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Old 08-21-2013, 08:42 AM
 
Location: DFW
6,717 posts, read 11,182,298 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockJock1729 View Post
Except that you're not showing addiction behavior. You are, however, showing reactivity and avoidance behaviors.

You can call a cat a cake. That doesn't mean you should slather it in frosting, cut it in pieces and serve it at your kid's birthday party.

And trying to "reframe" how your situation is described is just another form of avoidance behavior. Instead of taking in how other people characterize your behavior and letting that change your perspective, you now try to control how they see it in order to avoid dealing with the anxiety you have. Because the number one most successful way of dealing with an anxiety is exposure--facing the fear rather than avoiding it. So your anxiety has a (potential) solution...provided you accept how others describe your problem instead of trying to control how they describe it.
So what is the solution? If unanswerable, what can get me 1 step closer to the solution? If the answer is "facing the fear", please elaborate.

I don't care if I'm not framing it correctly, what it's called, the theories behind this, or any other problems I have. I only care what I can do to correct this one particular problem.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragnarkar View Post
So what is the solution? If unanswerable, what can get me 1 step closer to the solution? If the answer is "facing the fear", please elaborate.

I don't care if I'm not framing it correctly, what it's called, the theories behind this, or any other problems I have. I only care what I can do to correct this one particular problem.
You can get one step closer by answering the question I asked in post #13.

You had written in post #11:"I have a habit of wanting to pursue my free time in a fairly unstructured way or else it induces anxiety....And having something scheduled on Saturday makes it impossible to be in the mindset to "do whatever" that day because something mandatory is scheduled that day."

What do you think will happen if you can't "do whatever" in your day?
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:51 AM
 
Location: DFW
6,717 posts, read 11,182,298 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockJock1729 View Post
You can get one step closer by answering the question I asked in post #13.

You had written in post #11:"I have a habit of wanting to pursue my free time in a fairly unstructured way or else it induces anxiety....And having something scheduled on Saturday makes it impossible to be in the mindset to "do whatever" that day because something mandatory is scheduled that day."

What do you think will happen if you can't "do whatever" in your day?
Well, it's kinda hard to do a planned experiment with that (by definition) but I've been unable to "do whatever" during countless periods in the past due to activities that have already been scheduled to fill the entire day. Examples:

- Family visits where my relatives plan out all the activities that day.
- Business trips with an agenda from dawn to dusk for several days in a row.
- Orientations (usually at a new school or something.)
- Times when I've been too busy with work to even pursue anything in my free time.

The typical result:

I manage to get through fine since the times when I'm not able to "do whatever" usually don't last more than a month or so.

THEN, once it's over, a rebound effect happens. I have a greater than usual tendency to spend my time "doing whatever" rather than having scheduled events. This has been very difficult to counteract except with extreme and excessive self discipline and willpower.

I'll walk through an example (with the grainy details removed):

Suppose I've been working overtime 12 hours a week last week instead of the usual 9. I usually spend 4 hours of my free time "doing whatever" each day (20 hours/week total), but last week I can only 1hr/week (5 hours total.)

This week, I need to spend 35 hours/week to make up for the "deficit" of time spent on "doing whatever" or else I don't feel "normal". "Doing whatever" usually involves surfing the web, watching tv/movies, reading random books/magazines, etc. without any plan or objective in mind.

Even if I suppress this urge using extreme willpower and continue limiting my time "doing whatever", eventually, I'll have drained my willpower and I rebound explosively, spending A LOT of time "doing whatever".

Last edited by ragnarkar; 08-21-2013 at 10:59 AM..
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:46 PM
 
921 posts, read 1,699,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragnarkar View Post
Well, it's kinda hard to do a planned experiment with that (by definition) but I've been unable to "do whatever" during countless periods in the past due to activities that have already been scheduled to fill the entire day. Examples:

- Family visits where my relatives plan out all the activities that day.
- Business trips with an agenda from dawn to dusk for several days in a row.
- Orientations (usually at a new school or something.)
- Times when I've been too busy with work to even pursue anything in my free time.

The typical result:

I manage to get through fine since the times when I'm not able to "do whatever" usually don't last more than a month or so.

THEN, once it's over, a rebound effect happens. I have a greater than usual tendency to spend my time "doing whatever" rather than having scheduled events. This has been very difficult to counteract except with extreme and excessive self discipline and willpower.

I'll walk through an example (with the grainy details removed):

Suppose I've been working overtime 12 hours a week last week instead of the usual 9. I usually spend 4 hours of my free time "doing whatever" each day (20 hours/week total), but last week I can only 1hr/week (5 hours total.)

This week, I need to spend 35 hours/week to make up for the "deficit" of time spent on "doing whatever" or else I don't feel "normal". "Doing whatever" usually involves surfing the web, watching tv/movies, reading random books/magazines, etc. without any plan or objective in mind.

Even if I suppress this urge using extreme willpower and continue limiting my time "doing whatever", eventually, I'll have drained my willpower and I rebound explosively, spending A LOT of time "doing whatever".
OK, that's a starting point. You've said how it doesn't make you feel. Now try to describe how it does make you feel. What does that "not normal" feeling you get when you can't spend your time "doing whatever" feel like? Is it angry? Sad? Afraid? Envious?

What happens when you simply can't make up that deficit? How do you act/feel when there simply isn't enough space in your schedule to "do whatever" as much as you need to?
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:23 PM
 
Location: DFW
6,717 posts, read 11,182,298 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockJock1729 View Post
OK, that's a starting point. You've said how it doesn't make you feel. Now try to describe how it does make you feel. What does that "not normal" feeling you get when you can't spend your time "doing whatever" feel like? Is it angry? Sad? Afraid? Envious?

What happens when you simply can't make up that deficit? How do you act/feel when there simply isn't enough space in your schedule to "do whatever" as much as you need to?
When I can't spend my time "doing whatever",

I feel the following:

Angry
Afraid

I don't feel the following:

Sad
Envious

I also feel the following (not among the choices provided above):

Frustrated
Nervous
Overwhelmed
Stressed
Fatigued

And on to the topic of not being able to "do whatever"..

Yes, in theory, I can indefinitely suppress that urge. But the longer I suppress it, the harder it is to overcome it. I'm not joking or trying to go off a tangent but the closest analogy to imagine the urge is to picture a guy not getting any "release" for days, weeks, or months at a time.. in theory it can be done but it becomes progressively more difficult the longer I go without "doing whatever" (consuming unstructured time with no particular purpose as I defined in previous threads.)

If I'm already busy and I cannot suppress the urge, I usually somehow find ways to fulfill the urge to "do whatever".. and this could include missing obligations, missing sleep, etc. Fortunately, due to Parkinson's Law, I often end up cutting corners and getting obligations done in a fraction of their originally alloted time while minimally sacrificing quality.
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Old 08-21-2013, 06:16 PM
 
921 posts, read 1,699,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragnarkar View Post
When I can't spend my time "doing whatever",

I feel the following:

Angry
Afraid

I don't feel the following:

Sad
Envious

I also feel the following (not among the choices provided above):

Frustrated
Nervous
Overwhelmed
Stressed
Fatigued
OK, we need some prepositions here. "Angry" is always "angry at". "Afraid" is always "afraid of".

When you can't spend your time "doing whatever", and you feel angry, what or whom at you angry at?

When you can't spend your time "doing whatever", and you feel afraid, what or whom are you afraid of?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ragnarkar View Post
And on to the topic of not being able to "do whatever"..

Yes, in theory, I can indefinitely suppress that urge. But the longer I suppress it, the harder it is to overcome it. I'm not joking or trying to go off a tangent but the closest analogy to imagine the urge is to picture a guy not getting any "release" for days, weeks, or months at a time.. in theory it can be done but it becomes progressively more difficult the longer I go without "doing whatever" (consuming unstructured time with no particular purpose as I defined in previous threads.)

If I'm already busy and I cannot suppress the urge, I usually somehow find ways to fulfill the urge to "do whatever".. and this could include missing obligations, missing sleep, etc. Fortunately, due to Parkinson's Law, I often end up cutting corners and getting obligations done in a fraction of their originally alloted time while minimally sacrificing quality.
In an earlier post you estimated that you usually spend about 20 hrs/wk "doing whatever". When you get to spend that 4 hrs/day, 20 hrs/wk "doing whatever", do you find that you still cut corners, miss obligations and forgo sleep in order to "do whatever"? I wasn't quite sure what the reference to Parkinson's Law was supposed to signify. It's a rule about resource use expanding to meet capacity; are you saying that you'll "do whatever" until something forces you to stop? Or are you able to stop yourself so long as you get your 20 hrs/wk?
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:48 PM
 
2,540 posts, read 3,305,973 times
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yes! it makes me nervous to have things scheduled, especially those that are important and that I need to be on time for. I have a fear of being late and looking bad in front of whoever it is I'm meeting, or of something happening that'll prevent me from making it, or not feeling well, etc etc. I do fine with social things or even dr appts where it's not a big deal if I don't make it, but the more high-responsibility and harder to reschedule it is, the more stressed out I get.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:03 AM
 
9,209 posts, read 18,067,630 times
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Interesting topic, that really go me thinking. I can relate to a lot of what people have posted in this thread, but some of it feels completely opposite of me.

I tend to look at my calendar and feel dread and stress for anything that's scheduled--work-related, non-work-related, medical appt, fun event, social gathering, etc. It's no fear per se, or anxiety per se, but...I guess I can't think of a more fitting term than dread. I feel great when an event is behind me, when it's been "checked off the list." When it's in front of me it's "hanging over my head."

I've had so much difficulty trying to explain to people in my life this "hanging over my head" feeling, especially when talking about an upcoming event that's actually enjoyable. I still feel better, more relaxed when the event is behind me. I know, when I say I "feel stress" some may jump in and say "stress isn't a feeling, it's something external that causes a feeling" but the word just seems to fit better than "anxiety" which implies some degree of fear. It's probably more annoyance and "overwhelmedness" than fear.

By no means am I a "free spirit" or spontaneous. So it's not about a disdain for schedules and time frames. It's just knowing that event is in front of me: in a few hours, next week, or in a few months, than I feel it's "hanging over my head" and I can't wait to get it behind me. If someone comes to my office and says, can we set a time to meet about XYZ?" my response is usually "come in, lets do it now" because the stress of the interruption is less than the stress of having the meeting on my calendar.

When I did therapy full-time, my work schedule was totally booked all day long: group therapy, individual therapy, intake assessments, supervision meetings, team meetings, committee meetings. I barely had time to return a phone call or pee. this went on for about 10 years. In recent years, my work schedule is my own. My hours are flexible, and I can plan what I will do all day every day. I'm very productive this way, and much less stressed-out. With my old job, I had a lot of anxiety/stress and didn't sleep well. Maybe it's needing to feel like my time is "my own." But I still have a LOT of work to do, and I am working for a company and have all kinds of expectations to meet, so it's not like a person who is self-employed.

Again, it's just when something is scheduled, I feel intruded upon. When I do have an upcoming meeting at work, or like this afternoon, a webinar, I feel like it's intruding on my schedule, and I feel annoyance/stressed/dread/perhaps-anxious about it. This is true even of informal family or friend get-togethers, or even seeing my boyfriend. I just want to check them off the list of things to do and have it behind me.

I once saw a couple on a TV show having a fight and the husband was saying to the very busy wife "I'm not something to just be checked off your list!" And I was thinking, what's wrong with that? At least you're on the list. I guess I could relate to the wife.

Work all day: check
Pick up groceries: check
Feed dogs and put them out: check
Give boyfriend affection/attention: check
Good, now my time is my own for the rest of the night.

I realize this sounds selfish to some, but that's just how I'm wired. And from reading this thread, I'm relieved to see other people might be wired similarly.
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:58 AM
 
Location: DFW
6,717 posts, read 11,182,298 times
Reputation: 4985
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockJock1729 View Post
OK, we need some prepositions here. "Angry" is always "angry at". "Afraid" is always "afraid of".

When you can't spend your time "doing whatever", and you feel angry, what or whom at you angry at?

When you can't spend your time "doing whatever", and you feel afraid, what or whom are you afraid of?




In an earlier post you estimated that you usually spend about 20 hrs/wk "doing whatever". When you get to spend that 4 hrs/day, 20 hrs/wk "doing whatever", do you find that you still cut corners, miss obligations and forgo sleep in order to "do whatever"? I wasn't quite sure what the reference to Parkinson's Law was supposed to signify. It's a rule about resource use expanding to meet capacity; are you saying that you'll "do whatever" until something forces you to stop? Or are you able to stop yourself so long as you get your 20 hrs/wk?
I'm angry at the fact that I can't spend time "doing whatever"

I'm afraid I might lose my mind because I can't "do whatever"

Parkinson's Law, instead of using the official definition, I'll illustrate it with a short story/example:

Imagine you're in college and you've been putting off a major paper till the last night before it's due. The night before, you suddenly get an urgent rush that it needs to be done. So you do whatever you can and crank it out.. you cut corners on all unnecessary details and fight to get the best possible work done under these extreme time constraints. Then you end up with a fairly decent paper to turn in (although not your best work.)

Unfortunately, my body kinda makes it nearly impossible to spend time for anything other than "doing whatever" if I haven't been "doing whatever" for a long time. (If you don't understand the magnitude of the urge and still suggest I fight it and prevent myself from "doing whatever", please read my example previously about suppressing male urges.) It's as if my body has a "shutdown" switch on everything except "doing whatever" when a severe deficit is encountered. Time MUST be spent on "doing whatever" even if there are other urgent things to be done at this point. And I complete my other urgent tasks in a manner similar to what I illustrated in my section about Parkinson's law earlier.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:27 PM
 
9,209 posts, read 18,067,630 times
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ragnarker, would you consider yourself a loner or introvert? The reason I ask is because I am definitely a loner/introvert, and I also feel a lot of stress, annoyance, and dread when I have things scheduled in the near or distant future. I'm now wondering if that's connected to my larger-than-average need to be alone. Scheduled events and appointments mean interacting with people. Interacting with people drains me of energy, so having things in my schedule, sort of saps my energy in advance. I get tired-out from the event before the event even takes place!

Like the other poster mentioned, if I have to go someplace at 6pm, it feels like my whole day is ruined, even though I might have free time to myself all those hours before 6pm. Likewise, if I have some social event scheduled for Sunday afternoon, my whole weekend feels ruined with that "it's hanging over my head" feeling.
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