Anonymous said to realsocialskills:
I was wondering if you/ any of your followers have thoughts on mindfulness as a treatment for anxiety? It seems to be recommended by a lot of doctors where I live as something that always works and has no side effects.
As someone who also has severe anxiety, I would recommend giving it a shot while someone that you trust is in the room. Mindfulness works for some people–for me, it makes my anxiety so bad that I feel paralyzed and I just want to shut down. It is definitely worth a shot, because it can be helpful, but just be careful about it.
how do you tell the difference between when someone is gaslighting you and when you’re doing the distorted thinking thing from anxiety/depression? (for example you KNOW they’re judging you because they’re your parent and you’ve learned what that LOOK means but now they say they’re not judging you which means you can’t trust your own perceptions)
- You: Sarah, when Mom made that face, was she judging me or was I imagining it?
- Sarah: Yeah, that’s definitely her judgey face.
- or, depending on what she thinks:
- Sarah: Actually, I think she probably didn’t mean it that way this time. She just talked to me about her obnoxious boss and I think it was her pissed at my boss face.
I have anxiety and depression and probably some other shit I get very scared and panicked when someone says “I’ll be right back” and walks away from me and if I’m supposed to meet someone and they are late or don’t show up. I guess it’s abandonment.So my question is: how do I keep from flipping out on my boyfriend when he accidentally distresses me, like when I’m supposed to pick him up but he finds another way home. His phone is off so he can’t tell me.And I guess my other question: is it fair for him to get frustrated and angry with me when I tell him that doing this is inconsiderate? He said he thought he’d get home before I left to get him so it wasn’t intentional, but I still feel disrespected.
- You: WTF?! Why didn’t you show up?! You’re a terrible boyfriend. You always do this. Why don’t you respect me?
- Him: I thought I’d get home first. I’m sorry.
- You: That’s not good enough. You’re awful. Why can’t you be considerate ever?
If this is what’s going on, you flipping out may well be part of the problem (but not the whole problem, because wanting people to either keep plans or let you know that they’ve changed is entirely reasonable even if the way you react is not.)
If actually flipping out on people is part of the problem, then it’s important to learn how to distinguish between how it feels to have anxiety triggered and what someone actually did. If you’re freaking out, it might be best to hold off on talking about what’s going on until you’ve calmed down. It might also help to say explicitly something like “I’m not rational right now; let’s talk about this in a few minutes.” (This is also the kind of issue that a lot of people find therapy helpful for. I don’t know if you’re someone who would find therapy helpful, but it might be worth looking into.)
But even if you are doing things that look like flipping out, that may be misleading. It’s possible that he’s intentionally provoking you in order to make you look unreasonable to avoid dealing with the problem. That brings us to possibility #2:
Possibility #2: He’s accusing you of flipping out as a way to avoid dealing with the thing you’re complaining about. Eg:
- You: I went to pick you up and you weren’t there. What gives?
- Him: Chill. I thought I’d be home by the time you got here. Why are you flipping out on me?
- You: Can you please call me if plans change?
- Him: Why are you accusing me of being inconsiderate? I didn’t do anything wrong.
Possibility #3: You’re responding to a pattern, he’s insisting that you treat it as an isolated incident, and that’s pissing you off. Eg:
- You: I went to go pick you up and you weren’t there and didn’t call. Can you please let me know if plans change.
- Him: Oh, sorry, I thought you’d come home first and see that I was already here.
- You: Ok, but this happened last week too. Can we figure out how to stop it from happened?
- Him: That happened last week. That’s over and done with.
- You (raising your voice): This keeps happening! I need it to stop!
- Him: Why are you flipping out? I *said* I was sorry.
Possibility #4: You both mean well, but you’re setting off each other’s berserk buttons inadvertently. Eg:
- You (visibly close to melting down): You weren’t there?! You are here? Why weren’t you there?
- Him (freaked out by the idea that he did something seriously upsetting, also visibly close to meltdown): I tried to be there! I did! I thought it would be ok!
If that’s the problem, finding an alternate way to communicate about problems might solve the problem. For instance, it might mean that you need to type instead of speaking, or use IM in different rooms, or talk on the phone. Or it might mean that you need ground rules about how to communicate in a conflict without setting each other off. For instance, some people need to explicitly reassure each other that this is about a specific thing and not your judgement of whether they’re a good person (sometimes judging people is appropriate and necessary. This kind of reassurance only help if that really *isn’t* the issue).
This is not an exhaustive list. There are other patterns of interaction that could be going on here. But whatever is going on, it probably isn’t just your depression and anxiety making you unreasonable. It is ok to expect people to either keep plans or let you know when they have changed.
Do you have any tips on how to make important phone calls when you need to but it’s difficult? I always end up getting myself all panicked about them and sometimes consequently unable to make them, but I can’t not worry about them…
I also find phone calls very hard. If audio processing is an issue, try closing your eyes - I find eliminating visual stimulation helps my auditory processing and makes it easier to make out what people are saying (if there’s background noise or the speaker has an accent I’m unfamiliar with, I might only understand a third of what’s said if my eyes are open, but that might rise to about half if I shut my eyes).
Also, if the auditory processing stuff is hard, make up scripted socially-acceptable ways of asking for clarification/repeat. Some I use:
- I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Can you repeat it?
- So you want me to [rephrase of what I think I heard]?
- Pardon me?
- Excuse me?
- I’m sorry, it’s noisy here. Can you repeat that?
- I’m sorry, my phone sound quality is bad. Did you mean [thing I think I heard]?
- I think I misheard you. I heard [thing that makes no sense]. What did you mean?
In my experience, just saying, “What?” is considered rude.
If I know I’m having a bad auditory processing day, but I need to make the phone call and putting it off isn’t an option, I’ll start off the conversation with something like, “I can’t hear very clearly on my end, so I’m going to need you to speak a little slower than normal so I can make out what you’re saying.”
Having a stim toy for calming stims is useful, to. Something soft and fleecy works for me if I start getting too anxious.
I’m really interested getting a degree in Social Work…but I’m wondering how much math you need in order to get a degree. I know each school is different, but wouldn’t the amount of math you need be pretty much the same? I ask this because I have an extreme fear of math. I get severe anxiety whenever I have to do even simple math in front of teachers.
- In order to become a licensed clinical social worker in the US, you will need an MA as well as an undergrad degree.
- I think once you get to the MA part, it is possible to avoid math classes
- It probably is not possible to avoid math entirely undergrad
- But there are often classes that count as math which aren’t particularly mathy
- And at some schools, math classes and science classes are considered interchangeable for purposes of meeting distribution requirements
- It’s worth looking into exactly what will be required when you’re considering schools, because it’s not the same everywhere
- Also, many colleges have online math classes. If your anxiety is about doing math in front of teachers, that might be a good option for you
Does anyone who knows more about math phobia or social work degrees want to weigh in?
Anonymous asked:I was conditioned from a really young age to be passive and go along with whatever was happening (mostly because of my dad’s temper. He was never abusive but he was very angry and it was never worth the battle to disagree with him), so now everytime i get into a disagreement or heated discussion with someone I end up crying and choking up to the point that I can’t get a sentence out. Do you have any advice for being able to argue inspite of this?realsocialskills said:A few suggestions:It might help to communicate more slowly when things aren’t urgent. For instance:
- Some conversations might be possible for you to have over email, but not in person
- It’s ok to say “let’s move this conversation to email so I can figure out what I think without melting down”
- It’s also ok to need to pause the conversation from time to time
- Needing the conversation to be over for a while doesn’t mean you’ve conceded the point
- Some things are urgent, but a lot of conversations can be slowed down
Learn to use the word “maybe”:
- It’s ok not to know what you want
- It’s ok not to know whether you’re ok with something
- It’s ok to need time to figure it out
- “Maybe” is an important word, you don’t always have to say yes or no immediately
It might help not to rely so much on your voice:
- A lot of people who can’t get words out for various reasons can still type
- You might find that typing is more reliable than speech for you when a conversation gets emotionally intense
- An iPad can be really useful for this since it is very portable
- You can use a text-to-speech app (Verbally is a free one, Proloquo4Text is a dramatically better but also more expensive one),
- Or you can even type in Notes and show the screen to the person you’re talking to
- Or sometimes typing the thing first can make it possible to say the thing with your voice.
It might help to make less eye contact:
- If you’re intimidated, looking at someone’s face can make matters worse
- If you aren’t looking at their face, it might be easier to think and speakDo any of y’all have suggestions for things that help with this?
My main problem is an anxiety disorder so it might be different, but aside from the stuff above: The most useful (but difficult!) thing long term has been finding someone I feel comfortable enough with that I can freak out and cry for a bit during an argument and they give me some space, then when I calm down enough we can get back to the argument. Similarly useful has been getting into (non real time) intense but good natured discussions online where noone knows I’m freaking out. In both cases this has helped me get over my “arguing leads to BADNESS” emotional block. Also I’ve been telling people I MIGHT freak out if we get into an argument, and seeing how they respond, and this gives me a pool of people I feel less tense about arguing with.
Also for topics where I am more likely to freak out I write locked journal posts etc working through my POV with trusted friends, so I have more momentum in real time face to face arguments. My brain doesn’t have time to realise I’m arguing and freak out.
Some people apologize all the time, for everything. This can be very annoying.
Here’s a conversation:
- Mary: I like ice cream. I don’t want to order a slice of cake. I’m sorry.
- Darlene: Dude, you don’t have to apologize!
- Mary: Argh, I’m sorry about that.
- Darlene: ::headdesk:::
Telling someone off for that kind of thing doesn’t help. People who do this do it for a reason; they’ve often been taught that they always have to want what other people want. They’ve been taught that it’s rude to ever express a desire. This is not something you can fix by getting annoyed.
In fact, you can’t fix it at all, because you can’t actually fix other people in any case. But getting annoyed makes the problem worse. So does telling someone off for apologizing. Some people need to apologize and adopt a deferential tone in order to feel ok about expressing preferences and boundaries. If you put pressure on people not to apologize, it makes it harder for them to tell you what they want. Don’t take it personally, and don’t take it out on them. It’s not your fault, and it’s not their fault either.
There are things that you can say that sometimes help other people to feel more comfortable expressing desires, if you can say them in a non-annoyed tone of voice:
- “That’s not a problem.”
- “That’s fine.”
- “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
I’m going through a breakup and am dealing with pretty crippling anxiety and depression despite the fact that my ex and I didn’t end on bad terms. I am a very socially awkward normally and my ADHD sometimes causes me to act impulsively. I have three questions: 1.) How/when/who is it appropriate for me to discuss my problems with (Like when people ask how I’m doing I normally lie but I think that may not be good for me.) 2.)How long should I wait before spending time with my ex, seeing him is like tearing off a band-aid and 3.) What is a good way for me to cope with my loneliness when my social anxiety prevents me from being able to be around most people?
- It’s not good for either of you
- Part of what being broken up means is that you need to separate emotionally and regain your own space
- Relying on your ex for emotional support makes it damn near impossible to do this
- Especially if you don’t have much else in the way of support
- It is not your ex’s responsibility to make your life ok post-breakup
- It’s probably not a good idea to spend time with your ex until you’re past the point of the breakup feeling like an excruciating loss when you see them
Respect other people’s boundaries:
- Someone asking you how you are isn’t necessarily an invitation to share
- “How are you” is usually a fairly meaningless socially greeting.
- Sometimes people ask because they are concerned and really want to know. These are usually people you are already close to, or people you’re related to.
- If you’re not sure whether they really want to know or if it’s just social noise, you can say “It’s kind of hard right now” or something similar, and see if they ask follow up questions
- If they ask follow up questions, it’s usually ok to tell them what’s going on
- But keep in mind that it’s ok for people to decide they don’t want to be your support system
- And it’s important to respect that
- Meetup.com can bee a good way to meet new people in an unthreatening way
- It’s easier to talk to new people when you know that you share an interest and are gathering to talk about it or do something
- It’s also often ok to go and listen to other people talk
- And it’s ok to leave if you need to
Interacting with people on the internet
- A lot of people who can’t interact easily in person get a lot of social interactions from Tumblr
- This counts as social interaction. Don’t devalue it
- It also might help to seek out some other type of forum, like a message board about your interest/fandom/whatever
- Email lists can be good too, especially if they’re the kind that don’t have archives that can be googled
- Even with people you know, it might be easier to interact on chat or Facebook or some other internet based way
- If you have a faith tradition, it might help you to go to church/temple/synagogue/mosque/place of worship.
- If you have a bad experience with the place of worship you grew up with, you might be able to find one that works better for you
- Most communities have a number of places of worship. Some of them probably have nice people
- Unitarian Universalist churches work for some people who don’t feel comfortable in the organized forms of the religion they grew up with, but don’t want to reject it either
- Going to a place of worship can be a way to meet people
- It can also be a way to be around people without having to interact too much directly
- For some people, being near people without having much conversation can be a way to feel less lonely without anxiety-inducing pressure
- There also might be things you can volunteer to help with that aren’t too socially intense
- There also might be study groups that work for you, because you can talk about the topic or just listen
- Prayer can also help some people. Talking to God can help, even if you can’t talk to people.
- Organized religion is not right for everyone, but it can be really good for some people
Reading fiction or watching TV
- For some people, stories are a good way to cope with loneliness
- Reading or watching stories is sort of like vicarious social interaction
- It can also help you to learn a bit more about people and relationships
- There’s a reason why lonely isolated kids coping with growing up by reading novels is such a pervasive trope
- This isn’t helpful for everyone. Fiction can be really misleading and not everyone can understand it. But for some people, it can be good.
Therapy is helpful for some people
- Some people find it helpful to talk to a therapist
- Sometimes therapists can help people manage social anxiety and depression better
- Or figure out executive functioning strategies
- Or learn appropriate boundaries that make friendship easier
- Therapy is not a good idea for everyone.
- For some people, it isn’t helpful.
- For some people, it’s a matter of finding the right therapist
- For others, it’s actively anti-helpful and damaging.
- For some people, it’s sort of helpful but not worth the costs
- Therapy is something that can help some people to get support that helps them to figure out how to improve their life incrementally
- Only you know whether therapy is a good idea for you (and it’s ok to decide to stop going to therapy if you decide that would be better)
- In any case, therapy isn’t magic and it’s not a cure. There isn’t actually such a thing as “getting help” and that fixing your life. There’s just trying things and seeing what works.
Medication can be helpful for some people
- Anxiety, depression, and ADHD are all conditions that some people find easier to manage with medication
- For some people, medication is useful in the short term even if it’s not good in the long term
- Some people don’t benefit from being on medications regularly, but do benefit from having medication available for occasional use to control anxiety or panic attacks
- Medication is not right for everyone.
- For some people it doesn’t work
- For some people, it works, but has intolerable side effects
- For some people, it works, but it takes a lot of experimentation to find the right medications and doses
- Only you can decide if medication is right for you
- Medication is not a cure or a way to become a different kind of person. It’s a strategy for managing things that works well for some people
- If medication doesn’t work for you, that doesn’t imply that you don’t really have depression/ADHD/anxiety.
- It also doesn’t imply that your condition is mild
- Or that you’re not serious about making your life better
- All it means is that medication is not a good strategy for you