Socially Phobic

April 11, 2007

We did something really cool

Filed under: OCD,Social Phobia,Things that help — iambrave @ 1:10 am

in class tonight. The professor had us all lie down on the floor and led us through a guided meditation. I have done some meditation in the past, but never in a group of people and never with guided imagery. He had us imagine ourselves three years from now, going through a day at work, and it was a really positive experience for me. I have had a very bad habit for a very long time of not letting myself imagine the future positively, as if even thinking good things would automatically make bad things happen. It’s like having to say “knock on wood” after you acknowledge that the traffic is light or the weather is good (which I do) except more extreme because it’s all based on my thoughts.

I am trying really hard to let go of my superstitions. People have been talking a lot lately about the power of positive thinking and how you can make good things happen just by thinking about them. However, for good or for bad, I do not want to believe anymore that my thoughts have power to influence the universe, regardless of what The Secret might say (although I have to admit that ever since I saw a piece about it on TV or possibly online, I have been imagining the perfect parking space magically appearing in front of my house and I have found good spots subsequently and apparently if I even let any doubt into my mind that it’s because I envisioned it there won’t be anywhere for me to park anymore. I haven’t actually read the book, just the hype). In fact, I would like to be able to believe that my thoughts have zero impact on the universe, and the reason is that it is way too much pressure to hold on to the belief that you are making things happen simply by thinking. A positive superstition is still a superstition and given my obsessive tendencies I think that I need try to let go of superstitions as a whole. I’m still knocking on wood, though. I do have one compulsion that comes readily to mind which is that I can’t wear socks that don’t match. I am having trouble letting go of it because if I did wear unmatching socks and something bad did happen it would probably just drive me out of my mind.

So, I really don’t want to believe that my thoughts/socks have extraordinary power.  On the other hand, I think that allowing myself to think positive thoughts has a positive impact on my life because it has a positive impact on the way that I think about myself and my own capabilities for success. I pretty much put the “O” in OCD, but just writing this has made me realize how far I have come.  I did strict CBT for a few months last year, and while I didn’t like some things about it, particularly that the therapist didn’t really give me much time to just talk and I am a firm believer in the fact that just being able to randomly vent to a paid professional can be helpful sometimes, it taught me a lot about managing my thoughts. I don’t know if you can ever change the fact that negative thoughts pop up, but you can become more aware of them and learn to refute them and I’m living proof of that. This post does a pretty good job of explaining what I’m trying to say.

I don’t really like my Tuesday class, and it’s embarrassing for me to try to articulate it but I’m going to try anyway. I guess that it kind of makes me feel like I’m in high school again because there’s a lot of pretty, young people in there and I waste a lot of energy feeling left out, even though I do rationally realize that it’s all in my head. Here’s a secret: people tend to congregate before the class and it makes me really anxious to walk up to a group of people that I don’t really know so I try to get there a little late, or RIGHT on time. I guess I do the same thing on Wednesdays, too. But I’m glad that I was able to relax enough to have the experience that I did tonight.

One other thing: I got to class really late tonight accidentally (I didn’t mean to be 15 minutes late or whatever it was) and apparently I missed some sad news. At the beginning of the semester, we saw a talk by a man named Jack with bipolar disorder who had become a peer counselor/public speaker and it blew my mind to hear him talk so openly about his illness in front of a group of people. That experience was one of the biggest inspirations for me to start focusing so much energy on disclosure issues in my own life and gave me a lot of strength and courage, one of the end results being my writing here. Well, it’s my understanding that he has since committed suicide. I didn’t know him personally, but I just wanted to put it out there that I think that Jack was an amazing person and that he had a huge impact on at least one person. I am sorry to hear that he was hurting so badly and I hope that he is at peace now.

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