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Old 03-15-2004, 07:51 PM   #1
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sodawater HB User
Paralysis of the Will / Denial

This question is intended mainly for people who were not diagnosed until they were adults.

I'm wondering how many others out there developed an essentially pathological series of coping mechanisms, such as avoidance of conflict around responsibilities, selective denial, etc. in response to their struggles.

For me this seems to be the most damaging legacy of un-managed ADD and the hardest to address. The phenomenon described in another thread as 'Paralysis of the Will' seems very closely related. Its obviously similar to procrastination, but I'm referring not so much to doing things at the last minute as I am to letting the deadline pass and feeling completely paralyzed. For me, I then often become unreasonably anxious about confronting the person I've let down, and it just spirals out of control. In fact, I'm in the midst of a particularly bad period with this right now.

This is something I'm getting help with and trying to work on, so I'm not looking for advice, just wondering if I'm alone in this.

Mainly I'm just wondering if other people have had the same experience. If so I would find it comforting to hear about. Thanks!

 
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Old 03-16-2004, 04:56 AM   #2
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apinecone HB User
Re: Paralysis of the Will / Denial

Quote:
Originally Posted by sodawater
This question is intended mainly for people who were not diagnosed until they were adults.

I'm wondering how many others out there developed an essentially pathological series of coping mechanisms, such as avoidance of conflict around responsibilities, selective denial, etc. in response to their struggles.

For me this seems to be the most damaging legacy of un-managed ADD and the hardest to address. The phenomenon described in another thread as 'Paralysis of the Will' seems very closely related. Its obviously similar to procrastination, but I'm referring not so much to doing things at the last minute as I am to letting the deadline pass and feeling completely paralyzed. For me, I then often become unreasonably anxious about confronting the person I've let down, and it just spirals out of control. In fact, I'm in the midst of a particularly bad period with this right now.

This is something I'm getting help with and trying to work on, so I'm not looking for advice, just wondering if I'm alone in this.

Mainly I'm just wondering if other people have had the same experience. If so I would find it comforting to hear about. Thanks!
---------------
Hi Sodawater-- let me take a few minutes to respond before I don't even start doing my travel report (TR) for approximately the last month and a half. If I don't turn it in soon my company will charge me personally for the whole thing (over $1K). Now why would I risk that? I'm not sure this is 'paralyzed will' but that seems as close as anything. If this were an isolated case it would be one thing, but I'm always way late doing TRs. Some possible why's: -- I have a similar aversion to balancing my checking account, mostly because it never balances despite my best efforts and then the 'bottom line', so to speak, is always semi-frightening/FUBAR. --In the case of this TR, I was going to take some time to take a few days off (San Diego) and it was to a conference I attend regularly that my work/boss don't like but have to send someone because if they didn't the company would look bad, so I always feel guilty going on company expense, so I try to pay for it myself once in a while, but this time my boss told me I couldn't take either the weekend before or after and just HAD to attend some meetings (unscheduled at that point) on the Monday and Friday of the conference week, so I had to cancel my arrangements (including seeing my sister for once in the past 3 years) AND take 2 redeyes (to there and back), and then neither of the meetings happened, and my sister was seriously disappointed and said I should have come anyway and so on. So, maybe it's not hard to understand why I have trouble turning in this TR in particular or any others in general. It's like the mind can get sort of 'black and blue' marks and then after a while when one gets pinged on it hurts like he** and paralysis sets in, and then there's the dread that goes along with having yet another occurrence, and of course aversion for that reason and wanting to forget/block thinking about the consequences, the past occurrences and all the frustration about 'why me', etc.

And that's just TR's! It's even less hard to understand why something actually important, esp. close personal relationships, would have the same kind of things happen, just bigger time and bigger black and blue marks if not outright contusions or broken dreambones or -- whoa, where's the closest trauma unit??

Unfortunately I don't have any Rx that works very well. I know that talking about it and continuing to find ways to reduce the impact and help to improve the outcomes definitely helps. There are other little things in the general how-to-get-on-top-of-ADD toolkit that help, like only-handle-it-once (OHIO)-- i.e. don't pick it up and then drop it-- if you pick it up, finish it, and if you have semi-paralysis about picking it up, then try to re-focus some of your focus (I know that's hard to do for over-focusing type ADD people but try it) to the task, even if you have to re-prioritize to do it (even if re-prioritizing will result in yet again some other disappointment for not getting something else done!). Which brings me to another ADD thing, which is having too many things on your plate or spinning too many plates in the air, so to speak, where you just can't get everything done and you can't seem to get rid of anything because they're all just super-important (right!) and you have a hard time not adding more and can't seem to get rid of any and on and on-- you probably know what I mean about this. Well, maybe you can take a look at the various things you spend your time/consciousness at and re-prioritize them as far as your focus is concerned and just, well, dump some of them (or at least seriously defer them, even if you have to FORCE yourself/mind to not spend energy on it-- I mean, if you're going to be 'in denial' then it might just as well be to slough off something in favor of at least getting something ELSE of a 'higher priority' done or worked on or worked out, right? Well, there's some logic to that, and I find that it works, although it's hard to 'take stock' of what you do and to re-prioritize and actually carry out your own goals. OK, then, get your good-twin-brother/sister Angel to COMMAND you to do it!)

There's more in the ADD toolkit; please check the literature. Check out 'Driven to Distraction' and others by Hallowell et al. And keep networking!
(Angel sez hi 2)

 
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Old 03-16-2004, 06:30 PM   #3
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Distec HB User
Re: Paralysis of the Will / Denial

I'd had a lot of that in school. I had a hard time doing assignments even though I knew I would get an F if i didn't do them. Can't really explain why I couldn't do them, I guess it was a mixture of no motivation and procrastination, with a lot of forgetfulness. I still have problems paying bills. I just got a letter from my heat/electric company that if i don't pay soon they'll cut it off due to non-payment Its not that I don't have the money either. Its almost like I live in a constant daze/dream.

 
Old 03-16-2004, 10:50 PM   #4
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mandevu HB User
Re: Paralysis of the Will / Denial

I experience exactly the same thing. Letting deadlines pass is quite often what happens: I know that they will pass if I do nothing, but somehow there is enormous inertia.

For me, at least, I think the problem is related to memory. In order to get many of these tasks done, you need to expend a great deal of effort recollecting and collecting information, sorting out the information, and prioritizing the information. I once took aricept (used to help Alzehimer's patients to retain some memory) and it was amazing how much it helped me with piano playing - for the first time in my life I could read music and remember where my fingers were on the keyboard. Normally, if I look at the sheet music, I forget where my fingers were on the keyboard, then I look at the keyboard and forget the notes that I just read - so I could never play well. Practicing made it worse and more confusing. I couln't keep taking it because it made me very aggressive and irritable.

But I think now that for 'normal' people, many of these tasks are not so paralysing because they can recall most information they need to get started and organized without much effort. I can't, moreover, I can't remember where to start looking to find the things that I can't remember/forgot. So, just in order to begin, I have to figure out a lot of extra things. It is this sense of being confronted with an overwhelming task that makes me feel so paralyzed. Tasks that seem easier to start, because one knows where to start and what to start with, are easier to cope with and do not create paralysis to the same extent.

I do not know what helps. Perhaps knowing that there will be some initial period of finding stuff and organizing stuff and "getting up to speed" (no pun intended) because of ADD may be useful. At least one can then 'budget' time-wise and energy-wise for this and that may make it easier to get started. Expecting the task to be completed in the same time period as someone else may take exacerbates the problem: one realizes that the problem is not all that difficult (for 'normal' people) yet for oneself it seems to take much extra effort - this is very demoralizing! Knowing that it will be different and budgeting for the difference may help (after all, we get payback with those things that we do faster and better than'normal' people).

Let us know if you can figure out a good way to deal with this!
mandevu

 
Old 03-17-2004, 07:51 PM   #5
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apinecone HB User
Re: Paralysis of the Will / Denial

distec and mandevu! I appreciate your replies. Another thought: although it's useful for me to pick do-able things to kindof build up some mo and get to feeling better about "accomplishing things", the irony sets in about it just eventually leading to those bigger, more dreadable things. But, then, I'd really rather not think about it right now, you know?

But I was thinking instead about the "/ Denial" part of this thread. It's apparent that denial's in the mix, but denial of what? Procrastination? The part of that I don't get is the actually numerous things I do do! It's just that some of them get into this paralysis thing. And looking deeper into them, as I said, has this dreadability aspect. But dread of what? Getting rid of the "problem" by facing it and unburdening oneself of it? Oh! Actually enduring the "pain" of getting on top of it!! Those sub-teflon-skin black'n'blue marks taking another beating! Right!! [I knew there was pain involved in there somewhere. Not that I can't endure pain-- I'm a chronic -er in this sense. Oh, maybe that's a part of it, too!: I'm so used to it, it just rolls off my teflon skin. Nah; still left with the pain. Or maybe there's a pain "threshold" that gets higher and higher as you come to endure more and more pain! Well, this is sounding like an addiction to me, I don't know about you! .......... ! .......! Masochism!?! [dictionary def: 3 a tendency to take pleasure from one's own suffering (the first 2 are about 'psychriatry' and 'psychoanal', so I thought I'd start vanilla-flavored, 'cause I don't think I'm at those 'levels', yet-- fer sher the anal...]

Well, this seems like it's getting somewhere, except I'm not sure about the 'pleasure' part. Actually, that's kind of like drinking/drugging in that you feel like ****** after a binge or a biggie. And it does get progressively worse. How many stories have you heard about that! But, still, I can't see where there's much pleasure in these episodes. It seems like there's some dots connecting here but I dunno: something's still not fitting together. Well, I'll think on this some more; maybe go in a mirrored corner and berate myself for awhile until I feel REALLY hyper! Any ideas?

 
Old 03-17-2004, 10:18 PM   #6
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sodawater HB User
Re: Paralysis of the Will / Denial

Hmm, these replies are interesting, but I don't completely identify with them. I'm probably closest to jjw3927 in that I am usually well aware of what needs to get done, and even if I'm forgetful, I've organized my life in such a way that that isn't so much the problem.

I think my own paralysis begins from a point of anxiety, not always directly explainable - often about failing to meet my own unreasonable expectations, but at times also about things that are less apparent to me. The denial part seems to come in when I start to think about the consequences of what not getting these things done will mean and yet I still find myself unable to move. This anxiety about consequences only seems to paralyze me more and I find myself trying to put it out of my head in order to get comfortable. I assume for most people, thinking of these consequences is a natural motivator. For me I find it only worsens my feeling of paralysis and my fear of conflict around letting down the person I'm obligated to (boss, teacher, family, friend etc) becomes overwhelming.

I don't think I like the pain at all, though I'm sure after so many years I do strongly identify with it. Plus, I'm not talking so much about procrastination until the last minute - its related but different - in that case, I feel adrenalin and excitement, not so much anxiety or dread.

Does this sound familiar jjw3927?

 
Old 03-17-2004, 11:29 PM   #7
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Re: Paralysis of the Will / Denial

Thanks sodawater. I-dentify!

the anxiety part! Whoa...

Well, that part is related to why I said I would go to the mirrored corner and psycho-flagellate myself to a hyperstate (aka angst-xiety). I've worked thru alot of that, though. Once came a time when I got a bona fide panic attack from just thinking about the heap of stuff I was going to have to wade thru to get to a much solider feeling about my being-on-top-of-things-edness, and that told me I really had to start with panic attacks. Which I did and got them down to a dull roar and haven't had one in quite a while, largely due to jettisoning a number of too-many-things-on-my-plate, esp. the ones that aren't-working-out-very-well-at-all-and-don't-look-like-they're-going-to-anytime-soon-despite-my-having-unfortunately-dumped-so-much-psyche-and-effort-into.

often about failing to meet my own unreasonable expectations,

pretty much continually downgrading expectations, although I have to admit that alot of times it seems like it's not just me (au contraire?), and I am very ingenuous, dedicated to tasks [that I choose to dedicate myself to, although hyper-focus syndrome is a big part of this] and have a high sense of morality, so my psych sez.


The denial part seems to come in when I start to think about the consequences

Yes, ==> more angst + try for something more pleasurable if not mind-numbing and yet I still find myself unable to move, to put it out of my head in order to get comfortable.

letting down the person I'm obligated to

Well, this is true for me, too, in spades, but like I said, I really try hard and then when I look at who's allegedly being 'let down' I think well, how about ME being let down; what's the story there? I mean, and I'm pretty sure I'm not being paranoid here, especially at work I can see this blame-game thing going on so much. The other day after about the tenth various attempt to convince me that I was the one who dropped the ball/baton, not him, I said, to another colleague who was witnessing the interaction: you know, the good thing about being the only imperfect one in a group is that you know who's at fault! She looked a bit hiccup'd-like for a few seconds and then came to the possibly-hurt-feelings-defense of the possibly offended person (not me). I caught a little rush of angst in myself right then because I knew I should've just swallowed it (my reaction), stuffed it back down and probably sniled at him or something smile-skool-like. But I went on, and then he apologized and said there's been alot of stress lately, and deadlines [so aptly named, eh?], and actually what I said was really pretty funny but he was so embarrassed that he couldn't laugh at that instant and it taught him something about himself, so he will look to not doing that again. Well, good outcome but pretty could-have-been-baad for co-morale, jjw!

I don't think I like the pain at all, though I'm sure after so many years I do strongly identify with it.

That's a definite ditto!

Plus, I'm not talking so much about procrastination until the last minute - its related but different - in that case, I feel adrenalin and excitement, not so much anxiety or dread.

Alas, the mirrored corner... One thing I've really identified with about ADD mental dys-process is the thing about having a dys-function in filtering out various input streams and having to put a lot of energy into focus, sometimes so much that you actually ignore the parts of the "noise" that are outside your desired focal zone. It can get the adrenalin going to get on top of it and stay there long enough to accomplish a goal without spinning off into the weeds of some more appealing but transient thought streaming through, i.e. distraction. Hallowell's book on "Driven to Distraction" is really good on this if you haven't read it.

By the way, another one of the definitions of masochism (#2, i think) deals with self-destructiveness. [Yeah, I think it was the psycho-anal definition, #2, no ******!). Well, anyway, that's another ***, as in moth-to-flame, that seems to resonate in this adrenalization thing somehow. And, you know, mixing adrenalin and dread ain't good, so I, too, try hard not to go there. Actually, a nice mirrored corner with a jacuzzi/spa seems in order; I'll have to talk with about that.


Does this sound familiar jjw3927?

All 2 but I'm really appreciative-- Thanks.

 
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