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  1. #1
    compulsive's Avatar
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    Exposure Therapy Myths

    1. Once you have reached say lv 5, you cannot go downwards (anxiety cannot get worse).

    2. Only failed exposures will make you go backward.

    3. after an exposure the thing you were afraid of becomes dramatically easier.


    4. You can go slowly up a metaphorical ladder and be rid of SA. This ladder wont have any holes in it.


    5. if you have done and completed exposure therapy for ie saying hi to people, you will not have to redo the exposure therapy again.

    6. Once you have done exposure therapy for a while, and you have gotten used to the concept, it becomes easier.


    The truth? In my experience, it doesn't get better. And honestly this false belief has made things worse. The exposures do get worse for each level and they do knock me into a state where im too anxious to do anything and I feel scared to leave the house. Is it worth it? It all depends on whether you pick yourself up again each time.

    Debate.

  2. #2
    Trendsetter's Avatar
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    Most of those are true, it got better for me. All depends upon if the person is determined enough to be committed to making improvements.
    “When you stop blaming others for where you are in life, that is when you can start to manifest your dream life!”
    ― Stephen Richards

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    whiteman's Avatar
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    Drugs and Exposure are the only things that have worked for me. Relaxation techniques don't work for me. Exercise also works, unless I over-exercise. A hot tub, sauna, or steam room also works. Surfing makes my anxiety worse, but it's the best thing for depression.

    By exposure, though, I mean forced exposure. Which means, my thresh-hold for anxiety provoking situations gets better, but too much forced exposure eventually leads to depression. By forced exposure, I mean you have to do it, like work. Which reduces my anxiety in anxiety inducing situations, but it means I'm anxious everyday which leads to exhaustion and ultimately depression.

    I forgot...saving money also works. It may sound trite, but saving money helps my anxiety as much as any pill ever could. I do some ridiculous things to save money, like I will follow far behind the car in front of me, so I don't have to use my brakes, which saves gas and therefore, money. It may sound stupid, but saving money makes me feel good about the future. Even if inflation were to go sky high tommorrow, and the money I've saved were to become useless, it doesn't matter. The way saving money makes me feel makes it all worthwhile.
    I don't get a signature.

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    Actually, with exposure my anxiety decreased, and then when I fell back into the same isolation, whenever I've gone out and tried to do the same things I did before, the anxiety returned. So I think there is some truth to it.

  5. #5
    kc1895's Avatar KFC Hipster
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    anxiety graph.jpg

    Here is a graph that I drew (because I am a very visual nerd) From my experience of going to Toastmaster's (a public speaking club that I attend bi-monthly), you can see roughly my anxiety level as it corresponds to the number of exposures. Although my anxiety level goes up and down, there have been a lot more highs on average than lows. I have also been less "panick stricken" and felt more bearable anxiety as the number of exposures increased. What is important to see is the average level of anxiety, marked by the black line that is increasing. Sure there is still anxiety sometimes, but definitely a lot less than the beginning! It also reminds me of the stock market, will it ever crash? Certainly, but once you see its potential, as I've seen with my most "confident" speech, you have to remember your successes and never give up. I went from having a panick attack from one of my first exposures and vowing never to go back, to saying to myself "you know, I can really do this!!" And so can you.

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    That is very good advice, KFC.

  7. #7
    Trendsetter's Avatar
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    Quote kc1895 View Post
    anxiety graph.jpg

    Here is a graph that I drew (because I am a very visual nerd) From my experience of going to Toastmaster's (a public speaking club that I attend bi-monthly), you can see roughly my anxiety level as it corresponds to the number of exposures. Although my anxiety level goes up and down, there have been a lot more highs on average than lows. I have also been less "panick stricken" and felt more bearable anxiety as the number of exposures increased. What is important to see is the average level of anxiety, marked by the black line that is increasing. Sure there is still anxiety sometimes, but definitely a lot less than the beginning! It also reminds me of the stock market, will it ever crash? Certainly, but once you see its potential, as I've seen with my most "confident" speech, you have to remember your successes and never give up. I went from having a panick attack from one of my first exposures and vowing never to go back, to saying to myself "you know, I can really do this!!" And so can you.
    This is a great idea!
    “When you stop blaming others for where you are in life, that is when you can start to manifest your dream life!”
    ― Stephen Richards

  8. #8
    takethebiscuit's Avatar
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    Quote WintersTale View Post
    Actually, with exposure my anxiety decreased, and then when I fell back into the same isolation, whenever I've gone out and tried to do the same things I did before, the anxiety returned. So I think there is some truth to it.
    Can't be sure because I don't know your experiences. So correct me if I'm wrong here. Just throwing out ideas to see if I can help.

    With your exposure, your anxiety decreased. And then when you fell bad into the same isolation, whenever you've gone out and tried to do the same things you did before, the anxiety returned.

    It could be that nobody talked you through a future pace after you made the changes in your exposure therapy. A future pace is where a therapist or coach helps a client to notice the difference that's been created in their life and in their behaviours because of the changes they've made.

    It's basically getting the person to notice the changes they've made. To see things differently to how they saw them before and to see themselves differently to how they saw themselves before.

    I could be wrong but that's what I thought when I read what you said above.

  9. #9
    Antidote's Avatar Rude & Shouty
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    Yeah I've had bad exposure experiences that made me much worse, even suicidal depressed afterwards. Exposure is extremely risky because if you go too fast with it you can end up being traumatised and doing irreversible damage. And even when you succeed relapse is always right around the corner. I find getting older has helped more than exposures overall, because as I age I embrace my weirdness slightly more, and adopt a 'don't give a [BEEP]' attitude.

  10. #10
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    Quote takethebiscuit View Post
    Can't be sure because I don't know your experiences. So correct me if I'm wrong here. Just throwing out ideas to see if I can help.

    With your exposure, your anxiety decreased. And then when you fell bad into the same isolation, whenever you've gone out and tried to do the same things you did before, the anxiety returned.

    It could be that nobody talked you through a future pace after you made the changes in your exposure therapy. A future pace is where a therapist or coach helps a client to notice the difference that's been created in their life and in their behaviours because of the changes they've made.

    It's basically getting the person to notice the changes they've made. To see things differently to how they saw them before and to see themselves differently to how they saw themselves before.

    I could be wrong but that's what I thought when I read what you said above.
    No, they've talked me through it.

    The problem is two-fold. One, I actually enjoy the isolation. I hate making small talk...even when I was the most social, I hated making small talk...and there has always been a degree of uncomfortability in social interactions.

    Two...I can walk into a situation and feel anxiety one day, or skip that day and walk into it the next day, and feel no anxiety at all. There is no telling when the panic attacks will hit. It's crazy. I just had a massive panic attack, where I had to leave the store, and there was nothing causing it. I put extra effort into my appearance, and damn, I even looked good! Some girls in their late teens were checking me out. I had no reason to feel nervous, because I wasn't being judged negatively...yet I felt like a fly under glass.

  11. #11
    takethebiscuit's Avatar
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    Quote WintersTale View Post
    No, they've talked me through it.

    The problem is two-fold. One, I actually enjoy the isolation. I hate making small talk...even when I was the most social, I hated making small talk...and there has always been a degree of uncomfortability in social interactions.

    Two...I can walk into a situation and feel anxiety one day, or skip that day and walk into it the next day, and feel no anxiety at all. There is no telling when the panic attacks will hit. It's crazy. I just had a massive panic attack, where I had to leave the store, and there was nothing causing it. I put extra effort into my appearance, and damn, I even looked good! Some girls in their late teens were checking me out. I had no reason to feel nervous, because I wasn't being judged negatively...yet I felt like a fly under glass.
    Thank you for sharing and clarifying that.

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    Quote takethebiscuit View Post
    Thank you for sharing and clarifying that.
    Do you have any tips, though?

    I'd like to be able to walk into a store, and not fear a panic attack.

  13. #13
    takethebiscuit's Avatar
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    Quote WintersTale View Post
    Do you have any tips, though?

    I'd like to be able to walk into a store, and not fear a panic attack.
    So sorry for not replying to this sooner. Only just seen your reply.

    This website offers general advice on how to deal with panic attacks:

    http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-...c-attacks.aspx

    On the "What's Your Anxiety Like?" Thread, you wrote the following:

    "I generally don't have anxiety, until I have to go somewhere and I'm surrounded by people.

    Then it's like I'm a frozen statue, except for the fact that I'm trembling. "

    Is that what you experience when you have the panic attacks? That you're a frozen statue, except for the fact that you're trembling. Or is it more like what you said in this thread? Is it more like:

    "yet I felt like a fly under glass."

  14. #14
    SmileyFace's Avatar
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    Exposure has helped me tons. It's only a negative state of mind and allowing the "what if's" get to me that made exposure therapy make my anxiety and such worse.

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