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Featured Advice please on how to stop ruminating daily about social defects

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Solphire, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Solphire

    Solphire Learning to drop the mask

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    See Thread name.

    Okay so now I have found others who do this too. I need fresh tactics.

    Every day and night, I rummage through old conversations I have had, either recently or even years ago. I think about how I should have worded it, reconsidered how they might have heard my statement and taken offense, what if they thought I was being sarcastic or manipulative (something I never am, but NTs are so they may not understand our direct honesty) how I overshared and am now embarrassed, or how I said (or did) something outright strange and weird (to them) and am now humiliated.

    Each of these thoughts can pop into my head at any given time, unprovoked, and then I have a strong desire and urge to bang my forehead on the wall multiple times (interestingly, before diagnosis I always wondered where this desire came from). Worry not, I do not bang my head, I restrain myself. But the internal pain is there, you know?

    This has benefited me in some way, because I have learned much from this. I guess this is my lifelong method of trying to understand social constructs and find a way to fit myself into them.

    When this happens, instead of head banging, I start a 'thought battle' against myself.

    1) "The other person has already forgotten the weird thing I said or did. They are not fixated on it as I am. They do not care; I do not take up space in their mind."

    2) "Okay so maybe that thing I said can be taken wrong, but you didn't mean it that way and were being truthful and direct. You meant well and spoke from good intent"

    3) "This person already likes you, and likes to be around your 'quirkiness'. They have surely forgave you."

    What I want advice on is this:
    Is there anyway to STOP myself from having these initial thoughts at all?
    To stop my brain from even 'going there' and ruminating? My embarrassment and humiliation is so great, that when it happens I want to die (in that moment). It hurts. I wish I didn't care, but I do. :(
     
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  2. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Think you have to allow these thoughts, feel the full range, call yourself whatever, then say: l am letting go of these non-productive thoughts. I am releasing them. I took responsibility, l love myself despite the pain these thoughts have caused me. If you get off that carnival ride of riding that pony around and around (ruimnating of your so called social stuffs) and say hey - l have learned, l have improved, l am actually better, yay me, then you now ride the pony of l am improving, Yes, it took awhile,l navigated, l learned, and this is the new improved version *of me*!
    Living in your past mistakes means you keep traumatizing and punishing yourself because your mind feels comfortable in that zone, you can feel comfortable just letting go and seeing how far you have come. We all make mistakes, we fall, we pick ourselves up and move on. Many of us have no desire to relive out past social stuff, so embrace it- then let it go.
     
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  3. Bellacat

    Bellacat Active Member

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    I don't think there's a way to stop or prevent them, but I have also found it easier to deal with them by allowing them space instead of fighting them. Taking a walk or doing some kind of easy housework like vacuuming that doesn't require much other thought can help give the thoughts room to flow freely for a while and that sometimes calms them down a bit.

    While it doesn't help for interactions that happened years ago, I have found that the "post-processing" is a bit less bad after social interactions where I have managed to concentrate more on listening to the other person instead of talking. I'm not great at it because if I concentrate on listening then I struggle more with responses, but at the same time if I am able to listen more and talk less, then there is less for me to ruminate on later. Plus the other person gets to do more of the talking and people generally like that so the outcome of the interaction is more positive on both sides. I'm not sure if it's a very good solution and probably won't work for everyone, but if you're like me and prone to oversharing and rambling without knowing when to stop (this is often the reason I end up ruminating), maybe it can help a bit.
     
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  4. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    I can't think of anything less rewarding than ruminating over my social defects!

    Develop a "special interest" which could be anything from history to turtles, or the Olympics to organic gardening - anything, really. Give yourself permission to delve long and deeply. Buy books, get videos, save souvenirs, build a shrine to your special interest.

    Anytime you find yourself ruminating over past conversations, go immerse yourself in your special interest, which is bound to be more fulfilling.

    Finally, give yourself permission to not be perfect. Then when you realize you've said or done something wrong, just say, "Oh, well, nobody's perfect."
     
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  5. Kristiina

    Kristiina New Member

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    Thank you for sharing, Solphire. It is the most accurate description of what I struggle with. It is accurate enough that I made a username here just to comment.

    I have tried talk therapy, EMDR and cognitive-behavior therapy. Talking about it just made me feel a bit better but didn't help at all, especially as the therapist just didn't relate at all and it was very obvious. EMDR is really cool and it actually does work. I think that's the only thing that really worked! Some years-old memories lost their impact and became neutral in my mind. Problem is that it does not work for preventing new ones and there are thousands of memories that cause this wave of horrible guilt/shame. Cognitive-behavior therapy was horrible and not helpful because it only deals with what to do AFTER the flashback. The only helpful part about it is to write down/become more conscious about the triggers and thoughts that cause stress. I realized they are all social situations and ranging from any time from hours ago to years ago. Triggers are weird and cannot be avoided. As I said, there are thousands of events and so many things remind me of something.

    The only thing that helps is to keep the "shield" up. Enough sleep, enough right food, enough water, not too high stress levels etc. If all is "well" then the stressful thoughts stay hidden. If there is any physiological deficiency then the flashbacks can not be avoided.

    Also, there is one way to avoid a moment from becoming one of those stressful memories. At all cost, do not ruminate about same day events, even better if you don't think about them for 2 days! Once you start to analyze, you make the memory really vivid and much more horrible, emphasizing the bad details. And when you go to sleep, you fixate the bad version of events in your memory. It is very helpful as there is less motivation to actively ruminate on old memories that you barely remember.
     
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  6. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    I just use my hobbies to deal with this one. If I find myself stuck on thoughts like these, it probably means that I need something to engage my mind. Something that gets me thinking and provides a challenge (in other words, not TV or Youtube, gotta be something where I must DO things).

    I find that my board games are best for this. They're always a challenge, they make me think, and the tactile aspect of them works as a sort of stim. Very effective. The only problem is that I can only do them so much. Having to look down at the table so much will screw up my neck if I do it too much, so some days I just cant do this. But it's not like it's my only hobby.

    Also drink alot of water. Yeah I know I keep repeating this on the forum but it's important. We often dont know we're dehydrated, and dehydration has alot of bad effects... including mental/emotional ones.
     
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  7. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Also when you head off into beating yourself up, how about you look at how well you handle your week of social interactions? We do improve, if we try, and think about it.
     
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  8. Alexej

    Alexej Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    In a different context (prayer) is have found that it is possible to stop thinking about one thing and to bring my mind back to what I am wanting to focus on.

    I deliberately decide not to think of topic a) and I choose to think of topic b)
    when another topic comes to mind
    repeat
    and repeat again
     
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  9. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Its a tough one, and one I have struggled with at times. So I have not much of value to add. When it happens to me I usually try distraction, that is doing things that will break the train of thought or occupy my mind in a way that pushes it out.
     
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  10. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes distraction works well for me, but overall what I found with this was that when I realised this was something my different brain was prone to do, I did it a lot less, as it seemed like it was to do with me and not the other people who may have thougt this or that etc. So what? I kind of said to myself. Realising, as you have said too, nobody cares, it's just me obsessing. Activities distract best, as has been said.
     
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  11. Solphire

    Solphire Learning to drop the mask

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    There is much here to absorb, thank you all so much for your replies! There are some very useful and helpful ideas and prospectives here.

    Good idea about the use of distraction and special interests. LOL if I start cleaning every time it happens my house will be sparkling. It always happens during that day, but it is much more pronounced at night, as I try to fall asleep. I will try distraction and listen music or something in the dark until I am about to doze off.

    I rather like the term @Bellacat uses here, "Post-Processing". I think this is where it starts. Perhaps if I do as @Kristiina suggests, and try my best to refrain post-processing for a least a few days, maybe the memory will not be as strong for future ruminations. @Alexej I also like your thought redirection idea. Instead of my usual thought battle, I can just "Nope!" it and redirect with a preassigned topic of interest to think about.

    You guys are amazing.
     
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  12. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    Write it all a book. Then imagine the next part of the conversation. The part left unfinished. Put words you didnt say and questions they didnt ask. It helps somewhat.
     
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  13. HighFunctioningAutist

    HighFunctioningAutist New Member

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    In the last few months I have realized I have a serious, detrimental problem with rumination. It can eat up vast quantities of time and trigger negative emotions (anxiety, uncertainty, self-doubt, etc.) I could do without.

    As long as I can remember communication has been challenging (ie. non-verbal, verbal, between-the-lines, innuendo, etc.). Add to that some gaslighting abuse with a healthy helping of extremely low self-esteem and insecurity. Voila! An healthy case of chronic rumination is born! (I know I mixed my metaphors).

    I guess the bottom line for me is I know I do my best to communicate in a manner that gets my idea across, frequently eating up a lot of time doing so. At times I fail as well as times I'm successful. I have a tool that helps me determine if it's something I can or cannot control. I can control how I communicate. I know I'm doing my best. I have no control of how the other person receives the communication. I trust if a detrimental (in any way) communication has resulted in a relationship I hold dear or otherwise important situation that either party will address it somehow and the miscommunication will be resolved. Beyond that, there's not a whole lot I can do. Even still, reminding myself of these things doesn't always stop the rumination.

    It just occurred to me that trust has something to do with all of this. Maybe part of why I'm insecure is I don't trust them to advise me of a miscommunication. This is where I don't "get" social norms! If I miss a word or phrase, I full stop and ask them to repeat it. If I think there's more than one way to take something, I ask for clarification. In my experience, most people do not operate that way which confuses me. The thought of "keeping it to myself" or anything else triggers feelings of dishonesty (a value I hold dear). I've also witnessed that honesty/dishonesty is quite subjective depending on who you're talking to especially in social interactions (most of which I don't "get").

    CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) is another tool I use for rumination. CBT to me is basically programming my brain to look at things differently. If I'm focused on "omg! I miscommunicated!", CBT leads me to "well, what if I communicated fine?".

    I also learned about distraction techniques from negative thoughts, behaviors or feelings from CBT. These may sound silly, but I'll take that risk. Various distractions I personally use are: watching funny (AFV) or cute videos (mostly YouTube, FailArmy, Pet Collective), deep breathing, listen to music, go for a drive, have sex (reboots my brain), art (online Spirograph, creating mandalas [colormandala.com], etc.), projects (currently digitizing paper archives... :) fun, right?) and/or getting out of my head by reaching out to a friend (email, text, phone call [last resort :)]) to name a few. Possible distractions are only limited by our imagination and knowledge of the possibilities.

    I also have a spreadsheet that helps me have an alternate view of the situation.

    I hope this helps!
     
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  14. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    I do this too and have no idea how to stop it. Sometimes I even ruminate over future conversations that may not even happen... I guess the best way to combat it, is to live in the present, but that's really hard to do.

    Maybe writing things down would help as well.
     
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  15. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I didn't use it for the same reason but found audio books worked well at night. Ones you are familiar with and like may work better then new ones/first listen.
     
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  16. Solphire

    Solphire Learning to drop the mask

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    I am definitely going to try @Wolf Prince 's idea of writing it down. That helps with releasing other stuff. I cannot believe I have not thought of using it for this, too.

    @Major Tom From what I understand, a lot of us, if not all of us, practice conversations. Quite frequently in my case as well! Now, that is certainly frustrating and causes me anxiety, but is necessary for me to be able to say anything at all in most cases. However it is no where near the level of pain post-processing causes me. Why do I crave complete oblivion just escape the intensity of the emotion it causes?

    I do have hope now though. Maybe now that I see it clearly for what it is, it will lessen? Not the fact I have to process things (pre and post), but perhaps the emotion that goes with it will shrink. Become more objective instead of subjective.
     
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  17. Rasputin

    Rasputin ASD / Aspie V.I.P Member

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  18. Schism

    Schism Well-Known Member

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    Blimey Solphire. I could've written your post word for word myself. I have no advice. I don't know how to stop it either. My solution has always been this"...
    177451-Vincent-van-Gogh-Quote-If-the-storm-within-gets-too-loud-I-take-a.jpg

    Never advisable, didn't work out well for him either :-/ I absolutely relate. I can't focus on anything else when so consumed. Tried journals too, go round & round in circles. Distraction is probably the best solution, if you can make yourself do it!
     
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  19. Rasputin

    Rasputin ASD / Aspie V.I.P Member

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    Seriously, I have become a master of Emotional Detachment. Once I have been subjected to more negativity and turmoil than I am willing to accept, I just cut ties and detatch. In terms of Myers- Briggs personality, this detachment is sometimes referred to as the INTJ Door Slam, and is probably why I only have a couple close friends that I can trust. Once the ties have been severed I do not think about these people ever again.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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  20. Solphire

    Solphire Learning to drop the mask

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    @Rasputin This emotion I am trying to explain is caused by myself. I am an INTJ, so reading up on that door slam thing was interesting. However, I do not think I can slam the door on myself.

    Oh and I only talked about my verbal conversations, but it also happens if I chose the wrong body language/expressions to display, or if I just feel stupid for not understanding theirs or what they are saying.

    Gah! i just know it is going to get better!!! This time last year I had no idea why I was like this and just totally berated myself for every little thing, calling myself names. Not just in this area but all areas of life.

    I am very sad to learn others suffer with this also. I am, however, comforted somewhat seeing your responses knowing that, once again, I am not alone. I know I say that a lot... but it really just means so much to me, it is quite intense. <3
     
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