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Featured Unable to relax and addicted to being productive

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Libecht, Jan 10, 2020.

  1. Libecht

    Libecht Well-Known Member

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    I grew up in a family where relaxing is considered a luxury or waste of time and now this way of thinking has rooted firmly in me. Currently I'm out of school and applying for grad school, which should be a good time to enjoy life, but I'm constantly worried or preparing myself for the future. The worriment is not so bad that it becomes anxiety. I fill my every day with learning languages, reviewing college materials, keeping a diary, reading (useful) books, exercising, learning new softwares and a dozen other skills that might be useful in the future. Sure, I still watch funny videos and play games, but every second of it, I feel very guilty, like I'm wasting precious time.

    People compliment me often, that I manage my time well and have great self-restraint. But the truth is I'm exhausted and guilty all the time. Guilty because I wasted time on amusement or leisure, exhausted because I didn't really relax while doing that. Rationally I know I can, deserve to, and should do what I really enjoy, but my subconsciousness simply cannot allow myself to relax, to do just what I want.

    Please help.

    *Off-topic: Please let me know if I used "productive" and "college materials" incorrectly. By the former I meant "not wasting time; doing something to improve oneself; prepare for the future" and by the latter I meant "the things you study in college like thermodynamics, mathematics, etc".
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  2. LucyPurrs

    LucyPurrs NT, INFJ V.I.P Member

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    Yes you did use them correctly, kudos! You sound like a very motivated but somewhat driven person. But you do need to learn to relax and unwind especially if you are constantly trying to be productive in some way. Gaming is good for your brain so no need to feel guilty there. But I'm thinking that mindfulness meditation might be really beneficial for you to just stop and observe and slow down. See if you can find some classes in that to get started.
     
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  3. Ken S.

    Ken S. Dog Cookie King V.I.P Member

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    Just a couple of questions before I attempt to make any deductions.
    What kind of sensory problems (If any) do you face?
    Do you have any comorbidities? if so what are they?
    Did you have any sensory problems as a child that appeared to go away or change when you got older?
     
  4. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    I grew up like that too, coming from a fairly high-achieving family. Maybe you could measure your productivity in how well you silenced those voices for today? We all have internal "tapes" that tell us what we should and shouldn't do. Some of the messages are helpful but others are harmful. See if you can't craft a self-talk message to answer back when you hear yourself saying "but what did you ACHIEVE today?" Something like "I 'achieved' telling you to shut up!"
     
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  5. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    When I was a young adult, I was visiting my parents once and started working a jigsaw puzzle (I love jigsaw puzzles). My dad would complain that it was a waste of time. Once was doing needlepoint - making a gift for someone. Again - was told it was wasting my time. Yet, he could sit and watch tv and it was fine. Yes, I felt guilty for doing my things, but I continued to do those things, just did them with an attitude of rebellion. :) In my thoughts, fought the guilt and decided I didn't like his opinion and such. Eventually I could just do those things and enjoy them. My brother was also one who complained if I wasn't doing something constantly. But, actually I am - I could never just sit and watch tv without doing something else while watching (even a pad and pen in my hand). Those people want to control others is all, and that's never acceptable. These people also have time to themselves to relax and take breaks. We all need that. Make yourself do it, rebel against the guilt with attitude and over time it'll become easier. :) You deserve breaks just like everyone else.
     
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  6. Libecht

    Libecht Well-Known Member

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    I also think meditation would help. I've tried it for 1 or 2 weeks but gave up because it was too boring (I know that's the point). Perhaps I should start doing it again.
    Oh I love questionnaires about myself!
    : Loud noises bother me but not to the point of mental breakdown, just make me very uncomfortable and stressed. Bright lights seem to be more blinding to me than to others, but it doesn't affect me mentally.
    : I do have quite prominent ADHD, which sometimes causes mental or physical restlessness.
    : My tolerance of noises actually went down as I grew older.
    To give you some more info, I wasn't always like this. Before high school my productiveness was mostly driven by my parents and people's expectation. Then at the age of 17 I changed drastically with no external reason, from annoying, immature, vibrant to quiet, spontaneous, hard-working, and overly mature (as some may put it).
    That sounds like a great idea. I like challenging myself, so becoming the master of my own mind could be my next goal.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  7. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    Add music. I have add and cant stand silence.
     
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  8. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    Truthfully, you are own master, we have the ability to change our thought process immediately. But as humans who have evolved over a very long time, we forget this. Everytime you feel the unproductive CD coming on and playing, tell yourself (as Pats pointed out) it's unproductive for me to think this, (really, it's a guilt trip you are running on yourself).

    Guilt trips rarely work, and l don't use them on myself or other people.
     
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  9. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    I know the feeling. I have a lot of trouble relaxing because I always feel like something needs to be done. I’m a very productive employee for my boss. The trouble is that when I’m not at work I can’t relax well.
    When I take a holiday from work it takes me over a week to get into relaxation mode, which is a shame because I could do so much fun stuff in that time.
    Also, when I’m finally in relaxation mode it’s really hard to get back into work mode again.

    I’ve been on medication for my bipolar since this summer and it’s made the whirlwind of thoughts in my head calm down a little. A pleasant side effect is that I’m now capable of slowing down. I can stay in bed all day with a book, something I haven’t been able to do for over a decade.
     
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  10. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That's kind of a "loaded" question. One that may in fact be very much on topic depending on how you view being "productive". The first thing I thought of after reading the original post was the term "Type A Behavior":

    "A behavior pattern associated with the development of coronary heart disease, characterized by excessive competitiveness and aggression and a fast-paced life style. Persons exhibiting type A behavior are constantly struggling to accomplish ill-defined goals in the shortest possible time. In several studies this type of behavior has been shown to be as significant as other risk factors, such as smoking and hypertension, in the development of coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction. The opposite type of behavior exhibited by individuals who are relaxed, unhurried, and less aggressive is called type B."

    What made me think of such a condition? -My father. With such an intense sense of a work ethic combined with cardiac conditions which ultimately hasted his demise. Where even a forced retirement could not alter his rigid thinking. He died at the age of 56.

    There was a time when I found myself going down this road. Part of my response was to leave the job that was enabling such behavior, apart from attempting to alter my own consciousness when it came to working for others. My brother was of a similar mindset, but understood such concerns much earlier in life than I did. In his case he simply chose to lead a life where work didn't define him in any particular way. Being content to make a living at lower level jobs that didn't emotionally and mentally tax him on a daily basis.

    I'm in my 60s, my brother will be 70 next year. So far so good in terms of keeping "Type A" behavior at bay. Though it remains something for me to be constantly vigilant of. Where you don't have to be perpetually employed to experience such a thing. Perhaps one of the best things I concluded was that I chose not to allow work alone to define me.

    All I can really say is that it's easy to forget "stopping to smell the roses". If you feel you're going down such a road, you need to change how you view such things, or risk the physiological consequences. Made worse if heart disease runs in your family as it does mine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  11. LucyPurrs

    LucyPurrs NT, INFJ V.I.P Member

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    Sometimes we need to rerecord those tapes that parents put in our heads because just because mom or dad told you so, doesn't make it true.
     
  12. LucyPurrs

    LucyPurrs NT, INFJ V.I.P Member

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    RELAX Judge! We all want you around for a long time :)
     
  13. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thanks. :)

    Just another reason I retired a bit early. Being a full-time investor for more than nine years still exacted a toll from me. I knew when to fold my hand...even as the market improved. ;)
     
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  14. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Indeed. Those of us who are older probably had parents who grew up in the Great Depression as I did. An experience that haunted their generation for good reason.

    It's understandable and ok to have a work ethic. Just don't let it dominate your life.
     
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  15. Ken S.

    Ken S. Dog Cookie King V.I.P Member

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    Thank you for the extra information. Based on your input and some similarities (I approached everything I did based on the idea taught in the military you always give 110%) However I never knew I had Asperger's, hfASD, ASD1 until roughly 4 years ago. This was only after a Midlife Autistic Breakdown (Regression). Now I'm not saying because it happened to me it will happen to you however I would encourage down time as taking breaks is actually a huge accomplishment for over achievers.
    Maybe if you look at it from that viewpoint it will be easier to accept. Good Luck!
     
  16. Alexej

    Alexej Active Member

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    There is the phrase

    "Don't just do something, sit there"


    Being is surely important too.
     
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  17. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    About the gaming thing, that's just a rather unfortunate idea that society likes to put in your head. It is also deeply stupid. Just to illustrate HOW stupid it is, society thinks gaming is unproductive, yet they think standing at Walmart saying "hello" for 8 hours IS productive. Not very bright, that.

    Pretty often, I get questions from people, asking me things like "how are you able to do X?" whenever I do... er... X. Whatever X is at the time. This often relates to things like my coordination, or absurd reflexes, or even the ability to type fast enough that it's been referred to as "just one continuous sound instead of many small ones". Not to mention other things, like puzzle solving skills and whatever.

    Alot of that comes from gaming, in fact. You can improve ALOT of skills through gaming, whether you realize it or not. I could go into a very long analysis of WHY and HOW that works. Suffice it to say though, society has NOT performed that analysis.

    And there can be more to it than just that. Some games are focused on creativity... coming up with new content yourself, and then sharing it with others. So, you're making something that others can use for free to improve their enjoyment... that sounds pretty productive to me.

    And really, you might be surprised at where the hobby can take you if you let it. Because of that hobby, I've done things like travel entirely on my own, met new people, discovered OTHER hobbies, and so on.


    Note that all of this goes for other hobbies as well.

    If anyone tells you gaming is a waste of time, well... I dunno, throw a pie at them or something. Yeah that's a dumb statement but I just woke up.
     
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  18. Iamnotarabot

    Iamnotarabot Well-Known Member

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    Well It could be worse, imaging being absolutly inproductive whatsoever and still unable to relax, this is me lol.

    I post this quick response because I find your post also on reddit, that was fun.

    If you have any tips on how to be more productive then I'd like to know. hehe
     
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  19. Ken S.

    Ken S. Dog Cookie King V.I.P Member

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    @Misery I've been playing Diablo since the first one came out in 1996. First gaming system was an Atari. The reason they call things addictions is because they know foolish people will part with their cash faster if they can be convinced it is a problem.

    Edit: Actually after thinking about it my first gaming system was a roll of quarters and an arcade. Maybe it became an addiction after gaming systems cut out the middle man?
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  20. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    @Misery i remember when I was about 14 years old, my mom had to translate a book about WW2 and had a lot of trouble with the names of different types of weaponry and explosives. She was stupefied when I could help her out. I got that knowledge from video games. Also, especially as a kid and a teen, I got loads of English vocabulary from video games.
     
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