So, after being pressured by family for a painful amount of time, I'm posting on here.
Firstly, I've been told by many I have some rather unique symptoms of Aspergers'. For example, I don't struggle with social interaction beyond mild social anxiety. After being friends with more than one autistic person, I've begun to notice more and more that I don't suffer from symptoms like other people. In fact, it's at the point where I've had to spend a long time with the university I go to in two weeks and explain everything in fine detail, and every time they made an assumption it was wrong.
And I don't doubt i have aspergers. I am oversensitive to smell and sound (though almost never overwhelmed), my head tends to do its own things and stick me in its obsessive loop and I struggle to 'put away' thoughts. I hope there's someone on this forum who's had a similar experience.
Secondly, I find it impossible to organise. Beyond impossible. I'm getting a dyspraxia assessment soon but to put it simply, sometimes I just don't remember. The spark isn't even there. When I have the moment of thinking on what I need to do, important things just don't come to mind. I can be telling myself every day for a week and remembering to do something and then I'll forget. And every method I've tried to keep organised has turned out bad. The last eight reminders on my phone went wrong in a variety of different and remarkably stupid ways. I forget to take planners around, lose them, never check them, or write in the wrong parts of them again and again until I can't find where I'm meant to be.
Has anyone got any good solutions/band aids to this?
Hello and welcome.
I think every 'case of autism' is unique. There used to be this category 'PDD-NOS' for diagnosticians to put people in who met some but not all the criteria. In my case (AS diagnosis), I don't have noticeable sensory hyper-sensitivities, which is the main reason to doubt my diagnosis, don't have apparent problems with social interaction (it could be said that I 'mask') but something has stopped me integrating and socially advancing, and it's probably more than lack of self-confidence. I do probably share your problems with organisation, although there are many different possible things that can 'go wrong' with self-management. Here's a good introduction to the idea of 'executive function', some of which might resonate with you:
Having said that, there are bound to be people here with characteristics more like you than I have.
It sounds like control of your attention is one of your differences. ADHD has been suggested for me, although I wonder if it would just be subsumed under being autistic. Actually I wonder if my low mood is a self-regulatory thing that stops me pursuing my obsessions or interests. I do often manage to make a plan for the next hour or so to try to make some progress, and execute much of it before getting distracted. But yes, things go wrong in 'stupid ways'. I would be easy for someone to suggest 'self-sabotage' but that's superstitious to my mind.
Good habits and routines help, and need practising. They say you have to do something about thirty times before it becomes 'automatic', an unconscious competence. Of course some things are too rare or responsive to become habits. I've just been told organisation is about finding whatever works for you. If you find something that doesn't work, try something else; if you find something that works, do more of it.
It sounds like you want something simple to help stick to a plan. There's probably an app for it, but I recall the days of a diary and a wristwatch. I think I could probably do with a list of things that seem feasible and a thing that goes 'ping' on the hour to help me check it.
By the way, you can create more of an 'identity' on these forums by changing your nickname and picture from the anonymous defaults. Just go to the round button up the top right of the screen, then go to 'Profile' and 'Edit profile'.
We're all 'unique' here, some more than others.
I have no good habits or routines... honestly even mealtimes will get missed sometimes. And I have no issue with paying attention whatsoever. It's not about that at all. Which is the problem, because I don't know anyone else with the same issue I have.
I'm the same with meal times. Very variable in time and number. And I've read others here say the same.
Sorry if I misunderstood, but I mention attention because:
GooseMachine54 said:sometimes I just don't remember. The spark isn't even there. When I have the moment of thinking on what I need to do, important things just don't come to mind.
Isn't another way of saying that that your attention isn't where in retrospect you would want it to be, on your plan and list of important things? Do you find your focus is stuck on an interest and you don't notice stuff outside your mental filter and what's happening around you?
I think some of this may be what researchers call 'prospective memory', being able, ahead of time, to associate 'when I go out the front door' with 'take the rubbish out'. It's definitely distinct from declarative memory (facts) and episodic memory (experience).
Some of these things can be very hard to describe. I know. I've tried, and in some ways they defy common sense.
GooseMachine54 said: I don't know anyone else with the same issue I have
Could you try to describe it a bit more?
I know what it's like to remember to do things, or remember important things, because I do it. But half of the time, I just don't do it. Nothing in its place. Nothing distracting me. It just doesn't happen.
GooseMachine54 said:I forget to take planners around, lose them, never check them, or write in the wrong parts of them again and again until I can't find where I'm meant to be.Has anyone got any good solutions/band aids to this?
I forget to take planners around, lose them, never check them, or write in the wrong parts of them again and again until I can't find where I'm meant to be.
I very much know what you mean about forgetting stuff.
Basically I do the same set things at the same set points during the day, week, month or year, by having made them into habitual activity routines over time ~ day in day out, week in and weak out and so on fourth for years. I found that using a wall calendar with days listed below each other, ticking them off at the beginning of the day, was most practical for me. Appointments get noted in where appropriate, like a personal organizer.
Making sure that set things are done according to what is most habitually alike at a particular time ~ social interaction days, shopping days and so fourth, means that things over time become automatic without having to think about them so much, and they just get done by rolling momentum.
Take advantage of your Autism and the need for established routine, and get yourself habitually organized sort of thing. A new long tern routine structure can take ages to integrate ~ but once it is habituated, the increasing experience of getting things done permeates through the confusion, and reorganizes the neural networks of the mind-body relationship for more efficient outcomes.
It does help to avoid feeling particular negative or positive when doing habituation work as being neutral about things allows habitual behaviourisms to integrate more effectively, especial if you feel positive about your mistakes and recognize them as retakes for the ongoing improvements.
If any of that helps perhaps?
a) I don't have that part of autism. I have no need for order and routine.
b) I've had calenders upon on my wall. Did nothing :/
GooseMachine54 said:a) I don't have that part of autism. I have no need for order and routine.
Well all living beings have a need for food, water and clothing at set times through the days months, seasons and years of their evolution. You have a biological and psychological routine that you are not particular aware of, aside from eating, drinking and dressing etc, being that it has largely been laid on and habituated like most people because of their parents and guardians, etc.
Becoming aware of your current routine and what it involves day by day, week by week, month by month for up to a year ~ more or less ~ is the first stage of working with what is there to develop.
GooseMachine54 said:b) I've had calenders upon on my wall. Did nothing :/
Essentially the calendar or better still calendars, one for the present month and the other for the next month, work as record of your behaviourial patterns, and appointments. Mark what you did and what you forgot, and patterns will emerge over the months and the years.
This will take time and effort should you wish to apply yourself in this way, remembering no one way of achieving something is effective for all, and hence statements like 'once you have met one person with autism; you have met one person with autism.' and 'horses for courses' and so fourth.
The above described process is what works for me, even when it does not work from time to time, I simply keep to it more than I do not. Currently I am in the process of relearning the calendar bit, but my habitual routines as previously developed have remained, so over the next few months ~ the calendar bit is the task in hand to relearn.
The habitual stuff just works itself but adding behaviourisms takes time, about four months minimum for some, sometimes for others longer.
If none of this really applies to you, I hope you find what does, and that it goes really well for you. Obviously if you have questions or opinions ~ ask or share. :-)
I don't do things rigidly the same way. Some autistic people do always walk the same way home and get disturbed if they have to go a different way. I'm sort of the opposite and like to explore, and I know other Aspies who are similar and hate being tied down or predictable. However, some things like keeping fit require regular routine, and with external encouragement and a lot of effort I did develop something of a routine there, so that it's now much less effort to remember or 'feel the urge' to exercise at some point on a given day.
I have a to-do list on my wall that I've been ignoring. Again, that's become a habit, but a bad one.
Did you read the article on executive function?
It points out that there are lots of different mental faculties involved in 'doing stuff', from being aware of time to inhibiting other behaviour. So, in order to narrow down the problem, could you say for roughly what percentage of appointments or tasks?
Nope. I have no routines, basically. Even the fundamental ones of eating three times a day, it's only me hypersensitivity that makes me notice I'm hungry.
On the calendar. I forget I have the calendar, I don't mark things down, I mark things down wrong and don't notice my mistake, mark it down right and don't notice... I honestly miss more when I rely on a calendar etc. bc of the number of ways it goes wrong
Sorry if we're not helping much, but I can assure you that many other autistic people have similar organisational problems. So it sounds like the calendar doesn't work mostly because of 1 (you forget to mark things down) and a bit of 2 (don't look at the calendar/planner, or look in the right place). Maybe you put something somewhere, X, but then expect to find it in Y - could this be a case of not being able to imagine yourself in a different state at a different time, I wonder?
An occupational therapist or mentor might help you find 'work-arounds' for these problems. Could you perhaps leave notes to yourself around the house: 'check day on calendar', 'is calendar complete?'
I do relate to the general category of not being in control of my own mind. I almost certainly should be doing other things right now, rather than being on this forum!