Executive dysfunction life hack

star-anise:

roachpatrol:

jumpingjacktrash:

the-rain-monster:

naamahdarling:

lenyberry:

star-anise:

feathersmoons:

star-anise:

feathersmoons:

star-anise:

lemonsharks:

star-anise:

Instead of telling yourself, “I should get up,” or “I should do this,”

Ask yourself, “When will I get up?” or “When will I be ready to do this?”

Instead of trying to order yourself to feel the signal to do something, which your brain is manifestly bad at, listen to yourself with compassionate curiosity and be ready to receive the signal to move when it comes.

Things I did not actually realize was an option

What’s amazing is what happens when you do this with children.  I hit on it when working at the foster home, where nearly all our kids were on the autism spectrum, and they weren’t “defiant” around me because I said things like, “How long do you need to stand here before we can move?” and “Come into the kitchen when you’re ready” instead of saying, “Stop staring out the window, let’s go,” or “Come eat dinner,” and interpreting hesitation as refusal to obey.

I have also definitely found that doing the “okay when I finish counting down from twenty is getting up time” has been useful.

Yup, that’s way better for toddlers and younger kids.  It helps when they don’t have the self-awareness, attention span, or concept of the passage of time to estimate when they’ll be ready by themselves.

Oh I meant for me. XD Saying it to myself.

WELL OKAY WHOOPS XD I should not have been overspecific, I was just thinking about teaching this stuff to the parents at my job and your reblog made me immediately think of you with Banana and the kidlets.

Another hack: when you want to get up but are stalled by your brain and frustrated – stop. Breathe. Think about what you want to do once you’re up, without thinking about getting up. Treat it like a fantasy, no pressure, just thinking about something you’d like to do in the future. Instead of thinking “I should get up” over and over, think about having a bagel for breakfast, or getting dressed in your soft green sweater. Imagine yourself doing the thing.

I find that exercise often side-steps the block and the next thing I know I’m out of bed and on my way to doing the other thing I thought about.

Works for other things too, if you’re stuck on one step and having a hard time doing it, think about the step after that. Need to do laundry and you can’t get yourself to gather up your dirty clothes in the hamper? Think instead about carrying the hamper full of dirty clothes to the laundry room. And when you get to that next step, if you get stuck again, think about the step after it – you have a hamper of dirty clothes that needs to be put in the wash, let your subconscious handle the “carry hamper to laundry room” step while you’re thinking about the “putting them in the wash” part.

YMMV of course, and this doesn’t even always work for me (particularly not when I need to do a collection of tasks in no particular order, like packing for a trip… “pack socks, pack underwear, pack toothbrush, pack pants, pack shirts” is the kind of non-linear task list where this trick doesn’t help at all), but it’s something I’ve found helpful often enough.

This is one of the most beautiful threads I’ve seen on Tumblr simply because it deals so compassionately with an issue so many of us have and can barely even articulate to ourselves, let alone to anyone else. ❤

I think I get overwhelmed from the thought of all of the consequent steps, so maybe I’ll do the reverse of the advice above and try to focus on the first one.

@the-rain-monster i was just about to say something similar. that can work too sometimes. instead of going “ugh i need to eat something” for four hours, i try to focus on each step in turn.

and i mean each TINY step. just getting out of my chair has this many steps:

  1. pause music
  2. remove headphones
  3. hang headphones on laptop screen
  4. pick up laptop
  5. leg-bend recliner footrest shut
  6. set laptop aside
  7. stand

and i reckon that’s why i get stuck on it; because i’m trying to treat it as one thing, while executive dysfunction is treating it as seven things, and choking on trying to skip to step seven.

concurrent with this is a method i call ‘junebugging’. which is where i go to the location of the thing i want to do, and just sort of bump around the region like a big stupid beetle until the thing somehow accidentally magically gets done. this is an attempt to leverage ADHD into an advantage; i may not have the executive function to make myself a sandwich on purpose, but if i fidget in the kitchen long enough, some kind of food is going to end up in my mouth eventually. and hell, even if i fail on that front, i will probably have achieved something, even if it’s only pouring all my loose leaf tea into decorative jars.*

@star-anise please may i give you an internet hug *hug!* because god how i wish anyone had known to do that for me when i was a kid. my childhood was one big overload, and like 99% of the huge dramatic meltdowns that made me the scapegoat/laughingstock/target of my entire elementary school were simply due to people not giving me time to process the next step, and interpreting a bluescreen as defiance/insult.

*this happened when i was trying to do dishes actually but the principle is sound

yeah i absolutely echo what j’s saying about the steps, it’s a lot like that for me too. i get overwhelmed at the prospect of something that should be simple, and have to slow down and sort out how many steps it’s actually going to take, and what a complicated endeavor it actually is, even if no one else thinks so. 

also, i thought i should put in: try to honestly figure out what you’re averse to, that makes things so tough. making a whole bunch of decisions really fast? the potential of things to make a horrible noise? the shame of failure? having to put down what you’re doing now? having to clean up whatever it is you might go do when you’re done?

for instance, for me, the difficulty rating on anything goes waaaay up when a step of a task is ‘go somewhere people will look at you,’ which is for me about the unpleasantness equivalent of ‘jump into a very cold swimming pool right now’. you know you’ll be fine and even have fun once you’ve settled into it, but it still takes a lot of shuffling around and bracing yourself first to go for it. and some days you just don’t fucking want to go swimming.

i discounted this factor for years because i wouldn’t admit that i was so daunted by something so silly as as people looking at me. but, now i know what i’m so aversive about, i can factor it in to plans, and work around it, and be kind to myself. for instance, i was never able to get fit since highschool PE, because i couldn’t make myself go to a gym, or even out jogging. once i figured out the big problem wasn’t avoidance pain or difficulty, it was avoidance of doing a New Thing that i was Bad At in front of Unknown Quantities Of Strangers, which is like a triple threat of stressors, i started working out quietly and safely in my room at night, and i’ve been doing really good on it! 

Absolutely loving the tag #you don’t make a broken car work by yelling ALL THE OTHER CARS WORK FINE

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Executive dysfunction life hack

jumpingjacktrash:

the-rain-monster:

naamahdarling:

lenyberry:

star-anise:

feathersmoons:

star-anise:

feathersmoons:

star-anise:

lemonsharks:

star-anise:

Instead of telling yourself, “I should get up,” or “I should do this,”

Ask yourself, “When will I get up?” or “When will I be ready to do this?”

Instead of trying to order yourself to feel the signal to do something, which your brain is manifestly bad at, listen to yourself with compassionate curiosity and be ready to receive the signal to move when it comes.

Things I did not actually realize was an option

What’s amazing is what happens when you do this with children.  I hit on it when working at the foster home, where nearly all our kids were on the autism spectrum, and they weren’t “defiant” around me because I said things like, “How long do you need to stand here before we can move?” and “Come into the kitchen when you’re ready” instead of saying, “Stop staring out the window, let’s go,” or “Come eat dinner,” and interpreting hesitation as refusal to obey.

I have also definitely found that doing the “okay when I finish counting down from twenty is getting up time” has been useful.

Yup, that’s way better for toddlers and younger kids.  It helps when they don’t have the self-awareness, attention span, or concept of the passage of time to estimate when they’ll be ready by themselves.

Oh I meant for me. XD Saying it to myself.

WELL OKAY WHOOPS XD I should not have been overspecific, I was just thinking about teaching this stuff to the parents at my job and your reblog made me immediately think of you with Banana and the kidlets.

Another hack: when you want to get up but are stalled by your brain and frustrated – stop. Breathe. Think about what you want to do once you’re up, without thinking about getting up. Treat it like a fantasy, no pressure, just thinking about something you’d like to do in the future. Instead of thinking “I should get up” over and over, think about having a bagel for breakfast, or getting dressed in your soft green sweater. Imagine yourself doing the thing.

I find that exercise often side-steps the block and the next thing I know I’m out of bed and on my way to doing the other thing I thought about.

Works for other things too, if you’re stuck on one step and having a hard time doing it, think about the step after that. Need to do laundry and you can’t get yourself to gather up your dirty clothes in the hamper? Think instead about carrying the hamper full of dirty clothes to the laundry room. And when you get to that next step, if you get stuck again, think about the step after it – you have a hamper of dirty clothes that needs to be put in the wash, let your subconscious handle the “carry hamper to laundry room” step while you’re thinking about the “putting them in the wash” part.

YMMV of course, and this doesn’t even always work for me (particularly not when I need to do a collection of tasks in no particular order, like packing for a trip… “pack socks, pack underwear, pack toothbrush, pack pants, pack shirts” is the kind of non-linear task list where this trick doesn’t help at all), but it’s something I’ve found helpful often enough.

This is one of the most beautiful threads I’ve seen on Tumblr simply because it deals so compassionately with an issue so many of us have and can barely even articulate to ourselves, let alone to anyone else. ❤

I think I get overwhelmed from the thought of all of the consequent steps, so maybe I’ll do the reverse of the advice above and try to focus on the first one.

@the-rain-monster i was just about to say something similar. that can work too sometimes. instead of going “ugh i need to eat something” for four hours, i try to focus on each step in turn.

and i mean each TINY step. just getting out of my chair has this many steps:

  1. pause music
  2. remove headphones
  3. hang headphones on laptop screen
  4. pick up laptop
  5. leg-bend recliner footrest shut
  6. set laptop aside
  7. stand

and i reckon that’s why i get stuck on it; because i’m trying to treat it as one thing, while executive dysfunction is treating it as seven things, and choking on trying to skip to step seven.

concurrent with this is a method i call ‘junebugging’. which is where i go to the location of the thing i want to do, and just sort of bump around the region like a big stupid beetle until the thing somehow accidentally magically gets done. this is an attempt to leverage ADHD into an advantage; i may not have the executive function to make myself a sandwich on purpose, but if i fidget in the kitchen long enough, some kind of food is going to end up in my mouth eventually. and hell, even if i fail on that front, i will probably have achieved something, even if it’s only pouring all my loose leaf tea into decorative jars.*

@star-anise please may i give you an internet hug *hug!* because god how i wish anyone had known to do that for me when i was a kid. my childhood was one big overload, and like 99% of the huge dramatic meltdowns that made me the scapegoat/laughingstock/target of my entire elementary school were simply due to people not giving me time to process the next step, and interpreting a bluescreen as defiance/insult.

*this happened when i was trying to do dishes actually but the principle is sound

I don’t know if any of you remember about a month ago when I was having a complete breakdown over the level of clutter in my room?  And I finally hired an organizer to help me get rid of all the crap?

How about an update?  With pictures?  ^_^

Well, I’ve met with her about once a week since February 4th (so I’ve had about four sessions with her, 3 of which were 3 hours long and 1 of which was 4 hours long) and there has been HUGE AMOUNTS OF PROGRESS.  I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels to have a livable living space again.  There really are no words for the amount of weight that I feel has been lifted off of me with this process.  I can’t.  I feel like I can breathe again.  I actually enjoy spending time in my room, again.  It’s amazing. 

After our last session, the vast majority of “the pile” which took up the entirety of my floor was almost gone.  Like, I could tell that in another one or two sessions, I’d have my floor back.  And I actually kind of froze for a second because I had honestly started to think that I’d never get there and I could believe that that huge pile of CRAP was going to be gone soon.  Anyway, this morning, it was a beautiful spring-like day and I realized I wanted to do crafty stuff.  So I needed to get to my desk.  Problem: the last of The Pile was blocking my way to the desk.  😛  So rather than give up and go see a movie or something, I decided that this was it.  This was the day I FUCKING GOT RID OF THE REST OF THE PILE.  Because this amazing thing happens when you work with an organizer – you learn how to do this shit without them.  And I knew how to start now.  And I thought… I could do this.  I could really do this. 

…so I did.  😀

Before:

DO YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN ABOUT HOW BAD IT WAS??  *hides head in shame*

Today when I finished my own bit of work:

(Sorry about the blur – the lighting wasn’t cooperating and I refused to close the curtains.  ^_~)

Now, obviously there is still a long way to go.  There’s still a lot to do, but LOOK AT WHAT WE ACCOMPLISHED.  😀  I am so fucking proud of myself I could cry.  ^_^

So, here’s the point, I guess.  In spite of my therapist attempting to bang this into my head week after week after week, I didn’t truly understand how much of an impact my environment was having on me until I started this process of getting stuff cleaned up.  Because with each successive week, I’ve felt like I could breathe a little easier… a little easier… a little easier.  And that has had a HUGE impact on how I feel.

Now, I’m not trying to imply that the mess was the cause of my mental health issues (if anything, it goes the other way round), but there is absolutely no question in my mind that the mess made everything worse.  Just knowing that I had to fight that monster up top to GET TO MY BED every night (and goodness forbid I needed to get to my desk O_o;;;), sapped so much of my energy that I had almost none left to fight the rest of my demons.  No WONDER I got sick so often.  No WONDER I was a frazzled mess all the time.  No WONDER I felt like I could never get any work done.  LOOK AT WHAT I WAS FIGHTING WITH.

So, yeah.  I guess the point is that I’m so so glad for friends like @kingesstropolis, who fielded my panicked questions about organizers, and my therapist, who put the idea in my head in the first place, and all the rest of you on here who sent me supportive messages about this endeavor when I was panicking about it.  You’re all awesome and I love you so much and I can’t WAIT to show you what this thing looks like when I’m finally DONE.  ^_________^

Question mark because no replies?

eirenical:

Keep reading

I know several of you sent me along very encouraging words when I was freaking out about all the mess in my room and hiring an organizer to help me and all, so I thought I’d just give you a brief update since I had my first session with her this morning.

The short version is that it went very well.  There’s still a TON to do, but we’ve definitely made progress and that feels SO good.  The path from the door to my bed is about twice as wide as it was before and the height of the pile in the front has gone down by at LEAST half.  And we cleaned out my entire closet and put most of my clothing away!  I also have two HUGE bags of clothes for donation and I threw out a crap ton of stuff, too.  And it felt SO GOOD. *_*

The best part of having her there, though, was this: it felt like I had someone giving me permission to just get rid of crap that I don’t want or need.  I have so much clothing that I hung onto just because my mother told me I should or because I bought it and wore it like… twice before deciding that I didn’t really like it.  And I kept all of it because it would be a waste of money or because my mom might be right and I’d want those polyester work pants eventually and I could never make myself just get RID OF IT.  But today I was just like… FUCK ALL OF THIS FOR A LARK, I DON’T CARE, I’M GETTING RID OF SHIT.

Because I can’t live like I’ve been living anymore.  It’s not good for me physically or mentally and I need to do something to get my life back.  And this is the first big thing.  Honestly, it’ll probably take weeks (…months, almost definitely months) to get it all done, but I’ve STARTED and that’s the important thing.  So.  There we go.  My therapist will be so proud of me tomorrow.  ^_~

funereal-disease:

the-real-seebs:

lir-illir:

Concept: Maybe “neurotypicals” who consistently reblog post about autism and other mental disorders and illnesses because they relate to them actually aren’t neurotypical, and just don’t know it.

Even the ones who say, “But everyone does this!” might only be saying it because they do it, and therefore think everyone does, when that’s not the reality.

Like, I remember someone who very obviously had OCD saying, “Everyone gets constant, upsetting intrusive thoughts, and does things to make them go away! It’s normal!” and everyone who responded to them were like, “Uh… No, it’s really not. You have a mental illness.”

I hate how everyone is so quick to assume anyone who relates to their posts without having every aspect of their mental state listed on their blog is obviously an evil, appropriating neurotypical. Maybe they are technically neurotypical, but have one or two traits associated with whatever form of neurodivergence. Maybe they’re neurodivergent and just don’t feel like listing it. Maybe they think they’re neurotypical, and are in the process of realising that they actually aren’t.

Please don’t be so quick to judge. This gatekeeping helps no one.

This is an extremely important point.

I know at least one trans person who didn’t realize they were trans until they were talking about how much they relate to trans things. Only, it was in the context of being dismissive of trans people. “Oh, sure, of course you prefer those pronouns. Everyone does.” But that wasn’t a cis person being dismissive of trans experiences; it was a trans person not understanding that they were trans.

Same thing with a lot of mental illness stuff.

Honestly, if you relate to an experience, you have the experience. Doesn’t matter whether you have it for the same reason someone else does.

On a similar note that I was thinking about recently: perhaps some neurodivergent people who are dismissed by their parents have neurodivergent parents who don’t know it. Like, if your mom says “everyone has that” when you tell her about your depression, there’s a decent chance that she’s not minimizing you, she just has depression herself and doesn’t realize it. 

This is so so important.  I started my journey with anxiety like this.  And one of the first things my therapist asked me was whether or not there was a history of anxiety in my family.  I honestly couldn’t answer her, because as far as I knew… there wasn’t?  But then I thought about my mother.

My mother who can’t sleep if she can see that the outside light is still on at my house because she knows that it means I’m not home yet.

My mother who calls me at 9:30 on Wednesday nights, if I haven’t called her yet, just to ask if everything is all right because I usually call at 9, when I get out of class.

My mother who insisted on me calling her every night when I got home when I lived further away because otherwise I could have been kidnapped and no one would have known because I lived alone.

My mother who will work herself up for WEEKS over the fact that family members haven’t RSVPed to the summer family get-together because then she can’t plan food appropriately.

My mother who constantly imagines these dire futures for my niece and nephew based on the fact that they don’t have a swingset in their backyard.

My mother who imagines the worst case scenario for EVERYTHING.

And I realized… if my mother doesn’t have anxiety, too, then I’ll eat my fucking shoe.

And I had spent so much time feeling like how I felt was normal, in large part because I had my mother as an example of what “normal” looked like and I knew i was just the same.  By the same token, she also has a huge difficulty understanding why my anxiety is occasionally so crippling–because she knows that she and I are alike in many ways and she’s always managed to do everything that needs to be done, so she doesn’t understand when I can’t.  And just the fact that I was finally able to grasp where that communication breakdown was coming from helped A LOT on my end, at least.

So, yeah.  Thank you, OP, and commenters, because this is definitely something that I think gets overlooked by people doing those gatekeeping behaviors.

As a consequence of issues with anxiety, ADHD, and executive dysfunction, I have major, major issues with clutter.  And I don’t mean that there are a few shirts on my floor.  I mean, I have a path to my bed, a half-path to my desk and THAT’S IT.  The entire rest of my bedroom floor space is hip-high piles of clothes and books and other assorted crap.  I mention this because more and more it’s becoming an obstacle to getting ANYTHING done in my life and I just feel so trapped in it that just walking into my bedroom can trigger an anxiety attack on a bad day.  (AND I WONDER WHY I DON’T SLEEP??)

The point is that this came up in therapy the other day and my therapist brought up the idea of hiring someone to help.  Well… two problems.  One: that costs money.  That I don’t have.  Two: I feel like there’s NO ROOM for a second person to even be in there with me, much less working.  😦  And I’m just so fucking embarrassed about the whole thing that I just couldn’t get there.

Anyway, I had a talk with @kingesstropolis earlier tonight and she basically said the same thing and kind of helped me understand how professional organizers work and I’m still not sure but I’m starting to feel this massive pressure like I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING or it won’t get any better and _I_ won’t get any better and I just don’t know what to do about it anymore.

So, I started doing a search for people in my area who do these things.  And every website seemed worse than the next (OMG, one website could have walked straight out of the mid-90s and it was so poorly organized that it did NOT inspire confidence :P) and NO ONE LISTS PRICES.  Which means that it costs A LOT.  Anyway, I finally found one website which (apart from having a photo “galary” which had no actual photos… O_o;;;), was well-organized and yet still personable.  They very explicitly listed their prices (which are still really more than I can afford, but not as bad as some places?).  And on the contact form it offered as one reason to contact them “why you need pro bono services”.  So before I could chicken out, I fed them my whole sob story and asked for the free consultation they offered as part of their usual services and like… even if they could discount the fee it would help?

…of course, now I’m sitting here feeling even more sick to my stomach than I was before just thinking about the mess.  Because I SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS A MONTH AGO WHEN I ACTUALLY HAD TIME.  NOT WHEN SCHOOL AND WORK ARE STARTING UP IN TWO DAYS.  *cries*

But if I didn’t do anything now, I just wasn’t going to end up doing it.  So it’s good that I forced myself to send that form.

It is.

Really.

*curls up in a corner and shakes for a while*

…halp?