Is positive and helpful advice having the opposite effect? (Advice URGENTLY needed.)

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Is positive and helpful advice having the opposite effect? (Advice URGENTLY needed.)

Post by Alex1989 on Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:34 pm

Ok, first a little update, my psychiatrist believes that I am stable enough to not depend on meds, so I am currently off my anti-depressant regime. . . for now. Second my career in the Army is no longer in jeopardy, in fact since seeing a therapist, my performance in the army has improved.

Anyway lets get down to business:

It is almost a full 2 years since seeking help, and I have come a long way, but socially, I have not improved. The main reason is that I have stopped trying, I feel that is it is not worth trying to improve my social life since the time needed to get to where I want to be will astronomical. I am 27, I turn 28 in October, I still feel like expired goods. I do not want to feel like this anymore. the worst part is I cant tell my therapists since it would mean I am not in remission, directly affecting my career in the Military, I got weapons qualification and my APFT at the end of the year. failure to do both would ruin my record even further.

now its gotten to the point that any advice is now essentially suicide fuel. for example people telling me to improve my social life, even small little things, is like they are telling me to do 4 quadrillion things to even meet the minimum standards. even the Doc's advice feels like a metric ton of bricks, even if the advice is small tips on how to improve.

I truly feel that I have not progressed at all... maybe I am not in remission any more...

I know its wishful thinking but it would be great if everything would change for the better by snapping my fingers. but that's not how the world works, even if I put the effort and actually improve, its too late... by the time I cross the finish line, the winners are already on the podium spraying the champagne.



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Re: Is positive and helpful advice having the opposite effect? (Advice URGENTLY needed.)

Post by Alex1989 on Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:34 pm

Ok... Instead of actually complaining of people ignoring me, I'm going to find people to talk to (DO NOT GET ANY WRONG IDEAS, I AM NOT LASHING OUT AT YOU ALL!!! I am going to do what people call "getting off my ass and make an effort to find someone to socialize with") so for now any advice given here will be appreciated. But I will respond to you later.
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Re: Is positive and helpful advice having the opposite effect? (Advice URGENTLY needed.)

Post by KMR on Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:12 pm

I'm not sure if this would make a difference for you, but if getting advice from other people feels overwhelming, maybe it would be better for you to avoid seeking external advice and set your own personal goals instead. Because sometimes, when someone else is telling you what you should do, it can feel like an obligation, which makes it harder to motivate yourself to do it than if the goal is a more internal one. But if you can set your own goals, you can A) keep it small and focus on one thing at a time (as opposed to seeking external advice, where you're usually given multiple suggestions and have to sort that out) and B) decide for yourself which goals will work for your specific situation (rather than having to filter out the ones other people give you but which seem unpleasant or don't suit your personality).

The important thing is to set small, manageable goals that are not outcome-dependent; in other words, the goal needs to be something that is fully within your control and you track your progress by whether you accomplished the task and NOT whether you got some sort of result from it. (e.g. A goal of "I will message 10 people per week on OkCupid" which is entirely within your control, versus "I will go on one date per month" which relies on another person to want to go on a date with you, which is outside of your control). Additionally, it's important to not get too discouraged or blame yourself too harshly if you don't happen to meet your goals. Just tell yourself to try a little harder to meet your goal the next day/week/whatever.

I also want to challenge this mindset...

Alex1989 wrote:I feel that is it is not worth trying to improve my social life since the time needed to get to where I want to be will astronomical.

When you have a big goal like this, it's generally not helpful to look all the way to the endpoint, because it's going to make the goal feel overwhelming and discourage you from taking steps toward improvement. Even if you don't reach some big end goal, any improvements you do make ARE progress. As long as you're working on it, you'll be better off than if you just did nothing, and even small changes can be really important.

Also, if you make gradual improvements and start measuring your progress as you go, you'll find that that end goal is a lot closer than you think, and it'll start looking a lot more manageable. So even if you THINK it's impossible to get to where you want, that's only because you're looking at it from far away... but as you get closer, you'll see that it'll become a lot more surmountable. Not only that, but you may find yourself adjusting your end goal as you go. Right now, it's quite possible that you're looking toward an idealized version of the goal, because it's hard to recognize the intermediate steps in between "having none of the things I want" and "having all the things I want." As you continue working towards your goal, you may find points where your thinking changes to, "Actually, if I just get a little bit better at X and Y, I would be pretty happy with that."
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Re: Is positive and helpful advice having the opposite effect? (Advice URGENTLY needed.)

Post by Alex1989 on Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:04 pm

KMR wrote:I'm not sure if this would make a difference for you, but if getting advice from other people feels overwhelming, maybe it would be better for you to avoid seeking external advice and set your own personal goals instead. Because sometimes, when someone else is telling you what you should do, it can feel like an obligation, which makes it harder to motivate yourself to do it than if the goal is a more internal one. But if you can set your own goals, you can A) keep it small and focus on one thing at a time (as opposed to seeking external advice, where you're usually given multiple suggestions and have to sort that out) and B) decide for yourself which goals will work for your specific situation (rather than having to filter out the ones other people give you but which seem unpleasant or don't suit your personality).

The important thing is to set small, manageable goals that are not outcome-dependent; in other words, the goal needs to be something that is fully within your control and you track your progress by whether you accomplished the task and NOT whether you got some sort of result from it. (e.g. A goal of "I will message 10 people per week on OkCupid" which is entirely within your control, versus "I will go on one date per month" which relies on another person to want to go on a date with you, which is outside of your control). Additionally, it's important to not get too discouraged or blame yourself too harshly if you don't happen to meet your goals. Just tell yourself to try a little harder to meet your goal the next day/week/whatever.

I also want to challenge this mindset...

Alex1989 wrote:I feel that is it is not worth trying to improve my social life since the time needed to get to where I want to be will astronomical.

When you have a big goal like this, it's generally not helpful to look all the way to the endpoint, because it's going to make the goal feel overwhelming and discourage you from taking steps toward improvement. Even if you don't reach some big end goal, any improvements you do make ARE progress. As long as you're working on it, you'll be better off than if you just did nothing, and even small changes can be really important.

Also, if you make gradual improvements and start measuring your progress as you go, you'll find that that end goal is a lot closer than you think, and it'll start looking a lot more manageable. So even if you THINK it's impossible to get to where you want, that's only because you're looking at it from far away... but as you get closer, you'll see that it'll become a lot more surmountable. Not only that, but you may find yourself adjusting your end goal as you go. Right now, it's quite possible that you're looking toward an idealized version of the goal, because it's hard to recognize the intermediate steps in between "having none of the things I want" and "having all the things I want." As you continue working towards your goal, you may find points where your thinking changes to, "Actually, if I just get a little bit better at X and Y, I would be pretty happy with that."

At my age society expects me to be married with kids, be socially accepted and at least had some fun before age 21, remember when I said it's too late after I turn 25? I am past my expiration date, at least here in this culture. I might as well face it... I am unwanted. permanently broken beyond repair.

P.S. I know some here will roll their eyes thinking "There goes Alex griping again. time to put on a fake smile and try to solve %.5 of his problem." or that's the jerkbrain talking, I hope its the latter.
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Re: Is positive and helpful advice having the opposite effect? (Advice URGENTLY needed.)

Post by Enail on Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:32 pm

Different parts of society expect different things, and lots of people deviate from those expectations in all kinds of ways anyway. All those messages about deadlines and pressures and requirements are hard to ignore, but you don't have to follow them to be happy or wanted, there are all kinds of paths through life that can lead to good places.
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Re: Is positive and helpful advice having the opposite effect? (Advice URGENTLY needed.)

Post by Alex1989 on Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:03 pm

Enail wrote:Different parts of society expect different things, and lots of people deviate from those expectations in all kinds of ways anyway. All those messages about deadlines and pressures and requirements are hard to ignore, but you don't have to follow them to be happy or wanted, there are all kinds of paths through life that can lead to good places.

What if I told you an opportunity popped up out of nowhere, there is a con coming to my mall mid august, the best part is, said mall is 1 mile from my home, accessibility will not be an issue, I am going to try to go with a good mindset.

There is plenty of time to get ready...

what do you think? is this a good idea or is it better to try something else? confused
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Re: Is positive and helpful advice having the opposite effect? (Advice URGENTLY needed.)

Post by Enail on Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:16 pm

Sounds fun! But I'm not clear on what you're hoping to get out of it?
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Re: Is positive and helpful advice having the opposite effect? (Advice URGENTLY needed.)

Post by Alex1989 on Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:21 pm

Enail wrote:Sounds fun! But I'm not clear on what you're hoping to get out of it?

to talk to at least 5 people (too little a number?), maybe check out some Star Trek memorabilia...


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Re: Is positive and helpful advice having the opposite effect? (Advice URGENTLY needed.)

Post by Enail on Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:47 pm

Then, yes, that sounds like a great idea! It's up to you how many people you think would be a good amount of pushing yourself to be social vs. being able to relax and enjoy things rather than over-exhaust yourself, I'd say pick a number that sounds kind of challenging but not overwhelming.
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Re: Is positive and helpful advice having the opposite effect? (Advice URGENTLY needed.)

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