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Self Doubt-decision making.


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 Ugh, I just had a whole big post typed up and the husbands computer wiped it all (which is kind of ironic given my topic I'm about to address). 

So I'm curious, do all of you anxiety sufferers also suffer major doubt about your own decision making capabilities or am I just stranger than I already thought I was?

 

I can make small decisions, what to wear that day, who to bank with, but I struggle with anything more than that. Even things like what to cook for dinner require me running it past the family, stressing that I'm choosing the wrong thing, worried that no one wants to eat it etc. 

 

An example. My laptop died last week. I spent HOURS researching every kind of computer out there, reading reviews, checking prices, that kind of stuff. Then I head out and go to every computer store in the area. Come home, more research. I'm talking all day long. It consumes me. I feel so overwhelmed, I get irritable and cranky with my family, I cannot cope with anything other than making this decision. 

 

Then I narrow down at least that I want a laptop of some kind. I go back to a few of the stores, I check prices, I come home, research online again, more cranky, more worry then back to the store. 

The whole time the sales person is talking to me, I'm still feeling overwhelmed and worrying. Will I love it, will I regret buying it, will the trackpad drive me nuts, is it okay that it's a display model, am I spending too much money, am I getting a good deal blah blah blah. I spend an hour and a half agonizing over this decision (yes, I'm sure the sales person loved me) and when I finally make one and pay for it I walk out of the store only to worry the whole way home. 

Getting home sends me almost into a panic attack. Did I spend too much, did I get the wrong one, should I have got something else, do I REALLY need a touch screen? What if I don't use the touchscreen and could have got something better. It does my head in. I call my husband twice (yes twice) for reassurance. 

I go and do housework to try and calm myself down. It's 6 hours since I bought the thing and it's sitting on my desk in it's box. I have to restrain myself from running out the door, taking it back and asking for my money back even though I *know* it's lovely and I'll probably love it. It's just hard to push the doubts out of the way. 

I'm using the computer as an example of just how agonizing making a relatively simple decision is, but I do it with EVERYTHING. Anything of any kind of importance what so ever and I drive my husband crazy to the point where I usually end up begging him to make the decision for me so I don't have to deal with myself (and neither do they!) but of course he hates that because then he feels like I can blame him later if the decision isn't the right one. 

Sorry I guess this is part question, part rant, but I am genuinely curious if anyone else suffers the same self doubt that I do. If you made it this far, thanks for listening :)

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Yup, I do. Big time. Even though I'm not exactly "anxiety sufferer", just plain old depressed.

 

Deciding what to cook for dinner is probably one of the hardest decisions in everyday-life (and most of the time I just end up either doing nothing or snacking something  :(  ).

 

I've had an "ongoing" project of getting a camera, which has now taken roughly about 3 years... just because I can't make the decision.

I should take my computer to some shop to get it fixed... haven't done it in almost a year, because I can't make the decision what I want to be done and how much I'm willing to pay for it.. so yes... indecision is all too familiar :(

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Ha, yeah... pretty much sums me up. It started with anxiety but when I get down it's like the resources aren't there to make the decision where as with my anxiety I have ideas I just don't know which to pick, I think I'm so worried about doing something to upset someone (like making the wrong thing for dinner) it's the disappointed 'oh okay' that really gets me and makes me flap around and panic. 

 

Shopping is a nightmare. Christmas shopping is killing me, not only on a social anxiety front but on a 'what if they don't like it' front. So you're not alone there! :-)

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Trying to make decisions causes anxiety b/c you are worrying that the decision will be wrong and then there will be more anxiety.  And on and on.  To be fair, buying a computer is a big decision, but I understand what you mean about stressing over every thing.

 

Have you ever tried making a pro/con list for decision making?  And once you make a decision, write down why its a good decision.  You can also try using thought-stopping if you continue to obsess over a decision that has already been made.

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PR has some good points. I do a lot of pro/con lists. 

A laptop IS a big decision, you'll be using it every day. Eventually, you'll adapt to it. I do a lot with the same things. I shop sometimes, agonize, try things on, little decisions, like pants. and give up, and don't buy anything. Sometimes its for the better, I don't blow a lot of cash. But for necessities, its a pain. Pro/con lists help.

 

Sales people are paid to do their job and trust me, as a computer engineer and former tech support worker AND retail person, they have dealt with WAY worse. Especially returns. You did research. Some people just want the cheapest thing and think it does everything and freak when it doesn't. Plus, a lot of salespeople get paid on commission, so you've already educated yourself, have an idea, and they really don't mind. An hour and a half for a laptop at a store isn't bad, honestly. I hang out with gamers, they'll spend days!! I spent about an hour picking out my current laptop. They didn't mind, they got commission. 

 

Don't beat yourself up over 2 phone calls and a couple days deciding. That'll make it harder on you. Try not to be so hard on yourself. Making a decision is hard for anyone, even people without anxiety and you, again, went in educated and knew about what you were buying which is above 90% of most costumers. You did nothing wrong, made a sale. So please, don't beat yourself up. There is a good and bad to every laptop - every purchase you make, nothing is perfect and exactly as you want it. So try and self soothe, calm down, and reassure yourself. 

 

I say a lot of this as an anxious computer geek. :)

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Trying to make decisions causes anxiety b/c you are worrying that the decision will be wrong and then there will be more anxiety

Yes this. So much this.

 

There were days when I was stuck in the grocery store agonizing over toilet paper. 

 

That kind of sucked.

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Thank you everyone. I guess I just wondered if I was all alone in the self doubt.

Nanna, ugh, good luck with the camera! I did that one about 8 months ago and prior to that about 3 years ago. I keep hoping everything I own will last forever because I don't ever want to have to deal with buying it ever again!

Paperskyscraper, yes! I hate it when someone doesn't like what I've cooked! Even if it's because they just don't like that food much instead of actually not liking my cooking! And I hear you! Christmas is a nightmare like you said, both because I have to go out to busy places AND because I actually have to decide on something to buy!

 

Phoenix_rising, thank you. Yes a computer is a big decision, and I don't get in quite as much of a flap over smaller things but I still do react the same way to a slightly lesser degree. The only real comparison I have for myself is my husband who walks in somewhere says 'sell me the best specs for this price" and walks out happy. Makes me feel even worse about the way I react to decision making.

I have made pro/con lists in the past. For most decisions they do help me to think clearly. Some of the larger one's not so much because I'm working with too many different variables, but I will start doing them on things I can and hopefully that will make a difference. Good idea, thanks :)

Thesystemisdown, lol, I hope so! I love it but the keyboard is driving me crazy already! I think it's just a learning curve, I remember my old laptop feeling weird after having a desktop and this one is even flatter. But I keep missing keys and it's very annoying! And you're right, being this way is good for my budget, not so sure on my mental health ;) Thank you for the thoughts. I feel a bit better thinking that not everything is perfect. Maybe that's the problem. I have this weird thing that everything always has to be.

Wooster, I have not agnozied over loo paper, but I have agonized over sauce and I read the ingredients list of everything I buy so I'm at the store 10 times longer than I should be. No one ever wants to shop with me because I take so long!

 

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Every single tiny decision was agonizing until I started medication.  It takes me a lot less time to do things like change clothes now.

I'm glad things are better for you. Thank you for contributing. Gives me hope that one day it might be easier for me too!

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I have that. My tdoc says it's part of my OCD. It was much, much worse before I started meds. Now I occasionally (every couple of days, maybe) get stuck spending a long time agonizing over every angle of a decision. It used to be absolutely everything, though. It was constant. I couldn't decide which episode of a TV show to watch. I couldn't decide what to eat. I couldn't decide when to wake up in the morning. I couldn't decide whether to use this word or that word in an email. I couldn't decide which minor chore to do first. On and on forever. It was beyond exhausting. 

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I have that. My tdoc says it's part of my OCD. It was much, much worse before I started meds. Now I occasionally (every couple of days, maybe) get stuck spending a long time agonizing over every angle of a decision. It used to be absolutely everything, though. It was constant. I couldn't decide which episode of a TV show to watch. I couldn't decide what to eat. I couldn't decide when to wake up in the morning. I couldn't decide whether to use this word or that word in an email. I couldn't decide which minor chore to do first. On and on forever. It was beyond exhausting. 

Wow, that sounds awful. Mine is not this bad. I can often decide what to wear, what channel to watch, other things though like new foods to try or new things in the supermarket are a little rough, the harder things I just don't have a hope. In the end the computer I was speaking of had to go back (faulty keyboard). I hate when things like that happen because it sort of helps to cement in my mind that I made the wrong decision (even though I know that faulty things exist and it wasn't my fault). I'm glad things are better for you now.

 

Yes yes and yes. I cannot make a decision for the life of me. Even as simple as what to make for,dinner. It's way difficult. I totally understand the over-researching thing too. It all becomes quite overwhelming. I'm sorry you go through this crap too.

Ugh, it sucks! The researcing is horrible. I feel for you :(

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I have that. My tdoc says it's part of my OCD. It was much, much worse before I started meds. Now I occasionally (every couple of days, maybe) get stuck spending a long time agonizing over every angle of a decision. It used to be absolutely everything, though. It was constant. I couldn't decide which episode of a TV show to watch. I couldn't decide what to eat. I couldn't decide when to wake up in the morning. I couldn't decide whether to use this word or that word in an email. I couldn't decide which minor chore to do first. On and on forever. It was beyond exhausting. 

Wow, that sounds awful. Mine is not this bad. I can often decide what to wear, what channel to watch, other things though like new foods to try or new things in the supermarket are a little rough, the harder things I just don't have a hope. In the end the computer I was speaking of had to go back (faulty keyboard). I hate when things like that happen because it sort of helps to cement in my mind that I made the wrong decision (even though I know that faulty things exist and it wasn't my fault). I'm glad things are better for you now.

Me too. Before my tdoc managed to convince me to see a pdoc for meds, it got to the point where I couldn't feed myself properly because I was so terrified of picking the wrong thing to eat. I would spend hours reading the episode synopses of all the TV episodes I was considering watching over and over because if I didn't pick the "right" one something awful would happen. All of my clothes are identical so I never have to make decisions about clothing. 

 

I know what you mean about the faulty keyboard thing. Any minor thing wrong with something I chose would send me into a full freakout. It always feels a lot worse than it is, and then the next time I have to make a decision I'm stuck on the thought of "Oh remember this awful thing that happened LAST time you made a bad decision?" and it makes the anxiety that much worse. Intellectually I could always recognize that the consequences of choosing wrong weren't actually very bad, but I could never quite convince myself on an emotional/psychological level. I can definitely identify with the urge to back out after the fact that you talked about in your OP. I would always save things like that in returnable condition for as long as I could because I would be terrified of being trapped in a wrong decision.

 

I hope you're able to get a new non-faulty laptop with a minimum of distress.

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I know what you mean about the faulty keyboard thing. Any minor thing wrong with something I chose would send me into a full freakout. It always feels a lot worse than it is, and then the next time I have to make a decision I'm stuck on the thought of "Oh remember this awful thing that happened LAST time you made a bad decision?" and it makes the anxiety that much worse. Intellectually I could always recognize that the consequences of choosing wrong weren't actually very bad, but I could never quite convince myself on an emotional/psychological level. I can definitely identify with the urge to back out after the fact that you talked about in your OP. I would always save things like that in returnable condition for as long as I could because I would be terrified of being trapped in a wrong decision.

 

I hope you're able to get a new non-faulty laptop with a minimum of distress.

 

Oh yes! This is so much me! I'll leave clothes in the cupboard with their tags on and continue to wear my old things that don't fit, the computer and not taking it out of the box is a perfect example of it!

And thank you. I actually got a phone call from the guy who sold it to me who told me not to worry at all and to come in when I'm ready and we'll sort it all out. Now I just have to work up the nerve to go back in there and make another decision!

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Can someone go with you, or would that make it worse? Sometimes a 2nd opinion can make it even harder!

 

Good luck on your ventures. Maybe they'll have a test one, so you can try the keyboard, get the feel for a few minutes?

Best luck!

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Can someone go with you, or would that make it worse? Sometimes a 2nd opinion can make it even harder!

 

Good luck on your ventures. Maybe they'll have a test one, so you can try the keyboard, get the feel for a few minutes?

Best luck!

Thanks! Yep, going to drag the husband with me ;) And they do, I tried this one at the store but it's hard to get a feel sometimes until you own something :(

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  • 2 weeks later...

Analysis paralysis, my old friend. I know this feeling well. I do this for almost every decision, no matter how small, in my life.

 

Weekend is coming? I can't decide what I'm going to do in my spare time, so I'm anxious!

DVR is full of recorded shows? I don't know what to watch!!!

 

Probably the biggest area that this affects me is when I'm learning new things for work. I'm a software developer and there is always so much new stuff to learn. It's impossible to learn it all, so you have to choose what areas you learn stuff in. I end up paralyzed and not learning anything, because I can't decide what learning path to take. And it's starting to really interfere with my life. :(

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Analysis paralysis, my old friend. I know this feeling well. I do this for almost every decision, no matter how small, in my life.

 

Weekend is coming? I can't decide what I'm going to do in my spare time, so I'm anxious!

DVR is full of recorded shows? I don't know what to watch!!!

 

Probably the biggest area that this affects me is when I'm learning new things for work. I'm a software developer and there is always so much new stuff to learn. It's impossible to learn it all, so you have to choose what areas you learn stuff in. I end up paralyzed and not learning anything, because I can't decide what learning path to take. And it's starting to really interfere with my life. :(

:( That sucks. I don't think I'd have a hope in heck of choosing  what to study! I still haven't gone to replace my computer because I refuse to go alone (I want my husband to come with me to validate that any decision I make is the right one). I only just messaged my Mum yesterday to tell her we'd be there for Christmas lunch because I couldn't decide if we would or not. I spent an hour at the meat section in the supermarket today because I couldn't decide what to cook for dinner. It's terrible isn't it? And yes, analysis paralysis sums it up perfectly! I'm sorry you have it too.

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