This is a guest post by Erin Roundy who wrote this magnificent analogy to what executive dysfunction feels like, using one of my favorite childhood games – pick-up sticks (In Israel it is called “Dukim” – דוקים). In this game each player have to pull out color coded sticks without moving other sticks. There are various versions of this game, but goal is to score the most points, by picking out as many sticks as you can, and if you can – the one special 100 point black stick which makes victory much easier.
I humbly thank Erin being a guest in my blog.
Executive dysfunction and pick up sticks/Erin Roundy
I thought of an analogy for how my executive dysfunction slows me down.
A container of multi color pick up sticks, each stick representing a task, a project, or an obligation that needs to be done. Inside the container the sticks are kept just as the knowledge of what I need to do is all tucked away somewhere in my mind. But to accomplish these tasks, I must follow the rules of the game (not sure if that has sense metaphorically?) and to deal with the tasks I must dump it all out of my brain like the sticks onto the table. They are scattered and overlap each other in a pile, and according to rules, you must pick up each designated color stick without moving the others.
This is how it feels as I sit and look at this intermingled mess of everything I need to do at once, and now I need to try really hard to not let that overwhelm me, and focus on finding that stick (task) that lays on top as first priority, then the next, and so on. Looking for each next task needing to be done takes careful analyzing each time to determine if it is the top priority (stick) and how it is connected to affecting other sticks (tasks) in a way that would end up holding me back further if I focus on accomplishing the wrong task first, all while being overwhelmed by being aware of the rest of the scattered tasks. Maybe there’s a really important one at the bottom of the pile.
Anyhow, this was the best analogy I could think of, and its not that I am not capable of accomplishing each of these tasks in and of themselves, but the process my brain goes through (it’s got a mind of it’s own. lol) is really what slows me down. I sometime get stuck just analyzing the process to understand what steps I need to take first and next, and constantly not knowing what should be priority, that I find my body not always participating in my endeavors to actually just get things done.
I really want to overcome this. I don’t know if I understand how my brain works enough to know how or if I can. All I do is the best I can do, little by little and as long as it takes me. Maybe I’m not able to do everything important in the time I need to for my well-being, I just make as much effort as I can until I hope it gets easier.