Unintentionally Discarding Important Items

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    • #115749

      I have a pattern of not just losing but almost intentionally discarding important items when I’m in a stressful situation.

      I have thrown my cell phone in a hotel garbage can while organizing a conference. I have left my wallet at a Dairy Queen after driving across the state to pick up my daughter from a crisis. I have set down my passport and walked away after grabbing lunch in an airport food court en route to a difficult work trip. I have found my wallet at the bottom of my own kitchen garbage can.

      I don’t even necessarily realize I’m overly stressed when I do the discarding, but obviously after the fact, especially when I am mentally beating myself up for doing something so stupid, I start to wonder if I’m practicing self sabotage.

      My therapist does not see it as self sabotage, but rather an invitation to slow down. I’m literally moving too fast that my brain doesn’t know what my hands are doing.

      This is such a weird and demoralizing (how can I trust myself?) pattern. I consider myself a professional and high achiever otherwise. I just wonder if anyone else has experienced this and/or have an idea about what is happening.

    • #115773

      I do this all the time too.

      Three times this year I lost a $300 piece of athletic equipment. Twice I left it against my car and drove off, the other time I have no memory at all of what happened, just that when I went to go grab it, not there.

      I lose my keys and cell phone several times a day, I usually find them but I spend probably 60 minutes a day searching and super stressed when searching. Maybe 90 minutes.

      I do also do dumb things like drop and break things a lot too. I was kicked out of my cell phone insurance program for using it too much (not kidding). Also not kidding, a few years ago I was kicked out of AAA for locking my keys in my car too often. Luckily I know have keys that make it impossible to lock yourself out.

      I just started taking meds which has helped with work concentration, but I’m not sure if it has helped with this. Guess I will have to wait and see.

      Oh, and losing things like this has happened my entire life. When I was a teenager it would stress me out so much, because my parents would be furious. I lost my grandmother’s ring and a $200 dollar jacket when I left it at a park. The ring was in the jacket pocket. That one was hard.

      I don’t know if your therapists advice is helpful. Sometimes I am rushing, but other times I am not rushing. My mind is just day dreaming.

      • #116599

        This is zoning out. NOT mindful. We can barely hold one thought in our head and then add a crisis. No tricks will help. You have to be in control of your brain. Deep breathing. Tell yourself you are in control at that moment. I am in a class that is changing my life. Called DBT diabolitical behavior therapy. Takes work and practice. But eventually when in a crisis you do what your mind needs.

    • #115843

      I can relate to this, too. I literally will have documents in my hands at work, be in the middle of processing them (i’m a Buyer) and 2 seconds later when i go to put all the paperwork together, I literally have lost it. It can take minutes, hours, or even several days to locate what I am searching for. Sometimes in front of me, sometimes stuck to something else. It is so frustrating. I also seem to be more forgetful as to where I put my things, and I am usually specific about what goes where, and then I find things in totally odd places. I have forgotten to put my car in park several times, I’m horrible still at managing paying my bills (mostly online), sometimes procrastinating,other times just forgetting. What I am probably the worst at, is remembering where I put things. I have a vision in my mind about what I did with things, but then they are not there. But other times, I am very detail-oriented and organized. I think it may have more to do with where my interests lie. Things I take an active interest in, I usually pay better attention to. I have been taking medication for about a year and a half now, but I honestly think I need my dosage upped, to take it 3x a day, instead of 2. It seems the steadier flow of release helps me manage greater. It also helps with my anxiety a great deal. When I’m focused and devoting my attention to the immediate task or project, I don’t daydrean as much, so I don’t overthink and worry about “possible” outcomes or reactions. I feel more confident in my public speaking or presenting at company meetings. The one drawback, though, is when I’m passionate about something, I can get extremely drawn into making it a success, no matter what it is. If it’s a conversation about something I believe in greatly, I will defend that argument til the cows come home! Lol. I get so passionate, that sometimes words just flow but I have a difficult time remembering what I said. I often have people trying to engage me later, and I totally draw a blank. But I also am trying to learn how to not be a reactor of chaos. I have developed the skills through years of extreme behavior with my son, who has ADHD, ODD, and most likely bi-polar, when he got into a situation, my mind would shut down as a defense mechanism, and I would just respond in robot-mode. That has turned into the key of my survival. So, I think my brain is now programned that when my adrenaline accelerates to a certain degree of excitement, my mind zones out but it’s like having an outer body experience when it comes to managing the situation and taking care of whatever I need to. The things I find myself “detaching from” aren’t necessarily similar or related, but when I detach or zone out, I don’t always remember much of what I was doing or what was happening, while other times, I remember every detail. The worst is driving somewhere and getting to the destination, and not remembering one second of driving or how you got there. That is some scary stuff right there. Not sure I would describe it as self-sabotage, but sometimes I feel our brains “fire” a certain way, I feel. It’s like the wiring gets crossed and our thoughts go to other places, especially in stressful or perhaps triggering situations? Overthinking sometimes, causing forgetfulness, because I can analyze anything to get a better understanding. That can be very frustrating, especially at work when we’re doing problem solving exercises and I just want to dissect everything on a psychological level. Lol. My boss usually steps in and says, no we’re not doing that or I really don’t care; that will not help figure out a solution. But time and time again, I feel I prove him wrong in the long run. I also occasionally have episodes where I am in the middle of something, seemingly focused on what i am doing, and the next thing i know, i look at the time and it’s like several hours have somehow gone by!! Very frustrating and hard to understand at times. You’re definitely not alone.

      I don’t know if many people here, also pair themselves psychologically with their ADD, but my personality traits also make it quite difficult to manage everything all at once. I am an INFJ personality, but more of an empath, so when I’m not hyperfocusing on my own feelings, I easily am affected by others feelings, as well. Add being an Aries to it, and I’m a hot mess!! That can throw my thoughts off quite frequently. But I also am clairaudient and clairsentinent and occassionally I’ll get approached by spirits, so sometimes it works to my advantage that I can’t focus as much, to distract me from engaging if I’m not in the right head space to do it. I do wonder occassionally, though, if it is myself doing certain things or if I’m interacting as someone else. Because there are times, that I remember absolutely nothing about things I should definitely know about or have experienced. But that’s a conversation for another day! Lol

    • #115974
      Penny Williams

      It’s just part of having an ADHD brain. Your thoughts are racing, you’re trying to get something done which can feel like an emergency, and things get misplaced in the midst of it.

      Ask yourself what you can do to prevent yourself from throwing away important items like your wallet? Get a neon colored wallet (or put neon tape on it)? Put tape with a note on it — “Don’t throw me in the trash!”? If this is the way your brain works, what can you do to combat fallout?

      Organize Your Mind… and the Rest Will Follow

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #115982

        Dear Penny,

        This is a very thoughtful reply. Thank you. Sometimes the narrative we tell ourselves is more complicated and loaded than the reality of the situation. I have ADHD (which I realized very recently). This is what people with ADHD tend to do. I’m not special in this way. The fact that is *seems* like I am (un)intentionally tossing things away under stress, is not important, at least not right now.

        What is important is to give myself helpful clues to be more mindful with these items and/or more able to retrieve them when I inevitably lose them. I have invested in the Tile System to beep when I misplace my wallet, phone or keys. My key chain is also huge, so it is harder to lose. My wallet is large and red. My phone is oversized and has grippy elements on the side so I am less likely to drop it and can feel for it easier in my purse.

        Finally, as broccolisalad mentioned, I need to work on the shame of losing things. I still hear the voice of my father chastising me for being stupid or irresponsible for losing things. That voice is very loud. I need to work on that too.

    • #116489

      All the time… and it hurts so bad every single time. People tell me I am very smart, and gifted, but those are think which bring me to same inner storm every time. I can’t trust myself. I cant avail my own brain when and how I want. Worst I feel threaten my own inner Captain. I lost that an ID card one 4 days before boarding an international flight, I misplaced eyeglasses, cellphone, jacket. I even twice my Macbook Air in a random public place. But thanks to people and my good angel, some goo souls brought it back to me. I live eventually in a contance fear to mess up again, andmost people fail to understand it. One bunch would say be more careful and pay more attention which hurt and makes only things worst inside my poor head which pay attention as much as it can. But its never enough. There is the other bunch of people who do not understand what we mean when try to explain the emotional trauma and the pain it left in our wrecked heart. When we explain our existential anxiety they point our past success and high performances as if it was no big deal and no reason to make such a big deal..
      I feel you. I understand you… I cry with you. But so far did not find the answer to that. Still working hard in self-acceptance.. Good luck to us

    • #116548

      This sounds difficult. Most of us with ADHD face the reality of lost items. I used to Think of it part of my hard wiring. I labeled myself as one who can always be counted on to lose things and the higher the value the item had the more likely I was to lose it.
      After receiving my diagnosis I started looking for the frustration and lost time and energy. The book ” Help ADD Stole my Car Keys” was helpful.
      One of the authors I have read introduced the concept of launch pad. Simple solution, difficult to start but highly effective. Start small. Make a few rules. Cell phone ringer always on. Phone on bedside charger every night. Pebblefind alarm on key fob , keys on a hook by the door. Wear something with a pocket that can hold the phone. (Women’s clothes are notorious for this lackn so I have started wearing dockers. Or my husband’s gym shorts over my leggings). Papers that I need to take somewhere are always placed at the unused end of dining room table on a tray so if company is coming I can quickly move the mess out of sight.
      Repeated and constant repetition will set patterns that don’t require working memory.

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