The Executive Dysfunction Cheerleading/Troubleshooting Thread

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by singing anon, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. Everett

    Everett local rats so small, so tiny

    (slowly somersaults into the thread)

    hey thread i need to commit to telling someone when i get a project done, i think i can do the whole thing tomorrow.

    i need to unpack a box of things, look through them and possibly read any included documents/handbooks, then go online and do two training modules. Once the modules are done i need to print off and complete a form, put that form in my backpack, and email a person saying ive done the modules.

    It's due next wednesday the 18th but i dont think i'll have much free time after tomorrow.

    So! I promise to come back with it finished in no more than 25 hours! Aaaaa! (I may end up posting the morning after actually but i need to be accountable)
    • Like x 3
  2. Everett

    Everett local rats so small, so tiny

    I did the thing up until i had some technical issues with their website. So i'm nearly done the one part,which is actually like 5 modules, and i cant start the second bunch of modules because the videos won't load.

    But i unpacked the box and have some unexpected time Friday and Monday mornings to finish things up
    • Winner x 2
  3. chaoticArbiter

    chaoticArbiter an actual shiny eevee (destroyer of worlds)

    so I have a list of five things I need to do today
    make two phone calls, grocery shop, email a relative thanks for a thing they sent, and get the mail
    if someone could ping me in like....the next four hours to check in on how that stuff is going, that would be v helpful, cause I gotta get at least three of them done today

    eta: by 'in the next four hours' I mean like....relatively close to four hours from now, basically
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
  4. emcapi

    emcapi Well-Known Member

    how them chores goin?
  5. chaoticArbiter

    chaoticArbiter an actual shiny eevee (destroyer of worlds)

    extremely belated response now, but
    I technically did one phone call (I say technically because they didn't answer so I left a voicemail? still achieved what I wanted), and I sent the email and got the mail
    so, success!
    thanks c:
    • Winner x 3
  6. Misty Pond

    Misty Pond I beg for your pity, I beg for your grief

    I keep meaning to edit my newly-finished fics but keep getting distracted...hopefully posting this will motivate me to get to them but if not I'd appreciate someone giving me a ping several hours from now as a reminder
  7. emcapi

    emcapi Well-Known Member

    a little late, but ey! why not edit some fics if you're still awake!
    • Like x 1
  8. Misty Pond

    Misty Pond I beg for your pity, I beg for your grief

    thanks! turns out today is not a great day for productivity but I'll see if I can't force myself to look over the ficlets at least...I may need further pings for the longer fic later today/tomorrow
    • Like x 1
  9. chaoticArbiter

    chaoticArbiter an actual shiny eevee (destroyer of worlds)

    hey so I have two fairly important phone calls to make today, one to therapist place and one to allergy testing people, and I've gotta look up some stuff about a potential medication
    presently I am....struggling to make any of these things happen and I'm hoping some level of accountability might help
    if someone could ping me in approximately 3-4 hours from now to see if I've done, like, any of these things, that'd be cool
    • Like x 3
  10. vuatson

    vuatson [delurks]

    oh right this thread exists

    I also need to make a call today, to sign up for welding classes. I've been putting it off for ages and I'd be obliged if someone could check if that got done in like 7 hours or so?
  11. Everett

    Everett local rats so small, so tiny

    how goes the calls and research?
    • Like x 1
  12. chaoticArbiter

    chaoticArbiter an actual shiny eevee (destroyer of worlds)

    research done, and one phone call is now also done, I called and left a voicemail! not exactly what I was hoping for but. eh.
    other phone call is. being worked on
    thank you!
    • Like x 4
  13. keltena

    keltena Probably Exists

    Here with a troubleshooting question instead of a cheerleading one.

    So I have this issue where a lot of the time, my immediate "but I don't feel like it" instinct overrides things that should be much higher priority, even easy stuff that I actively want to do and enjoy doing. (e.g., not getting up to go volunteer because I want to stay in bed, even though I really enjoy volunteering, or not playing a video game I want to play because I don't feel like getting up to sit at my computer.) My therapists and I have always viewed this as a habitual avoidance issue—choose short-term gratification over long-term good, receive positive endorphins, repeat and reinforce habit—but recently a friend said it sounded more like an executive dysfunction/ADHD symptom, which actually makes a lot of sense to me? My executive dysfunction basically boils down to my brain being unable to prioritize or deprioritize tasks outside of extreme circumstances, so now I'm wondering if the problem is less "entrenched habit of avoiding even slight discomfort" and more "brain can't process that avoiding slight discomfort isn't the same priority level as everything else".

    Anyone else who has experience with this stuff—does this sound like an executive dysfunction thing to you, or no? And if so, has anyone had any luck finding strategies to deal with it, or know any good resources I could look through? At present it's honestly one of my biggest problems, just because literally nothing I've tried over the years helps, but maybe if I have an idea how it actually works I'll have better luck.
    • Witnessed x 3
  14. vuatson

    vuatson [delurks]

    That absolutely sounds like an executive dysfunction thing, it's one of the biggest problems I've had with my ADHD. Do you also get the feeling of inertia, like you want to do the thing but can't make yourself actually begin? Those two feelings tend to combine for me. Unfortunately I've never found a surefire way of dealing with it.

    One strategy that sometimes works is to find an activity that bridges the two activities. Read something about the game in bed, or watch some gameplay - something to get your mind in the mode of "time for game now". Maybe make yourself a comfy place to sit somewhere near your bed, like put a couple pillows on a rug or something, so you can transition from comfy bed -> slightly less comfy floor spot -> actually standing up and doing stuff. When it comes to leaving the house, I always make sure I have my headphones on me and a podcast or some good music on my phone. Even if I never end up actually listening to them, it's kind of a mental security blanket.

    The prioritizing thing is a pain. Even if you know you enjoy whatever activity, it doesn't seem real until you're actually doing it, and the trouble you'll have to go to to get there is much more immediate. A lot of the time it really comes down to how many willpower-spoons you have in the moment. I try to view it as a chore I'm doing as a favor to future me, or like taking medicine - if you have a headache or cramps, getting up to get an ibuprofen or whatever sucks and the effect isn't immediate, but you still do it because you know you'll feel better in a little bit if you do. In the same way, you're working now to get those endorphins for your future self.
    • Informative x 3
    • Agree x 1
  15. Everett

    Everett local rats so small, so tiny

    I find sometimes i can get like a wedge in there, in the form of a loading screen if im kind of stuck to a device. The pause in New Input provides an opening to like drop my phone onto the bed or sit up

    I also find that it helps to visualize and think about the thing i want to do so it becomes a matter of "ok i'm gonna get up and go get my water bottle. Water bottle is over there, i can get up and get it and come back," etc etc and kind of launch yourself in that direction when you can

    Do a thing that makes it hard or unappeing to go back to the thing you were stuck on

    like i dont ever sit in or on my bed wearing pant that have been outside since they were last washed. So if i can launch myself out of bed and put on pants, i cant get back into bed unless i put a towel down to sit on.

    Or as Jacktrash said at one point on tumblr, "junebugging" where you do *something* even if its not what your Goal is in the hopes of getting sidetracked from that by your real goal, or at least accomplishing something. Maybe when youre partway through, idk, getting a drink of water, you can make your way over to play games
    • Agree x 2
    • Informative x 1
  16. keltena

    keltena Probably Exists

    @vuatson I definitely have the inertia thing too, yep, and your and Everett's strategies sound like the kind of thing that could help with that! My problem here is that the "I don't wanna" instinct doesn't work with most in-the-moment strategies, because, well... the problem is my deciding not to do the thing (against all logic and my own very strong desire to decide otherwise), and if I've decided not to do it then I'll also decide not to bother trying to fix it. (In fact, I'll sometimes go well out of my way not to do it—if my brain has decided "I want to be in bed, forget the volunteering", I'm still fully capable of getting out of bed to turn off my alarm, get a drink, take my meds, use the bathroom, pick my sheets up off the floor, and more in service of getting back to bed, and that's not the most extreme example I could give.) Actually doing the thing usually isn't that hard; the problem is that it's hard to argue with "sometimes I spontaneously make the conscious, active choice not to do things I meant to do, even though I want to do them", and most of the strategies I use for my other executive dysfunction issues are useless against this.

    The reasons I'm still wondering if it's some kind of executive dysfunction symptom (albeit one that presents a little differently from my other ones) are:

    1) When I try to describe the experience, it sounds like the same mechanism: Brain receives new input ("thing is effort, I don't feel like doing it") and, instead of recognizing it as unimportant and tossing on the low-priority pile, does the ADHD thing and treats it as exactly equal priority to everything else. And since "I don't wanna" is the most current input, it wins.

    2) It seems subject to at least some of the same restrictions as my other executive dysfunction. Things that are provably urgent to my brain, like externally enforced schedules and deadlines, are automatic overrides; if I have a doctor's appointment, or an urgent phone call, or there's pancakes on the table and they'll be gone soon, I'm out of bed like a flash. But anything my brain doesn't register that way, like purely self-imposed commitments, can get thrown to the wind at a moment's notice in favor of unimportant lizard brain urges.

    3) It doesn't really feel like my experiences with avoidance or emotional dysregulation. When I avoid something, there almost always turns out to be some reason I want to avoid it; this problem can happen even with things I genuinely have no desire whatsoever to avoid. And when I have mood swings that affect my motivation, I actually believe to some extent in the moment that I don't want to do the thing; when this problem comes up, I'm usually excruciatingly aware in the moment that I want to do the thing but I still can't bring myself to choose to do so. Both those descriptions sound a lot more similar to my other executive dysfunction issues than to anything else.

    Part of what I'm trying to figure out is, basically, what strategies are available for addressing this that would both a) actually work, and b) be feasible for me to implement on a consistent basis on my own? For instance, if I could make my brain process these things as urgent commitments it would probably solve things, but I'm not sure that's always an option. Volunteering doesn't "count" because I choose the schedule and no one needs me to be there at any given time; when I do have a scheduled commitment to someone there, I can get there, so I'm planning to try to arrange more of those, but I can't always rely on that tactic or use it in other circumstances. I have a to-do list system that makes things feel "scheduled" enough to cut through most of my executive dysfunction, but it's not a strong enough effect to counteract the "I don't wanna". A family member cooking breakfast might be enough to convince me to stay up, but I can't do that myself or rely on them to do it every time. Making the alternative option unavailable/unappealing might work, but it's impossible to self-enforce in the moment, and I'm not sure if there's a way to accomplish it that wouldn't require me to actively cooperate in the moment. And so on.

    What I think I most likely need is strategies I can set up in advance and that I can't easily sabotage in the moment—either ways to trick my brain into properly registering things as urgent (like the to-do lists and setting more external commitments), or ways to prevent or avoid specific problem behaviors (I would say like "get rid of the bed" if I didn't, you know, also need it :P). But I'm not sure what the best way to go about that is, or if there's a better approach I'm missing. (Or if I'm just outright wrong about this being an executive dysfunction thing, I guess. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
    • Witnessed x 1
  17. garden

    garden lucid dreamer

    i don’t have any suggestions here, just wanted to say that this is very relatable.

    i want to want to do the thing, but in the moment i just don’t want to, so i don’t, even if i did want to do it earlier/will later want to have done it, it needs to be done, etc.

    but even tho i know that logically my in-the-moment feeling of “don’t wanna” should be discarded bc it doesn’t correlate with my actual desires, i... can’t really do that, or operate on that logic. because i don’t wanna.

    for me, idk if it’s depression, adhd (not that i actually know if i have that), executive dysfunction, whatever, though often i categorize it as executive dysfunction. but thinking about it is depressing because i doubt i’ll be able to accomplish any of my writing-related goals if i can’t either 1) want to write in the moment, or 2) bypass my want to do nothing and write anyway. these days i rarely experience 1) and even rarer find the willpower for 2).
    • Agree x 1
    • Witnessed x 1
  18. vuatson

    vuatson [delurks]

    @keltena Huh. That's a little less like my most common problems, but I've still had similar experiences. It sounds like a combination of ADHD-inertia and depression-sluggishness, maybe?

    The thing I mentioned above about treating the thing you want to do like medicine or a favor to your future self would still be the tactic I'd recommend - it's what's worked the most for me on similar issues, anyway. You could also try different ways of adding external accountability. Text someone at your volunteering place that you're planning to come in at X o'clock, or even just post on here or on facebook or wherever that you're planning to volunteer today. Tell people your plans as a way of moving the thing you want to do from the realm of intention into the realm of fact. Downside of this is if you still end up not doing it, you might end up going into an avoidance spiral. That's certainly happened to me before.

    Neither of those strategies works for me 100% of the time, but they're the most successful I've found so far.
    • Like x 2
  19. keltena

    keltena Probably Exists

    @garden Feel known. I hope you figure out some way to help with it too; it really is a miserable feeling.

    @vuatson As far as I can tell it's different from inertia—like, I get inertia too at other times, but it's a different beast than this one. When this happens, I'm often willing and able to go incredibly out of my way for the sake of whatever else I feel like doing (whether it's "I want to do y instead" or "I just want to make very sure I don't have to do x"), even if I have to fight through other kinds of executive dysfunction in the process of doing so. It would honestly be kind of fascinating if it wasn't so awful to deal with. I think it's less a "getting stuck where I already am" issue and more an impulse control/prioritizing problem—desire to either avoid minor discomfort or do something more immediately fun comes up, and it just automatically becomes The Current Most Important Thing against all good sense.

    Nothing that targets motivation to do the thing seems to help in my case, unfortunately; I'm usually already incredibly aware of every reason why doing it is a good idea and why not doing it is a bad idea, to the point where it's honestly painful. :x Accountability... sometimes sort of helps, in the sense that it can add a little extra weight to the right side of the scale, but it's very unreliable unless it can actually make my brain categorize the thing as mandatory, and pure interpersonal accountability basically never does. Trying to establish more solid plans with the people at my volunteering place might help, but that's a much less accessible strategy most of the time.

    (Thanks a lot for the suggestions and listening to me rant, by the way. This has been a huge frustration for me, and I appreciate the help working through it )
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
    • Witnessed x 1
  20. Deresto

    Deresto Struggling, yet climbing higher at a steady pace

    Hey can someone(s) poke me sometime tomorrow to work on my mom's christmas gift? Its a bit of an ordeal to get it done, but I've set up a loose time schedule in which I could get it done within the parameters set. Problem is I keep moving it back instead of following it, and I'm gonna end up not having anything when the time comes.
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