yet I still often got people who said absolutely nothing and yet usually still criticised me off for being too quiet, often at work. They felt awkward at my behaviour and to make themselves feel better they blame me for being weird. result, I feel worse and become more avoidant, they dont.
Of course all my answers are highly negative and would be criticised. Maybe therapists would refuse to help me as I am not positive enough. Of course this totally ignores the problem that all these problems over many years have caused my negative mindset and much of existence, human behaviour and evolution is negative, cruel, selfish, ruthless with scientific evidence to back it up. It also ignores my other previously mentioned problems concerning sex and that depression added to long term social anxiety which they say is common makes it much harder to cure as being as miserable as F**k, borderline suicidal means that when you meet people for the first time you come across as negative, miserable and awkward so they dont want to see you again.