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collectingrocks

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collectingrocks

I need to go on a residential training course for work in a few weeks and towards the end of the course, I have to role-play with others on the course with video footage. I am absolutely bricking it and know I will have a panic attack. I don't do well in group sessions at the best of times.

Not going is NOT an option. Any help would be appreciated please, thanks

 

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Soloist
1 hour ago, collectingrocks said:

I need to go on a residential training course for work in a few weeks and towards the end of the course, I have to role-play with others on the course with video footage. I am absolutely bricking it and know I will have a panic attack. I don't do well in group sessions at the best of times.

Not going is NOT an option. Any help would be appreciated please, thanks

 

God I totally sympathise, I would be feeling the same way. Why oh why do employer's force this kind of stuff on people. :(

I have used self-hypnosis recordings to take the edge of anxiety-causing situations. For me they don't fix everything but they do seem to make a positive difference. These are the ones I use, they cost £26.95: http://www.selfhypnosisuk.com/products/self-hypnosis/money-saving-compilations/anxiety-prevention-programme

The above collection includes the following:

Download 1 – Overcome Anxiety and Panic Attacks Hypnosis (3 tracks)

Download 2 –  General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Hypnosis (3 tracks)

Download 3 – Social Anxiety and Social Phobia Hypnosis (2 tracks)

Download 4 – Stress Management Hypnosis and CBT (3 tracks)

Download 5 – Confidence and Self-Esteem Hypnosis (3 tracks)

Probably the social anxiety/phobia one would be most relevant of the above. You can use them multiple times so could start your preparations now and then also whilst you're on the course. I think they may have a free sample on the site if you want to see what they are like.

If you don't like these ones you could check other sources, or even see a hypnotherapist for a few sessions.

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Gone away

I often just refuse anything that I'm genuinely uncomfortable with ... however, if choice is no option - doing it unusually  well in the mind while feeling comfortable in the mind helps alot. Its pure over-corrected fantasy, but helps with the end result. Its important to feel relaxed about the thoughts. Imagine getting on unusually well with these people on your way to the building ... set associations etc. 

Its just a get you through temporary bodge

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Eliza

When I first started my job I was thrust into an awkward situation without advance notice and I had a major panic attack in front of everyone, but I survived it.

Anxietyrevolution.com is helpful. It's a series of four videos that teaches how panic attacks are connected with our thoughts.

Do you have a relative or anyone who could practice with you? You can also visualize the situation in your mind (over and over) and picture yourself feeling at ease and participating. I tell myself, "It's not anxiety, I'm enthused," and that works most of the time.

Since it's a group project, not a solo endeavor, let the people in your group know you are 'shy' and want a small part in the video. If you can trust anyone at work, let them know what you're going through. Chances are they will offer support and help you get through it quicker.

There is always the 'mirror' as a last resort. Stand in front of a mirror and think back to someone you admired for their outgoing personality and mimic their style. Until you feel comfortable in your own shoes, wear someone else's (not the best advice, but hey, it works).

 

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HalfFull

When I have almost any issue now I check Google and YouTube.

Theres plenty on YouTube but as a starting point how about:

https://www.youtube.com/user/PanicAttackerVideo

It may be an idea to make your employer and/or the training provider aware of your fears. I don't know if your employer knows you're on the Autism spectrum. I can't tell you to disclose, but personally I think not doing so can potentially create harrowing situations of this kind.

However, if you watch videos to help calm your mind etc, beforehand, it might not be nearly as bad as you think. You should see about playing the easiest role if you can't get out of it. In fact, I'm not sure you can really be forced to do it to keep your job?

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collectingrocks

Thanks for replies

Firstly I can't practice what I'm going to say/do as it will be based upon the training that I'll receive over the 3 days I am there. There is nothing on-line on the subject that I can look up in advance.  And all the people I will be with (whom I won't know) have Master's degrees in the profession which I do not. I'm worried that I won't find anyone to click with and whom I can use as a partner. My employer doesn't know I'm on the spectrum and nor does the University who is running the course. 

I'll check out the videos suggested but still worried I will "cave in" on the day. It will actually be like an exam and I have to do it, otherwise I won't be certified to practice this new skill. 

 

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Gone away
14 hours ago, collectingrocks said:

but still worried I will "cave in" on the day

Well, it will be one day at a time. Best not to create a self fulfilling prophesy ... or rather do ... but make sure its a good one where you are comfortable.. 

I'd still use imaginary scene setting with imaginary people. I expect there are random role play things on youtube. My preference used to be to thoroughly prepare and then deliberately forget it / get the mind on neutral material / subjects to converse on. Role play is not nice. I function like a awkward semi seized robot on role play. Its hard playing a role someone else has created/suggested.

I think all you can do is try and prepare for getting on socially with these people as things are easier if you can get on with them, its temporary and there will be breaks. Quite a few will feel awkward ... its a test you'll need to get through. Worry is your enemy here, don't be its friend.

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Eli

Please feel free to discount this; I realize what I am about to say is contrary to what others are saying, but I'm going to go ahead and put it out there. The kind of situation you are dealing with is literally my nightmare. And I have lived that nightmare way too many times. Literally, just thinking about it is making my heart feel wobbly and my hands sweaty, right now. I just wanted to go ahead and clarify my level of empathy for you.

So, here goes: you've made it clear that this is not something you can really prepare for, and what I'm going to suggest as that you shouldn't try to prepare. In my personal experience, the more I try to control every little moment of my impending nightmare, the more it unravels while I have an out-of-body experience of social terror. The exception here is if you're supposed to memorize a speech to give, but that doesn't seem to be the case, here. And even in that specific scenerio, while knowing what you're supposed to say is necessary, when you're in that moment you've been dreading, it can all go out the window because you're afraid it will.  Memorized information is not a loyal friend in these moments, but solid understanding of a subject will serve better, so focus on understanding what you learn.

What you'll need is to be lucid in that moment, and able to think and act.To do that, it needs to be a moment like any other, meaning one that proceeds the one before it and one that is followed by another. Most of the time, we don't rehearse each moment, we just live them. And if you are fearing this moment and obsessing over it, you wont be paying attention to the information that precedes this dreadful moment. I do back up the advice to do some self-hypnosis, but the best thing I have found is to just not think about it. I know that's way easier said than done, but every time the though persists and sends that cold little drip down your chest, gently push it away, and focus on the present. Take one day at a time, one moment at a time. Try your best to not demonize it; that will give it all the more power in your mind to mess with you.

Also, just to add one more thought that occurs to me, what if you have a panic-attack? What if you fail the course? Why are you having to do this? Why is the situation so rigid? This exam they're putting you through for work, it sounds as though it is specifically designed to see how you respond in this kind of scenario. Is this job going to require that of you frequently, and if so, is this the right job for you? I just want to put it in your head that even if you go up there and pee your pants, and your mom is there with bad pictures of you on a power point,  and all the kids you went to middle school are there and chant that you smell like poo, what then? Life goes on. I F***ing can guarantee that. And it'll be fine. My mother used to ask me (when I was hyperventilating over some impending, school-related  performance) will this matter in two years? Five? Ten? Thirty? More than likely, it will not. Don't let fear lie to you; it's probably not nearly as bad as fear leads you to believe. Good luck, and genuine hug.

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Eli

BY the way, some people were talking about not having a self-fulfilling prophesy, and to that, I say Amen and hallelujah! It is true, true, true. In fact, when I was in college I had to do a lot of performances, speeches, lead discussions and even do imrov skits (of all idiotic nonsense), and I tried this thing where I pretended like I was really good at it and it was no bid deal. And when I say pretended, I don't just mean in front of other people, I mean with myself, and in my head. When I would start getting that anxiety, I would physically shrug and make a smug little face and be like, 'Meh, I can do anything. It's whatever.' Even if I didn't entirely believe it. I remember once a classmate asked me if I was nervous before I did a presentation at an art gallery opening in front of a huge crowd of people in a really tight, awkward room, and I said," Nope." No, it wasn't entirely true, but your subconscious is like a child and picks up on the things you say, whether it's in your head or to others. So start "pretending" that it's no big deal, that you're not even remotely worried about it, and that, dare you think it, you're good at it. It really does take the edge off, I swear.

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Gone away

Sometimes I imagine there is no past and no future. It helps me to focus on the present.

I think alot of us have a good collection of mental tools to deal with things ... remembering where you left them is the thing

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