Constantly swapping tasks or actions

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I noticed I keep doing this since years.

Basically, I have something to do. It can be anything, as long as I sort of interpret it as something I want to do.

By example, I want to brush my teeth and end up having a shower instead, or make a coffee and toasts.
Or, I decided to do some X administration and instead, I bought something that was missing.
Or, I go to the dressing for fetching something and forget about what I’m doing in there, so I start cleaning.
Or, I want a glass of water, watch it for a long while standing there, then wash a dish and leave.

I wondered if that was common. When I explain that to friends, I see it seems so completely bonkers to them I deflect and change the subject.

Actually I’ve been doing that type of things since so long I sort of adapted a workaround that allows me to do something. Before, I would simply not do anything. So now I have this kind of shifting lists of tasks that have to be done and it works as such…

I’m feeling something is moderately causing avoidance
Instead of just blocking it I’ll pick something else I’m avoiding, but less than that one
And with experience I discovered I cannot anticipate what I’ll be avoiding, so there is a sort of sliding list (that is written, if I just hold it in my head I’ll end up making a cake at 3AM) where I’d pick whatever looks accessible to do now. So at least something is done.

While this system allows me to do a few things rather than nothing, the fact I can’t plan an order of things is really problematic when actions have to follow each others. Some stuff that is very automated such as printmaking gestures or 3D modelling it’s okay, I really struggle with things that cause some disruption in the flow of thoughts, as if I struggled to reconnect once I disconnected, and then the wiring just goes wherever it wants instead of where I would like it to go.

At home the effects of it are moderate but for work prospects and administration it’s pure hell. I can’t afford having this kind of dysfunction all the time. Because the rewiring thing means that in between each task I’ll have a sort of idle moment where honestly, all that is in my head is a bunch of butterflies passing with fragments of music repeating themselves ad nauseam.

Does anyone relate? What are your ways to work around this?

I posted it in General but mods feel free to move it in a more appropriate place. I don’t know if it should go under dissociation or avoidance. It seems to be a bit in-between.
 

Huxley

New Here
I sometimes go offline in an odd way. I want to do X, such as listen to a podcast. I turn it on, begin listening, then realize I don’t know what they‘re referring to. I’ve blanked for milliseconds for some reason. It keeps happening. Here gone here gone here gone. It’s super annoying when I want to follow a conversation but I try to frame it as my overprotective dissociative autonomic responses doing their thing and just let it flow and change as it wants to. Trying to make it stop doesnt work unless I get busy doing something else, which sometimes feels like the unhelpful defensive response.

it’s not constant but some days it‘s bad. I’m usually alone so it’s rarely an issue others are even aware of.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Yeah the microblanks I have that too. In conversations that are just colloquial I have a sort of good autopilot that just answers stuff and makes jokes etc. And in general, I’m okay when I’m wired on a conversation with a single person. But it becomes complicated when there is music + conversations + eating by example. I rarely can follow unless I switch to social autopilot and it’s pretty taxing.

As you the only way I found is to do something else. Just anything else. Eventually the initial task will be completed, but it really feels like I’m tossing branches all across my way.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
I wondered if that was common. When I explain that to friends, I see it seems so completely bonkers to them I deflect and change the subject.
Just all the time @ruborcoraxxx. I like to cook and its so frustrating to go to the fridge and stand there either blank or grab the wrong ingredients - 2 0r 3 times. The only thing that helps is to do the one thing that's the hardest to do in those moments, relax, de-stress. Just stop and take a minute to stop beating myself up for not remembering. It's the only thing I found that works because pushing on? gets so much worse.
In therapy I had to create a "happy place". Calm, quiet, peaceful. I have spent so much time going there to calm down that it comes to me quickly. When I feel my cognition slipping it's stop and off to my happy place. Anywhere anytime. If I don't it spirals into worse and worse and I get frustrated and angry.

And in general, I’m okay when I’m wired on a conversation with a single person. But it becomes complicated when there is music + conversations + eating by example. I rarely can follow unless I switch to social autopilot and it’s pretty taxing.
OMG. It's bad enough to deal with a group of people but I also have memories of fairly recently (work) where I could not understand someone without focusing on them directly. Plain English that I have spoken for 50 some years and it was unintelligible gibberish until I stopped doing everything else and focused on that person.

It's sort of the same for crowds/groups. It just ratchets up my hyper-awareness like crazy. It gets impossible unless I'm in close conversation with someone. So many of those group things include family now and I feel like a zombie half the time. Even autopilot in those situations doesn't work well now, it used to but now its more stressful than focus. To be frankly honest if I can I walk away, go out with my brother in law while he has a smoke, whatever.

The one thing I work hardest on in those situations is controlling frustration. Like I said to my wife - there's all this stuff in my head - I just can't get it out and it frustrates the hell out of me.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
go out with my brother in law while he has a smoke, whatever.
lmao, I almost started smoking for the only reason that it allows to go outside in pubs or to go to a smoking room where the noise is muffled and you can hear what people say. It came to the point I had a socialization lighter, but no cigarettes.

Otherwise my cover is like, just wait, nod and smile.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
Yep. And t's worse since my son died. My brain never stops. It's exhausting, frustrating when I have something I truly need to do.

Or realize someone is speaking to me, I have been making eye contact the whole time and have no f*cking clue what they just said.

Yep.
 

Cheryl42

New Here
I notice the same problem. My PTSD is from being assaulted several times in one year so still trying to figure out if my brain blanks are from the PTSD, the brain injuries or both!
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
Just all the time @ruborcoraxxx.
Oh yeah. Me, too! And it is extremely disruptive to life in general.

I keep very detailed lists of things I must do. Then things I really want to do. I've been doing this all my life, and it has improved a bit, but I mostly just have started to accept that this is just the way I am/it is.
 
YEP. This. All the time. My recently-discovered strategy is that I write down what I'm trying to do, on paper. And then I just keep checking: what was I doing?

Any time I think of something else that I should do, I write it down on a running disorganized mess of a to-do list. So that if I've written down that I'm trying to make a cup of tea, and I decide I need lunch? I write down "make lunch" on my to-do list, and carry on making my cup of tea. Once one task is complete, I pick what I'm gonna do next.
 
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