Miscellaneous Mental Archive

Executive Dysfunction

Posted March 7, 2019 By kmarrs

This will be a short note but I want to address a common misconception about Executive Dysfunction verses laziness.

You’re probably not lazy. Especially if you’re not neurotypical.

Executive Dysfunction is so common. A lot… A LOT of people have it.

Do you want to start the thing but are almost afraid of it?

Do you want to start the thing but you know you can’t do it perfectly so you think why bother?

Do you want to start the thing but your mind is telling you it is going to take more spoons than you have?

Do you want to start the thing but have trouble initiating?

Congratulations, it’s Executive Dysfunction.

You’re not at all even a little but just lazy.

And berating yourself for being lazy is doing the opposite of solving the problem.

Cut yourself some slack, and now that you know what it is, reread this past Monday’s post.

Also:

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Do What You Can

Posted March 4, 2019 By kmarrs

This started as a Twitter thread, so you might have seen it there, but I want to expand upon it, and I want to do that here, in long form.

Sambam is at that age where it’s fun to do chores that aren’t her own.
Ask her to clean her room? It’s the end of the world. Try to do dishes (my chore) without her help? Also the end of the world. I let her help until (if) she gets bored then I let her move on. And when it comes to her room (her chore), once a day I set an egg timer for 10 minutes and tell her to do what she can but once the timer rings, she can be done.

In reality, all her room ever really needs is that 10 minutes a day, and usually, it’s done in 5. But instead of overwhelming her by the limitless “clean your room”, I redirect it into a clear time frame with a set beginning and end. And reframe the word “spotless” into “do what you can”. This allows an overwhelming task to feel manageable. Possible. And I get a much better end result. In 10 (5) minutes, instead of the 10 days, it used to take.


Now she is happy to do her chores. Is excited (bossy) to help me with mine. And our relationship has a lot less stress in it. She is my heart and is growing into a functional and happy and beautiful young lady!


(Also, her hands are seeing work for the first time and she earned a tiny blister she’s very proud of. She worked herself on the dishes far harder than I would have worked her. But she was having fun.)


Do what you can.

That is just such an important concept!

So many of us are sick in one way or another. Mental health, chronic physical health. So many of us are spoonies. And when you are a spoonie, being given an open ended task like, “clean your room” or “vacuum the carpets” can seem so overwhelming.

I’ve seen this concept stated in many ways by many people, but I’m going to work it my way and see what happens.

Your bathroom is a mess? Start with the clutter around the sink. Put everything on the counter in its place. Now wipe it down. Out of spoons or otherwise need to move on? You did what you can. You’re free to go. But be proud of what you did! Tomorrow you can tackle the toilet.

Not out of spoons and the counter looks great but you want to do a little more? Go for it! Nothing is stopping you. Do what you can for 10 minutes. 15 minutes. Stop when you need to stop. Continue on when you have the spoons and will.

Vacuum one room a day. Look. I get it. Pushing the vacuum around takes a lot of spoons. So just get your living room. Or your office. Or the one room that needs it the most. Do what you can.

Writing a paper for class and it needs to be 6 pages and that feels overwhelming? Well, unless it’s due in like an hour, write the introduction and walk away from it for awhile. Go do the dishes. Get a snack. Just walk away. But while you do so, work the paper around in your head. After 15 minutes, come back to the computer and get down what your brain tossed around. Polish it. Add a little more. Just until it starts to get a little overwhelming again, or right before, then walk away again for awhile. No one said you have to write the entire paper in one day, unless you procrastinated. Take your time with it. Take little bites as you can. Bit by bit those 6, 10, 20 pages will form.

Do what you can.

Don’t ever berate yourself for not having what it takes to <insert task here> in one go. But don’t just do nothing either. Idleness won’t help. It’ll only make you overwhelmed with the task in general.

Back to Sammy.

We used to just tell her to clean her room spotless and, especially to a young child, that was the single most horrible thing we could have done (aside from actual child abuse, I acknowledge). To her little mind, it was the end of the world because it was so overwhelming. So one day I set an egg timer for 10 minutes and told her to do what she could. As long as she actually worked for the full 10 minutes, just putting away what caught her eye, or whatever was closest, or no method to the madness, just honest cleaning… whatever the end result was, she just needed to work for 10 minutes. I figured 10 minutes a day for a week, and we might have a spotless room.

But she bloomed. Suddenly she didn’t have to clean indefinitely. She had a clear and solid end insight. So instead of letting it build up in her mind into this huge overwhelming task, and accomplishing nothing at all (or worse… continuing to play and letting it get messier)…

The entire room took her about 5 minutes and she bragged about it. It wasn’t an ordeal. It wasn’t overwhelming. It was 10 (5) minutes worth of honest effort, end results be damned, and the end results were amazing. Better than what usually resulted in 10 days worth of tears and frustration, and mostly procrastinating.

I have executive dysfunction. It’s paired with my ADHD and depression. Tasks can seem so overwhelming and impossible to start. My head paints this big picture that <insert task here> is going to take a million hours of exhausting, mission impossible work. As a result, I’m afraid to even start. It’s just built up and overwhelming and I can’t seem to make myself start.

When I do eventually start the task, more often than not, it takes a hell of a lot less time than I feared, and not nearly as much effort as I assumed. It seemed endless and impossible, but in reality it was manageable and not that big of a deal. Certainly not what I built it up to be.

Getting started is the hard part. With me. With Sammy. And possibly (probably) with you.

So buy a little egg timer. Set it for 10 minutes. Now, not forever from now. (Or if you’re like me, give yourself a little more leeway and start at exactly x:00 or x:15 or x:30 or x:45… it just feels more solid and definite.) Set that timer and just start. See what happens.

And do what you can.

Oh! And one last thing! Don’t set yourself up for expecting perfection in the results. No one ever needs that. Your honest best is your honest best and don’t let anyone, including yourself, expect anything more from you.

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Therapy Update

Posted February 28, 2019 By kmarrs

We’re still in the early getting to know each other phase. But my first impression is holding true. Her office is really cozy and just feels like a safe space. Ruby herself is friend shaped and I feel really comfortable talking to her about anything.

Which is really great because a few sessions ago I opened up about the trauma in my life. The fact my step father was a bully. The bullying at school. My mom being a narcissist. The fact my first boyfriend was 8 years older then me, coerce me into sleeping with him regularly, and in all ways took advantage of my youth and inexperience and desire to please this older man whom was the first person to pay attention to me. We pulled words to what he was: a pedophile and a rapist.

Anyway we talked it all out and she is starting to piece together why I am the way I am.

BPD makes sense. Eve from a young age.

Being asexual makes sense. (Some asexuals are born that way. Some become asexual after trauma.)

The current project that I’m working on is tracking my emotions and recording what they do to me physically. Like how anger makes you tense up? Where do I tense?

I bought a little notebook and am planning to track for weeks beyond what she is asking of me. If I want to get rid of my anger response, for example, then I need to know what anger does to me so I can counter act it.

Also, I’m realizing, with help, that the 90% of my life that I feel stressed, the emotion attached to that is fear. Fear of failure. Fear I won’t get everything done. Fear I won’t have down time to just relax. My stress is a fear response and my stress is killing me.

So yeah. Therapy is going great and I really like Ruby. She is the best! I feel like that’s an understatement. But she is just really comforting and a really super effective therapist. She calls me on my bullshit. All with understanding and heart behind her words. And all while wearing fun socks, and no shoes.

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ADHD

Posted January 24, 2019 By kmarrs

So many years ago I suggested to my meds doctor that I might have ADHD. She was willing at the time to medicate me for it, but insurance put up a fight and I just wasn’t up to fighting.

Now I have come to the terms that I almost definitely, though it’s self diagnosed, have ADHD. There is no denying it. And I’m to the point in my education and career, that if I’m going to succeed, than I need medication.

So I called my meds doctor the other week and asked her if I could come in sooner than planned and discuss me starting meds. I’m willing to go through the diagnostic criteria, and I have a better handle on the symptoms now, that I can really make a case for myself. So I should hopefully be medicated starting in maybe mid-February.

I’ll check back in around then to fill you all in on how that goes. I’m also due for a meds update post, but I might as well wait until I know what’s going to happen with ADHD treatment.

Also, while we’re on the topic, I’m pretty sure I’m autistic. They are comorbid a hell of a lot of times. However, I will never seek diagnosis there.

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Dark Place

Posted October 29, 2017 By kmarrs

I’m currently in a very dark place.  Money just got super tight.  Tighter than it’s been in a very long time and I’m terrified.

Plus school is currently kicking my ass.  Though my current class is about to be over.  I just have to watch a few more educational video, read one more chapter, and then write a paper.  Oh yeah.  And take a test worth 20% of my final grade.  *sigh*  I’m just super stressed.

After this class comes a management class.  I have not actually looked at it yet.  But it is the standard form.  No tests, just papers and most likely a group project.  I’m still at a point in my life where that is stressful, but it’s less stressful than this current class and I’m use to that format.  Most of the classes at my school don’t test.

After that class, which is 6 weeks long and ends December 12, I’ll have about 8 weeks off from classes.  That will be a much needed and welcomed break.  2 of those weeks will also be a vacation from work.  Won’t help the money situation any, but the entire university shuts down over the holidays, so I have no choice.  We’ll just have to make the best of it.  I do need the vacation, so that’s good at least.  I just hope the stress of losing more income, doesn’t outweigh the relaxation of a vacation.

So overall mental health wise… I have goals in life so I’m not actively suicidal.  But I would very much like to just curl up into a little ball and sleep until the world is a better and kinder place.

Also I miss my old cat that use to catch flies mid air and eat them.  I don’t… I can’t live with cats because they drive me crazy, but this fly is driving me crazier.  And it’s just… I’m already on the brink of a total mental breakdown, I don’t really need a fly pushing me over the edge.

But there you have it.

How can you help?

See the links to my books over in the left hand side?  Every little bit of additional income helps me out.  So consider purchasing one or both.  Alphabet Antics especially makes a great gift for the 2-5-year-old bracket.  That’s straight up money towards my rent and bills.  Never before has rent been in jeopardy, but starting now, it is.

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School and Mental Health

Posted October 18, 2017 By kmarrs

I’m way past due on an update, but there just wasn’t much to write about.  But I’m sitting here with time to kill, and I actually have something to say.

Having taken a good 5-6 years at my education, I’m still a couple years out from complete, but I’m running out of loan money.  And my loan money is essential for paying for my education if everything stays the same.  And by everything staying the same I mean me going part-time, mostly.

Let me back up.  Some of you know how Grants like the Pell Grant work here in America.  Let’s say, and this is a random number, you are granted 2000$ per term.  That’s great, but that’s only if you go full-time, or a full 12 credit hours.  If you go 6-8 credit hours, you get exactly, to the penny, half that.  Now at schools where classes run 3 credit hours, going part-time at 6 credit hours, is no big deal.  Your grants will generally cover this.  But my school the classes are 4 credit hours so I either take two classes at 8 credit hours, but get the grant money for 6, or I take the full 12 and get the grant money for 12.  Now you’re starting to understand why it is I took out student loans in the first place.  My mental health is not as such I can go full time easily, and well, loans also give us an extra 2000$ per term, roughly, to put towards things like bills, car repairs, or once a year Christmas.

Now that my loan money has run out, however, I have confirmed the numbers, and like it or not, starting next fall I start up full-time.  I do have 1 more term (Winter) worth of loan money left.  And I’m taking this summer off.

I’m.  I’m about at my breaking point.  Just stress and the pressure to perform.  I’m maintaining just shy of a perfect 4.0GPA and I’m well aware that to get into OSU’s psych program I need to not fuck up.  I mean really.  They are one of the top 25 schools for psychology in the country.  It’s going to be hella competitive getting in, and I’m not a shoo-in.  So I need to maintain perfect grades and that’s a lot of pressure.

Having this summer off will be a big help.  Plus since I’m still part-time I was able to schedule it so that I have a total of 8 weeks off, counting the holiday break, starting at the end of December into February.  That will be good.  2 of those weeks I’m out of work even.  So that will be really nice.

I’m just very tired.  And very stressed.  And doing my best to maintain mental stability, but some days it’s very challenging.

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