Executive function- mine's terrible. How does it effect you?

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dianthus
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04 Jun 2015, 10:24 pm

MollyTroubletail wrote:
If I focus on grocery shopping and cooking my own meals instead of eating take-out fast food, I forget to pay the bills and save money. If I focus on paying the bills and saving money, I forget to clean the house. If I focus on cleaning the house, I forget to do the laundry and mow the lawn. And so on!

I can't seem to get a handle on doing all the many normal things in life all at the same time. I can do one normal thing in life perfectly well if I focus on that thing, but I guess it takes all of my concentration and energy to do it.


This basically sums it up for me. I'm very monotropic, if I can just do ONE THING I can do it really well, but I have an awful time trying to juggle a lot of different tasks.



dryope
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04 Jun 2015, 10:51 pm

Just one more thought -- I have gotten a LOT better recently by getting rid of my junk and simplifying my life. I saw this book on another autism forum two months ago and I have now reduced the clutter in my life (not just physical objects) by more than half. It frees up my brain significantly:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
http://www.amazon.com/The-Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering/dp/1607747308

Some folks on the other forum were speculating the author (Japanese -- the whole thing is very shinto/Japanesey) is on the spectrum. Whether she is or not, she made cleaning up and decluttering her special interest from kindergarten age. I think that's pretty cool.


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mr_bigmouth_502
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05 Jun 2015, 12:39 am

Well, my room's a mess, I forget things easily, I stay up all night and sleep most of the day without doing anything productive... yeah, my executive functioning sucks.



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05 Jun 2015, 4:46 am

AlienorAspie wrote:
I also found it very useful to "find out" what was causing things and stop beating myself up about it.


It was E.F. problems that started my search into ASDs. Throughout my life since college, I had come across many lists of ASD traits, due to my education background. I always had *many* on the list, but I ignored the hint that I might have a form of autism because I didn't have certain traits, like delayed language, etc. I didn't know anything about Aspergers at the time. Years later, it was suggested to me that my son might have Aspergers, but again he didn't have *all* the traits, and I didn't realize then that one doesn't need to have *all* the traits to be on the spectrum. I never got him tested...

Then at age 35, after being married so long and trying numerous approaches to housekeeping and organizing and so forth, I got really fed up. I woke up one day and said to myself, "I am a smart woman. If this was simply an issue of being able to learn something, I'd be able to do it. Maybe I have some kind of disability."

One thing led to another, and here I am. I found, also, that once I started looking at ASD traits in FEMALES, my world changed. And it IS helpful to know that you have a reason for being the way you are. I no longer beat myself up over these difficulties. They still cause me problems, but I can accept *myself*. I no longer feel like I simply must try harder or be a better person to get this stuff under control.



gretchyn
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05 Jun 2015, 10:56 am

BirdInFlight wrote:
My executive functioning becomes worse or better depending on how much stress I've been experiencing in other ways.

For example, if I've been having many sensory issues, or if I've had too much forced socializing that wasn't on my terms, my ability to come home and do practical things that need to be done goes to hell in a handbasket.

Because I think what happens is, I feel so stressed from the other stuff that I have to recover, and recovery for me seems to involve sitting around doing really not much, just trying to "come down from" what has stressed me out.

And it's then that I can't seem to make myself go and wash the dishes, tidy up my place, do laundry or even take care of my basic hygiene. I can't get ready for work in time enough not to be late -- even though I get up early. I don't know where the time goes to, but somehow the process of just getting myself ready to go out to work can feel so complicated and hard for me that it's like wading through molasses, and now I'm going to be forty minutes late to work.

My executive functioning gets much, much better when I am well rested, had enough sleep, had enough "alone time," had only the social interactions I can handle and no more, and haven't had any pressures put on me, or other anxieties.

So basically stress of any kind, when accumulative and not able to be recovered from expediently, sends my executive functioning plummeting.



This is exactly how it is with me. Sometimes (often) I just can't bear to do anything.



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05 Jun 2015, 1:24 pm

I can't keep my house clean I am working on it at the moment as it has to be sold this means I normally forget to do the laundry for work. Or I wash it and forget to take it out of the machine to dry. My EF apart from this I think is good. Brushing teeth is one other thing that has to be set in routine. At work its easy I cycle in shower at work and the toothbrush comes out as I am doing he skin care stuff weekends I frequently forget unless I am going somewhere special.

I am trying to regain the habit of sorting my food for work out at home (cheaper and healthier) managed 4 breakfasts and one lunch this week next week aim is all breakfasts and 2 lunches. Little steps little changes become habits much easier than bigger ones



cassidyeden
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05 Jun 2015, 7:44 pm

My executive functioning skills are terrible. I have also been a BIG procrastinator lately. Anybody here procrastinate and wait until the last minute to do things? That's why I didn't do too well last semester at college. I waited until last minute for assignments and had no concept of starting the assignment early to give me enough time to complete it on the due date. That's why online classes can sometimes be difficult for me. I have difficulty housekeeping and taking care of my basic hygiene or personal care. Not so much that I need assistance but I do need support with some things. It seems like a lot of us have difficulty in the executive functioning area.



mr_bigmouth_502
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05 Jun 2015, 7:52 pm

cassidyeden wrote:
My executive functioning skills are terrible. I have also been a BIG procrastinator lately. Anybody here procrastinate and wait until the last minute to do things? That's why I didn't do too well last semester at college. I waited until last minute for assignments and had no concept of starting the assignment early to give me enough time to complete it on the due date. That's why online classes can sometimes be difficult for me. I have difficulty housekeeping and taking care of my basic hygiene or personal care. Not so much that I need assistance but I do need support with some things. It seems like a lot of us have difficulty in the executive functioning area.


I'm quite prone to procrastination as well.



Cyllya1
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07 Jun 2015, 1:30 am

I have similar memory and planning problems as everyone else described.

Is "emotional regulation" under executive functioning too? My biggest problem is how I tend to feel emotional resistance (stress, sadness, anxiety, or frustration) toward almost any kind of task or responsibility. Basically, I'm incredibly lazy, except lazy people normally expect some kind of benefit from their laziness.

I'm going to re-paste this quote from a book that I really sympathyze with: (Hyperbole and a Half, related to the blog of the same name.)

"One of the most terrifying things that has ever happened to me was watching myself decide over and over again--thirty-five days in a row--to not return a movie I had rented. Everyday, I saw it sitting there on the arm of my couch. And everyday, I thought, I should really do something about that... and then I just didn't.

"After a week, I started to worry it was never going to happen, but I thought, Surely I have more control over my life than this. Surely I wouldn't allow myself to NEVER return the movie."

Then the cartoon picture of herself, standing next to the movie and couch, looking glum, thinking, "...I wouldn't just... NOT do something this easy, right?"

Then there's a few pages of cartoons of her arguing with herself about putting away a plate she had food on three days ago.


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ajpd1989
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07 Jun 2015, 2:23 am

I don't know, but I think mine is pretty bad.

I am terrible at time management, tend to procrastinate, and get disorganised very easily when I'm stressed.
Especially when I'm in a depressed mood too. The other day, on my way to work, I forgot my money and my food.
I somewhat often forget important things and then remember a bit too late, and it ends up costing me more time and/or money (plus frustration).



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07 Jun 2015, 3:22 am

My emotional/mental/physical state impacts on my level of abilities, basically anxiety inducing stress as well as leading to depression, makes my EF worse.

I really struggle to be organized, I enjoy life a bit more when I am, but getting there is the problem. It’s a skill to be practiced. Planning and organizing was my cornerstone once, I’m trying to do as I did before, but I can’t seem to do it in a structured way. Procrastination is a problem for me too.

Leaving the house on time has always been stressful. To offset this I now try to leave 20-30 minutes earlier than necessary, because I forget even more things than I did before, which adds to the stress, but if I have a time allowance for these things I’m less likely to become very stressed, and my brain cogs won’t seize up.

My attention span has deteriorated, sometimes I feel pain in my head when trying to focus on mundane tasks, and need to take regular breaks to let it ease. If I’m doing something practical that I enjoy, it has a relaxing effect, and I don’t want to stop. Again I view this as a skill that I have to practice, if I want it to improve.

I have a more noticeable time delay now switching between tasks, sometimes I it feels like the cogs are just stuck.
I can remember the shape of someone’s unremarkable nose, but often I won’t remember something useful, my memory is abysmal by comparison to a few years ago.

I have foot in mouth syndrome, saying and doing the wrong thing; thankfully it’s not as bad now as it was a year ago, but it’s still difficult to regulate it, when I am relaxed as well as stressed, I am much more likely to say something inappropriate.

I can’t seem to access previously acquired skills.
There are more... I can’t remember them now, lol. I struggled with these things all my life, but since the last bout of depression I realized that I had been using ‘offsetting strategies’, and not innate abilities. They are skills that I have to practice to regain them.



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07 Jun 2015, 4:15 am

Reading these replies is like looking at my life

I leave everything until it's too late. I end up sorting it out but I never make it easy for myself.

I don't do foot in mouth so much as get the comment 'too much information' more regularly than alot of people. I don't do clothes really I have a small idea of what suits me but suffer from anxiety every time I try to go out more smartly dressed or just differently dressed form my normal uniform. So I tend to always be on the scruffy side compared to the rest of the world



Raf_19
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07 Jun 2015, 4:18 am

this is the part of my ASD that i struggle with the most and the part that turns me from a HFA to almost incapable of living a normal life. I am HFA all the time that my EF is in check and i totally relate to the person who said this fluctuates with stress and anxiety factors.

for my, it is all about the shift set.. i cannot focus on more than one thing at a time and i am instantly all at sea if more than one person talks to me at once or even if there are other noises around me when someone tries to speak to me. i cannot manage time - i do not have any ability to estimate how long a task will take and to cope with this I now grossly OVER estimate how long things take to the point of absurdity - for example if it takes 20 minutes to get somewhere, i will leave 2-3 hours early. this makes me really dysfunctional! it also affects me with cooking and many other things where balancing time is the skill needed. i hate how poor my EF is as i feel like it affects so much of my potential to leading a normal life. i cannot live independently due to this :(



to cope with it i have to have structure to the max, lists, notes, cues, visual aids and then even those things become an obsession which backfires.. urgh
nice to see a post about this as there doesn;t seem to be much understanding about how complex it can be and how many layers of life it creeps in to, makes me want to tear off my head at times :ninja:



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07 Jun 2015, 4:32 am

I so strongly relate to Raf_19's post and to all the other replies. Someone said reading this thread is like reading about their own life -- me too.


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07 Jun 2015, 5:14 am

Cyllya1 wrote:
I have similar memory and planning problems as everyone else described.

Is "emotional regulation" under executive functioning too? My biggest problem is how I tend to feel emotional resistance (stress, sadness, anxiety, or frustration) toward almost any kind of task or responsibility. Basically, I'm incredibly lazy, except lazy people normally expect some kind of benefit from their laziness.

I'm going to re-paste this quote from a book that I really sympathyze with: (Hyperbole and a Half, related to the blog of the same name.)

"One of the most terrifying things that has ever happened to me was watching myself decide over and over again--thirty-five days in a row--to not return a movie I had rented. Everyday, I saw it sitting there on the arm of my couch. And everyday, I thought, I should really do something about that... and then I just didn't.

"After a week, I started to worry it was never going to happen, but I thought, Surely I have more control over my life than this. Surely I wouldn't allow myself to NEVER return the movie."

Then the cartoon picture of herself, standing next to the movie and couch, looking glum, thinking, "...I wouldn't just... NOT do something this easy, right?"

Then there's a few pages of cartoons of her arguing with herself about putting away a plate she had food on three days ago.


Yes, emotional regulation is part of EF. I also struggle in that area.

The book "Smart But Scattered" talks about EF and strategies for getting better, but it is really designed for NT parents helping their child. It does no good for an AS adult who has to supervise themselves. However, the descriptions in the book of all the subsets of EF are helpful.

I relate very much to the video story.

I was once banned from a library because I returned books so late that I racked up a $100 fine, which I couldn't afford to pay at the time. We moved before I had the money to pay it and have borrowing privileges restored.

At the library here, I have paid so many late fines that my husband jokes that a wing could be built in our honor. Now, he takes care of the library so we don't have to have "library fines" as a category in our monthly budget. When I knew my fines were going to be hefty, I'd ask the librarian to write down the figure on a slip because sometimes other patrons would overhear the figure and look at me and make comments. I so wish I could have retorted, "Shut up! I'm doing the library some good right now!" But, instead, I would always freeze and feel embarrassed. The feeling of embarrassment and shame is the very thing that would often keep me from returning the late books in the first place. (The librarian was used to me, and kind - it was the other patrons that I was afraid of being exposed in front of.)