Monday, June 17, 2013

Social "Anxiety" is Better Than Social "Panic", Right?

Elizabeth has been deciding to work on her social anxiety and we started today.

She has difficulty talking to strangers ("Especially cute boys") and talking on the phone. It is fairly common for teens, really. She's just a bit more anxious than usual. It doesn't come up that often, but it has been bothering her quite a bit lately. She has decided that she wants to work on it because she is aware that that social fear keeps her from doing things that she wants to do.

Up to this point she hasn't had any interest in taking an active role in working on it. Today she and I went out into the world and made a few baby steps toward her goal.
I'm proud of her for choosing to take control of this! 
It's not easy to do and it takes some real self awareness to do this.

Elizabeth and Harry
We started at the coffee shop where she ordered for me. She made eye contact with the server, asked for more water, and even asked for special instructions on the order. It was tough and she found herself getting a bit bunged up at the table. We sat and talked a bit before the next step.

She was to stand up and do a jig.
No, just kidding.
She was to walk about twenty feet from me in this open air coffee shop and check out the menu of the sushi place next door. Her fears got to her and it took awhile, but she did it. The next step was to walk to the door of the sushi place and check inside for the menu to check the price of dim sum.

This was the point where she felt the most fear. The wonderful people in this family-favorite restaurant always greet us very enthusiastically as we cross the threshold of the door. She made her way to the doorway, stayed outside of the threshold, and came back with information about pricing.

At this point, she felt very pressured and fearful of making any other forays away from me. But we decided to try one more thing. Here in Brisbane, coffee shops have a nice little weekly publication with local information; the flyers are available inside of the shops. I asked her to go back to the sushi place and get one. She pointed to the exact papers right here in the coffee shop in which we now sat. "Nope, " I smiled, "I want one from over there!"

We spent time with thinking and feelings. The big picture is that up to this time she has resisted working on the thought patterns that bring up the worst of the anxiety in this type of situation and that has made it hard to actually intervene in the process. But we tried it anyway. With me in the visible spot, only about twenty feet from the door, she went into the sushi place and brought back the flyer!

She did it! 

We celebrated by going to the grocery store. Woop tee doo.

While checking out at the grocery she interacted with the checker quite well! (Of course the checker wasn't the Cute Lachlan! LOL) She did it. She felt great after this...needed a little decompression, but great!

I'm proud of you, Shoosh! 
I'm proud of you for agreeing to THIS too!

An extra special HELLO to my readers
in the Philippines and 1D fans!

If you enjoyed this post, this one may appeal to you:  
Cuddling Cures the Meloncholy
My Parenting Manifesto 
Query from a Confused Parent  
Gaining Independence 

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