Slowly Build Confidence
Instead of throwing yourself into situations that cause you dread and fear, the idea behind exposures is to slowly build up your confidence and ability to cope by gradually facing more difficult situations.For example, you might start out making small talk with a cashier and work your way up to eventually hosting a party at your home.
Actually I think speaking to a cashier is just about as hard as anything I could think of doing right now. If its an attractive female I will fear making an idiot of myself as I have done so often in the past, if its a younger attractive female(remember I am over 40) I will feel like a dirty old man and still make an idiot of myself. I have no subject matter to talk about as I never go anywhere or do anything,the weather? again and again and again? Oh look its cloudy! Its still cloudy. its cloudy again tomorrow! Making small talk with a stranger anywhere about anything is one of the hardest things I can think of doing. When it goes wrong as it often has I go over it in my head sometimes for years later and it makes me far more avoidant. I often stammer and my voice goes weak and I cant think of relevant answer or starting subjects.In the past I used to blush crimson red if an attractive girl even looked at me and I am afraid of this coming back as most of my past anxieties including chronic insomnia have in the last year. My jaw also stops stops working and I have difficulty even speaking coherently.. I only took something faulty back to Argos last week and I still felt awkward.
When I fail I feel an absolute fool and it makes me feel much worse and then I would have to avoid the same cashier and even supermarket again and the nearest big one is miles away.I have not even talked about my general anxiety getting progressively worse over the last 3 years which has made me feel much angrier and irritated and of course I am very miserable and feel I have no hope, no optimism and contemplate death. Even going to the shops and speaking to no one makes me feel anxious. Reading all these so called self help sites they all seem to assume everyone is about 21-25 and have the rest of their lives left and must have some friends and family for support. Even the shyest people still have relationships and sex,well not me. Hosting a party at my own home? I might as well run to be Prime Minister. I have not found any online advice yet which seems doable or even offers the slightest glimmer of hope.