Executive Function Cache 22

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    • #101625

      I feel like my biggest issue is executive functioning. I have not been diagnosed and am having a horrible time.
      Everything boils down to just DOING things. I know all the things to do
      I cannot DO those things.
      All the advice on how to work on improvement is pointless because it all starts with me taking action.
      I need to keep looking for doctors but I never call them. I need to go to the appointments to get help but I just don’t. I forget about them no matter how many reminders are set on my phone, and most of the time I forget what the reminder was for immediately after turning it off and so do nothing about it.
      I once forced myself to keep an appointment it caused my 2 days of an anxiety attack because I knew if I wasn’t worried I wouldn’t make it. I drove to the appointment in the morning 4 hours before my time. That psychiatrist interrupted me if my answers were more than 3 words long, he got annoyed that I was emotional and before I explained why I was even there he told me I probably am bipolar. Every question was geared towards bipolar. He was a complete arse. I read up on him later, his specialty is bipolar disorder, so apparently he thought that’s why I came to him.
      He actually said to me, “let’s not discuss your focus issues right now, tell me who in your family has bipolar disorder”
      Anyway, I don’t understand how I am supposed to get help with ADHD when getting help requires focus, consistency, action, organization and clarity of mind enough to speak about my issues.
      How do I DO what I cannot DO to get help DOING those things?!
      What even is the point in trying?

    • #101629

      If you have a friend or family member that will be supportive, tell them what’s going on and ask if they will help find a good doctor.
      Ask them to help you make an appointment and that they take you to your appointment, there’s no shame in asking for help.
      Good luck.

    • #101633

      Asking for help is already on my list of actions I am failing at
      It does not matter that that action would be helpful if I cannot DO it

    • #101643

      You’ve asked us for help, you also saw a psychiatrist. Those are things that you could DO. Sounds like you found a really crap psychiatrist, why don’t you try a different one?

    • #101705

      The fact that I have done actions in the past does not magically take away my ADHD now. As I am sure you have had moments where you were focused on things or you were having an awesome relationship or you were successful at something, that does not fix the issues you have today.
      That was 4 years ago that I saw that doctor.
      It took me 2 years to make that appointment happen.
      The reason I don’t just find another doctor is the same reason I don’t just brush my teeth everyday.
      I’m not sure if you’re understanding executive functioning disorder, but it’s that last spark where your brain tells your body to do any action, its actually a subconscious connection between you thinking of a thing to do and then your body actually doing it. It doesn’t matter how much the action is thought about or how many times I say ok I’m going to do this right now, I cannot DO the action.
      If, for example, I know it’s time to do laundry, I have an alarm go off I think about going to do it, I may even stand up or start walking toward the laundry room but then suddenly my mind is blank from that thought. And I don’t even know it’s blank until later. It’s like when you actually do a small task and your brain checks it off and forgets it, you don’t think about the task anymore because it was insignificant and has been completed. Mine does it before the task is complete and no matter how important the task is. It’s not even the thought of perhaps I forgot something, it just is not in my brain at all.
      I have zero problems focusing when I am writing or typing.
      Unfortunately there are no doctors who communicate with patients just by email. I can’t even find one I can make an appointment with online. I have to call.
      When I try to speak out loud to people my mind goes completely blank. I have absolutely nothing in my head. The anxiety of that contributes to procrastination and further prohibits me from taking actions when I do seem to be able to take action.
      I do not have friends or family who can take the time to help me.
      I am a single mom. If I had in person help I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

    • #101708

      What I need, if it were possible, is someone to follow me around all day telling me what to do and making sure I follow through.
      Because the part of the brain that most people have that does that for them is not firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately no one does that for free.
      Seeing as I barely have enough money for toilet paper for me and the kids, I won’t be hiring anyone anytime soon to help me out.

    • #101768

      Hi Whatmom,
      I’m sorry to hear you are going through all of this. I also have an executive function disorder, plus ADHD and was recently diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Your posts sound familiar to me. These things you are struggling with are very real and difficult to manage. My supervisor forced me to take a leave of absence because I was regularly forgetting conversations and tasks. Like she asked me to do something and I completely forgot it by the time I reached my desk to either do it or write it down, just gone!

      Anyway, I’m writing to let you know that there is hope. Basically I need to use paper and electronic tools to make up for the part of my brain that doesn’t work correctly. There is no magic wand to wave. But what has helped me is doing ALL of the following:
      1) TAKE DEEP BREATHS and forgive yourself. All you can do is YOUR best.
      2) make a simple REALISTIC daily to-do list. Like on average 5 or fewer tasks per day. I was easily overwhelmed what there was a lot to do on one day. Sometimes I’d waste 30 minutes debating what to do first.
      3) Write this on a post-it note or somewhere on your phone that you will check often. Keep your list with you all day. Then when your mind goes blank, you can look at it and remember what you wanted to do. And if the task you forgot wasn’t on the list… then maybe it was OK to forget it.
      4) I’m also keeping a weekly planner so I can see all that I accomplished and can plan out tasks for today and in the future.
      5) remove clutter from your house, office, desk, computer, phone as much as you can to avoid unexpected distractions
      6) I’ve downsized my responsibilities, delegated, and am teaching myself to take on less each day so that I have a better chance of achieving my goals.
      7) I know you mentioned this one, but it does help me – keep reminders on my phone set up as calendar events and alarms. I have an alarm on my phone to walk to dog at 6pm. Then if I snooze the alarm and don’t take the dog, I’m reminded in another 9 minutes. Sometimes, when I really really really don’t’ want to do something, this still doesn’t work. Then I just try agian the next day. I mean, I walk my dog because the guilt of not taking him is unbearable, but sometimes he has to wait longer than he’d like. I also use my phone to to send me a reminder roughly every hour. The message reads: “Focus, are you doing what you’re supposed to? Deep breaths, focus, and GO!”. My phone tells me when to brush my teeth, when to eat lunch, when to eat dinner. Otherwise I’ll be eating at 9pm, teeth at 11, and bed at 1am. I can’t trust myself to manage my time mentally.

      These are additional techniques that therapists have taught me:
      -Tell yourself, OK in the next 30 minutes I’m going to start laundry… GO! The anxiety from a short deadline gets me going.
      -Ask yourself what is the absolute worst thing that will happen when you do something. In my case, scheduling a dentist appointment. I said, they’re going to judge me for not going in 5 years. My therapist convinced me they probably won’t and if they do, who really cares? (I called, and no one judged me). But figure out if there is something else in your subconscious holding you back from completing the task – try to address it
      -It also helps to have someone, you can ask anyone you know, to follow up with you, like hold you accountable for making that appointment. I’ve had my therapist and my boyfriend fill this role for me. Ask hey, I need to make an appointment with the dentist today, can you follow up with me tomorrow and make sure I did it?

      I know this is a lot, but I hope at least some of these tools can help you. I don’t know you or your life, but I think that everyone can benefit from working with a good therapist and psychiatrist team. If you can choose a day where your only task is to call the doctor, then another day your only task is to go to the doctor – I think you can make it. It’s more than just focusing and remembering, it’s also important to remove other distractions.

      Good luck. Remember every day is an opportunity to try again, and there’s always tomorrow if today didn’t go as planned.

    • #101874

      I appreciate the suggestions.
      Thanks all for taking the time.

      It’s still just a list of things to do that I can’t do though.

      If I did not have my children to care for I might be able to focus all energy on getting help one task at a time.

      Not sure what I was hoping to find here but all this site seems to be for me is a list of tools and ideas I will never have the actual ability to use.

      I give up.

    • #103569

      Hey there

      I struggle with executive functions as well, but may be not as severely. I often don’t even start something because I learned from experience that I likely will not finish it. I hope I might still have some helpful suggestions that help.

      I hate to call people. Especially ones I do not know. My mind goes blank as well. For me it really helps to write down everything I want to say – even the Hello.

      An example for a note I take to get an doctor’s appointment:

      1. Hello- My name is ()
      2. I’m calling to make an appointment, because of ()

      During the calls I always try to have my calendar open, so I do not double book. I write it in the calendar the moment I get the appointment, otherwise I will forget it. For the appointment it can help to bring a list with the things you want to say. This really helped me during my first appointment.

      Do you have problems setting priorities as well or is it “just” the doing of the task that is challenging?

    • #103722

      I I am right there with you. I feel exactly the same. My therapist (only one of 100 I’ve had over the years is only in one day a week. I tried to politely to change and she wouldn’t let me. But that doesn’t really matter because as much as I want to go when the appointment is made by the time one if my 17 alarms, reminders or any of the other apps I’ve downloaded to help me manage my time does do it’s thing…but I just don’t do it. I don’t know why. It seems so simple.
      Mean while my life is a mess. I’m deeply depressed. My life is Disorganized but if You breakdown exactly what I do with the Majority of my day, it’s spent documenting and listing and planning to try and be org organized. Worse is that I used to be fine. A horrible marriage to a very abusive man cost me everything. I had 3 houses. I’ve paid off 4 cars and I u used to have a Car and several homes I FUNCTIONED FINE. But then I was on. Medication and wasn’t dealing with PTSD. After a battle in witch he stalked and threatened and stole everything from me and oulegal system rem failed me completely and has allowed him to just keep dragging me to court and costing me thousands. I still have sole custody. He’s been incarcerated 3 times but I was forced to move in with parents. I mean forced. My father wa was helping me move into an apartmept while I was at work and they towed his truck. Twice. He called me at work and told me he was moving me out and to come to there place after work. I begged him not to. My job was new so I couldn’t race home. In a fit of anger he boxed me up put my furniture outside and my daughter and I were stuck. I lost my job because I still ended missing work and I have barely worked since. I’ve been here ever since. But now. He takes a weekly 30 monite stab at my self-esteem screaming at calling me a liar manipulative lazy and a piece if shit. He says my refusal to keep an organized room is a choice and It’s my way of me telling him I have no respect. When I do try to remember small things like taking dishes out and putting dishes away it’s never noticed and we always go back to how I ALWAYS OR NEVER And he says I’m just ungrateful lazy and rude. I end up. Hysterical, unable to form a articulate sentence and it’s a regular occurrence. He’s so quick to awesome I’m just a horrible person. I try and explain but that’s me lying he says or me blaming everyone for my problems. If I beg him to please not tell me what a horrible person I am the I’m really trying he just continues. So I litteraly feel hopeless. I don’t know what to do either.

    • #103809

      Start with one thing. Forget the list. You know what is the most important thing to do, because you already did it. Find a psychiatrist. Book the appointment. Make that your only “to-do” this week. Don’t worry about anything else until that is done. (And yes, I get it… easier said than done.) If you’re able to take a sick day, do so.

      Stay off the articles of this site until you feel like things are a bit more in control. It is very easy to get lost in the rabbit hole of things you “could” do.

      Oh, and hang in there. 🙂

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