Where Did I Go? Executive Functioning and Getting Back on Track

It’s been too long since I have posted. I could blame a lot of things – craft shows, personal problems, life getting in the way. But the truth of the matter is, I just hit a block. Specifically, I hit an executive functioning block.

Don’t worry – my final installment in the organization series is coming, but today I thought I would focus on what went wrong and maybe try to find a fix.

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How I hit the Block

With ADHD, being distracted is pretty much a permanent state of being. It is one which I struggle greatly, and when Big Life Events happen, I lose control.

There are Big Things Happening in my life, which I cannot discuss here currently, and one of the related happenings threw me for a loop in mid-March. The depressive state I had been slowly working my way out of hit again with full force. Consequently, I didn’t do a lot that wasn’t a necessity. “Necessity” here being defined as “something that either brings in money, changes the amount of money going out, or that Mom has told me to do.”

That state lasted for probably a month. In that time, we also hit Craft Show Season, which brings its own set of challenges.

Craft shows, for me, demand a lot of my functioning. There is a lot of work to do to prepare for one, and then you sit in a busy (hopefully) room with lots of conversations happening, and yeah. An ADHD AND Autism nightmare. I do alright if I remember my stim toys. If I don’t… well let’s just say its a good thing that most shows are only about  hours…

The BIG Problem, Though, is Executive Functioning.

Executive functioning, simply put, is what gives one the ability to do stuff like cook, look after personal hygiene, know where you put things when you cleaned up, all that fun stuff. Neurotypicals, bless them, just DO these things. I honestly don’t know how.

With both ADHD and Autism, it was inevitable that I would have issues with executive functioning. When I am fully rested, healthy (or as healthy as I can be), without Anxiety or Depression rearing their ugly heads, I can do SOME of the things related to executive functioning. On a good day, I wake up without issue, get out of bed. I might have a shower, but then cooking goes out the window. Without a schedule to tell me what I’m supposed to do, I sit staring at walls, because determining what I am to work on, without someone telling me to do it, requires a skill set I just DON’T HAVE.

Executive Disfunction =/= Failure

How many times have I laid awake at night, wondering why I can’t do all the things that my mom does? She has a neat, clean house. It is organized and everything! She can do all the standard housekeeping things – she sweeps her floors daily, makes her bed, cleans out her CPAP machine, even BAKES COOKIES, all in the same day! It’s a series of magical tricks, and I wish I had her abilities.

Perhaps that is what you get when raised in a house with 14 siblings? I don’t envy her that upbringing, but DAMN, how I wish I could do the things she does.

MY KINGDOM FOR EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING!

..

….

Never mind. It’s not something I can steal from someone else. You have it, or you don’t.

I don’t.

The important thing to remember is just because you didn’t inherit the skill set that you marvel at your parent or sibling for doing, doesn’t mean that you are somehow lesser than them.

Everyone has different abilities. It just means that we need to rely on someone else to do the things we can’t.

 

The REAL Reason I’ve Been Quiet

Seriously? It’s simple.

I was overwhelmed. Remember how I said that on good days, I could do some, but not all, of the things that need to get done on a regular basis?

Yeah.

On BAD days, nothing gets done but what I want to do. And even then, there are times when even THAT doesn’t occur. I stare at the TV, wondering why the hell I suck so much.

On some level, I KNOW I don’t suck. But not being able to do so much as even do the dishes? Come on, EVERY adult should be able to do that.

Thank you, internalized ableism.

So, Now WHAT?

Yeah, this is the question I have been asking myself of late.

I know that I cannot expect myself to keep a clean apartment, hold down a full time job, and work on my hobbies (and small business and blog and everything else.) So I am learning, slowly, what my limitations are. I need to accept that if I want to continue to function, I have to let go of the internalized ableism that is making my life a living hell.

So my plan?

As I am currently on leave, I am going to attempt to form my days like I would at work. Each day, I will focus on one thing.

Today is blogging. I will work until I start to lose focus. Stopping for breaks. (Like coffee and cookies that I’m about to go taste!)

Tomorrow, maybe I do design work. Friday might be sewing. One day a week, I will focus on cleaning, when I am in my apartment, or helping with cleaning when at Mom and Dad’s. I will also ensure I have days where I relax. That’s as, if not more, important as Accomplishing Things.

I seriously need to stop considering relaxing an unnecessary thing.

When I go back to work, I will have to find ways to ensure that things like blogs and hobbies do not go by the wayside again. And if that starts to happen, I need to step back and think about what I can change and such.

And I will continue to tell myself that no, my apartment will NEVER be as clean and organized as mom’s house. But as long as the bathroom is cleaned regularly, and the kitchen isn’t invaded by bacteria and bugs, I AM GOOD.
If I need, I will reallocate resources to hire someone to clean for me. That is not a failure. Rich people do it all the time, why can’t I?

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