Monthly Archives: September 2014

Executive Function

Or Not

It sounds a bit like a group of people in suits having cocktails, but Executive Function is the core of your every day life.   A mental process, EF is the set of cognitive skills that keeps you on time, organized and in control of your life. When there is Executive Function Disorder,even simple tasks can become immensely difficult.  EF is independent of intelligence. Individuals can have extremely high intellect and low functioning mental processes that control planning, time management, organization and impulse.

Almost every one at sometime has had “doorway amnesia”-  when you walk into a room and cant remember what you came in for. Faced with a transition, your working memory has moved on and forgotten that thought, once you passed through the door, Someone with EF may struggle to write a phone number or address down as it is rattled off to them. Your working memory holds multiple pieces of information as you are manipulating them. Except, when it isn’t working. For most, distraction comes with a sudden loud noise, or an unexpected movement, something shiny. I can be distracted by my own thoughts.  Trying to count anything usually results in something like this: 2,4,6,8 ( I wonder if I ate that banana this morning) 16, 18, 20, (oh in 20 minutes I need to get on that conference call) 32…. “oh crap! where was I??”

You see how that could be a challenge.

 If you ask an adult with Executive Function Disorder  to clean their apartment, or desk, or task them with organizing a cluttered mess,  it can be akin to making the request to a 3 year old. With out the cognitive skills to break the project into manageable chunks it will quickly become overwhelming. If you ask a 3 year old child to clean his room with out simple direction you can reasonably expect to find him playing with his toys when you check on him in 5 or 10 minutes.  I spend a lot of time playing with my toys.

In essence EF is your command center, The processes that work together to let you plan, organize, estimate the time a task takes, your mood and emotion, working memory, and impulse control all function with in each other and at times overlap.

Not having an appropriate braking system on your impulses can lead to substance abuse or other compulsions which often go hand in hand with Attention Deficit Disorder, or EFD. It is difficult to see the consequences of an action even when your intellect is telling you otherwise. It is like the old joke of having the devil sitting on one shoulder and an angel on the other.

Ironically the suggested tips for coping with EFD are the very same skills I have difficulty with. Recommending to me that I remove clutter and become better organized is a moot point. This is why I am researching strategies to cope with EFD, I have no organizational skills.

But the understanding that this is a neurological disorder is helping me to know, finally know.. I am not lazy. I am not incompetent. I just  need to find better strategies to keep myself on task.

Be Afrayedknot

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On the playground

Or Not

Once you leave the playground and your crayons behind you probably feel your fear of bullying is behind you.

Sadly, a percentage of childhood bullies will go on to become an  adult bully. With age and experience they learn to be more covert and manipulative. Some adult bullies will have been bullied in childhood. Others become a bully when they experience a need to exert control and authority over another.

Work place bullying can be very difficult to document. Typically it comes in the form of verbal abuse, if not witnessed by others it can be impossible to prove.  It may not be the words themselves but the tone in which they were said.  It can come from a superior or a peer, and take different forms. Verbal abuse, impossible expectations, sabotaging productivity and humiliation are all forms of bulling. Often, the target of bullying is the only one to experience this side of the bully’s personality. Telling others is frustrating, as they are not privy to this side of the individual. Coworkers or friends not having witnessed this behavior may find it difficult to believe it exists.

Contrary to perception, targets are not loners or socially in-adept. They tend to be well liked and veteran staff members. The choice of this target is to assert control and to intimidate or threaten the targets  reputation or well being. You can become the victim of a neighborhood bully, or someone in an organization or club you are a member of.  Bullying can come from a customer.

 If you are victimized please know you did nothing to encourage or invite this behavior.   Acknowledge that what is happening is real. As an adult being bullied you may find your self esteem and confidence threatened. Workplace bullying can lead to depression, and effect other areas of an individuals life. Speak up before it causes damage to your mental or physical health.

There are many resources on the internet. Reach out.

Be Afrayedknot

Gratitude

I once  worked with a woman many of us would have considered “perfect”.
Pretty, slender, tall, well liked and smart. She seemed to have it all. How I envied her, for her metabolism, her figure, the easy way everything seemed to be for her. In time it became apparent her life was no easier for her than mine was for me.  Budgets, mama issues, whiny kids, arguments with hubby. She thought her butt was too big, her boobs too small. She doubted herself. I discovered we all really have our own insecurities and anxieties. Even the perfect ones.

Having smaller hips, blonder hair, or being the pretty one didn’t make her life any better, so why was I wasting mine wanting what I would never have?

How much time did I spend, when I was young, wishing to be older. I refuse to waste my time now wishing I was younger, or prettier or slimmer. Or wishing to be anything other than who I am. I am going to enjoy my life  and look forward to the next chapter…….I’ve kicked off the stilettos, traded up for flip flops and comfie shoes.

Maybe this happens to most who make it beyond middle age. I find I am losing so many loved ones. As much as I hope I have somehow made a difference in their lives, I am finding it much more important to let people know the impact they have had in mine.

I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. Sherrie was there with me when my daughter was born. She coached me thru labor, laughed and cried with me. Once the baby’s head was crowning the doctor encouraged her to leave my side and come around and watch the birth. After a quick glance,  Sherrie turned pale, announced she was  going  out to make coffee and stated she would never ever have children of her own.
A few years later I hosted the baby shower for her third child. We floated in and out of each other’s lives.

And then we didn’t.

Her sudden death 4 years ago shocked me. I never had the chance to tell her how much she  meant to me.

Recently another strong woman  left us too soon.  I never told her how much I loved her. She never knew she made a difference in my life.

 So many strong women have pulled me along in their wake. An encouraging statement, or simply believing in me has made all the difference in the world.

I admire people who can reach out their hand and lift up those of us who cant do it for ourselves.  The ones who get it,  understand that building up someone else doesn’t bring you down,  we all rise. We all become stronger when we acknowledge our weaknesses. Share what you have learned with others along their journey. You just don’t ever know how much it might help someone else in theirs.  Thank someone every day. It matters. Dont be afraid to reach out to someone and let them know how you feel.

Be Afrayedknot.