Dealing With Aversions

edited July 2012 in General Discussion
OK, so: I have three emotional triggers. I am usually a calm guy, or if I get upset, I can usually go back to baseline. Not a Zen Monk or an emWave2 Biohacker, but decent enough for my current purposes.

These three, however, make me go apeshit:
  • I was fired from my first job after two weeks, about half a year ago. In the office I took the pink slip with grace, but I broke down on the way home. I'm usually fine, but whenever it is brought up again, especially by my parents, I start sobbing and find my mind blocking thoughts about it. I'm not too enthused about looking out for a new job and I mainly think of jobs in terms of "making no mistakes until you make one and they fire you". I've lost almost all motivation to job search.
  • School scares the shit out of me. I barely passed high school, and am on probation in university after my first semester. The only way out of this situation, insofar that I still want and need to play the game, is more university; even though I've picked courses with a relatively light and non-technical workload, I am not very confident in my ability to get the work done. It makes me very tense and tired to think about, a sort of depressive response.
  • I want to want math. I get very frustrated with math and physics. I've had good appointments with math problems before, but those instances seem rare. I know that I like solving problems of a kind, but math is just... bleh. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth now. I did fine on my high school math exam. I need to practice more.

It was a struggle to write this. When I think about these topics, I get the impulse to change subjects, distract myself, or halt any forward action.

I'm looking for a way to modify my emotional response to these things. I want to enjoy doing the neccessary tasks, and I know that there are people who have this enjoyment or at least have the discipline to go through it. Really, what makes them different? Why shouldn't I be able to do the same thing?

I was going to post this in "Brain Training", but General Discussion gets more views and the most common posters post everywhere anyway.


  • kittykitty
    edited July 2012
    Hey dude. You sound like you are putting up with some real crap. Im sorry to hear. Im not a psychologist, but i can try to relate and recommend what i have used to get out the other end. To be able to talk openly about things, and understand why I used to react the way i did to them, but now can look rationally back on them.

    This is perhaps the best example:

    I was hospitalized for 12 weeks when I was 15. I was horridly sick. When I was at the hospital, I lost control on my life and the nurses did everything for me. I hated it. I hated being controlled. Then my father would come in and tell me I was wasting a bed that a kid with Cystic Fibrosis needed. I began to believe it more and more. I would look around and see how much worse the other kids were, and I felt that I was really a waste of space. One day i was let out for a walk with my family. They brought the dog. there was a park nearby, a big one with lots of trees and over grown bits. Pretty in the day, terrifying at night. I was let out after I had regained enough strength at 12 weeks. A few days later the dog died of stomach cancer. My last really vivid memory of her is running through the park. My mother and I watched her be put down at the vet. I didnt have the energy to cry then. I sure as hell do now.

    Since then, that hospital has been a place of dread for me. And the park. We would drive to the airport on occasion, and the hospital is on the way. Every time we got within 3 km of it my stomach would start to fall and I would feel sick and panicky. The first few times it was a real struggle to get through. I would just stare out the window with my heart pumping out of my chest and memories flashing through my head.

    almost ten years later, I live very near the park and hospital. One night, I had an urge. To face my fears and ride my bike. Through the park and at least walk inside the lobby of the hospital. I wasnt sure if i could handle it, but some part of me told me I had to. So i rode. I found the park and entered. I was riding along the tracks inside. I was okay for a little bit. But I started seeing our dead white foxy running next to me. I knew i was imaging it but it got to me more and more. Soon i was pumping for my life. Exiting the park was a release. But i still had to go into the hospital. I parked my bike outside and entered the lobby. Explored. Went through the cafeteria and into the childrens playground. There were large plastic elephants and fish and dinosaurs. Scary at night. Cute in the day. I walked and climbed over the equipment I had used while i had been there. memories still flashing through my head. Perhaps the security was bad at night, but i managed to climb all the stairs (trudging just like I had then) and get to my old ward. I was holding myself together well. I followed my feet to the door. I knew i couldnt go in. But i could see right down that dreaded hallway that i had spent so long in and seen kids arrive warm and leave cold. A couple tears trickled down my face. then behind me I heard the elevator open. 'uh oh' i thought. Then i turned and looked around. It was charlie. One of the nurses who had taken care of me. One of my favourites. "charlie" I said. He looked a little confused. "can i help you?" I said " oh no, I just wanted to see..." he hugged me asking if i was okay. I said i was. I said i'd been in his care a long while ago. He offered me to sit down and talk for a little bit. I declined nicely. I struggled with myself, then thanked him. Hugged him again. Went down the stairs of the hospital. Rode my bike home. Cried for hours after.

    However, this was one the best things i had done. My fear of the hospital is gone. The park too. I thought about my experience, why i reacted the way i did, I relived all my memories. Yes it was horridly painful, but I am stronger for it and doing that gained me many things. I can relate this one to your working experience a little bit. I think, what you should do, is think about. Get upset. Think more. Understand. Brainstorm WHY you may have gotten fired. It made you feel awful, but dont be down on yourself. Learn from it. Improve. Know what went wrong and try not to do it again. Im not sure its the same as going back. But if you really cant understand, talk to your old boss. Did they not give you a reason for firing you?

    the most important thing with any problem, and something that many people do horridly wrong, is they avoid the problem. They get upset and they dont like that. So they avoid it. My biggest advice to you: dont be like that. It hurts to think about it, but do it. Dissect it. Analyse it. Learn. Apply what you learn. Once you have done that, go and find a new job. Doesnt have to be the same type, but go out and try again. After you confront it face to face, you will be stronger and better for it.

    Best of luck,

  • We are human, everyone makes mistakes. If you get fired from a job for making one mistake, then that is not the place for you to work. Start working on brain hacking. Look in to using a nootropic like Aniracetam for more focus, etc. Proper diet can help with this too.

    I've come to realize a little later in life that the issues I had with school were really my inability to concentrate for any length of time, and, I'm pretty sure it was due to the large amounts of sugar I used to consume daily. I wish I knew that back then, but thankful to know it now.

    My suggestion for math and physics is don't do them. Seriously WTF do you need physics for unless you plan on becoming a scientist, engineer, or some other related field where physics would be applicable. Unless you can do it in your head, most math is non-applicable to anything you do. I would do the minimum math and science required to get through, unless you are exploring those fields.

    You said University so I assume you are from Europe, I don't know if you ever heard/seen the show Jeopardy in the states, but it's just a quiz show. When they do teen week and have all these high school kids on the show, they ask a ton of questions about Geometry and Trigonometry. Why? ...Because they are the only ones on the planet who know anything about those subjects, minus a select few professions. It's dead.

    Seriously, unless you plan on using those subjects in the real world, they are useless. I study some physics on my own, like the Laws of Thermodynamics as it pertains to weight loss, because I am interested in it personally, not professionally. I don't, however, need to know how to figure out the distance between two stars, through Trigonometry, nor do I need to know or care wtf an isosceles triangle is. If you want to do math, maybe start looking into finance, it's an applicable skill both personally and professionally.

    Watch this TED talk on education; it may give you some perspective. , it’s generally regarded as one of the best TED talks ever.

    Hope that helps


    P.S. Kitty, that is a very insightful story
  • Hey mate,

    I reckon that knowledge is power, and once you have knowledge about why your brain responds in certain ways and has certain limitations then you have power over it. You've got to remember that your brain has limitations (its like a muscle) and these limitations will guide your consciousness. I can't match Kitty's amazing story but i think that reading about my brain has been one of the most empowering things that i've done.

    If you're interested with learning more about it I'd start with something like "your brain at work" by David Rock. Which is a pretty practical guide to the neuroscience of why your brain responds in certain ways to day to day situations. Then look at "destructive emotions" by Daniel Goleman which is a retelling of a conference attended by top scientists, philosophers and psychologists and held at the Dalai Lama's house. If you like those two then the big gun is "emotional intelligence" also by Goleman.


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