I went out today with Sophie. We came to the coffee bar next corner. I have never been here before, but I have planned to visit it someday because sitting at home all day makes me crazy. I was already nervous before leaving home.
We arrived a few minutes ago, and I am still anxious. This unknown and unfamiliar environment makes me feel uncomfortable. I am afraid of the people around me. They seem unpredictable and dangerous. I can’t be myself, I can’t relax. I am unsafe and vigilant. I have the feeling that something horrible can happen at any moment. Something unexpected that paralyzes me and makes me want to escape. I hate this feeling, and I don’t know why I feel this way. There is a trembling weakness in my limbs. My thoughts are confused and frightful. I can’t concentrate. My attention is restlessly jumping from one subject to the other. I even find it difficult to write these lines. I can’t sit still. I am fidgeting, digging my hair, stroking my face and looking around anxiously. I can’t relax.
Another few minutes pass. The place seems a little more familiar and less threatening. I feel less uncomfortable. Formulating and writing down my thoughts helps. My therapist asked me to determine my automatic negative thoughts that feed my anxiety in stressful social situations like this one. Then I can think about their validity. But it is so difficult to formulate these obscure thoughts. They are mostly just feelings with no real content. Often I can’t even distinguish thoughts from feelings. I am just afraid, but I don’t know why.