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starting to cope with ap

ten steps to taking charge

Progress seems to need:

1 Recognising there is something you can do to start taking charge of this, you have already done this by finding this site. This for some people is an anxious process, starting to recognise there is a problem and taking the first steps to find solutions.

2 Finding out you are not the only one. On the board you will find again and again that others claim they felt alone and had no one to talk to or share his/her anxieties with. Well, no longer!

3 Recognising it is most likely to be an anxiety thing. For most professionals interested in this area they consider it to be a type of social anxiety; such as fear of going into a lift, or of flying, or of public speaking etc. It is an anxiety response to an irrational fear. That is, there are hidden processes going on in the mind that prevent someone from doing normal everyday things that most people don't find difficult. In other words, an anxiety that stops you from doing things you would like to do. You might feel stupid about this and try to hide your responses. You put on a mask to disguise the person you really are. You find excuses to avoid the situation that worries you, or excuses to not tell anyone in case they think you are weird or stupid or 'mental'.

4 Telling someone (partner, best friend etc) – yes this sounds impossible but it works. Many people find this difficult to do, but once they have taken this first step in self-control they get a real sense of relief – to be able to stop putting on the mask and getting on to an honest relationship with someone you trust and/or love. Give them a chance to love and trust you as well. We are not advising you to take out an advert in the local paper, with pictures! There are things that you don't want to share with workmates etc. Just start to tell the people that need to know and whom you trust. You will be surprised at the amount of understanding you will get. See breaking the silence barrier on the best of board.

5 Consider going to your GP or medical centre to tell them about the problem. Not all medics understand about this. Take some information from these sites with you. If they don't really know about this, tell them about this website and that they can get information through here from professional people who have researched and published on this topic in respectable journals. Ask the GP to refer you to a urologist for an examination to make sure that there are no contributory physical problems.

6 You can also ask for a referral to see a psychologist. That does not mean you are crazy, but realising that the best help often comes from someone experienced in dealing with anxieties of all types. They can help by taking you through the stages designed to help overcome your fears. You can of course go and see one privately. For help in getting a recognised psychologist go to the library and look up the Directory of Chartered Psychologists. This is a book, published by the UK association, which publishes only the names of well-trained responsible members. It is also available on-line at:
www.bps.org.uk/e-services/find-a-psychologist/directory.cfm

7 In time, meet other APs. The best way is to attend a UKPT weekend workshop. That will help you to realise that your problems are not unique to you; and it is a big relief to talk to people who understand from their own experiences what you have been going through.

8 Develop a "can do" attitude. Positive thinking is very important. Because of one problem, some people can start feeling negative about themselves and getting to the position where everything is hopeless. They then feel totally helpless. You again are now beyond that point by visiting this site! Keep on the process and start to feel confident about yourself, in all situations.

9 One of the things that you will learn from the professional therapists and the fellow AP sufferers is that a step by step approach called de-sensitisation is one that often is the most successful in dealing with this type of anxiety and all phobias. That is, you take small steps towards a long-term goal. You plan these steps or stages and practice coping with them a little at a time. You don't move on until you feel comfortable at this stage and are then ready to take on the next stage. Practising exposure to the situation in very small steps, starting at a point you can cope with is called de-sensitisation. You can read up about it on the US board, and it is well described in Steve Soifer's book. If you read the UK postings you will see there that people talk about de-sensing, that is the using the desensitisation processes

10 If you can, try to attend a Beginners Workshop – they are held at present every four months, alternating between London and Manchester. Watch the discussion board for announcements, and details are on our events page. You can also give us your email address so that you receive an email notification.

Now look at the page on cognitive therapy & practical advice.

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