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Fuzzy12 11-16-19 06:48 PM

Thinking and learning
 
I'm having huge problems with these at the moment and it's getting worse. My problems are mostly at work but I didn't want to post in the job section as I'd like a broader treatment of this topic.

I'm struggling to define what I mean by thinking but what I'm struggling most with at the moment is understanding what I'm reading, assimilating knowledge that I accumulate from different sources, applying knowledge and retaining anything I learn.

I just don't get it and I don't understand why I don't get it. It's like I read different bits of text but I can't put them together to make up a coherent logic. Imavine trying to knit a pullover by throwing pieces of string at each other hoping they will stick together. But it doesn't stick.

It's actually a huge issue because I'm not able to do my job. I'm not able to complete the tasks I've been asked to do because I just don't understand how to do them. It's not easy. It's not like I could just ask somebody else how it works because no one has that expertise. I know though that if somebody else was given the same task they would learn it and be able to do it. It's not that it's too hard because others (especially the younger ones) do learn these things very quickly.

Medication helps a bit. I'm currently off meds and just staying awake at work is challenging enough.

I'm genuinely thinking of quitting my job and looking for something that is less ..I'm not sure what, maybe less intellectual or less mathematical. Something where you don't require strong cognitive skills. At the same time I can't believe that I'm not able to crack it.

I'm not sure what to do. I've started dreading work but I can't quit because we need the money. I just hate going there everyday and failing. I feel as if I'm stealing because I am (at least for now) getting paid for not producing anything.

Does anyone else deal with this? Is this an ADHD issue? I think working memory and lack of focus definitely play a role but if that is true then it means that ADHD actually does make us more stupid and less intelligent and somehow I don't believe that. It's easier to believe that it is just me. I'm just stupid for whatever reason. I haven't always been like this though. I used to be good at thinking, not always but often enough and I used to be able to learn quickly. Now I struggle learning anything and I don't understand why. Or is something else? An early sign of dementia?

How can I not be able to think?

namazu 11-16-19 09:43 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
From what I know of you, I would guess that it's probably not incipient dementia, but rather a combination of...
- depression/anxiety
- being a parent of a young child
- environment (e.g. not loving your job, not doing work that necessarily excites you...)
- etc.
...all of which contribute their own difficulties and also make the untreated ADHD more difficult to circumvent. Since you (presumably) also had (untreated) ADHD in the past and did not always have difficulties learning and working (at least, not to the extent you have now), I would guess that it's these other factors that are primary drivers, but of course it's hard to separate these things out and they interact strongly.

I've been struggling a lot with similar feelings, though I'm not employed at the moment (in part because of these difficulties). A lot of it for me is environmental; working from my living room without the intellectual and social stimulation of colleagues and an exciting environment really, reeeeeeeeeally doesn't do it for me. And now, having fallen out of the habit of doing the kind of demanding work I had been doing, it's very hard for me to get back into it, or even to fathom how I was once capable of doing what I used to do. Your precise circumstances are different, of course, but I can relate to the feeling, anyway.

I'm looking at a possible career change, but haven't committed yet.

Kunga Dorji 11-16-19 10:50 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fuzzy12 (Post 2021630)
I'm having huge problems with these at the moment and it's getting worse. My problems are mostly at work but I didn't want to post in the job section as I'd like a broader treatment of this topic.

I'm struggling to define what I mean by thinking but what I'm struggling most with at the moment is understanding what I'm reading, assimilating knowledge that I accumulate from different sources, applying knowledge and retaining anything I learn.

I just don't get it and I don't understand why I don't get it. It's like I read different bits of text but I can't put them together to make up a coherent logic. Imavine trying to knit a pullover by throwing pieces of string at each other hoping they will stick together. But it doesn't stick.

It's actually a huge issue because I'm not able to do my job. I'm not able to complete the tasks I've been asked to do because I just don't understand how to do them. It's not easy. It's not like I could just ask somebody else how it works because no one has that expertise. I know though that if somebody else was given the same task they would learn it and be able to do it. It's not that it's too hard because others (especially the younger ones) do learn these things very quickly.

Medication helps a bit. I'm currently off meds and just staying awake at work is challenging enough.

I'm genuinely thinking of quitting my job and looking for something that is less ..I'm not sure what, maybe less intellectual or less mathematical. Something where you don't require strong cognitive skills. At the same time I can't believe that I'm not able to crack it.

I'm not sure what to do. I've started dreading work but I can't quit because we need the money. I just hate going there everyday and failing. I feel as if I'm stealing because I am (at least for now) getting paid for not producing anything.

Does anyone else deal with this? Is this an ADHD issue? I think working memory and lack of focus definitely play a role but if that is true then it means that ADHD actually does make us more stupid and less intelligent and somehow I don't believe that. It's easier to believe that it is just me. I'm just stupid for whatever reason. I haven't always been like this though. I used to be good at thinking, not always but often enough and I used to be able to learn quickly. Now I struggle learning anything and I don't understand why. Or is something else? An early sign of dementia?

How can I not be able to think?


I do think that ADHD can make us functionally less intelligent at times.

ADD, to me, is quite intermittent.

What I am seeing is that impaired eye movement coordination is a big driver of symptoms it is very common in ADHD, an is related to the clumsiness that also goes with it, It is known to put a huge load on working memory too.
I have always suspected that it is not that we have a deficit in working memory- it is just that there is an unrecognised drain on it.

The essence of it is that moving from one eye position to another requires calculating the position of the current and desired visual targets and holding them in working memory while calculating a vector to the new visual target.


See here (If you enjoy all that reading !)
Altered Control of Visual Fixation and Saccadic Eye Movements in Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
J Neurophysiol 90: 503–514, 2003. First published April 2, 2003; 10.1152/jn.00192.2003.





Kunga Dorji 11-16-19 10:58 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Now, as to why you are getting worse:

Worsening vision is one
Worsening eye coordination another
These neck issues that I have talked about certainly worsen with age and sedentary jobs and do directly worsen eye coordination (complicated reason, I will post on it soon).
The neck issues also cause a serious decrease in resting stimulatory input into the brain, and mental dullness.

( I finally got mine corrected into a more or less stable position last week and everything is much more vivid and clear. I had felt like I was only fit to be sent to be processed for pet food!)

TheDreamer 11-21-19 07:32 AM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
I'm dealing with the same right now. Today home from work (yet again) as I couldn't stand going in and sit there unproductive.

You also work as a software developer, right? I used to be very good at learning, and interested in new technology frameworks etc, but it is like I've lost that ability (or interest) completely.

It might be that I've done it one too many times, learning the new shiny thing to really get anything out of it. I might have some form of midlife crisis, but I wonder if being a SW developer is really what I was meant to be. Do you have similar thoughts?

I'm sorry that you're struggling with this also, as it is really difficult...

tudorose 11-23-19 11:33 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
I get this a lot. Moreso this year because of dealing with some major issues. Stress impairs the ability to think. And diet. SB is correct. A ketogenic diet makes the brain function better.

kilted_scotsman 11-24-19 01:16 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Stress, tiredness, high emotion, nutrition, "Adverse Childhood Experiences", Trauma... all impact memory function.

Unfortunately in a work environment stress increases as we become aware of a memory problem, compounding the problem..... a negative feedback loop.

If you are having trouble staying awake your memory is going to be shot to bits. Being that tired is the equivalent of several shots of vodka or pints of beer (or more).

Also if you have something like "Imposter syndrome" which many ADDers have, stress levels will be heightened, impacting memory, so now you've had several pints and a couple of chasers.

Add a young family or financial worries into the mix you're now into blackout territory - apparently functional but not really there.

Is this an ADHD thing.... yes and no.... it is present in many/most ADDers I've met, but I put it under "secondary effects" of living with ADHD.

For me it really kicked in when I became a parent for the second time. Now I accept my memory isn't Neurotypical and I tell my clients that... No lists, schedules, instructions, time related information or financial stuff... they're the big holes for me.

Luckily I can be upfront about this with those around me, especially my clients which helps my stress, allows me to put in place coping strategies and increases my memory function.

Key to this was being curious about WHY I was struggling with memory and HOW my memory was impaired.

In my view, if you've one or more young children and are working memory impairment is normal ADD or not.

Traveler5 11-26-19 07:29 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Is it like different things are competing for your attention and focus, and you get distracted and frustrated, and it all gets mixed up and turns into racing thoughts which in turn cause anxiety within yourself?

Traveler5 11-26-19 07:36 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Perhaps with the right meds things would be more clear to you?

Fuzzy12 12-05-19 07:39 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by namazu (Post 2021634)
From what I know of you, I would guess that it's probably not incipient dementia, but rather a combination of...
- depression/anxiety
- being a parent of a young child
- environment (e.g. not loving your job, not doing work that necessarily excites you...)
- etc.
...all of which contribute their own difficulties and also make the untreated ADHD more difficult to circumvent. Since you (presumably) also had (untreated) ADHD in the past and did not always have difficulties learning and working (at least, not to the extent you have now), I would guess that it's these other factors that are primary drivers, but of course it's hard to separate these things out and they interact strongly.

I've been struggling a lot with similar feelings, though I'm not employed at the moment (in part because of these difficulties). A lot of it for me is environmental; working from my living room without the intellectual and social stimulation of colleagues and an exciting environment really, reeeeeeeeeally doesn't do it for me. And now, having fallen out of the habit of doing the kind of demanding work I had been doing, it's very hard for me to get back into it, or even to fathom how I was once capable of doing what I used to do. Your precise circumstances are different, of course, but I can relate to the feeling, anyway.

I'm looking at a possible career change, but haven't committed yet.

Thanks. I'd love a career change but I feel like I'm so bad at what my current job is how could I better in something that's completely new and unfamiliar.

I used to work from home and well...I just couldn't do it. I need to be in a work environment. I work in a big open plan office now and though it's terribly distracting it also helps me tons. No more procrastination.

Fuzzy12 12-05-19 07:41 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kunga Dorji (Post 2021637)
Now, as to why you are getting worse:

Worsening vision is one
Worsening eye coordination another
These neck issues that I have talked about certainly worsen with age and sedentary jobs and do directly worsen eye coordination (complicated reason, I will post on it soon).
The neck issues also cause a serious decrease in resting stimulatory input into the brain, and mental dullness.

( I finally got mine corrected into a more or less stable position last week and everything is much more vivid and clear. I had felt like I was only fit to be sent to be processed for pet food!)

Interesting I'll look into it though I reallysuck reading papers these days. Not good for a researcher :(

Fuzzy12 12-05-19 07:43 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheDreamer (Post 2021721)
I'm dealing with the same right now. Today home from work (yet again) as I couldn't stand going in and sit there unproductive.

You also work as a software developer, right? I used to be very good at learning, and interested in new technology frameworks etc, but it is like I've lost that ability (or interest) completely.

It might be that I've done it one too many times, learning the new shiny thing to really get anything out of it. I might have some form of midlife crisis, but I wonder if being a SW developer is really what I was meant to be. Do you have similar thoughts?

I'm sorry that you're struggling with this also, as it is really difficult...

Yes. I do enjoy coding but it doesn't come naturally and I know shockingly little about software, hardware and related concepts. You'd never guess I've got a PhD in computer science. :(

Fuzzy12 12-05-19 07:45 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tudorose (Post 2021756)
I get this a lot. Moreso this year because of dealing with some major issues. Stress impairs the ability to think. And diet. SB is correct. A ketogenic diet makes the brain function better.

Really? My diet is mainly carbs and I've always felt if I cut down carbs the first thing tosuffer are mycogbitive abilities. But then I'm not good at sourcing protein so maybe that would make a difference

Fuzzy12 12-05-19 07:48 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kilted_scotsman (Post 2021762)
Stress, tiredness, high emotion, nutrition, "Adverse Childhood Experiences", Trauma... all impact memory function.

Unfortunately in a work environment stress increases as we become aware of a memory problem, compounding the problem..... a negative feedback loop.

If you are having trouble staying awake your memory is going to be shot to bits. Being that tired is the equivalent of several shots of vodka or pints of beer (or more).

Also if you have something like "Imposter syndrome" which many ADDers have, stress levels will be heightened, impacting memory, so now you've had several pints and a couple of chasers.

Add a young family or financial worries into the mix you're now into blackout territory - apparently functional but not really there.

Is this an ADHD thing.... yes and no.... it is present in many/most ADDers I've met, but I put it under "secondary effects" of living with ADHD.

For me it really kicked in when I became a parent for the second time. Now I accept my memory isn't Neurotypical and I tell my clients that... No lists, schedules, instructions, time related information or financial stuff... they're the big holes for me.

Luckily I can be upfront about this with those around me, especially my clients which helps my stress, allows me to put in place coping strategies and increases my memory function.

Key to this was being curious about WHY I was struggling with memory and HOW my memory was impaired.

In my view, if you've one or more young children and are working memory impairment is normal ADD or not.

My memory is atrocious. I read a lot and if it interests me I can retain it for a short while but not longer.

I still don't understand why ADHD impairs memory.

Yes to everything else too. I'm exhausted. I'm stressed and I've got a bad case of imposter syndrome.

Fuzzy12 12-05-19 07:51 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Traveler5 (Post 2021806)
Is it like different things are competing for your attention and focus, and you get distracted and frustrated, and it all gets mixed up and turns into racing thoughts which in turn cause anxiety within yourself?

Yes but also it seems like my thoughts are too disconnected. Imagine you are reading a recipe but thoughyouubderstabd each individual word you don't understand the instruction and you don't understand how the instructions are put together to come up with a dish. You need a sort of broadness of vision to understand things whereas me..I just can't see the picture. While I'm seeing one part of the picture everything else fades away.

Fuzzy12 12-05-19 07:54 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Traveler5 (Post 2021807)
Perhaps with the right meds things would be more clear to you?

I've been medicated for two days and I've managed to do more than I've done in weeks and I haven't even done that much today and yesterday. I've also managed to understand some concepts I've been grappling with. I hate this. I am stupid without the meds.

Kunga Dorji 12-05-19 10:49 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheDreamer (Post 2021721)
I'm dealing with the same right now. Today home from work (yet again) as I couldn't stand going in and sit there unproductive.

You also work as a software developer, right? I used to be very good at learning, and interested in new technology frameworks etc, but it is like I've lost that ability (or interest) completely.

It might be that I've done it one too many times, learning the new shiny thing to really get anything out of it. I might have some form of midlife crisis, but I wonder if being a SW developer is really what I was meant to be. Do you have similar thoughts?

I'm sorry that you're struggling with this also, as it is really difficult...


You have not necessarily lost the ability- more like misplaced it- TEMPORARILY. ( Important positive thinking).

Kunga Dorji 12-05-19 10:59 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fuzzy12 (Post 2021931)
I've been medicated for two days and I've managed to do more than I've done in weeks and I haven't even done that much today and yesterday. I've also managed to understand some concepts I've been grappling with. I hate this. I am stupid without the meds.




Yes I know that feeling, though I am just more likely to be foggier and slower when off them.
The question is why are you like that and how to work out what is going on.

Dysautonomia has been well documented in ADHD. It is inclined to cause low blood pressure to the brain when upright- especially sitting.
Often people with it are quite pale and maybe sweaty with a higher heart rate than you would expect.

Ive found that my heart rate drops on stimulants-- which is counter intuitive.

Be that as it may, the end result is insufficient blood flow to the brain and that certainly causes brain fog and difficulty thinking. It is only one of the possible causes because ADHD is a complex syndrome- not just a single cause.

I think in the end that we will trace all the causes of ADHD symptoms- and they will all be some sort of physical issue affecting our brain.

It is easy to feel bad about this- but when you have a medication that has a good effect like stimulants you have to understand that this is primarily a physical problem and we are being responsible citizens in taking our medication if they work for us- that's not universal. So relax a little and let yourself enjoy your improved functioning.

Greyhound1 12-06-19 01:39 AM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fuzzy12 (Post 2021931)
I've been medicated for two days and I've managed to do more than I've done in weeks and I haven't even done that much today and yesterday. I've also managed to understand some concepts I've been grappling with. I hate this. I am stupid without the meds.

You are just as smart without meds. They just allow you to better organize your thoughts and access your own intelligence more efficiently.

They aren’t smart pills nor are you somehow cheating by reaping some benefits from your medication. I don’t understand why you would be upset with your medication working properly.:scratch: Enjoy the benefits and make good use of them. That’s what they are for.:)

Perhaps shame is the issue. I hope that’s not the case. I realized, I’m much more ashamed of myself and my actions or lack of them when I’m not medicated. Taking medication when it’s properly prescribed and effective is the responsible thing to do. It’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of whereas, our actions when un-medicated often can be.

kilted_scotsman 12-06-19 07:31 AM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Memory isn't "a thing" it's

1) writing to storage
2) storage
3) indexing
4) recall

Each part can function consciously or unconsciously and be affected by stress, tiredness, or neurological difference.

People think memory works the same in everyone.... it doesn't, it's unique to each of us, and being ND may make it a bit more different.

This means, as ND people we need to work out how our memory works, what are it's strengths, what are it's weaknesses, using coping strategies to cover our weak spots and trying to choose environments that play to our strengths.

This is one thing I explore when I'm working with clients..... trying to pick up the subtle cues about how their memory "writes", organises and recovers stored knowledge and experience.

Most of this is happening out of awareness..... which makes it a bit of a detective story.

When I work with my clients I find that their memory is very rarely universally "bad". Usually the individual has phenomenal areas of recall however their life is such that the areas where their memory is amazing are irrelevant, and their life is dominated by areas where their memory function is not great. This increases stress causing a stress orientated memory impairment across the board, which increases stress and a negative feedback loop develops.

Working with clients, the first area I concentrate on is increasing self-compassion and nurturing, in order to reduce stress, then we explore behavioural responses that are likely to be rooted in unconscious memory recall processes. This helps me build a picture of the indexing process, what has been laid down in instantaneous "priority" memory and how is it recovered.

If this is successful we slowly, over many months, enter a positive feedback loop where increasing knowledge of how the brain functions reduces stress and increases memory function, further reducing stress and allowing for creation of resilient coping strategies.

The underlying brain difference remains, however the individual has increased understanding and can therefore make healthier choices, reducing stress thereby reducing the secondary neurological effects of living with Neurodiversity.

There is a lot more to this than I can put in a post, particularly around how trauma is inevitably in the mix and affects the memory process, short-circuiting the usual write/store/index/recall processes

TygerSan 12-07-19 09:56 AM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
I describe my memory issues as having low RAM. Give me too much information to process at once (especially when I’m already anxious and overwhelmed) and I will crash. On the other hand, my long-term and episodic memory are very good. It’s just the short-term information processing that I struggle with.

Meds helped with being able to sequence and program well, but left me with weird glitches where I would totally forget what I was saying mid-sentence.

Kunga Dorji 12-07-19 11:59 AM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TygerSan (Post 2021958)
I describe my memory issues as having low RAM. Give me too much information to process at once (especially when Iím already anxious and overwhelmed) and I will crash. On the other hand, my long-term and episodic memory are very good. Itís just the short-term information processing that I struggle with.

Meds helped with being able to sequence and program well, but left me with weird glitches where I would totally forget what I was saying mid-sentence.


Low RAM?
I'm getting visuals of a short sheep.
Have I lost track?
:)

Kunga Dorji 12-07-19 12:03 PM

Re: Thinking and learning
 
Pay no attention.
I'm just looking for cheap laughs-- but aren't we all meant to be directing directing our attention to items that engage our interest?


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