Weirdness about remembering things? [not urgent, just odd]

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by facepalm at self, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. facepalm at self

    facepalm at self New Member

    So my brain does some things, which I think are maybe weird, but I don’t know what kind of weird. Apologies for the disorganized ramble – this is mostly just brain-vomit and stream-of-consciousness.

    One of these things I can best describe by comparing it to the Sims 3. Sims have a queue of tasks in the upper right of the screen, showing the task they’re working on, and, in order, the things they will do once it’s complete. Basically I feel like my brain doesn’t have this queue, or it’s very difficult to have more than one thing in it at a time. Like, if I’m reading a book and mom asks me to do laundry, I can’t say “just let me finish this chapter,” because in the time it takes to do that, I will most likely forget about the laundry completely.

    I don’t think I have ADHD, because Seebs mentioned something about studying just not working, but that’s definitely not the case for me. I swear by flash cards. I am the ruler of cramming for tests, acing them, then forgetting everything I learned as soon as the semester is over. I’m actually quite the perfectionist when it comes to school – the thought of turning homework in late, or half-assed, is confusing at best and really distressing at worst. So I’m a perfectionist with schoolwork, I hardly ever miss deadlines, and yet I’m still a procrastinator. Oh, I will be a sleep-deprived, burned-out wreck, but the assignment will be done well and on time. So I’m not incapable of doing things, just apparently incapable of doing them sooner and not being so rough on my own health. :/

    I’ve joked about having faulty autopilot software before – I have a tendency to run my shoulders into corners or choke on water more frequently than seems reasonable. It’s not that I can’t navigate or drink if I’m paying attention, but I was kind of under the impression that those things don’t typically require much conscious attention? And really, who would want to be paying attention to that when they could be plotting fanfic in their head. I’m also kind of bad at noticing things. My family will not let me live down the time we drove right past a fire truck parked in front of a neighbor’s house with its lights on, and I completely failed to register it was there, because I was too involved in talking about something that had happened earlier that day. (I was in the passenger seat, thank goodness. It’s things like this that make me nervous about learning to drive, though.)

    It’s like my brain is really good at holding onto random scraps of information, and really bad at noticing cues or the remembering-to-do-things part of memory. Like if I’m taking a multiple choice test, and one of the choices is exact wording from our readings, I will almost always recognize that and get the question right. Sometimes I can even recall precise wording off the top of my head days later. (Is that normal? It feels normal to me, because it’s usually just a couple words and it’s really hit-and-miss whether I’ll remember or not, it's not very impressive, but then sometimes my classmates stare at me when I do it, so IDK.) I’ve got a brain full of trivia, and I’ve had my library card number memorized since I was twelve or younger. If some feature of the environment actually succeeds in catching my eye long enough that I think about it, I’ll remember it quite well (strangely-worded signs are a frequent example). But it’s really hard to predict what I’ll notice and what I won’t. (Apparently there’s been a three-foot-long wooden fish in the neighbor’s tree for months now? Why did I not notice it before? And also just, why?????) “Take out the trash every other Tuesday” has never really sunken in, and I know mom’s frustrated about always having to either remind me several times or do it herself, but I don’t know how to make it better because I swear I’m not deliberately ignoring her.

    Okay, I think I’m done upending my brain and shaking out the bits that rattle for the time being. Just kind of wanted to get that all down, in case maybe someone else can relate, or has a guess about what might be going on? Thanks for taking the time to read!
  2. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    That could be ADHD, the thing I have with studying may not be universal among people with ADHD.

    The exact-wording thing is... well, I think most of the people I know who do it are autistic.

    But the "no queue at all, if anything happens I just forget the other task"? Yeah, that's totally me except sometimes when meds are working really well.
  3. jpronghorn

    jpronghorn Member

    I am a lot like that. For example, food shopping. A trip to the store every ten days, so its a big production. I don't use lists. I can take a look in the fridge, freezer and cupboard and remember what I have and what I need. But at the store, if I fail to ask myself if I need cereal, I will walk out without cereal. So I have a routine: where I start, where I go next, and the products in the store remind me what questions to ask myself.

    For non-routine day to day stuff around the house, the key is a generalized routine--stopping several times a day, taking a deep breath and asking myself what I needed to do today. If I do, I'll remember. (Whether I find the motivation is a separate issue). If I just float through the day without ever focusing on "chores?", I might or might not remember. If I get caught up in something, forget about it, I did.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  4. Aya

    Aya words words words

    This sounds exactly like inattentive-type ADHD to me, honestly.

    Sometimes people learn to compensate really well in particular arenas, and it sounds like schoolwork might be that for you. The difference isn't that it's absolutely impossible, it's that it's "expensive" in terms of brainspace/energy/effort and in relation to other people.

    That Sims 3 action queue thing, and the whole not-having-one thing? That's exactly what it's like for me. Procrastinating? Check. Not noticing stuff in the immediate environment because you're thinking of other things? Check. Failing to remember routine tasks even though you do them at the same time all the time? Check.
  5. facepalm at self

    facepalm at self New Member

    Huh. I guess I should look into ADHD more, then.

    @seebs I can hold a couple items in the queue... sometimes. If I put a lot of effort into it, and the tasks are not mentally challenging. (I managed to remember "start a load of laundry, then put the dishes in the dishwasher" yesterday.) But in general, yeah, I don't seem to have a queue, most of the time.

    @jpronghorn Thanks for the advice! I'll try that, though I may need to use some sort of reminder that interrupts my routine to remember to think about it - I've used things like signs taped to my computer before, so that I'll have a harder time ignoring them. That works okay for daily things, but if it's more or less frequent than that (like the every-other-week garbage) I tend to forget to put the sign up.

    @Aya Yeah. I get really stressed about schoolwork, so if there was one area I was going to learn to compensate, this would be it. I've got a lot of strategies for schoolwork that I think are maybe more specific than most people use? It's hard to say, because my brother is my only real basis for comparison, and we are... very different people in this regard. For example, though, with the flash cards: I've Done Science on the most effective way to make them, the best strategy for using them, even the time of day to practice with them. (In my case, it seems to work best to run through them once right before sleeping, and again right after waking up.) I also tend to do things like staying on campus to study so I won't have as many options for distractions as I would at home. I never thought of these strategies in terms of compensating for a disability, but... it's a possibility.

    I know it's terrible logic, but my self-doubt likes to creep in with "you can't have ADHD or Autism, you'd be having problems in school if that were true." And I know that's not a good way to gauge it, but self-doubt has an annoying habit of not bowing to common sense. It's even more ridiculous because I do have problems, just not ones that show up in my grades. Like, I'm guessing that "headaches and nausea from the stress every time a large assignment is due" is not normal or healthy.
  6. sirsparklepants

    sirsparklepants feral mom energies

    Hello are you me?

    This is definitely not a reason why you would not be ADHD. I am so ADHD that if I've had a conversation for more than twenty minutes, I will literally be unable to pay attention to the sentences someone else is saying if they're long. I just say I have bad hearing because I have to ask people to repeat themselves so often for attention reasons, no matter how important/interesting the convo or how hard I try. The schoolwork thing is actually fairly typical of me and several (female-presenting, all of them, for some reason) people I know with ADHD, because as children we got in trouble for schoolwork being late/not done right/not paying attention in school/etc., and so there's so much anxiety involved in NOT Doing It Right that we burn out our resources on making sure it gets done on time.

    Yes, this. I was able to pull out the name of my state dog when someone asked at work yesterday, even though that's a piece of information I last even thought about in third grade at the latest, but I forgot to do laundry at work even though that's something I have to do every day, sometimes twice a day, for the last year. I now have a to-do list of work chores taped to my desk because that's the only way I can remember. But yes, your issues sound almost exactly like mine.

    It took me until my first year of college to figure this out. I really thought this was typical of anyone who did well in school.
  7. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    On deadlines: I have done a lot of professional writing, like, hundreds of articles. I have never, ever, missed a deadline for them. I also do those balance transfer offers which last N months at zero interest as long as you're not late on any payments, and I haven't been late on a payment in ten years. But... I'm still horrible at a lot of things, and things will just sort of sit there not getting noticed or done for weeks to months.
  8. budgie

    budgie not actually a bird

    hunh, is that a thing? because every time i have a test coming up i know that i should study, but i kinda flip blankly through my textbook/notes/whatever a bit and that's it, because idk what more i would even do. i do just fine in school despite this.

    things also have to be a regular ocurrance for me to remember them - "every other tuesday" doesn't seem like the sort of thing i could remember, but when i was working fulltime there was a weeklong schedule for when certain tasks got done and i can still tell you which tasks are on which day.
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