I can barely recognise myself these days and anyone that knows me from childhood can probably say the same. Not that I haven’t suffered from executive function issues when I was younger but they were never as bad as they are now.
I used to be the most organised, diligent and routine focused person anyone knew. I absolutely hate uncertainty, anything spontaneous or disorderly and I’ve become exactly that. I only get like this when I am severely depressed and half the time I feel like my depression drains me of my aspie powers. I can’t concentrate or make decisions properly, my logic seems to be on the moon somewhere. I can’t remember the last time I hyper-focused on something. My memory has gone from immaculate to down right terrible, It takes me almost a good hour or so to recall what I ate for breakfast. I’ve been saying yes when I’ve wanted to say no. Missed many important medical appointments. I’ve even had to buy paper plates and plastic cutlery because I’ve gotten so bad with washing the dishes, the one chore that I had the most pleasure in. Soap was like life to me, I used to spend hours getting lost in soapy water and now it’s just like meh.
I’ve tried to make lists like I used to, attempted to make various time tables, setting alarms but nothing seemed to be sticking. I recently bought this weekly planner from Sainsbury’s:
The first time I tried to use it, was a complete disaster because I tried to cram my week hour by hour and hardly any of the tasks actually got completed.😪
The second time, I tried to keep it as simple as possible and only focused on getting to all my appointments on time. Then over time slowly adding in what time I’ll get ready for these appointments. As more weeks went by, I added more tasks to focus on in between my appointments and events, like transition times and breaks. Each time I added a new task into my routine I did a trial test, where for example if I put ‘wash the dishes’ or ‘fill out an important form’ I’ll set a timer to start these tasks for about 5-10 minutes and then stop. 90% of the time I end up doing more than what I planned and complete the whole task anyway. Yay 🎉
What really helped me that I didn’t really think about before was constantly looking into my weekly planner like I do social media 😂, I realised the more you look at it the more it’s in your head. I don’t always complete every single thing I set out to do and if I have a flop week, I’ll just go back to square one and start off simple again or break down long complicated tasks into smaller step by steps. I’ve been using this planner method for 3 months now and have only had 2 flop weeks as opposed to having a flop day every other day, so I must be doing something right.
For me it’s so much better to see my daily goals written down in my own handwriting as opposed to using my phone. It just seems more authentic and achievable than when you get desensitized after a while from all the daily notifications in your phone.
Anyway I’ll do another update in about the next three months on how this is going.
Thanks for reading.