There’s a phenomenon (do do dooo do do do) sorry, got distracted, any way.
I like to explore executive functioning challenges on a deeper level.
The surface stuff is easier to spot, the deep stuff can be a source of life long frustration, because the way it shows up in every day life can be confusing and embarrassing.
Especially, when it happens in front of people whose respect you want.
For example, do you experience looking diligently for something only to throw your hands up in frustration?
Then someone else looks in the same places you did and is able to find it quickly.
Their secret, while you were looking for it in plain sight, they moved things around and found it behind something else.
You’re left scratching your head wondering why you didn’t think of doing that.
I have a theory on why this happens.
I remember watching my older sons when they were much younger, they insisted on sequencing things. From smallest to largest, alphabetical, etc.
They’d only do this with things that had an obvious pattern to them. Like having step by step directions.
I can follow a recipe (pretty well), as long as it’s laid out, step by step crystal clear.
Now enter the research paper. Even with an outline, structuring our thoughts can still be intimidating because it’s difficult to determine which comes first, etc.
Still with me, we’re getting closer?
Then there’s the project where we need to determine all the steps ourselves and we freeze, why?
Because until we can determine which of all the steps is the first step, we do nothing.
In a way, you think if you start and get it wrong you may become even more confused.
Subconsciously you see moving things in the absence of a plan as a threat.
Which brings us to this morning.
I have a cabinet where I store my coffee and various dry ingredients I use in my smoothies.
I leave the coffee in front because it’s what I go for first. This is a habit so knowing it comes first is established.
This morning I open the cabinet and the coffee isn’t there.
I begin to wonder where it could have gone. I began opening other cabinets thinking I put it someplace else.
I decide to work on my smoothie while I think about where it could be.
I grab ingredients randomly knowing the pattern doesn’t matter as long as each one goes in.
As I remove items from the cabinet the coffee suddenly appears, behind something else. Something had been moved in front of it and it didn’t occur to me to move things in my effort to find it. WHY?
I avoid trying to sequence things (i.e. move them around into a specific order based on criteria such as first to last, etc.) because I’m so weak in that area. Yeah I just said, “weak”, deal with it.
Subconsciously my brain says, don’t move things around you’ll just make it worse, so I don’t move things. Make sense?
People with ADHD who have difficulty starting things, or who start something, get distracted and can’t remember where they left off, may have this problem as well.
They’re intimidated by the need for prioritizing order, putting things in a sequence. This resistance shows up almost everywhere.
Knowing this is an area of resistance is the first step to getting it out of the way.