acting like a moron in classes - please help?

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sometum
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30 Apr 2012, 10:52 am

hello, could anyone please advise. i'm at university and i have two classes for discussion once a week. i find one ok, because it is just like a regular class, so we are working through things as well and it is quite informal. i usually have things to say and i don't mind saying them. i find the other positively dreadful. i don't know why. my anxiety is really terrible in it. i think it is because it is very focussed on discussion, and it is in a very formal space, and it is all talk. i am so embarrassed by the way i act. we are given a handout to read previously etc. i really just can't stay on topic even though it is set out like a question. anyway basically, because when i first came here i did not talk *at all* i made classes *very* awkward and now i have developed some kind of guilt complex about talking. i don't even know what i'm saying. it's really terrible. i even accidentally interrupted someone (i thought he had finished talking) today to purposelessly correct his point even though no one understood what i was saying or trying to say (i don't even know what i was saying frankly). it was so awkward - why did i even do that??! pleaaase help... i was so anxious today, i kept making weird movements and also a 'psssssh' noise. how do i stop doing that? seriously. i make it all the time. but i have never made it so persistently in that class before. it is really embarrassing to do it in a formal space like that. i mean jesus christ. dear god. really terrible. i feel so guilty. p.s. i had nothing to say today (even though, as mentioned, i kept wildly throwing out stupid comments every so often). i'm not sure i even understood the discussion.

i think i am worse when i sleep. i once had a really great class one day when i stayed up all night. that said, it wasn't this class. i am so much better at discussions where there is not a question we are supposed to be answering. why?! i was thinking when i meet my tutor i could maybe ask if it's ok if i don't talk if i don't have anything to say? you see i'm paranoid she will ask me a question if i don't talk. i would prefer only to talk if i had something to say rather than being on edge and jumping in with really just *stupid* remarks. seriously i really don't like it, i must have seemed insanely anxious (not to mention idiotic) the way i acted in class today. it is totally inappropriate to the situation. i mean no one else is that anxious. the other people are having a normal discussion!! honestly it was just really lame with the movements and making that noise. it is so bad because there are only 5 people in the room for these classes! so humiliating ... and i feel so guilty about wrecking these classes for the tutor because i feel like she is ending them early b/c of me. also does anyone have any ideas for how i can be less anxious anyway? i'm even on medication, so this sucks. i really feel i'm MUCH worse if i've slept. when i'm sleep-deprived i can do anything almost.



Nascaireacht
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30 Apr 2012, 1:42 pm

I think that's really interesting that you work better when sleep deprived. I have often found that to be the case with me. I feel like I get so tired that the part of my brain that is concentrating on my special interests turns off, and I can write the essay, or read the textbook, or whatever. Unfortunately, it's not a sustainable system longterm! If I could only figure out a way of doing it without exhaustion. There's probably some reason for it, some hormone that goes to sleep and lets us calm down and concentrate. Or some other hormone that gets stronger and overcomes your tendency to panic and say anything. Could it be endorphins? Could you do things beforehand that magnify endorphins (rather than lose sleep).
From my own college experience, I would say it's really, really worth talking to your tutor. Is the college aware of your diagnosis (if you have a diagnosis)? Because if so, I'm sure she'd be expected to make allowances, and if the tutorials are not working well at the moment, she'd probably be just as anxious as you to do something about the situation. She may be inexperienced in handling situations like this, and appreciate your input. However, she needs to know what to do - she can't help you if she doesn't know what would help. If you think you'd find it hard to explain without embarrassing yourself, could you write it out and give it to her to read? Perhaps send it to her, and ask for a meeting to discuss it, so you can clarify the whole thing, but don't have to explain absolutely everything. And make it a proper meeting, so you don't just meet her in the corridor and start explaining while others are going by - you'll never relax and get the whole thing across. At the moment, she may just see your outer behaviour and not realise at all that you are embarrassed and worried about it.
You could start by explaining your general difficulties, and then say why these difficulties mean you're acting oddly in her class. Then say that you'd appreciate if you could make fewer comments, or whatever approach or bunch of approaches you think will help. These tutorials are to train people to be able to give their opinions at work, or wherever. But if you're on the spectrum, then it's not like you'll ever be the sort of person to be completely comfortable in this kind of environment. So you should be given special allowances to let you come in on it at your own pace. If you don't feel obliged to jump in all the time, maybe you'll relax and develop your own style for these meetings.



NTAndrew
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30 Apr 2012, 2:01 pm

I have heard that sleep deprivation is a way to get out of a deep depression.

I'd try it some time, if sleep wasn't my favorite activity in the whole world!



questor
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30 Apr 2012, 3:51 pm

You and this particular class are not a match. How necessary is this particular class? Really, if it's not absolutely necessary, drop it.


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If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
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sometum
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30 Apr 2012, 4:28 pm

hi. thanks for your replies guys. i'm the same as you nascaireacht, with finally being able to focus at night. then having to go to bed just to keep a regular sleeping pattern and having to start all over in the morning. :( my tutor does know about my diagnosis. my university is in fact very supportive. it is just this class. it is terrible. i have a meeting with her on wednesday so i think i might just ask then if it would bother her if i contributed less. i'm not sure if maybe it's all in my head. i think i'd just like to clarify what i'm supposed to be doing maybe, as i agree i think i'd be less anxious if i didn't feel constantly obliged to jump in with something. i'm worried that i'm responsible for every silence, or every prospective silence so i'm just like ioarjaeiorjaeirjae idiotic remark here, or even just throwing in idiotic remarks for no apparent reason. i forget what i'm saying mid-sentence and just stop as well, seriously. god. ok so i shall force myself to mention this on wednesday because i really just think it is terrible that my behaviour in class is not brought up. i mean i just feel so insanely guilty about it. probably be very embarrassing and awkward but oh well.

thanks questor but i can't drop the class unfortunately. :\ i wish i knew how to stay on-topic. it's actually a discussion based around an exam paper. maybe if i tried to make time to do the exam paper beforehand (we're not asked to write it up unless we want to after) i'd have a better idea on how to stay on-topic and know what people are talking about. i actually doubt i can do the exam paper frankly. perhaps my problem here is more than the class. :\ ok so i need to sort this out somehow anyway.