We all know that feeling. You go to bed satisfied that you had a great night. You talked to some cool people, had interesting conversations and enjoyed yourself. Then, the next morning, you wake up and hit that rewind button... "Did I talk too much? Was I too opinionated? Did I look like an idiot?"
With the holidays upon us, we're likely to find ourselves in more social situations so let's make them as painless as possible. The anticipation of social events can be anxiety-producing because of our tendency to hit that rewind button over and over again, making the situations seem worse each time we do. We need to learn to strike a balance between staying true to who we are while avoiding ADHD-induced social blunders such as dominating conversation and interrupting others.
The thing is that for some people, their rewind button has that worn elevator button look that comes from years of overuse. What I've learned is that it does us no good to keep hitting that button. First of all, you're the only person with access to it. It is very unlikely that anyone else is spending their time thinking back on your specific actions from the night before. Secondly, research shows that we usually don't remember things correctly, anyway! We're torturing ourselves with the stories we're replaying in our minds that are being exaggerated with each playback.
Remember that game "Telephone" we used to play when we were young? Everyone would sit in a circle and one person would start the game by sending a message through the loop. As the message was passed on from ear to ear, it got more and more scrambled until it wasn't even recognizable in the end. This is exactly what happens when we keep hitting that rewind button. We interject our interpretations and biases into the story until it's something completely different than the actual event.
When coaching clients who are struggling with their rewind impulse, I often tell them to try and remove themselves from the story and to tell it from a third-person perspective. If we're not a character in the story, we're more likely to get an accurate portrayal of what actually happened because it's not subject to our own biases.
So, at your next holiday party, I want you to remember this: Don't squash the real you for fear of the replay. When your impulse to hit "rewind" flares (and I guarantee it will!) take a deep breath and remember that your memory very likely exaggerated bits and pieces of the actual event. Stop and remove yourself from the situation and tell the story from third-person perspective. If you're still struggling to calm your anxiety, call a friend who was there. That friend will likely tell you that you're remembering it wrong and put your mind at ease.
You don't need to change who you are just because ADHD sometimes makes social situations awkward. Don't let your mind play tricks on itself.