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MrsRobinson

What is this and how do I improve? Possibly executive function or ADHD related

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I'll just get right to the example that is prompting this post:

Today, a friend came over to help me move some furniture. Then some relatives showed up EARLY to pick up dd. So the two events unintentionally overlapped. One relative start talking right away about house stuff (we are buying a house) then the other relative started talking about dd and what they were going to do and getting needed information from me. Meanwhile, my friend is standing there and waiting for me. I'm wanting to introduce them because I don't think they know each other but relatives wouldn't let me get it in. I'm also trying to remember to thank relatives for taking dd (they are spending money and time on her) and make sure they hear me thank them because they are particular about thank yous but also they never stop talking long enough to hear any! Lol! And I needed to give dd attention in the form of a big hug and kind words before she left. She will jump in the car without it then ends up calling me in tears an hour later because I didn't give her love. 

So here's my issue. I felt like my brain was in a washing machine or blender during this exchange. I was trying to talk to three people about three different things and it just all runs together and I can't focus. Plus actively saying to myself in my mind "remeber to thank them loudly" over and over, it felt like I could feel physical brain pain to hold on to that thought. 

After reading and researching ADHD and executive function issues in kids for dd, I'm pretty sure I'm ADHD Inattentive type with definite EF issues. I've since built in a lot of supports, simple routines, and visual/ audio reminders and checklists for myself and they are helping me so much. The biggest struggle I have now is in the above example. And that type of situation happens a lot with coordinating care and treatment for chronic illnesses in our family, plus extra curricular activities, a non-profit I volunteer with in a big group, and more. 

Anybody know what I'm describing? Can anybody point me in a direction to improve? 

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Are you used to commanding a crowd/team? It might not be ADHD, but lack of experience. My paternal and maternal relatives are all loud and “talkative”, and we joke that it is like a fish market during family gatherings. I would have clapped to get your relatives and friend’s attention so that I could make introductions. Then proceed to give my kids their goodbye hugs and any last minute instruction/reminder. After that I would thank my relatives and “shoo” relatives and kids out of the door.

ETA:

I realized clapping to get attention might be rude in some scenarios and social cultures. My  kids encounter clapping as an attention signal in schools, parks, libraries and college outreach events.

Edited by Arcadia
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6 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

Are you used to commanding a crowd/team? It might not be ADHD, but lack of experience. My paternal and maternal relatives are all loud and “talkative”, and we joke that it is like a fish market during family gatherings. I would have clapped to get your relatives and friend’s attention so that I could make introductions. Then proceed to give my kids their goodbye hugs and any last minute instruction/reminder. After that I would thank my relatives and “shoo” relatives and kids out of the door.

Oh my gosh I think I would faint of embarrassment if I tried that! Lol! 

I guess then, I'd have to say I am definitely not good at commanding a crowd! 😳

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14 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

No suggestions but I totally relate.  I would be having the exact same issues.  No good with executive function here either.

I'm sorry you have the same issues cause it sucks but I'm so relieved that I'm not the only one! 

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So, human brains don't really multi-task; we are not capable of actually focusing on more than one thing at a time. What most people call multi-tasking is just switching back and forth between multiple things.

Sounds to me like your brain was confused because the situation was legitimately confusing with lots of different people/things to keep track of.

I can only think of two ways of dealing with it: let it kind of wash over you while trying to at least fit in essentials like saying goodbye to your dd, or as a previous poster said taking command of the situation: "hey Jen, this is my friend Sally; Sally this is my cousin Jen; she's here to take Mary to .... so I'm just going to get her all squared away and then we can get back to what we were doing."

Edited by maize
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2 hours ago, maize said:

So, human brains don't really multi-task; we are not capable of actually focusing on more than one thing at a time. What most people call multi-tasking is just switching back and forth between multiple things.

Sounds to me like your brain was confused because the situation was legitimately confusing with lots of different people/things to keep track of.

I can only think of two ways of dealing with it: let it kind of wash over you while trying to at least fit in essentials like saying goodbye to your dd, or as a previous poster said taking command of the situation: "hey Jen, this is my friend Sally; Sally this is my cousin Jen; she's here to take Mary to .... so I'm just going to get her all squared away and then we can get back to what we were doing."

So you're saying most people would have a hard time mentally in that situation? 

Yes, your example of how to get things done one at a time is exactly what I need to do in those types of situations. I should have shut down the house talk because it wasn't the time for that and moved them and dd towards leaving.

I forget that when its my turn to talk, I don't HAVE to answer house questions right then, I can say whatever I want! Like, "well I'll let you talk to dh about that later because I have my friend, Sally, here to help me move this furniture. Sally, these are dd's relatives." I just CAN'T THINK in the moment to actually say the logical thing. 

Where's that head bang emoji when you need it?!

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Mindfulness or doing a body scan is an evidence-based practice, a way to bump your executive function 30% with just a few minutes of effort. So it's possible the situation would have been confusing to anyone. Adding a body scan or basic time spend in mindfulness for 5-10 minutes may give you enough improvement to satisfy you. You can also do your body scan while in the shower, while lying down for bed, etc. Doing it periodically throughout the day can help you regain your calm when you're stressed.

Caffeine will also typically help a bit. :biggrin:

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I think a lot of people would have a hard time focusing in that situation.  I know I would!  Are you comfortable interrupting people to say "Just one minute, I need to say goodbye to DD and see her off"?  By any chance are these older relatives who you've been taught outrank you, and thus should never be interrupted?

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5 hours ago, MrsRobinson said:

Oh my gosh I think I would faint of embarrassment if I tried that! Lol! 

 

I have more than thirty nephews and nieces to practice on from the time when I was a bossy toddler as my oldest nephew is a few months older than me 😉 Developed a “thick skin” in the process.

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I'm the least ADHD-type person you can imagine. I have (or at least I'm pretty sure I have) strong executive function skills. I won't say I would have completely struggled with that situation, but I wouldn't have liked it at all and would have felt mentally flustered even if I didn't show it outwardly. As @maize said, regardless of what you read or what anyone claims, human brains aren't able to multi-task well at all. As @Arcadia said, taking command of the situation was really what was needed. As an introvert I used to have trouble with that, but it's definitely a skill that I've developed a bit over the years. One of the few pros of getting older. :wink: 

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I *do have ADD and, for me, it would depend on who the people were.

With just about any of my friends and most of my relatives, I would have definitely taken command in my special awkward style, lol, and worked my way through my checklist.  But there are people I wouldn’t be comfortable doing that with, and I’d just try to shake that off.

Bottom line, the relatives are the ones who were *actually awkward and difficult in the given scenario. Though I do have trouble remembering to shut up myself, I am aware that you have to give others a chance to speak!  And I assume they saw you had a guest. Not acknowledging that is weird.

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6 hours ago, MissLemon said:

I think a lot of people would have a hard time focusing in that situation.  I know I would!  Are you comfortable interrupting people to say "Just one minute, I need to say goodbye to DD and see her off"?  By any chance are these older relatives who you've been taught outrank you, and thus should never be interrupted?

To your first question, no I'm not comfortable and it drives dh crazy! I will just let people go on and on because I can't tell them to pause or I need to hang up or whatever. Hmmm.... I hadn't made that connection but it seems so obvious! Thank you! 

To the 2nd question, it wouldn't have mattered. I have a very close relative that is 16 years younger than me and I never interrupt. I almost never interrupt my kids. Sometimes I have to to say 'let the doctor do his job' and I hate that I have to do that! So uncomfortable! 

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1 hour ago, Pawz4me said:

I'm the least ADHD-type person you can imagine. I have (or at least I'm pretty sure I have) strong executive function skills. I won't say I would have completely struggled with that situation, but I wouldn't have liked it at all and would have felt mentally flustered even if I didn't show it outwardly. As @maize said, regardless of what you read or what anyone claims, human brains aren't able to multi-task well at all. As @Arcadia said, taking command of the situation was really what was needed. As an introvert I used to have trouble with that, but it's definitely a skill that I've developed a bit over the years. One of the few pros of getting older. :wink: 

So this is probably an introvert thing more than an EF issue? I like that idea! My answers above certainly support that idea. I think it would be easier to improve upon my personality than EF struggles. 

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15 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

I *do have ADD and, for me, it would depend on who the people were.

With just about any of my friends and most of my relatives, I would have definitely taken command in my special awkward style, lol, and worked my way through my checklist.  But there are people I wouldn’t be comfortable doing that with, and I’d just try to shake that off.

Bottom line, the relatives are the ones who were *actually awkward and difficult in the given scenario. Though I do have trouble remembering to shut up myself, I am aware that you have to give others a chance to speak!  And I assume they saw you had a guest. Not acknowledging that is weird.

Thank you! That's what I thought. 

Not all group situations are like that one. Maybe that was a bad example. I struggle in all groups where I'm conversing with multiple people. But its worth working on overcoming my introvert behavior to see if that helps. 

Sorry I can't multi quote guys. It wants to quote every post I've ever quoted since the new forum and I can't figure out how to erase them! 😄 

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30 minutes ago, MrsRobinson said:

I think it would be easier to improve upon my personality than EF struggles. 

Seems to me it would be the opposite, lol. You'd be fighting your personality, whereas the EF you do 10 minutes of mindfulness and boom 30% bump. Lots of evidence/research on that. 30% improvement. So think about that, do it three times a day and you're a whole person, haha. Maybe not, but it can be a noticeable improvement. 

Here's Kelly Mahler's favorite mindfulness/body scan link. She's the OT behind the Interoception stuff https://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-meditation-guided-practices/?fbclid=IwAR2wDpRohL60SV9WxGiAodq1qoZ1zh9oq_ntbrkPM4QCAZTVqc5jz3gyA5A

26 minutes ago, MrsRobinson said:

I struggle in all groups where I'm conversing with multiple people. But its worth working on overcoming my introvert behavior to see if that helps. 

I'm not really following all this very well, but is it possible what you're feeling there is a bit of *anxiety*? Just something to think through. Then you could use strategies for anxiety, which would include mindfulness, deep breathing, etc. Anxiety and ADHD pretty much go hand in hand, so it wouldn't be a shock. Even if it's just a little bit, it's another angle to research to look for strategies. 

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It's completely okay to tell people, "Wait. I want to make sure I don't forget anything here. First, thank you for taking [DD] to ___. [DD], come over here and get your goodbye hug. Do you have everything you need? Let's check... Okay, thank you. Now, [friend] and I are about to move the furniture next, so we'd better get started. Going back to what you were saying, [last person], could we talk about that on the phone later?"

Just bring your thoughts right out loud, even if they don't quite fit with what the previous speaker was saying, if you're at risk of losing an important thought. The relatives don't want DD to melt down because she didn't get a proper goodbye any more than you do.

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I would have struggled similarly -- and it would have taken me awhile to recover. I also struggle with being in large groups (such as when I go to a party with my husband's coworkers) but it's mainly the overload of sensory input.  I can be trying to hold a conversation with someone else but if there are three other conversations going on in the background PLUS music, I start to panic, start to miss chunks of the other person's conversation, and just get a general glazed over expression. My husband LOVES these parties and has no trouble. I am usually dragging him away, kicking and screaming.  Even when I know most of the people, the noise and confusion usually overwhelm me after awhile.

I don't know if I necessarily would be diagnosed with anything... but I will just put out there that my daughter just got diagnosed with ADHD and my dad has finally conceded that he most likely is ADHD 😆   Executive functioning is not my strong suit.

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15 hours ago, MrsRobinson said:

I'll just get right to the example that is prompting this post:

Today, a friend came over to help me move some furniture. Then some relatives showed up EARLY to pick up dd. So the two events unintentionally overlapped. One relative start talking right away about house stuff (we are buying a house) then the other relative started talking about dd and what they were going to do and getting needed information from me. Meanwhile, my friend is standing there and waiting for me. I'm wanting to introduce them because I don't think they know each other but relatives wouldn't let me get it in. I'm also trying to remember to thank relatives for taking dd (they are spending money and time on her) and make sure they hear me thank them because they are particular about thank yous but also they never stop talking long enough to hear any! Lol! And I needed to give dd attention in the form of a big hug and kind words before she left. She will jump in the car without it then ends up calling me in tears an hour later because I didn't give her love. 

So here's my issue. I felt like my brain was in a washing machine or blender during this exchange. I was trying to talk to three people about three different things and it just all runs together and I can't focus. Plus actively saying to myself in my mind "remeber to thank them loudly" over and over, it felt like I could feel physical brain pain to hold on to that thought. 

After reading and researching ADHD and executive function issues in kids for dd, I'm pretty sure I'm ADHD Inattentive type with definite EF issues. I've since built in a lot of supports, simple routines, and visual/ audio reminders and checklists for myself and they are helping me so much. The biggest struggle I have now is in the above example. And that type of situation happens a lot with coordinating care and treatment for chronic illnesses in our family, plus extra curricular activities, a non-profit I volunteer with in a big group, and more. 

Anybody know what I'm describing? Can anybody point me in a direction to improve? 

 

I understand. I usually go for "they know I'm socially inept anyway" and just prioritize what I think is most important (love to DD, introductions) and interrupt. I get a bit of a feeling that you were so focused on accommodating everyone that you got overwhelmed. A dose of assertiveness might help. Can't get a word in edgewise? Interrupt and take charge.

Also, I went and got on ADHD medication at the age of 41 and it's helped a lot. With the meds, I'm much better and dealing with a lot being thrown at me at once, triaging tasks, and focusing on what's in front of me without forgetting everything else in the process or getting overwhelmed.

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51 minutes ago, Ravin said:

 

I understand. I usually go for "they know I'm socially inept anyway" and just prioritize what I think is most important (love to DD, introductions) and interrupt. I get a bit of a feeling that you were so focused on accommodating everyone that you got overwhelmed. A dose of assertiveness might help. Can't get a word in edgewise? Interrupt and take charge.

Also, I went and got on ADHD medication at the age of 41 and it's helped a lot. With the meds, I'm much better and dealing with a lot being thrown at me at once, triaging tasks, and focusing on what's in front of me without forgetting everything else in the process or getting overwhelmed.

This is what I was thinking.  I would have felt the same way you did OP, and as far as I know I do not have ADHD or executive function issues, at least most of the time. But I am easily overwhelmed by competing conversations.  And, I also don't like to interrupt. Sometimes it's just necessary, when people are focused on their own needs/wants and not paying attention to others.  I find at my work, when too many people are talking to me at once, I will have to put up my hands in a "stop" signal and say "can we hold up here? I can't talk to all of you at once."  Most people get it once it is brought to their attention.  

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I think that that situation would have been a bit overwhelming to anyone.

And I think the only way to deal with it is to interrupt.  You can do that politely by saying, “Excuse me.”  

So the first relative that is taking care of DD, you say, thank you so much, excuse me, I need to say goodbye.  Then go love on DD, and they are GONE.  (Oh the relief).  Then you turn to the second relative or the friend, you introduce them, if the relative it talking you say, hold on a minute, you haven’t met Susie yet, then introduce, and say something descriptive/complimentary/nice about each one to the other one, or mention something they have in common.  Then move on to tasks or whatever.  

But honestly, this would be hard for anyone, and culturally I don’t thinking clapping for attention is done much among equals in this country and I think that that would be interpreted as you setting yourself above the others in a way that is borderline rude.  

When I am dealing with something like this I hyper focus on one person at a time, but very briefly.  I think of it similar to a tunnelling microscope—tunneling through the crowd to one focus and then another and another.  It’s hard though, for sure, and it would be hard for anyone.

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I have very good executive function but I don't multi-task well.  In the situation you're describing I would have done the following:

1. I would've been very assertive with my large, loud family like I always am and yelled at first to say, "Hey everybody!  Steve!  You too! Trav!  TRacie! Sorry to interrupt, guys, but I need your attention for just a minute!" Then, when I had everyone's attention I would say, " Everybody, this is my friend Jane.  Jane, this is everyone.  Don't worry, I won't make you learn all their names. "  They would all have waved and said hi and someone would've joked about the chaos.

2. Then I would've turned to Jane and said, "Feel free to get yourself a drink and have a seat while I get the kids off." If anyone else tried to talk to me at the same time I would've continued to make eye contact with Jane, but put my right hand up with my index finger pointed up in "wait a minute"  gesture to acknowledge that I know I need to get to them, but they'll have to wait a minute.

3. Then I would've talked to whatever adult needed info from me.  Again, ready to give the "wait a minute gesture" to anyone else trying to talk to me while I was already talking to someone.

4. After that was all settled I would say what I always say to my kid about to walk out the door, "What do you need to take with you?  Do you have that/them?"  If they don't I'd say, "Go get it." If they do then I say my goodbyes. "Bye, honey. (Hug) Have a great time!  Love you!"

Note* If life happened and I missed giving a kid love before they walked out the door and they called me upset about it, I would be having conversations when the kid is at home about different ways to show love and how just because the one step in the ritual didn't happen, it's no reason to go to pieces.  In life things fall through cracks and we need enough emotional resilience to carry on contentedly when they do. We can know someone loves us even though they didn't say so or get that hug in this time.

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4 hours ago, whitehawk said:

Just bring your thoughts right out loud, even if they don't quite fit with what the previous speaker was saying, if you're at risk of losing an important thought. The relatives don't want DD to melt down because she didn't get a proper goodbye any more than you do.

Yes! This exactly what I need to do! I will try really hard to do this next time.

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13 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Note* If life happened and I missed giving a kid love before they walked out the door and they called me upset about it, I would be having conversations when the kid is at home about different ways to show love and how just because the one step in the ritual didn't happen, it's no reason to go to pieces.  In life things fall through cracks and we need enough emotional resilience to carry on contentedly when they do. We can know someone loves us even though they didn't say so or get that hug in this time.

Preach! I wish I could! Dd is 2e and has behavioral and other issues. Her need for comfort and dependence on me has always been very high but since puberty kicked in, its off the charts! In just trying to help her cope at this point. I'm hoping the hormone fog will lift in a couple years and we can work on developing some independence. 

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7 minutes ago, MrsRobinson said:

Preach! I wish I could! Dd is 2e and has behavioral and other issues. Her need for comfort and dependence on me has always been very high but since puberty kicked in, its off the charts! In just trying to help her cope at this point. I'm hoping the hormone fog will lift in a couple years and we can work on developing some independence. 

I was assuming a neurotypical child.  I don't pretend to know what to do in that situation with a non-neurotypical child. Hang in there.

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