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Autism, ADHD, PTSD, and Executive Function

Yes, I have autism, ADHD and PTSD (plus a few others, but those seem to spring from these three). I was diagnosed with PTSD many years ago. I was diagnosed with ADHD and autism less than a year ago - three months after I turned 50. Handling all three of them is a daily challenge for many reasons. In this post I am going to talk about executive functioning.

All three of them mess with my executive functioning. What in the world does that mean? There are many things involved and some of my executive functioning seems to be okay. But then there are my weaknesses:

  • Impulse control? I should say lack thereof. Since going on medication for my ADHD, I have discovered what two of my big impulse control issues are - shopping and eating.

  • Emotional regulation? Yeah, maybe on a good day.

  • Motivation? Mixed. It depends on the activity and my mood for the day.

  • Non-verbal memory? Negative. I would make a terrible witness to a crime. I cannot remember faces at all. I can recognize people I know, but I cannot tell you what they look like when I am not looking at them. I can't even see my own face unless I am looking in a mirror. It is strange and disconcerting to not be able to picture your loved ones in your mind.

  • Planning and organization? So-so. I can make a schedule and stick to it - most of the time. Some days the sticking to it part completely falls apart. I can keep important papers organized for the most part. Just don't ask me where I want to go to lunch and expect an immediate answer. That will overwhelm me most likely and I will defer back to the person asking. It is easier for me to say "no, I don't like that."

  • Time management? I am a really bad judge of how long it is going to take me to do something - especially if I get drawn in a different direction from where I started. For example, I am doing a Bible study and I get drawn into looking up what the original meaning for a word was (not that I understand Greek or Hebrew, but I have books that do) and wind up off track.

In other words, if you wonder why I am having so much trouble with a simple task, it is because in my brain it is not a simple task.

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