View Full Version : Inflexibility/problems with spontaneity


Batman55
10-04-14, 11:59 PM
I'm listing this here in the inattentive forum because it strikes me as more of an ADD-I problem; as well, I've noticed that with folks who exhibit strong symptoms of hyperactivity, it seems to be the opposite, these folks tend to like spontaneity and a disordered, chaotic lifestyle.

In short, I'm well past the age where it might be acceptable to have this intense rigidity and/or determination to "have my way," etc. It quite concerns me, therefore, that I'm well into adulthood and still finding that far too often, unforeseen changes in the course of a day/night will just annoy the hell out of me.

A lot of the time this is because I prefer to have a specific nightly routine at home, doing things that I like to do, by myself (I'm an introvert so, this is normal for me.) When something just pops up or plans are changed, sometimes I can get quite irritable, and even tick off other folks who will tell me I'm not flexible. And of course they're right... but my counterargument is usually if you say we're doing this thing, but not the other thing.. well, then, why didn't you stick to your original plan?

I'm not sure what it boils down to, what causes this ridiculous rigidity with me. I like my days to go according to a general structure, in fact I will often do the same things at the same time. I love, perhaps crave order. While it's possible immaturity or entitlement can play a role, that can't explain the whole of it. I just get really bothered when things don't go according to plan. Also the way I feel has a lot to do with it; if my mood is good, I tend to be more flexible.

Has anyone else had this problem? Have ADD meds helped with this?

stef
10-05-14, 03:34 AM
yes I haventjisproblem! because i need a routine to function correctly. When your routine changes for " plans" in the first place it's hard to adjust but you modify your routine and you're " ready" to this different thing, with people, then if the plans change it's even more difficult.

Flory
10-05-14, 04:44 AM
I'm going to have tea and some toast

BellaVita
10-05-14, 05:13 AM
Yes! I'm the same way!

I get these meltdowns where I will cry for hours if plans change...not all the time but let's just say it happens more often than not.

I have to have my routine.

Unmanagable
10-05-14, 12:53 PM
The keeper of the plans has no idea the process involved in my brain trying to adjust to anything scheduled to begin with.......to think through everything else so I can commit to it, try like hell to remember it, double check it, remind myself of it repeatedly, triple check that I haven't forgotten anything else in the making of the plan, and then to have them come along out of nowhere and switch things up midstream of all of those thought processes, oh hell no!!! Yep. I struggle with it, too.

Little Missy
10-05-14, 01:33 PM
Just reading that wigged me out. :goodpost:

Flory
10-05-14, 02:10 PM
I'm going to have tea and some toast

Not really sure how this got in this thread was meant to be a reply in another one

zilphy
10-05-14, 05:51 PM
Good grief. This thread has hit home with me. Honestly, try to hide my need for routine from most everyone I know. Of course, they know I prefer structure, but they don't know the intensity of it. This has something to do with my ADHD-PI wiring.

Countless times, I have tried to share this with my family. NO MORE. I am done with being judged. Now I limit my interactions with them. It would seem that "Adults" are those who can maneuver most all spontaneous activity and the rest of us are "childish". Evidently, I am "unenlightened".

Imagine how many times I have heard "just get over it" or "you should think of others and not be so self absorbed. Seriously!? I have a physical reaction to over stimulation. This is my neurological make-up at work. It is not a conscious decision to be difficult. We don't tell people with allergies to "get over it".

I secretly keep my interactions with intimates on a loosely held time table. All because I find it exhausting to manage spontaneous changes. In turn, I don't have many friends. Most won't respect that my routine is just a way to maximize my happiness and well-being. I am much more pleasant when I maintain a daily regimen. Heck, I would walk an extra mile for someone that could respect that. Believe it or not, if they spontaneously needed me, I would be there. Just don't ask me to live there.

Too much change pushes me to isolate myself. Talking becomes a chore and I struggle to function. I'll ignore all requests until I get my bearings again.

ADHD meds keep me functional. Without them, I am a hermit.

RobboW
10-05-14, 06:33 PM
To add to this, I find if it's me who changes the routine, it still messes up the rest of my day. Throwing routine out of whack is basically like shuffling a new deck of cards. All order is lost and the whole thing is chaos.

Sekhmet2014
10-05-14, 07:22 PM
I have a friend who asked me to do something the next day...and I could not say yes. I had not penciled her in for that time and the thing she asked me to do was not in the category of things I think of doing with her! It wasn't a difficult thing and might have been something I'd do with her if we had planned together a month ago: we'll meet on such and such day and do this thing!
(By the way, it was a totally legal and possibly pleasant activity involving neither sex nor drugs) (nor rock 'n' roll).
Shook my brain up pretty bad and I said, no, some other time.

But that was before Strattera. If she called to ask me now, I might say, "I can't tomorrow, but I can on Thursday" or something like that. It's interesting but I think the drugs help me organize & "outsource" my organization so I'm freer to think and respond.

Batman55
10-06-14, 12:08 AM
Good grief. This thread has hit home with me. Honestly, try to hide my need for routine from most everyone I know. Of course, they know I prefer structure, but they don't know the intensity of it. This has something to do with my ADHD-PI wiring.

Countless times, I have tried to share this with my family. NO MORE. I am done with being judged. Now I limit my interactions with them. It would seem that "Adults" are those who can maneuver most all spontaneous activity and the rest of us are "childish". Evidently, I am "unenlightened".


This is more or less what I'm talking about.

I think maybe I take it to another level, though, because I can even get annoyed about the smallest and least consequential changes. For example if I'm going out to dinner and expect to be home afterwards doing whatever it is I like to do, and then someone says "let's go somewhere else," dunno, to a movie, bowling, or whatever the heck it is, some kind of alarm bell goes off... Why didn't you tell me this before?

I will then try and claim that I have things I'd rather do at home, but it's hard for anyone else to believe that.. who really likes to stay at home by himself? Well, it's a confusing issue, but much of the time my own solitary activity is more appealing to me than being out of the house.. I guess it is hard to explain, though. I guess you could say I like things done a certain way, and if I'm not in a good mood, I'll be irritated by the slightest of all changes.

However, I believe at the level I have this trait, it doesn't easily fit into the ADHD canon, it's more of an Aspergian trait. Perhaps it could fit into ADHD because my nightly routine is based around activity that I find stimulating and interesting, and that may fall under "impulsivity".. but at the same time, it doesn't quite fit. Another thing is when you look at stereotypical cases of ADHD, you find that this trait is missing.. these folks prefer to be out and about and tend to dislike routine, welcoming chaos.

Well, any further insight is welcome.

Batman55
10-06-14, 12:11 AM
To add to this, I find if it's me who changes the routine, it still messes up the rest of my day. Throwing routine out of whack is basically like shuffling a new deck of cards. All order is lost and the whole thing is chaos.

Yes I suppose for those including myself who have massive executive dysfunction, routines are a way to cope. This is another way the trait could fit ADHD. THAT SAID... it doesn't explain why I've seen a lot of hyperactives around who have no routine, almost every day is different for them, and it seems they like it that way... :confused:

dvdnvwls
10-06-14, 01:17 AM
I wonder about it being a hyperactive vs inattentive thing - I'm an inattentive type, and I'm only too happy to break routine and do things differently. Could it have more to do with how much importance each of us places on this particular strategy?

Corina86
10-06-14, 04:22 AM
I'm not like that (I can barely stick to my own routine and plans), but I wanted to add that, just because you're ADHD, it doesn't mean you're always wrong and everyone else is right!

For example: changing plans all the time isn't normal or mature, I see it more as rude and immature. Immature because adults usually have jobs; jobs usually require waking up early in the morning and getting a good sleep- that means getting home until a certain hour, so you can shower and due whatever you need to do before getting to bed. House work is also important and tiresome and it's something that needs to be done. Many adults even have diets, eating hours and can't just stuff anything at anytime without feeling sick or gaining a lot of weight. It's also rude because other people have their own lives and plans and expecting someone to change everything unexpectedly because you want to is being entitled.

Regarding your example, about going out for dinner and being asked to go bowling- it's ok for you to say 'no' and it's rude of the others to push you. Maybe you're tired, maybe you have a busy day tomorrow, maybe you don't want to spend any more money, maybe you just don't like bowling- there are plenty of legitimate reasons not to want to do something and others have no right to question you.

Maybe it's a cultural thing, maybe it's an age thing (I'm already 28), maybe it's a profession thing (most of my friends work in finance/accounting), but there are far more people around me who have evening routines and would rather be at home than go out and party, especially during weekdays. Any non-routine activity has to be scheduled and planned between 12 hours and 2 weeks in advance, depending on the activity and the number of people involved.

And if I call someone to meet me on a short-notice, I would never get upset if they declined. Instead, I get upset if I make plans to go out with someone and that person changes his/her mind at the last moment.

BellaVita
10-06-14, 06:07 AM
I wonder about it being a hyperactive vs inattentive thing - I'm an inattentive type, and I'm only too happy to break routine and do things differently. Could it have more to do with how much importance each of us places on this particular strategy?

I think it also has a lot to do with anxiety levels and co-morbids.

stef
10-06-14, 06:18 AM
It also applies to NTs. My husband doesn't like changing plans too much, and my son absolutely HATES it. When he was little, my mother-in-law would always stop somewhere for an errand before an outing, it drove him insane.

Little Missy
10-06-14, 07:44 AM
I'm going to have tea and some toast

I LOVE the 'tea and toast' response! I'm going to use that reason the next time someone interrupts what I'm doing to accommodate what it is they want me to do.

Fuzzy12
10-06-14, 07:48 AM
I'm exactly the same way. I'm very rigid about a few things and it's getting worse with age. I'm actually becoming a bit more of a control freak. I don't care what other people do as long as it doesn't affect me but if it does affect me then I need it to be done my way (unless I don't care or it's something that isn't important to me).

I hate changing plans, I hate surprises, etc. I guess, it's because so many things are just so difficult for me if there's a change in plans it completely throws everything out of sync.

It's not a good way to be so I'd like to be more flexible but I don't know how.

BellaVita
10-06-14, 09:32 AM
I'm exactly the same way. I'm very rigid about a few things and it's getting worse with age. I'm actually becoming a bit more of a control freak. I don't care what other people do as long as it doesn't affect me but if it does affect me then I need it to be done my way (unless I don't care or it's something that isn't important to me).

I hate changing plans, I hate surprises, etc. I guess, it's because so many things are just so difficult for me if there's a change in plans it completely throws everything out of sync.

It's not a good way to be so I'd like to be more flexible but I don't know how.

Sounds like I could've written that response :(

thepitcher10
10-06-14, 10:39 AM
I like to have a general plan, an idea of what I am going to do when, but it's not like I plan which restaurant I'm going to, what park I'm going to walk through, what I'll end up actually doing. There is just too many variables to constantly plan. I could plan to go to a burger joint downtown, but end up eating Italian in Hell's Kitchen.

So basically, an idea of what I am going to do and not much more than that. But when I have my mind set on what I want to do, I am going to do it, and will put up a fight if someone tries to change my mind once it is set.

sushigirl
10-06-14, 11:34 AM
Too much change pushes me to isolate myself. Talking becomes a chore and I struggle to function. I'll ignore all requests until I get my bearings again.


I can totally relate to the post! Somewhere, I always thougt that I was flexible. But reading all your posts made me realised that I am far from it.

When I have an idea of how my evening or weekend will go, I am stongly annoyed if my plans change. Yesterday, I had in mind to work outside the house with my husband, and taking it easy. But it turned out that we had to take care of my grandson (5 years old) for the whole day. Don't get me wrong, I love him but it changed my WHOLE day! It turned out to be okay but when it happened, it was almost the end of the world for me.

And Zilphy, I am the same, talking becomes a chore. I think i've never talked that much, because it takes a lot of energy to talk a long time with people. So I prefer to stay quiet and mind my own business.

Shlarin
10-06-14, 12:18 PM
I'd love to trade my problem (fear of scheduling, feeling "trapped" whenever I have a scheduled or planned event on a particular day, etc.) for yours.

Batman55
10-07-14, 12:32 AM
I wonder about it being a hyperactive vs inattentive thing - I'm an inattentive type, and I'm only too happy to break routine and do things differently. Could it have more to do with how much importance each of us places on this particular strategy?

To me it makes sense that hyperactives would be more spontaneous and less routine-oriented... anecdotally, this is simply what I've observed. They tend to be high energy folks who would rather go out and about, than keep to some kind of stubborn daily/nightly ritual.

I'm sure there are plenty of inattentives who don't like routine, though, but I'm certain I'm not one of them!

Batman55
10-07-14, 12:43 AM
Regarding your example, about going out for dinner and being asked to go bowling- it's ok for you to say 'no' and it's rude of the others to push you. Maybe you're tired, maybe you have a busy day tomorrow, maybe you don't want to spend any more money, maybe you just don't like bowling- there are plenty of legitimate reasons not to want to do something and others have no right to question you.

Thanks, it does make a lot of sense, it's the way I tend to see it, also.

However in this case, it was a weekend, and

1) the people involved know I've got very little going on in my life at this time, therefore it was expected I would go along, because it's unusual for someone to actually WANT to stay home as opposed to being out and having fun
2) the fact that I have a stubborn nightly ritual based around my own peculiar interests, does not matter to them

Obviously, it comes across as strange and oppositional behavior, which it probably is, to some extent. For me to skip a fun activity with other people, just because I wasn't in the mood and would rather be at home engaged in my own interests.. it just doesn't come across well.

BellaVita
10-07-14, 12:43 AM
To me it makes sense that hyperactives would be more spontaneous and less routine-oriented... anecdotally, this is simply what I've observed. They tend to be high energy folks who would rather go out and about, than keep to some kind of stubborn daily/nightly ritual.

I'm sure there are plenty of inattentives who don't like routine, though, but I'm certain I'm not one of them!

Actually I think it's more anxiety/OCD based (or even put autism in there) because I'm hyperactive and as you read in my comment well I really need routine and become completely messed up emotionally and physically without it.

acdc01
10-07-14, 01:01 AM
Actually I think it's more anxiety/OCD based (or even put autism in there) because I'm hyperactive and as you read in my comment well I really need routine and become completely messed up emotionally and physically without it.

I wonder if it's an OCD/anxiety trait too. It's not listed as an ADHD symptom and I know a lot of NTs that have this (NTs that border on OCD to me but no ADHD).

I'm a combo but I lean much more heavily on the primarily inattentive. I'm not rigid on schedules at all.

Batman55
10-08-14, 01:13 AM
I'm just wondering why there is such little mentioning of routines/inflexibility in regards to Asperger's/autism. It almost has me thinking it's not an autistic spectrum trait at this point? :confused: And yet I've read hundreds of times, it is one of the hallmark symptoms of the autistic spectrum.

Perhaps someone in the know could explain when rigid routine/inflexibility is an autistic issue, as compared to when it's something else like OCD/anxiety/ADHD or just in one's own personality..?

I need some clarity here!

BellaVita
10-08-14, 01:28 AM
I'm just wondering why there is such little mentioning of routines/inflexibility in regards to Asperger's/autism. It almost has me thinking it's not an autistic spectrum trait at this point? :confused: And yet I've read hundreds of times, it is one of the hallmark symptoms of the autistic spectrum.

Perhaps someone in the know could explain when rigid routine/inflexibility is an autistic issue, as compared to when it's something else like OCD/anxiety/ADHD or just in one's own personality..?

I need some clarity here!

I've been interested in that very question for some time now.

TygerSan
10-08-14, 07:04 AM
I'm somewhere between ADHD PI, NLD and autistic (not really the third but I do see common traits in myself).

I don't necessarily have rigid routines for day to day stuff (I don't think I do anyways) but if you change plans on me suddenly, and I get really, really cross.

It's especially bad when it's some kind of social thing. Part of it is I think I need to psych myself up for being social, and if you decide suddenly that you're not coming, that means not only am I not going to show up wherever by myself, I've worked myself up in order to be able to go.

I had a "friend" in elementary school who would always go to the nurse halfway through the day only in the days we were supposed to have a play date after school. Now, even as an adult, I don't want to, nor am I able to untangle the jumble of mixed emotions that still lead to meltdowns if plans change due to illness. :doh:

Corina86
10-08-14, 07:15 AM
I'm just wondering why there is such little mentioning of routines/inflexibility in regards to Asperger's/autism. It almost has me thinking it's not an autistic spectrum trait at this point? :confused: And yet I've read hundreds of times, it is one of the hallmark symptoms of the autistic spectrum.

Perhaps someone in the know could explain when rigid routine/inflexibility is an autistic issue, as compared to when it's something else like OCD/anxiety/ADHD or just in one's own personality..?

I need some clarity here!

I don't have autism and I don't know that much about it, but I did read some articles on this topic recently. Unfortunately, I don't remember where...

ADHD- doesn't come with routines/inflexibility; some ADHD-ers may have it, but it's not a symptom of the disorder

anxiety/OCD/phobias- the routines are based on fear- if you don't do this or if you do that, then something bad is going to happen. The connections between trigger and action isn't always clear (take phobias, for example), but the cause is always anxiety. The persons who suffer from this might feel some temporary relief of their fear, but they don't actually enjoy their habits, instead they might even view them themselves as abnormal or annoying. For example, someone with fear of germs who washes his hands continuously - he doesn't like it, he understands it's not logical, he wishes he could do something different, but he must wash his hands, otherwise severe panic!

autism- autists might have habits and routines that don't always make sense to the non-autists. They might enjoy those habits (like learning a lot of information on a particular topic or putting things in a certain order) or those habits might be caused by sensory issues (avoiding crowded places, loud noises, flashing lights etc.).

It's not impossible (or improbable) though for someone to have both autism and OCD/anxiety and to have routines both based on fear and based on what is pleasant or comfortable (no sensory issues) or a combination of them.

Flory
10-08-14, 07:27 AM
I think maybe it's an ADHD I thing you are right I'm ADHD C

I used to struggle with OCD (occasionally relapse) which was in conflict a great deal with the ADHD
According to pdoc some people get this with ADHD as a dysfunctional coping mechanism.

I have too much spontaneity and impulsiveness I desperately crave a routine and some kind of order ....never happens :(

Batman55
10-09-14, 12:48 AM
autism- autists might have habits and routines that don't always make sense to the non-autists. They might enjoy those habits (like learning a lot of information on a particular topic or putting things in a certain order) or those habits might be caused by sensory issues (avoiding crowded places, loud noises, flashing lights etc.).

This is the one that makes the most sense for my routines/rituals. I tend to place a high value on doing things at night by myself, because there is silence and rarely any of the distractions of the daytime. So yes I'll freely admit I've had a "nightly routine" that's gone on for years which, for some reason, gives me a lot of enjoyment. I have a specific order in which I do things, also.

If there are nights when I don't get to have this routine, that won't bother me because of fear, but because I'll probably be bored doing something else and the night will be wasted.

Of other autistic traits, I have a very high preference for sameness, and great difficulty with changes. (I tend to wear the same clothes over the years because I don't care, as long as they're washed and clean, what's the use of filling up my room with more crap? Clothes are utilitarian, not for show.)

Poor social skills, but this issue is murky because I have social anxiety and ADD, and it's possible the ADD causes the social anxiety... so hard to tease it out. Developmentally I would be considered way behind the average person, but ADD is a developmental disorder too.

Idiosyncratic language.. I love formal language and big words, and can jumble my speech when talking sometimes, but no monotone or "odd" affect. Sensory issues are there but very mild, I don't like crowds but the worst for me is a crowded AND noisy place, that's when I feel really unpleasant. However, I've got no stimming.

I really don't know what to think of myself. I believe the most obvious issues are the most important ones... of which mine are ADD and social anxiety. But I've got some Aspergian traits, also. :confused:

Corina86
10-10-14, 05:22 AM
You do seem to have plenty of Asperger's traits, but if they're not a problem, I don't see any reasons for you to think too much about that. I don't know your relationship with your friends, but it might help if you explain to them your needs in a non-confrontational manner- they might understand (or not). Otherwise, they might get the idea that you just don't like hanging out with them. The ideal solution would be for you to call them out on your terms once in a while, but then again, if you have social anxiety, I understand that it's very very difficult. Are you medicated for ADHD and anxiety?

Maurice
10-18-14, 02:40 PM
I wonder about it being a hyperactive vs inattentive thing - I'm an inattentive type, and I'm only too happy to break routine and do things differently. Could it have more to do with how much importance each of us places on this particular strategy?

I am also the inattentive type. As far as someone else wanting to change plans and not mention it to me until the last second. That drives me totally nuts and there is a pretty much a snowball's chance in Hell that I am going to agree to the change in plans.

On the other hand if it's me that wants to "change horses in the middle of the stream" I have no problem with doing something that wasn't planned.

SirSchmidt
10-18-14, 03:04 PM
Your original post describes me almost exactly. I've noticed some rigidity issues in my behavior.

I actually tend to be very spontaneous, but only when it's my decision and with my own plans. When my own plans are interrupted or I get a last-minute invite, I tend to get annoyed. This does not happen when I make plans with someone in advance.

OhLookABunny
10-19-14, 05:26 PM
The keeper of the plans has no idea the process involved in my brain trying to adjust to anything scheduled to begin with.......to think through everything else so I can commit to it, try like hell to remember it, double check it, remind myself of it repeatedly, triple check that I haven't forgotten anything else in the making of the plan, and then to have them come along out of nowhere and switch things up midstream of all of those thought processes, oh hell no!!! Yep. I struggle with it, too.

This is me in terms of the executive function involved in making sure I wrote the planned item down - and for me that involves a computer schedule AND a paper calendar - yes, I do have OCD, why do you ask! ;) I hope to get a tablet this year, though, and combine those two. We'll see.

I also get easily mixed up. My mind processes dates, upcoming events, and daily things to remember in weird, quirky ways. Here lately I've been forgetting where I'm going, driving past my stops and things. Nothing serious, I don't think I have Alzheimer's or anything, I'm just daydreaming. I think some of may be sleep deprivation since it's just recent.

And, I'm introverted, which is where the preference to spend time alone at home comes in. Unlike some, though, I don't have routines - they have fallen apart over the years as I've become overwhelmed in other ways. This morning I actually put on makeup to go to church - I was so proud of myself! That's how far I've sunk, because used to be I wouldn't be caught dead leaving the house without my makeup! :o

As I mentioned, I have OCD, and there are some "Don't touch my stuff!" things. I enjoy watching "Big Bang Theory" - Sheldon Cooper "You're in my spot," "Anything can happen Thursdays," etc. :D

Jenn1202
10-19-14, 10:01 PM
I was diagnosed with ADD-PI (but I also have some hyperactivity symptoms). I am pretty spontaneous and I really hate schedules and routines (they drive me crazy!). I usually like it when last minute changes in plans happen, because it makes life so much more fun an unpredictable. I really struggle to make plans because then people expect me to stick to these plans.

My sister has ADD-PI with no hyperactivity what so ever and she is spontaneous.

Batman55
10-20-14, 02:36 AM
And, I'm introverted, which is where the preference to spend time alone at home comes in. Unlike some, though, I don't have routines - they have fallen apart over the years as I've become overwhelmed in other ways. This morning I actually put on makeup to go to church - I was so proud of myself! That's how far I've sunk, because used to be I wouldn't be caught dead leaving the house without my makeup! :o

I think I was the preacher at your service. A coincidence is it not eh?

I did not anoint the wine tho.

(I'm just messing around lolz :p )

Batman55
10-20-14, 02:37 AM
I was diagnosed with ADD-PI (but I also have some hyperactivity symptoms). I am pretty spontaneous and I really hate schedules and routines (they drive me crazy!). I usually like it when last minute changes in plans happen, because it makes life so much more fun an unpredictable. I really struggle to make plans because then people expect me to stick to these plans.

My sister has ADD-PI with no hyperactivity what so ever and she is spontaneous.

It that case, we are opposites!