How Emotionally Reactive Are You?

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How Emotionally Reactive Are You?

Postby NeantHumain » Tue Aug 15, 2006 7:23 am

In personality psychology, one dimension typically measured is called neuroticism–emotional stability or emotional reactivity–emotional stability. People high on neuroticism tend to be more likely to develop many kinds of psychiatric disorders—including anxiety disorders, panic disorders, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depressive disorders, hypochondriasis, body image and personal identity disorders, and several different personality disorders (particularly borderline personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder). Essentially, people high on neuroticism have predisposition to have strong reactions to stress.

Emotional reactivity is not just another name for psychopathology, though. It's a basic dimension of normal personality. You can score fairly high on neuroticism without having a psychiatric disorder. A person high on emotional reactivity will have a more sensitive emotional system. Smaller stimuli will provoke a greater reaction that lasts longer (in terms of measurable physiological signs). An emotionally reactive person tends, as the name implies, react to their environment and may simply accept their emotional volatility as an unavoidable response to overwhelming external forces. They may oscillate between different moods as events in their life affect them positively or negatively. They may be irritable, sullen, angry, depressed, or anxious. They are at risk of developing low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, or a sense of self-worth dependent upon shifting external factors. Stress causes them to worry, brood, withdraw, or act out their emotions impulsively (depending on other personality factors).

The opposite of neuroticism is emotional stability. Emotionally stable people remain calm under stress, are not prone to lingering self-doubt and rumination, and bounce back from setbacks quickly. They are also not as easily excited about positive things. I suspect another tradeoff may be reduced ability to understand other people's distressed reactions since they may not have as much personal experience with it.

A moderate level of neuroticism may be useful for making a person more interpersonally sensitive yet with enough emotional control to enable them to manage their own reactions and predict others' as well.

Now here's what is neurotic about me (please describe your emotional reactivity/neuroticism too):

  • Fears: I am a bit afraid of heights (diving boards at swimming pools and amusement park rides, which make me a nervous wreck). Other than that, I can't think of any fears off the top of my head; my fear of heights is not active in that it does not disturb my thinking or behavior unless I'm actually on a diving board or asked to ride on an amusement park ride.
  • Anxiety: I can be quite shy and reserved around people I don't know, but people soon realize how talkative I can be once I get to know them! :lol: I can also be apprehensive about making a phone call or having a job interview, but I work past it.
  • Hypochondriasis: I occasionally get the idea that I may have some cancer, heart problems, or some other health problem; but I try to ignore this. Actually, the more severe the illness, the less likely I am to want to see a doctor because that could confirm it! I have this health-related anxiety somewhat less than I used to, and such worries usually come when I'm trying to fall asleep.
  • Feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem: I am currently too apathetic to have any significant self-doubt most of the time, but I've had quite crushing feelings of worthlessness when depressed.
  • Vacillation of mood: For roughly the past year, I have been in an apathetic mood with intermittent spikes of depressed mood. Positive affect is harder for me to achieve than negative affect, but I'm trying to reorient myself towards the positive now.
  • Compulsiveness: I have a few mild compulsions nowadays. I rip up credit card offers before throwing them away, am thorough with washing my hands after touching "dirty" things, and a few other things.
  • Obsessions and rumination: Under severe stress and frustration, I occasionally get distressing images of violence (like against that former roommate who violently assaulted me). Like most aspies, I tend to analyze or ruminate over social interactions that are important to me (which are few and far between these days).
  • Feelings of guilt or shame: Occasionally, I feel a bit guilty for asserting myself. Last Thursday I was at a Mexican-food restaurant with my dad and brother, and I complained about the bad service since we hadn't gotten our drinks yet but I didn't realize our waiter was walking by until afterwards. :oops: Needless to say, I felt guilty about complaining although I did notice an improvement in service. I made sure to thank him when my drink was refilled and my food was brought and even make eye contact (which is hard for me to do) since eye contact adds genuineness. One time, at Panera/St. Louis Bread Co., I was speaking too softly, and I guess the cashier misheard my order. I told them that wasn't what I wanted when I went up to the counter when my order was ready. They remade it (first as a Caesar salad sandwich and then as an actual Caesar salad when they finally got it right). My real order was actually more expensive than what I had been charged, so I saved a couple of dollars. I felt a bit guilty, but I tried to assuage my guilt by reminding myself that I had been a regular customer and they had made plenty of profit off me before and I was only trying to get what I actually ordered anyway. Generally, though, lingering feelings of guilt or shame don't dominate my psyche.
  • Resilience: (This is a trait of emotional stability.) I tend to bounce back from stress pretty quickly even if it does affect me severely in the moment. The only exceptions are stressors that I cannot readily avoid (such as an annoying boss or an egocentric roommate). I do have a bit of a tendency to complain (i.e., "whine") about these things, unfortunately, but again, I'm trying to become more oriented towards the positive and less negativistic. If I am fixed on achieving some goal, frustration or obstacles only harden my resolve and sharpen my choices (i.e., make it clearer what I really want in life and who and what are most important in my life).
  • Frustration tolerance: (High frustration tolerance is a sign of emotional stability.) For things that aren't very important or desirable to me (things that I am obligated to do without an actual desire to do them), I can be somewhat impatient and give up too easily. Sometimes minor setbacks do get me down (like not finding work), and perhaps I don't persist quite enough. However, when I truly and definitely desire something, I can persevere for years to achieve my goal (e.g., saving money to buy my own computer or continuing to meet new people to improve my social life). In these cases, I can reason away the frustration more easily by recognizing that it only makes it less likely I will achieve my goals (I should restrategize or try harder instead).
  • Impulsivity: I don't have that exciting, spontaneous personality that tends to make people popular. For much of my life, I was overly inhibited (especially socially) and too cautious, and now I'm trying to reverse that. I'm trying to find the happy medium. I have a few symptoms of impulsivity that are less socially desirable, though: binge-eating and somewhat erratic work habits (unless it's something required of me like for school or a job; in my personal life, I tend to be fairly undisciplined and sporadic). However, in the past week or so, a big theme of mine has been improving self-control by getting my eating habits and sleep pattern under control (the basics); I'm also keeping up with my online classes.
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Postby Civet » Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:10 pm

Fears: I am afraid of heights and claustrophobic. Neither impedes my daily life, as I don't often encounter these situations. Occasionally at work I have to go up a rather unsteady set of ladder/stairs but I just do it as quickly as possible. The claustrophobia is worse than the fear of heights, I've started hyperventilating in situations like fun houses or on the way up the narrow staircase in the Statue of Liberty.
Anxiety: I tend to get a lot of anxiety related to work. It has died down a bit in the past few months, which is a definite improvement. Most of my anxiety is related to not knowing how I am doing in my manager's eyes and thinking I must be performing badly. I also get anxious when I don't think I can finish work or do it up to par (especially related to art jobs, though it happened all throughout school, too). I sometimes get anxious in social situations, more often I become anxious if I have to initiate contact (such as making a phone call or approaching someone) or have to go to a job interview.
Hypochondriasis: Hm, I guess more related to the mental health realm than the physical, especially seeing a few of my relatives recently develop psychosis, I tend to worry that I'm going to "lose it" myself. I also worry about real health problems I have, especially my tendonitis, but can blow it out of proportion. Admittedly I have a tendency to self-diagnosis with various disorders, usually after a little while I realize how silly it was.
Feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem: I struggled with this for a long time. Occasionally I still get those feelings, but lately not as much. I continue to have pretty poor self-esteem in some areas, but I can also be a bit arrogant about other things.
Vacillation of mood: I seem to switch between "no mood" or "blank mood" and rather extreme negative emotions, from time to time. Most often, I am simply neutral.
Compulsiveness: I don't think I'm particularly compulsive, except when relating to work. We have to "straighten" the store, which basically means put things in the proper place, line them up, and pull them forward on the shelves. I tend to be very much a perfectionist in this and it slows me down, but also seems to please the management, heh. I also have to wash my hands frequently at work, I don't think that's too odd, though, because it's a retail store and things are dirty. I'm not sure if it is related to compulsiveness or not, but I have some number things, such as that my alarm clock must be set to an even number. I don't like 13 and do what I can do avoid it.
Obsessions and rumination: That would depend on the moment, really. Obsessions tend to be in the realm of fiction and I often go over imaginary character interactions and situations between characters from TV shows or anime. Ruminations, well, I do ruminate. A lot of the time the same thing will play over and over in my mind, sometimes even in the same phrasing or image sequence. I find keeping my journal, as recommended by my sleep specialist, has helped to alleviate this somewhat, because I can remind myself that it's in the journal and I can look back at it if need be.
Feelings of guilt or shame: I don't really have issue with this, I don't think. I do value my integrity very highly and try to avoid any such situations which would cause me to feel guilty, however.
Resilience: I wouldn't say I'm particularly resilient. When I get hit, I get hit hard, and tend to need time to recover, or it will lead to shutdowns.
Frustration tolerance: I am pretty immune to frustration on the smaller level, I think it takes a lot of things to build up over time before it will truly start to affect me negatively. After that happens, on comes the ruminating, heh. I think I deal with frustration rather well, in that I have learned when it is necessary for me to take a break and later look at something from a new angle rather than attempting rush headlong through it. Using Neant's example of job-searching, when I find myself becoming too frustrated or overwhelmed, I just stop job-searching for awhile and do other productive things, then get back into it again.
Impulsivity: I am very rarely impulsive. Almost everything I do is planned out ahead of time.
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Postby SomethingElse » Tue Aug 15, 2006 4:46 pm

Fears:
Mostly I fear the unknown. I don't like to go to places where I don't already have a pretty good idea of how things will pan out (parties etc.). For example parties unless it's a regular crowd of people who always go, or gigs - I like going to see the same bands time and time again and rarely go to gigs where I haven't already have seen at least ONE of the bands playing. And I never go if that isn't the case, or if there's NO ONE there I've met before. I also don't like crowds and start to feel sick when in a situation where I have other people pressing in on me. Although this has to be an extreme situation for it to transpire into a real fear - if I'm just outside walking through crowds it's a slightly panicked feeling and I tend to be very closed trying to not touch the people around me, as impossible as that may be. I won't go out with someone with their friends unless I have some big curiousity or feel very secure that I won't HAVE to talk to them or spend time with them. The fear does affect me because I'll often end up not going to places that I'd really like to go because I'll put it off and off before deciding that I can't face it.

Anxiety:
I am quite an anxious person. Although to the other extreme I can be overly laid back about things. Anxiety though - phonecalls, places I don't know, crowds, people I don't know. I'm always overthinking and getting worried about things I've said or ways I've acted, or trying to guess what other people think about me where I might have to see them again or where it could mean I get left out in future. I get anxious when having to enter buildings if I'm not sure of what entrance to use or if I'm not sure of where I'm going. I know alot of the things I feel anxious about are things that so affect other people (everyone gets nervous on their first day, for example) but because of the kind of person I am and how I can't really relate my feelings to other peoples it always seems like I am affected worse than others. I used to feel very anxious about going to school when I wasn't happy there and often used to feel ill before going in. When I was in 6th Form I used to not go in most of the time, just to relieve that pressure of feeling anxious about it. I'd put it off then decide that as I was too late anyway it wasn't worth it, then I'd feel better. I think that most situations are ones I can find something to worry about in.

Hypochondriasis:
I went through a phase of being positive that there was something wrong with me, but then thought about it and decided I didn't care if there was so that took the pressure off. I think this stems from depression though - feeling ill all the time (headaches, feeling sick, feeling constantly tired and forgetting things or being unable to think about things, shooting pains in the head or body, etc.) was the reason for this. Instead of realising that all of the things that were weighing down on me where down to depression and stress I was convinced that there was something wrong with me, although I never diagnosed myself with anything I didn't have related to those feelings of illness. However, it was a contributing factor in me thinking I might have BPD for a while.. I knew there was SOMETHING about me that caused everything (I had an awful attitude (although I couldn't see it and to this day I don't but I do know it affected everyone around me), was prone to extreme hyperness and happiness then extreme lows with despair and frusteration, and one of the symptoms was apparently constantly suffering from phantom pains and illness, plus I self harmed a lot to relieve the frusteration) and BPD was the first thing that seemed to add up. Autism was also brought up, which did make me wonder but I didn't look into it. Once I grew out of the extreme problems in my teens I discarded this idea and since then when I feel ill I tend to put it down to nothing more than stress or lack of fresh air. I do worry about becoming ill sometimes, or that I have things wrong with me if I hear about symptoms that I seem to have, but I don't really pay too much attention and usually ignore it.

Feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem:
I have trouble keeping friendships and because it seems like other people don't want me around, or only want me in their lives as and when it's convenient I get very paranoid about people's motives and feel like I'm not good enough for anyone to socialise with. This can manifest in arrogance though, because then I believe that despite my social awkwardness I am intellectually superior to many people and have qualities that they don't (honesty and integrity) and so I can seem very dismissive of people for these reasons. I have appearance hangups and also often feel like I'm not good looking enough for people to want to be with me romantically, and this is actually important for me because I feel that the closest and most dependable relationship you can have is with someone you are best friends with and who you are going out with... otherwise either person can have someone more important than you in their life. This kind of relationship is the most important to me, which is ironic because it's also the one that probably causes most problems, moreso for the other person.

Vacillation of mood:
My moods are usually pretty extreme, or hard to shake if I'm unhappy or brooding over something. Most of my happiness is exaggerrated by myself, because it feels better than being neutral or unhappy all the time. Answering these questions has made me wonder whether I'm actually very happy at all... or whether I just make myself happy because most of my thoughts when not focused on things that are minor obsessions or things I want to do, are focused on all the negative things in my life - because of the things that I have previously enjoyed, that I no longer have because people have gotten fed up with having me around. No one likes to talk to miserable people, and I don't know how to express to people how unhappy I am without it sounding like I'm whining (that and they probably don't care), so I prefer for people to think I'm happy. This means I have to convince myself I'm happy, so I look for things to make me happy (whether it's the music I'm listening to or creating a fantasy world where amusing things might happen, then I transfer that emotion. This all sounds quite complicated when explained, but it's actually very simple). And being happy is always preferable anyway so it's a nicer state for me to be in.

Someone did once say to me that people make their own happiness and I think that kind of struck me. Even though I know that you can't help being down if you are alot of the time because you can't always control your train of thought I decided that as and when I could I would make my own happiness. So even though there are things that would probably make me happy that are out of my control there are others that are in my control. This person is one that I no longer respect in the slightest, but I figured that this way I can't also feel guilty if I feel bad, because I am putting EFFORT into being happy.

Compulsiveness:
I'm not compulsive on an extreme level and most things are barely noticeable. I don't like to sleep round anyone's house in my clothes, so I'll usually try my hardest to stay up all night, and then I want to leave as early as possible so that I can get showerd and changed. I wash my hands multiple times if I feel they are being re-contaminated, although I'll often leave them after doing things like playing with my rats, even though my mum tells me I should wash my hands. I s'pose that doesn't make me feel discomfort, although my dog is a lab retriever so I wash my hands after fussing him, because he has a slightly oily coat which no one else seems to notice but I do. If I feel the need to do something I tend to do it. I breathe out when looking at people I don't like but can't breathe in whilst looking at them and vice versa when looking at people I like. Alot of compulsive things I do are just phases that go away. I count my steps a lot to try to make a journey seem faster, or see how far I can go before reaching a certain number. All silly little things that don't impact my life.

Obsessions and rumination:
I have to keep a diary so I know what happened and when although I don't often so anything worthy of keeping note of so it's usually spurts of information. I only keep a small one and don't go into thoughts or feelings, etc. I tend to do that in my online journal as and when I feel like mentioning something, but the written diary is so I know when things happened. I do think a lot about things that have happened, replaying them and fretting over them or looking for things in them. Or I'll try to play out what I think SHOULD have happened (something I should or shouldn't have done or said). I get obsessed with things like piercings or having rats, and the obsession might last or might not. Piercings don't, obviously, because once I have it I have it and the obsession has to change to getting another one. I become obsessed with books or films for a short time, but move on as and when another one strikes me. I get obsessions with people (whether they are writers or people in films, or characters from books, music artists, artists, or people I actually do know who I wonder about and would like to be friends with). I become obsessed with too many things to really be able to keep them all up at once.

Feelings of guilt or shame:
I often feel shame even if it's not warranted. Usually through being left out or through not understanding jokes and things. Or from taking something someone said in one way then later realising that it wasn't meant like that. I also feel embarrassment because I'm aware of how "normal" people are and how they enjoy going out alot and how they usually have groups of friends who they get on really well with, and when I'm aware of what is important to one person I often feel shame that I don't have those things - not because I want to be like them, but because they won't understand why I'm not... so I guess I mostly feel shame for the person people expect me to be, or for the person that they THINK I AM. Being a sad loner with no friends and no social life is one thing (bearing in mind I'm not proper friends with the people I see at gigs, and I refer to them as friends simply because it's easier, but I'm not in their groups or one of their priorities as a person although some of them can be very sweet and treat me more like one of the crowd) and the person I actually am is another - because I can have good friendships, but it takes more work with me. On both sides - but people can't work with me if they don't understand certain aspects of who I am.

I'm likely to feel guilt for silly things, like when I was little I was eating a chocolate bar, and my adult cousin came in after I'd started eating it and asked if she could have one and it was the last one. And once I was sitting in a children's play area watching kids go down a big vertical slide thing, and then got up the guts to go on it. When I went and told my mum she told my dad to go watch me go it, and I didn't have the courage to do it again so I felt bad for that, even though I'm sure now I'm older that he didn't care. Alot of the time I do feel like I'm letting people down because I'm not who they want me to be.

I also felt guilty for being depressed when I had no reason to be before I realised that it was depression and there didn't NEED to be a reason as such. The things that I weren't happy with didn't seem enough to warrant just how miserable I felt, and the feelings of suicide especially - there are people worse off and yet I'm feeling hard done by? Now I just think of it as something that will pass every time it hits and I just have to do my best to come out the other side, and it's also made me less likely to feel guilt or shame (I did used to feel it all the time over loads of things) because I might as well cherish NOT feeling completely crap and any negative thought I can discard I should take advantage and discard it.

Resilience:
Hmm, I'm not too sure with this one. In a way I think my ability to make the most out of things now and to at least attempt to be happy and make my own happiness means I'm resilient, but I'm also an overthinker and so if things do upset me I tend to think about them a lot. However, I often brush them aside, think about them again, brush them aside again. So I think with me it depends how hard something hits and how unexpected it was. I can just get on with things despite how crap something has been, or I can wallow in it because I can't get myself over it.

Frustration tolerance:
I get very frusterated and often. I'm more likely to get P*ssed off with others than feel hurt in a way. When my cousin decides to go places that I've been invited without telling me when they're all going (because she doesn't really want me there) it makes me angry because she's being so underhand. Instead of telling me she would rather I didn't go (in this case I think it's because a girl she liked seemed more interested in me) she'll tell me about it afterwards. It's like people treat me differently to others because they know I don't have the ability to actually confront them about things - I feel like I don't really deserve the right to get upset with them, so I don't bother. But I do get very frusterated, and it sometimes erupts (it takes less for me to get angry than other people think is necessary) or at least privately (self harm, although I don't do this as much as I used to, and would say that I don't anymore, except that I am not really too bothered about it - I don't really see it as wrong, and it doesn't bother me if other people do it either... so if I felt like doing it again I would).

Impulsivity:
I'm not impulsive in grand sense. I'll buy things on impulse, or say things on impulse, or do odd little silly things on impulse (once I wiped snot on my friends skirt because I had a cold and sneezed, was understandably mortified, and she went, "EEUURGGH THAT'S GROSS!" and drew attention to it, and so I lashed out in a really disgusting and stupid way - wiping snot on her. I know it's awful but I often do this silly things then have no idea what possessed me to afterwards). But when it comes to going out I usually think up reasons not to if it's last minute.
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Postby Sophist » Tue Aug 15, 2006 6:03 pm

Hmmm...

1. FEARS:
I have fears. I have a fear of falling, of vomitting, of being around vomit, of gagging, of dying painfully and/or before my time, of deep water, and a large fear of failure. If by the end of my life I didn't deem it "successful" whatever that may be by that time-- most likely my career-- I would feel worthless as though I sort of wasted a whole life. And in a more minor sense, I have a fear/distaste of imperfection and making mistakes. It's hard for me to get over an ego-blow though I think in some ways I'm getting a little better at it. I enjoy some of the confidence my mild narcissism provides me; but I wish I could change the weakness it also gives me because criticism and failure eats away at me.

2. ANXIETY:
In a calm, routine, and enjoyable environment, my anxiety is usually not much of a problem. I've managed to avoid situations which I find too anxiety-provoking. I know that I need to keep my life calm and consistent for my internal system to be happy. This awareness has now helped me no longer need antianxiety meds or any kind of therapy to deal with it. I've become my own therapist in a way. And my mother also sometimes helps with this with suggestions on betterment. So anxiety for me is more of a looming problem rather but is certainly avoidable and I am adaptable.

3. HYPOCHONRDIASIS:
I have had fears of illnesses in the past. Thankfully these days I've finally developed a "let's get it over with" approach and most anything I go to the doctor's for to nip it in the bud or, in some cases, to find out it was really nothing to worry about at all. :)

I fear becoming ill and so I've greatly altered my diet and have begun exercising every day to try and ensure my health. I am intent on not making the same mistakes other family members have made which have ended their lives too early.

4. FEELINGS OF WORTHLESSNESS AND LOW SELF-ESTEEM:
I don't ever feel worthless. But I do know that in the area of social and relationship connections I feel less confident. For much of my life, most of the admiration that has been given to me was because of the things I could do, my talents or my intelligence, and it was rarely because I was a good friend or an enjoyable person. I think this lack of external confidence (other than from my mother of course) has had an effect in that I would honestly feel worthless had I not had my talents or intelligence to make up for my interpersonal shortcomings. So I have a great amount of self-esteem in some areas, but then not so much in others.

5. VACILLATION OF MOOD:
I have a fair range of moods. I don't get depressed too often nor manic at all. I'm pretty stable in this respect, provided life is calm and smooth and treating me well; otherwise, I do get depressed and end up having a great deal of anxiety problems.

But as for having a range of happy, angry, sad, content, fear, and all subtleties in between-- despite that in the subtler regions I might not always be so good at identifying my exact mood-- I'm pretty average in this respect. Although, with the little things, my frustration level does fly off the handle pretty quickly. But I also recover incredibly quickly from my little adult tantrums and after about 10 or 20 minutes, it was like nothing ever happened.

6. COMPULSIVENESS:
I do have an insistance on certain types of routine and if these are broken I do have a hard time adapting and not getting upset. I'm not big on exact schedules, but I am very particular about the way things are done and this also includes the way other people do certain things as well. (I'm not saying there's logic in it, but it does upset me.)

7. OBSESSIONS AND RUMINATION:
I ruminate endlessly over people problems. If someone is mad at me, sometimes even on the internet, I just can't stop thinking and getting upset.

But these days, unless I'm having a people problem, I'm pretty good at stopping myself from ruminating about unpleasant things. And mostly I think and think and think and think about my interests which I find very relaxing and enjoyable. And I'm also keeping a more consistent wake-up time and bedtime, so that I'm definitely tired by the time I go to sleep and my brain is willing to shut down most of the time.

8. FEELINGS OF GUILT OR SHAME:
There are very few things in my life I can honestly say I still feel guilt and shame about and that are unresolved. Maybe that's a good thing; maybe that's a bad thing...

9. RESILIENCE:
I seem to be very resilient. I've got a good positive nature which helps me recover from setbacks and have also developed a logical therapist type side to me where I stop myself when I'm getting upset and I ask myself simple questions to break the situation down such as "What is really bothering me?" or "What do I want from all this?" or "What is triggering this reaction?" And that helps immensely to make me stop and think and give simple answers to complex situations and be better able to come up with a good solution. (I always feel more relaxed once I can come up with a plan. It's a good sort of mental security for me.)

10. FRUSTRATION TOLERANCE:
Sadly enough, with many types of situations, my tolerance is pretty low especially when things don't go my way. :? But thankfully I recover pretty fast from this frustration and can move on.

11. IMPULSIVITY:
These days I'm not terribly impulsive. I'm actually even less impulsive in many ways than my mother. There are times when I'm still impulsive (this almost always involves me saying something before I think or check my sources) but overall my impulsivity is pretty low. It used to be higher but I think I've improved since my frontal lobes have finally completed their development. ;)
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Postby adhocisadirtyword » Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:09 am

1. FEARS:

I don't really have any consistent fears. I'm not a fan of spiders, but I deal with them on my own without any issue. Beyond that, I have a tendency to fear things on the spur of the moment - like I get a feeling that I'll have a car accident or that my daughter will get really sick.

I find I have these odd, intermittent fears more when I'm feeling aspie-ish.

2. ANXIETY:

I don't seem to get anxiety attacks, but I do have increased anxiety before using the phone, before accepting responsibility, and while around people in general.

For the phone thing, I just avoid it for a little bit - do some other stuff - and then buckle down and get it done.

For accepting responsibility and owning up to mistakes I made- I guess this stems from being somewhat abused as a child. I remember being relatively severly punished for things I never did (and some things I did do.) I have a lot of integrity, so I feel the need to accept the responsibility and to be honest about my actions, but it is hard for me because I always get this feeling that the consequences will be much worse than they really are. Needless to say, I go out of my way to not make too many mistakes.

Around people in general - I have a tendency to tighten my body when around people so as not to touch them. But I don't avoid those situations because I don't want my anxieties to run my life.

3. HYPOCHONRDIASIS:

A lot of this is related to the intermittent fear thing, but it goes away relatively quickly. As far as health wise, I have enough real stuff to worry about. The problem is getting the determination to actually go to the doctor ... new situation/phone thing. I'll do it ... one or two more days, then I'll call.

4. FEELINGS OF WORTHLESSNESS AND LOW SELF-ESTEEM:

Had these growing up in plenty. The only thing I was worth was my intelligence. Somehow in my mid-twenties all of this changed for me. I think having a successful career did it, not sure though. Now, I can even be considered semi-arrogant now at times. I'm a realist, though, and I'm fully aware that I'm by no means perfect, but I'm happy with who I am for the most part.

5. VACILLATION OF MOOD:

Don't really have this. Even when life is treating me bad, I don't really get depressed. The most I vacillate is between serious and playful. I have a tendency to be more serious when my daughter is visiting her dad in Monterey, and the opposite when she is here -- even at work. Otherwise, I'm kind of the same person day in and day out.

I do have a temper, but I can cool it pretty quickly.

6. COMPULSIVENESS:

This isn't bad in me at all. I have to keep my fingernails clean, but I think it is more of a sensory thing. I like either stepping on all cracks or no cracks in the sidewalk, but I don't freak out if I mess up, and most of the time I don't think about it. I wash my hands very thoroughly after using the restroom, but otherwise, I don't care as much.

I have to know that I locked my car and set my alarm clock though. I've gotten up as many as six times in one night to make sure the alarm clock was set. I've gotten a lot better about this though .. after that night, I started to work on it.

7. OBSESSIONS AND RUMINATION:

I ruminate about past conversations and events a LOT. But I think I try to use them to learn something for future reference. At a certain point, though, I stop beating myself up over stupid mistakes I made or things I said. I remember the event, but I move on past my feelings of it.

8. FEELINGS OF GUILT OR SHAME:

Some. Just like most people I would imagine. But eventually I let it go and realize it isn't worth making myself feel bad about it anymore. I've learned all I can from the event. I try to hold myself to a high level of integrity now though - as I've grown older - so I don't have too many events where I would feel guilty anymore.

9. RESILIENCE:

I'm a very resilient person. I recover from setbacks well and have a tendency to either pick up where I left off if possible, or to move on in a slightly different direction. It may take me awhile to figure out the right direction, but eventually I get there.

10. FRUSTRATION TOLERANCE:

This depends. If it is something that a person has done purposefully, or if they should have known better, or if it is just painfully illogical in practice, I can get very frustrated.

However, if it is an event there is no control over or if a person is trying their best, I stay really calm. I've been told I'm a great trainer and semi-boss at work since I have a lot of patience for mistakes and issues, when most other people would've become frustrated over time.

11. IMPULSIVITY:

I can be quite impulsive - I didn't know this was a popularity thing, though. I'm not impulsive about stuff that matters like a car, job, house, etc., but otherwise, I'm always up for doing something without planning it out too much or thinking about it before hand. Even when I do think about it, I'll generally do it anyway.
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Postby NeantHumain » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:49 am

I found some interesting information on a related construct: trait arousal: http://www.kaaj.com/psych/scales/ar.html. The opposite construct is called stimulus screening.
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Postby SomethingElse » Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:56 am

Back to my responce to "resilience" I also can forget things where other people are wallowing. I'll have a massive row with someone, then forget about it while they're still upset. I'll even sometimes have no idea why they are upset - to me it's as if the row hasn't happened. Although I'm not sure whether that counts as resilience...
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Postby Belfast » Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:21 am

I don't know how to cognitively appraise (think about objectively) my limbic system (subjective feelings). Challenging, but I'll give it a go.
1. FEARS:
Many, some are more of a hassle than others. Might be easier to list the few things I'm not afraid of...
2. ANXIETY:
Much. Have "panic disorder with agoraphobia", am easily overwhelmed & intimidated by all manner of people & things. I interpret "neutral stimuli" as threats & disturbances to my delicate equilibrium, which causes me to withdraw or flee. My overresponse to taste, smells, etc. means I become angry at "sensory insults", without realizing what I'm reacting to.
3. HYPOCHONRDIASIS:
Along lines of "you're not paranoid if they really are out to get you", I'd add "you're not a hypochondriac if you're actually sick/have a problem". Like how the line between excessive worry and appropriate level of concern isn't obvious. May take many years before medical situation is discovered/understood, then people finally bestow diagnostic validity upon one's pain/suffering/malfunction. Yet, up until that point, everyone was convinced that person was "just" feigning, delusional, malingering hypochondriac.
I have gotten much more worried about my physical health as I've aged-to some extent that's inherent in process of deteriorating. Plus the more I learn about what can go wrong, the more fragile & tenuous survival seems. I'm terrified of doctors & medical procedures, squeamish about many bodily aspects, and stubborn in my unhealthy habits. I have various pains & malfunctions, but no instinct for level of risk/seriousness of my symptoms. I might mention something minor, yet neglect to complain about something more significant, I'm not sure why but it's unintentional. I'm paranoid about being branded as a hypochondriac, or as anything that would lead people to summarily dismiss my self-reports.
4. FEELINGS OF WORTHLESSNESS AND LOW SELF-ESTEEM:
Benji wrote:I get very paranoid about people's motives and feel like I'm not good enough for anyone to socialise with. This can manifest in arrogance though, because then I believe that despite my social awkwardness I am intellectually superior to many people and have qualities that they don't (honesty and integrity) and so I can seem very dismissive of people for these reasons.

Hard to explain how I feel both inferior & superior, either at same time or rapidly fluctuating between the two beliefs.
I seek others' approval because I haven't yet managed to internally generate my own positive regard. I can't see my value because I feel useless, I have no niche or function-like I've nothing to contribute.
5. VACILLATION OF MOOD:
I'm either briefly gleeful (not mania, I don't DO things or behave confidently) about some little tidbit that pleases me, or else gloomy and spiraling downward. Otherwise, I'm just sort of here-until I get yanked into a mood suddenly.
6. COMPULSIVENESS:
Insufficiently fit dx for OCD or OCPD, but have much in common with descriptions of these thought patterns-according to my counselor. I don't do ritual behaviours, but I am excessive about not making mistakes & about being rigorously honest. It's exhausting, because I can never be sure if I'm telling the truth, because I only can be aware of part of the truth of anything, since I'm merely one person.
7. OBSESSIONS AND RUMINATION:
Benji wrote:I have to keep a diary so I know what happened and when although I don't often so anything worthy of keeping note of so it's usually spurts of information. I only keep a small one and don't go into thoughts or feelings, etc.

I keep journal, at different times I either write only what happened when, or how I feel & what I'm thinking-hardly ever both, so it's tough to reconstruct context. Priority shifts (as to what's worth writing down) over the years, depending on what's going on. It is vital reference tool, though-my mental timeline gets pretty warped so it's good to have record to check, assuming I can wade through all the volumes & pages to particular entry. Could consider this a compulsion, but have good reasons for trying to bolster my memory with vast notes.
Some of my interests are fleeting, others are tenacious-some are fun, others are an ordeal. I fret over things I can't fix & infinitesimal incidents from years past, wishing I could apply my capacity for insight to better myself instead of berating myself.
8. FEELINGS OF GUILT OR SHAME:
Many. Some things that I feel guilty about were result of my naivetee, others because I felt I had no other choice. I have a lot of chronic shame (I call it embarrassment towards myself) without any idea why I have these reactions, which makes even the problem itself all the more resistant to being tackled.
9. RESILIENCE:
Little if any. I guess I must have some bounce-back capability, since I'm still alive. If I had way to compare, maybe I could gauge where I fall in range of this trait. I'd have to ask someone who knows me, in hopes they might formulate an answer.
10. FRUSTRATION TOLERANCE:
Little, if any. I take setbacks poorly, take slights personally, and feel squashed like a bug frequently. I'm always hearing phrase about making lemonade out of lemons, which is great but I cannot manage to do.
11. IMPULSIVITY:
Depends on your definition. I'm inflexible, unable to follow another's suggestion or enthusiasm. However, if doing something different is my idea, then I cautiously indulge it. My whims tend to be pretty conservative, variations of my self-chosen routine. I don't do things that seem dangerous to me, nor things that will attract attention. I'm spontaneous, but only within my limited range of behaviours.
Writng all this took me hours, is really interesting to compare & contrast.
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Postby Sophist » Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:44 pm

NeantHumain wrote:I found some interesting information on a related construct: trait arousal: http://www.kaaj.com/psych/scales/ar.html. The opposite construct is called stimulus screening.


For Trait Arousal, I'm not sure. There are events, small things, which will anger me incredibly quickly. And then other things, often larger things, to which I'll never react in anger-- just calm.

I know I get happy/giddy easily. It's not like I'm necessarily ecstatic. It's just a wonderful sense of contentment and excitement. This doesn't always last for long although it is possible for me to relive a milder form of that enjoyment.

I would more likely tend towards a nonscreener. Although with my hormones all mucked up, that changes often.
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Postby Blandit » Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:36 pm

Wow, that is alot to reply to.

fears: I don't think that I have any, except for maybe the usual; public speaking. As a child I was afraid and intimidated by everyone. Fear makes me want to attack. I once punched out my brother because he sneaked up behind me! I also bloodied the nose of a worker in a haunted house when he lowered a rubber spider onto my head unexpectedly! I stay out of haunted houses now, for the safety of others. I am very nonviolent but fear (of the imminent danger sort) makes me hyped up!

anxiety: plenty, but I am so used to it's presence that I ignore it. But I can't discount the toll it takes on my energy level; especially as I age. I get very angry (instantly) when I hear loud sounds. That is why I hate motorcycles and hot rods. I am very anxious but it doesn't come out in my expression or the usual, recognizeable clues. No one would classify me as axious, I don't think. I do avoid anything that will make me anxious until the last minute and I have this compulsion to put things off: necessary phone calls, studying for college and starting assignments, even leaving the house to get somewhere on time; even if it is a place that I want to go to. I will find one hundred things to do that simply have to be done right then and there before I can get to that one thing that I really should be doing. It's almost compulsive. I'll make everyone late because I can't leave the house looking like a wreck or because I have to sort through this stack of papers, etc. I think that just maybe, I really don't want to leave the house, but I don't know what my excuse is for other things that I put off doing. All of this procrastination just makes me more anxious!

self-esteem: I don't think this is a problem, although I spent years thinking that I was the lowest, ugliest, stupidest life form on the planet. Back then, I didn't really like humans at all though so I did not hold many people in high regard. Now I think that we are all valuable in some way and dispicable in some way. (some more so than others!) I think that I finally attained a realistic view about myself and others.

emotional reactivity: I react too strongly to noise and confusion, things that most people are not bothered about. But often someone can do me wrong and I won't realize it for a long time and possibly not until someone else points it out.

hypochondriasis: nonexistant. I do think that there is something not functioning properly because I have alot of fatigue, but I don't think about it too much because I just have to deal with it. I don't take any medication and I don't like to go to the doctor. I don't fully trust the field of medicine, or science, or psychology, or any other discipline for that matter!

obsessions-rumination: I constantly go over and over any argument or problem that I may be having with my family or friends; relational things I do tend to obsess on; also, financial difficulties. I can spend hours thinking about something that I am interested in, such as AS or dark matter, or canning or getting into the rental business or ways to set up for retirement. Even though I may have an extremely limited knowlege about the topic, my mind will run over the same ground for hours. Several hours will go by while I'm at work, and I'll think, "I have just spent 4 hours thinking about rentals, a topic of which I know maybe four bits of information!"

resilience: good. I have learned from horrible past experiences that you can survive and thrive despite trials. Just look at the Holocaust survivors!
I am not a naturally optimistic person, but have acquired this skill with much self-talk and what the Bible calls "bringing every though captive". Basically, reprogramming.

Impulsivity: practically none. I don't like to make decisions so I usually will overanalyze things to the point of immobility. I am working on this and have improved greatly in the last few years.

feeling guilt or shame: not alot. We all have things that we could feel guilty about. If there is something that can be done to remedy the situation; do it. If there isn't, then get over it. I spent most of my youth feeling intrinsic shame. I'm over it; it is just too taxing.

vascillation of mood: My mood swings would probably be unnoticed by others because they are so weak. They probably show up more in writing since I tend to exaggerate to make a point when I am writing. So if I were "down" I would exaggerate the fact as if I were ready to kill myself and if I were "up" I would probably seem careless and "chatty". I do go into modes of complete lethargy where I can barely put one foot in front of the other and then for no reason, I will have a few days or weeks of energy where I over commit myself and then comes the fatigue again. But this describes my body more than my psyche. It just shifts in and out of gear for no particular reason. My family has a history of thyroid problems but the doctors say mine is fine. It would probably help if I would stay on a consistent, healthy diet and exercise!
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Postby GalileoAce » Thu Sep 07, 2006 1:18 pm

Sometimes it's not safe to over analyse one's negative aspects lest you dwell on them too extensively...I know someone who does it a bit too often...(not me)
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Postby NeantHumain » Thu Sep 07, 2006 5:08 pm

GalileoAce wrote:Sometimes it's not safe to over analyse one's negative aspects lest you dwell on them too extensively...I know someone who does it a bit too often...(not me)

Knowing one's weaknesses and various personality tendencies is as crucial as knowing one's talents and virtues. I'll give an example from my all-encompassing philosophical treatise on bicycles aptly titled "On Bicycles":
NeantHumain wrote:It is certainly the case that a man on his bicycle experiences a joy hitherto unfound in all Nature. The bicycle, though, is a machine composite of frame, two wheels, handle, and the man who doth make machine operable.

...

In Response to the Question Who Operates This Machine?

A Moral Inquiry into the Qualities Man Must Possess to Enjoy His Bicycle

A man who possess and ride a Bicycle ought to possess those virtues of character first described by Aristotle, for a wicked man who doth own a Bicycle is a reprobate thing. Illustrative of this Truth, one must only consider a vicious man who lacks the virtue of courage. A cowardly man shall dodge all obstacles close and afar yet by his immoderate cowardliness crash into the wall. The same Truth doth apply itself to the fearless rider of Bicycles. He too shall crash into the wall. If you have doubts, consider this scenario in your mind's eye.
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Postby GalileoAce » Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:43 am

NeantHumain wrote:
GalileoAce wrote:Sometimes it's not safe to over analyse one's negative aspects lest you dwell on them too extensively...I know someone who does it a bit too often...(not me)

Knowing one's weaknesses and various personality tendencies is as crucial as knowing one's talents and virtues.


I wasn't talking about knowing them, which is good. I was talking about over analysing and dwelling on them, which is not good.
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Postby Blandit » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:12 pm

Quite right. The reason I am interested in this type of discussion and self-awarness is that it helps me to understand in what ways I am alike and different from others. Then I can judge myself (and others) more soundly. (I think) (I hope!)
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Postby odeon » Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:39 pm

What GA said. 8)
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