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ADD or self-sabotage?


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How do I tell the difference between my ADD symptoms and the times when I'm just being lazy? Or when there's something else going on underneath the MI. (I'm depressed and generally anxious as well. But I take meds!)

See, I have a lot to be doing. I tend to leave it to the last minute, which results in desperate work binges, but I get Things Done. Except sometimes I can't. SOmetimes I just play computer games. Or read. Or drool in front of the TV. Or do a million things that have nothing to do with school. I do this knowing full well that I am wasting time, that I will regret it. In some ways I even find myself wishing that the consequences would come and I would have to take responsibility for my actions. Am I trying to punish myself?

Sorry this rambled but I am tired and sad and even though I've been Very Good about my meds I missed them yesterday and feel like hell.

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Good question. I could answer it, but I'd be talking out my ass. My true, non-leadery self asks those same questions day after day.

My guesswork functional half-beliefs are something like as follows:

If I know I am screwing myself over, and I refuse to fix it, then I am being lazy (and might be depressed/tired -- case-by-case analysis is needed).

If I know I am screwing myself over, but just CAN'T fix it, it's my ADD taking over (and/or depression).

If I don't even know I am screwing myself over because I'm roughly catatonic, I am depressed. as. fuck.

If I don't even know I am screwing myself over because I'm busy and happy and life is amazing, I am hypomanic.

If I don't even know I am screwing myself over for any other reason, I am at least partially distracted due to ADD, and I will have to deal with it eventually.

No matter what I conclude, I am still the one who has to fix things. I am still responsible for myself and my (in)actions. It just sucks that so much of what trips me up is under nominal, ill-understood control from which it might slip free.

The only thing I allow myself to feel guilty over indefinitely is knowingly screwing myself over, even though it's fully within my mental, emotional, and physical power to fix things. If one of those three cornerpieces is missing -- well, then, I couldn't really fix it at the time, could I?

Sometimes I get totally stuck in the moment. I am frozen by inertia. I KNOW I am stuck, but there is no way in hell I can shake myself loose until something unsticks me. I can occasionally create a working stimulus -- writing GO in red letters on my computer monitor, putting toothpaste on my tongue, or something even weirder -- but sometimes I can't. I just have to roll with it and fix it later.

Sometimes making up pre-deadline deadlines can help me bear down on a small enough target that isn't the real last minute, but this usually doesn't work. It still might be worth a try.

Setting an oven timer to tell me when I've been drooling on my computer keyboard for long enough can be useful. I need a longer timer, though. This one only beeps for ninety seconds. Do they make timers that get louder with time, like those special alarm clocks, and won't shut up until you hit them? Or ones that change beeping patterns? 'Cause I can totally overlook timers, too.

I seriously live my life by oven timers (3), alarm clocks (2), sharpies (dozens), calendars (4), and whiteboards (3).

Are you trying to punish yourself by procrastinating? Maybe, but probably not. My guess is that you're just goofing off in resignation to the knowledge that you will never get anything done before the panic of the last second, so why even try? I might be off-base, but there's my two cents. We identify by guessing.

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Hi, Becka~

I get like that too.  For me, I think it's self-sabotage related to my depression.  I think I suck, so why even try to get stuff done.  And sometimes I think about all the work I have to do and it's just so overwhelming, I don't even start.  The drug that really helped with that was Wellbutrin.  YMMV!  What's your Dx/Rx, if you don't mind my asking?

~CS

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lmnop: I think I'll try your breakdown for things I can, and things I can't, beat myself up over. Although I'll probably still do it. The inertia thing is the worst. How do you tell the difference between actually depression versus laziness? Or sheer distractability. It's hard.

As for needing a timer: do you have a cell phone? A lot of them have timer clocks. Mine gets prograssively louder and the vibrations more strident when I ignore it. See if yours can do that!

CrazySoprano: That's the hardest, isn't it? When the work has built up to the point that you can't do any of it in a reasonable amount of time...so it jsut doesn't get done. ARRGGH! It's hard.

My RX is 80 mg Strattera and 10 Lexapro mg daily - I take it in the morning. My diagnosis is, officially, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic disorder, mild OCD and depression, sometimes cyclic. Also mania.

This diagnosis was achieved through careful negotiation with my doctor - what he thought the problem was, and a diagnosis I could live with and not freak out.

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Hey, do you guys ever get that paralysis thing?

I get up in the morning with the best of intentions. I pee, hop in the shower...and that's pretty much it. Then the motor slows, and I move in slow-motion. Muuuuust eeeeaaaatttt...muuuusst get dresssseedddd...and the next thing I know, 2 hours have passed, and I'm still in my undies, thinking about making breakfast.

Other than starting a nasty crack habit, what on earth can I do to concentrate and keep moving in the morning? I didn't make it in to work until 2pm on friday. gah.

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Hey, do you guys ever get that paralysis thing?

Other than starting a nasty crack habit, what on earth can I do to concentrate and keep moving in the morning? I didn't make it in to work until 2pm on friday. gah.

I don't know, says the unshowered girl wearing socks and a towel at one-twenty in the afternoon. 

Must... finish... resum

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Hey, do you guys ever get that paralysis thing?

I get up in the morning with the best of intentions. I pee, hop in the shower...and that's pretty much it. Then the motor slows, and I move in slow-motion. Muuuuust eeeeaaaatttt...muuuusst get dresssseedddd...and the next thing I know, 2 hours have passed, and I'm still in my undies, thinking about making breakfast.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I usually have a set morning schedule.  Some days it ends up being "How did I get to the office already?"

Some days it's "What time is it? Oh hell."  Maybe I'm blacking out in the shower. ;)

Other than starting a nasty crack habit, what on earth can I do to concentrate and keep moving in the morning? I didn't make it in to work until 2pm on friday. gah.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I use the morning TV show(s) - they have a set schedule - as much for timers/pacers as for info.

I used to set the alarm 30-60 minutes early. I'd get up, stumble through starting the coffee maker, take

the morning Wellbutrin and Adderall, and go back to bed. It's amazing what can be done with only

one eye half-open.

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Other than starting a nasty crack habit, what on earth can I do to concentrate and keep moving in the morning? I didn't make it in to work until 2pm on friday. gah.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I use the morning TV show(s) - they have a set schedule - as much for timers/pacers as for info.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Those morning shows are my downfall. When I wake up out of the fog, I usually find myself planted in front of the TV, cold toast in hand, eyes glazed over. Do you watch the shows, or just use them as a big talking alarm clock (g)?

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YES! That is the biggest part of what I think of as self-sabotage. I wake up around five in the morning...get about two hours of good time...and then collapse into spaciness. Or outright sleep. I will lay there thinking about what I have to do, feeling more and more panicky...and still can't force myself to even move.

Sigh. I thought for a while it was my meds, but chnging the time I took them didn't do any good.

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Even if I manage to get up, get together, and get to work, I still manage to click into this mode and not get out for ages.  Same at school.  Same with friends and family.  Something slips loose, and I'm lost in Elsewhere.  Damn you, idling brain....

I don't think paralysis of the will counts as self-sabotage. 

The only thing I allow myself to feel guilty over indefinitely is knowingly screwing myself over, even though it's fully within my mental, emotional, and physical power to fix things.  If one of those three cornerpieces is missing -- well, then, I couldn't really fix it at the time, could I?
When I'm paralyzed, I don't have the mental power to fix things.  Sometimes I can kick and flail, which occasionally works, but more often it doesn't, if I can fight it at all. 

I still have no clue what I can do about this on an ongoing basis.  I mean sure, I have my alarms and timers and Sharpies and whiteboards and post-it notes, color-coded pens and items set strategically in my path so I'll probably notice them one of the eight times I pass by and remember, but this doesn't keep me from shutting down on a daily basis.  This is what I was rather hoping meds might help, but so far, no luck. 

BeckaJo:  there's no way in hell I can afford a cell phone, but I'll keep your suggestion in mind in case I ever successfully rob a bank.  Knowing me, though, I'd click into Othermode about the time I should have been exiting with the cash, and get caught, and notice I got caught two-thirds of the way to jail in a cruiser's backseat.

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I use the morning TV show(s) - they have a set schedule - as much for timers/pacers as for info.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Those morning shows are my downfall. When I wake up out of the fog, I usually find myself planted in front of the TV, cold toast in hand, eyes glazed over. Do you watch the shows, or just use them as a big talking alarm clock (g)?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Um, well... just because I happen to know they cycle in the second full traffic report at 6:50 and that

the National/Local weather report should see me dressed and headed for the door...

Yeah. Alarm clock loud enough to be heard, and only swatted off as I head for the door.

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