The most strenuous executive function challenge I think, is when I’m trying to make a decision but I’ve got this tree going with many many branches, all apparently equally valid, and I’m just sitting there trying to reason my way into flipping a switch to go down one of them. But I can’t. The switch-flipper has gone out to lunch, and I keep trying to find a way to pick one.
Taking medication for ADHD has helped me in the past to bring that switch-flipper back to the office, at least a lot of the time. It has also helped me to notice that the darling was AWOL in the first place, so I could stop fighting so hard and get a bit more Zen about the situation.
I’m not taking meds now because I’m pregnant. Lots of people say that their ADHD seems to be less of a problem during pregnancy. There are clearly hormonal differences to help out- to start with, there’s hormonal stability, and the usual instability can much with cognition in fun and exciting ways. Regardless of what’s going on specifically, I get to experiment with (a) not being on meds and (b) a different hormonal state. I feel like a little mental experiment here- it reminds me of studying
psycholinguistics. We’d look at someone with some injury to the brain
and see which bits of language they still had- to try to understand
what kinds of units it comes in. Like some people will lose the ability
to make grammatical sentences, yet be able to come with all kinds of
words. Or come up with words, but they come up with the wrong words for
Since becoming pregnant, my ADHD isn’t bugging me as much in general, but certain aspects of executive function are nonexistent: decision-making, whatever’s required for doing crappy paperwork type stuff.
But it’s different from pre-medication difficulty. I was wondering this morning if it’s because I’m so sleepy half the time, but that can’t really be it; in my usual non-gestational state, it’s precisely when I’m tired that my brain has those arguments with itself. In contrast to that experience, my brain is pretty darned quiet a lot of the time. It’s really peaceful in here. So while I’ve got my preggo fatigue and need for ridiculous amounts of sleep, the struggle isn’t nearly so prevalent.
I became aware of this the other day when I had a few hours of the old struggle. Peter (husband) was away for work, so it was just me and the grey matter for a couple days, especially given that being so sleepy in general, I’m not so keen on running out and doing loads of "fun" things with people some days. Anyhow, I wanted to get some errands done and I finally got myself in the car when the invasion came in full. I had to pull over around the corner from my house and have a chat with myself, because I couldn’t decide what order I was going to do things in and whether I really ought to be going to the store right now. I was flooded with it.
Now I realize that this hasn’t happened so much since I’ve been pregnant at all. And even when it did, I just had the chat with myself and off I went to the store. On the most hideous of days in the past, I’d give up, go home, and have a nap, knowing that the grocery store would be an exhausting stream of stimulation and decisions I wouldn’t be able to make. (This is a strategy I recommend, ie giving up if it’s a bad time. There’s enough to exhaust yourself with without the ineffective errand.)
But in general my mind doesn’t even go to that place of fight and push. I may know I’m not getting around to things because I’m tired, and that may kinda bug me or disappoint me. I may not get to the bills and paperwork. But I am also not so concerned about it.Oh and believe me, I detest it when I here people being told to just not be so worried about things or to just think less. It don’t work that way. I guess it’s a gift of my pregnancy that even while I may be impotent on the decision-making front, I’m not fighting against the situation, either.