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Coping with being the center of attention

Discussion in 'PDD-NOS, Social Anxiety and Others' started by Bellacat, Jan 26, 2020.

  1. Bellacat

    Bellacat Active Member

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    I recently attended a conference where my artwork was used in a significant way, which resulted in a lot of people talking to me about ...me. For two days people came up to give compliments and ask questions about my process, my inspiration, personal life, education, etc etc.. it was a narcissist's dream come true.

    On one hand, the recognition and praise was rewarding and I got some fresh motivation to continue with my work. On the other hand, it was overwhelmingly stressful and I've spent the last three days dealing with waves of dread and sickening anxiety about it. I'm reliving the conversations as with any social interaction and doing the "performance review" with all the usual cringing as various things become more clear.. but there were so many of them that I'm just going in circles, and since I myself was the focus of so many of these conversations, I keep remembering myself rambling on and on and on about myself and I have this horrible fear that people thought I was self absorbed, arrogant, intolerable. I'm trying to remind myself that they were asking these questions and I was answering them, but I do have a tendency to answer questions in far more detail and at much greater length than necessary and that's all I can focus on after this event. I'm also wondering how obvious it was that I was exhausted and struggling, how well my mask held up, etc. I probably looked stressed, so I wonder how they interpreted whatever signs of stress they did notice.. and my default assumption is that all their thoughts about me are cruel and judgmental.

    This experience was a highlight for my career and I should be feeling proud and accomplished, but the self criticism and dread are definitely winning. I probably did fine in reality, but I'm convinced that everyone hated me and I've ruined my career.

    I know I need to mentally calm down and shift my focus to the positives, but I don't know how. The negative thinking is so powerful. Is there a better way to cope with this besides just waiting for it to fade over time?
     
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  2. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    It's always been said artists are eccentric.
    They probably liked your uniqueness. :cool:
     
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  3. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Yes.

    If you want to get fit to run a race. Make a plan,check,your progress.

    Same with the mind.

    Call them anchor points, to give you stability when you get lost at sea.

    My anchor points are keeping a record of events. I label folders,keep a loose record of things.
    More importantly keep a record of positive things and thoughts.

    These anchors can protect you when negativity strikes.

    Eg thoughts about how you never get anything right..... sre countered with the knowledge and list of things that youndidmget right. You've engaged in a physical habit to keep a record. After a while that soaks into your bones. The negative sea is less scary, as you have an anchor.

    Lots of negative thought scripts run through our minds, there is a counter for each.

    Learning to be kind to yourself is also key. Similar method.

    Kindness to,yourself turns the mountains into mole hills. Making it easier to step over them and start again.

    Lots of things to try.
     
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  4. Bellacat

    Bellacat Active Member

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    This is very helpful advice, thank you! I already keep a daily journal for time management and that has worked wonders to provide an anchor point when I feel lost. That's a good way to put it. I think I can use it to help with this as well. Thank you!! That was a great suggestion.
     
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  5. Rasputin

    Rasputin Scholar and World Traveler V.I.P Member

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    Congratulations! I'd say you were a smashing success, and these people probably have no idea what was or is going on in your mind now.

    Maybe you should reward yourself by doing something special that you have wanted to do, in a secluded, relaxing setting to take your mind off of this event.
     
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  6. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I've had similar experiences with this kind of thing, I didn't like the spotlight being placed in my direction. I found it both highly embarrassing and wished at varying times that I could simply disappear.

    What I did do when the rounds of self-recrimination began in the following week, was develop many counter argument's to each criticism. So that when they occurred, I nullified them with another more balanced view. One that was more moderate, even fair.
     
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  7. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    Sadly with success,comes waves of admiration from complete strangers which is waaaay out of our comfort range. Plus you are some what required to be social and can't remove yourself from the situtation. So l call these hostage situations. No,l really don't want to talk to you right now, when do l get to leave?

    But on the other side of the coin- Acceptance of your Artwork- you must feel good about that!

    Creative types are usually loners because we tend to get lost in our artwork.

    Give yourself credit- you did well given the circumstances. Chances are that people were overwhelmed meeting you and probably don't remember a single thing you said.

    And realise that every situation that presents itself maybe a chance at a freelance project for an appreciative client who would want to showcase your artwork, in that context- social = networking= clientele= possibly income revenue.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
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  8. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    As the saying goes there is a first time for everything. This is probably not the first time you had issues with being the focus, but maybe the biggest time. Rather then dwell on the discomforting aspect of mistakes made, try to absorb the lessons learned and determine to do better next time. Things do improve with practice and experience if you keep an open mind. If you let it, the learning process never has to, or should, end.
     
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  9. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member

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    I like the suggestions offered already.

    If you're critiquing your performance then you already had a pre conceived idea of what you thought you ought to have done, but didn't.

    Use it or lose it :)

    Use it,
    not as a self-sabotaging, mental stick to beat yourself with,
    but as a means to learning.
    How might you make it easier on yourself next time?

    You know 'next time' will probably involve more of the same.

    What can you expect?
    How might you be kinder to yourself? What measures can you put in place to reduce the intensity of an event?
    How can you feel more relaxed about handling that spotlight and so on.
    (use your journaling to spot repeated patterns, emotions etc)

    Lose it,
    pretty much what it says on the tin.
    If your critique serves no purpose other than to destroy your soul,
    then it's useless. Not practical.

    The excitable energy wizzing through your dendrites and axons during self sabotage could be put to much better use in a constructive way :)

    Lose what isn't helpful. Use what is.
     
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  10. Bellacat

    Bellacat Active Member

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    These responses have actually lightened my stress quite significantly. It helps to hear that others understand and there are some useful practical suggestions and comforting words here. I'm starting to move toward a more optimistic, fair, and forward-thinking mindset already. Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond and for helping me get back on track, it's greatly appreciated :)
     
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  11. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    Good to hear :)

    We'll always be here.

    Its o e of those things that you cant always see the benefit.

    Thought patterns like 'what's the point?' can prevail.
    But,if you persist, you start to notice the changes.
    Which is why I like to keep track, as I forget!
     
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