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  • Writer's picturemarikenney

Dysfunctional Executives.

I find it hard to start things. Always have.

Growing up, I had a proactive set of parents who ensured I was always doing something. Staying active. As I grew up, and moved away from home, I noticed that I began to suffer from a lack of motivation. I couldn't get up to do the basic necessities to survive as a "normal adult." I thought I was a failure. I thought, "It shouldn't be this hard to wash my clothes, to take a shower, or to feed myself."

I always thought there was something wrong with me. I just couldn't, no matter how hard I tried, get myself up and going. My husband, thankfully, is a lot like my parents. He doesn't like to stop. He is always moving. Always making. He motivates me.

But when I'm alone, I can't get myself moving. I know there are so many things that I need to do, but I almost seize up and am paralyzed on the couch, stewing on all the things I could be doing instead of being a lump on the couch.

I didn't know what was wrong with me. It was only after my ADD diagnosis that I learned about something called executive dysfunction. At first, I didn't think that was me. Growing up, I was active. I was ranked 6th in my High School, and I played various sports throughout the school year. But then I thought about my college experience. For the first two years of college, I was the same focused, motivated individual, but the second year of college - that is a different story. My once focused demeanor was replaced by an anxious, irritated ball of mess with the inability to take care of myself and my home.

I tried for years to get myself in order. I did have waves of productivity and motivation, but I've always dealt with moments of couch lock, unable to move, unable to function. Those days were the hardest, because my mind only focused on the negative.

I don't like to be negative. Negativity is lame. I felt lame.

As I've researched executive dysfunction, I've found stories from others online who suffer from the same, and I found similarities to my stories. For one, most women are not diagnosed with ADD until later in life because our symptoms present differently. I was diagnosed at the age of 38. I've read many stories from woman who suffered in silence, masking their issues and feeling like a loser. A bad human adult, and I felt the same.

I remember as a child, I had difficulty with reading comprehension. We also had a lot of standardized tests that focused on reading comprehension, and standardized tests only caused dread in my sweet, little baby heart. Too much pressure for children, in my opinion.

I didn't understand how the other children could read a paragraph and remember everything they read. My mind was always jumping all over the place when I tried to read. I couldn't focus. I couldn't comprehend. I didn't want anyone to know, and didn't want to fail a test (that was the worst thing I could imagine as a child) so I would practice. I would sit in my room and read and read and ask myself questions about what I read, over and over again. I would do it any chance I got, because I didn't want anyone to know.

I'm thankful I did that, because it solidified my love for reading, but also sad for little Mari who was so filled with anxiety and fear that she would put so much pressure on herself and not ask for any help. It's wild looking back on my childhood and college life and remembering situations I went through that only backed up my ADD diagnosis, but I always thought I was lazy and stupid.

I'm not here to use my ADD and executive dysfunction as an excuse for any shortcomings in my life, but I will use them as motivation. To push myself. To better myself. Right now, I am learning ways to redirect my brain and my actions. I've started making a to-do list every day, but I don't beat myself up if I only accomplish one or two things. I'm still moving. I'm still doing.

I won't let my diagnosis stop me from accomplishing some pretty cool things in my life. And I won't be such an asshole to myself when I fail at something.

Failure is a part of life, and those who don't accept that will live a sad, pressure filled life.

I know this is going to be a long journey, but I am excited to see where I'm going.

Hope everything works out.

Fingers crossed.

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