For everyone with social anxiety, this is a reminder that you don't have to be perfect in your interactions with others; you just have to be kind and that's literally it. That's all that's necessary of you. You don't need to say the perfect thing or anticipate what they would want you to say or even exude confidence if you can't.
Social anxiety tells us that we have to be perfect in in our social interactions, but no one is. Social anxiety sets us up for a level of expectation in our social interactions that we have no choice but to fail at, and then fall into a cycle of self-hate for failing and striving even harder for perfection.
Something I shared with Patrons a while back. It’s been that kind of a year. A lot of change and stress, but with that, some reminders of what’s important.
Hoping the new year is better to everyone. ❤
Lackadaisy is on Patreon - there’s extra stuff!
Some solutions for overthinking
Go to the opposite extreme. Focus on the good. What if you're amazing? What if you sweep then off their feet? What if you succeed?
If you can't deal with a reality you created, avoid spending time and energy on it. If you can't touch this worry somehow, it's just an imaginary monster feeding off your thoughts.
Look for the best parts of the situation. You screwed 1 thing, how about the other 10 you did right? Appreciate your accomplishments.
Perspective is everything. Do you think that teacher will remember you dropping a paper in 4 days? Nope. Most people don't even pay attention. The more you focus on a little thing, the bigger it becomes.
Overthinking is a way of running from feelings. Learn to manage your feelings and know that's okay not to know how everything will go like.
Be focused on the positive intentionally!
Okay, I’m getting a lot of questions about stress losing its effectiveness as an ADHD coping skill and now how that can happen, so I’m going to paraphrase how my therapist explained it to me.
Stress as stimulus is a rubber band.
It’s stretchy and can be expanded to hold multiple things together (deadlines, self-care, social obligations). But the thing about rubber bands is they only work for so long before they lose their elasticity, and suddenly you’re having to pull them tighter and tighter to get the same staying power.
Suddenly, a rubber band that had no issue holding a 12 pack of “pens” together for years will need to be double wrapped around itself to hold those same things in place. And sure, it still works. A couple of “pens” might fall out from time to time, but you can just put them back and wind things tighter, right?
Except you cannot use a rubber band indefinitely.
No matter how tightly you wind it, the elastic will eventually be too stretched out to be useful and things will fall apart. It may even become brittle and snap, which is the worst-case scenario. Yet, many of us will still try to use the broken rubber band, all the while growing more and more frustrated that the thing that worked so well for so long is no longer serving its intended purpose. We might tie it together, creating functional knots in the elastic so that we can keep using it. But ultimately it’s a short-term fix and it will snap again soon. And it will keep snapping at more regular intervals until all you have left is broken pieces of elastic and what feels like your entire life scattered at your feet.
Because a rubber band is not intended as a permanent solution to something. It is an effective yet temporary measure designed to hold things in place until something better comes along.
And stress is the rubber band of the brain.
It is an important survival tool that keeps us alive, aware of our surroundings and, in small, healthy doses, productive. Good stress exists. It releases important chemicals your brains need to function, like dopamine and adrenaline, which are things ADHD brains are extremely deficient in, and struggle to regulate in the same way neurotypical brains self-regulate.
But where it becomes a problem is when you become reliant on it, and your brain and body stop having healthy stress responses. By utilizing stress constantly as a form of stimuli, you are effectively wearing out the rubber band that holds things together, and when it snaps, you’re left with a brain and body that’s been so fried by corsitol* you are left feeling burned out, tired, sickly and possibly even deeply depressed. And the more you do this, the harder it gets to bounce back from.
Which can happen to neurotypical people too! Prolonged stress is not healthy for anyone! It just so happens that stress is an unfortunately useful form of stimuli, right up until it’s not.
Using the rubber band of stress is easy. Learning not to use it is hard. But recovering from overusing it is even more so.
So what’s the solution? Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer. Therapy can help. Medication can help. Building better support structures and social groups can help. Changing your environment to be more accessible can help. Ultimately, you need to find things that work for you and do your best to make sure they are realistically attainable and also healthy. Which is no easy feat. It will be hard, but it is worth it. And I have to believe that because I’m a year into intensive therapy with what feels like minimal progress to show.
But as my therapist keeps reminding me. Progress is progress. Whether you move an inch or a mountain, you’re still moving, and that’s what counts.
*Note: yes, cortisol is a stress hormone, but that doesn’t make it Bad like I’ve seen some questionable people claim on here before.
It is vital to our survival and wellbeing and is part of our internal warning system in much the same way histamine is required for healing and immune system regulation. The goal is not to have ZERO cortisol in your body (because that will also kill you) but to have healthy levels that respond appropriately to danger/stress and shuts off when you don’t need it. WebMD has a fairly concise breakdown of it here. (source)
I hadn't done any assignments and hadn't showed up to my exams, and since it was the last semester of my last year of high school, everyone was disappointed that I broke under the pressure. I woke up crying, even though I graduated a few months ago.
How I study /how to study while having mental health issues
1. Don't be so hard on yourself. Set realistic goals. It is important to cheer yourself up even for the slightest progress. Keep in mind that doing one small thing is still better than doing nothing at all. Maybe tomorrow you will be able to do a little more. If you lack energy and don't feel like doing anything, still you have unfinished assignments, try to start, read the whole task, maybe google sources you will use, then, if you feel as if you physically can not do more, save it for tomorrow, or give yourself a few hours to rest.
2. Use your free time wisely. A lot of my free time is wasted on guilt-tripping and I usually go back to my unfinished work rather than give myself time to relax and restore my energy. Always ask yourself "Am I really having a restorative break right now?" Your breaks must give you enough resources to keep progressing.
3. Be more creative with planning. If you are planning the whole list of things you need to do, then consider adding to your schedule an episode of your favorite show, tasty meal, chatting with your close ones, etc. Save some time for your pleasure so you can look forward to doing it.
4. Try the intuitive method of studying. Listen to yourself and your current preferences. Flexible workflow keeps you away from hyperfocus and makes your work more enjoyable.
-> more on studying without a strict routine
5. Take baby steps. If a task seems to be unbearable divide it into small steps i.g. take out notes, prepare supplies, read the task, etc. It should quickly ease your anxiety. You can also talk to your classmates so they can navigate and help you.
6. Cooperate. You can try and cooperate with your friends and classmates to complete a particular task. You will be able to consult and assist each other in the process.
7. Talk to your professor. If you’ve reached your limit try to inform your teacher as soon as possible. Usually, there are ways to do something about that especially if you explain your current situation.
Hope this helps! Take care!
Despite its appearance, the box is spacious enough for two and is quite comfy!📦 It can be nice to take a small break from your troubles for a bit, but it’s always worth it to return to life’s challenges. Life is full of both ups and downs, and we have to get through those downs to experience the ups.
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