Executive dysfunction

Does it affect you? So far I only know of the lovely Gingerlil for definite, I’d love some more E.D. buddies for some notes comparison and so on.

What tricks have you guys come up with for dealing with it? What kind of success have you had getting the people around you to understand the problem?

I was prompted to make this thread by the fact that I’m (very slowly) doing a Tesco shop online at the moment, and had a prime broken brain moment! I’m scrolling through the everyday value stuff (oh the joys of living on ESA) and a pack of plasters hoves into view. Now my eyes can quite clearly see it’s a pack of plasters, but does brain compute that? Of course not! ;D Brain decides that what it’s looking at on this packet isn’t a hand with a plaster around one finger, but a bunch of CARROTS! xD

I wonder if this kind of thing happens because a message can’t go along its normal path, so gets rerouted through an area that can’t deal with immediate recognition of something, be it something you see, hear, feel or smell. Part of me is also wondering what that carrot did to need a plaster…

1 Like

Well, I have brain farts from dawn to dusk, if that’s what you mean.

Logical consequences and obvious connections are among the things I am aware of having got useless at. It is as if my brain’s ‘if x, then y’ function has a kink in it. And information retrieval. I would be gazing at those carrots for a heart-sinkingly long time, wondering what those orange vegetables were called. And don’t even start me on problem solving.

On a recent post - was it you? - someone came up with a terrific phrase that had ‘procrastination’ in it and that summed up brilliantly the feeling of cold, dank inertia that comes upon me when I try to translate into action a wish to do something simple like phone up the gas board or balance the bank statement. But can I remember what the good phrase was? Of course not!


Yep, that was me :slight_smile: Chronic Involuntary Procrastination - it should totally be a recognised medical thing!

I need to get onto my landlord about my kitchen light being broken, it’s been bust for about a year now, as have my smoke alarms; I know I need to do this, I WANT to do this, but do I do it? Nope…and that pattern repeats for so many things, I’m amazed that I get anything done at all.

“Logical consequences and obvious connections are among the things I am aware of having got useless at. It is as if my brain’s ‘if x, then y’ function has a kink in it. And information retrieval. I would be gazing at those carrots for a heart-sinkingly long time, wondering what those orange vegetables were called. And don’t even start me on problem solving.”

All of the above…sucks, doesn’t it! Excellent problem solving skills is a thing I put on my CV, I’ve always been good at finding work-arounds. I can still do it, but the time frame for them now is many months before an alternative idea presents itself. Then I’m frustrated at myself for not having thought of it before then.

But then sometimes the idea comes from the broken side of things, and it’s something completely ludicrous! I sometimes feel like the MS has caused part of my brain to morph into a badly behaved 4 year old. Can I make it go stand in the corner with its hands on its head, do you think?

1 Like

procrastination - yes, know exactly what you mean - the fan in the garage needs assembling, I need to renew membership of Car Emergency Cover, I need to arrange to visit niece etc etc

Why don’t I just get on with it ???

1 Like

The talk about procrastination is an interesting one.

I put off simple things like phone calls, and find they are actually making me anxious, but I’m not sure how much is my natural tendency, and how much is MS.

I don’t just mean calls I expect to be difficult or stressful. Example: I have an administrative issue with some shares I need to sort out. I want to reinvest the dividends (sometimes called a DRIP or SCRIP scheme), but apparently, I can’t, because my shares are not held in the company’s nominee scheme (when I log on, my holding shows as zero).

Now we’re not talking vast amounts of money here - either the shares or the dividends on them - so it’s not a matter of crucial financial importance - or any other essential matter. Neither is it anything I’ve done wrong. I just need to ring up and say: “OK, I’ve got these shares; how do I transfer them into your nominee service, please, so I can participate in the reinvestment plan?”

Not rocket science, is it? Have I done it? No! And there are lots of small things like that. Nothing terrible will happen if I don’t do them, and I think that’s why they never get done. Instead of thinking: “It will only take five minutes, and then you’ll have done it and know the way forward”, I think: “Oh, it’s only small beer - I’ll sort it when I feel better.” But of course, I never DO feel better…

As for other miscellaneous brainfarts, they’re occasional, but I do have them. Once or twice I’ve glanced at my watch, but found it incomprehensible - as if it was an alien artefact. I could have named it (“watch”), but couldn’t tell how to read it. This incomprehension is only momentary, and sorts itself out. I also once couldn’t find a well-used shortcut home, and panicked, and had to walk all the way round the long way. In my defence, I had approached the area from a different direction to usual, so that was apparently sufficient to cause the confusion, but it was a place I knew well, so coming to it from a different direction really shouldn’t have caused me to miss my way. I did worry I might never find it again - like one of those ghost stories where people encounter a building or other landmark that literally isn’t there next day. I thought: “What if I can’t find the path? What if there never was any path?” But I’ve used it several times since, without mishap - most recently this week. So yes, it’s definitely still there, and yes, my brain is currently registering it OK, and not shouting: “Oh no! Where did it go? Panic, panic!”



1 Like

I do wonder if my E.D. issues are exacerbated by a natural inclination to put things off, too : / But really, that’s just us beating ourselves up, isn’t it. Something that ladies seem prone to doing for some reason.

I have those totally blank identification moments too. Though sometimes broken brain-half likes to jump in with crazy suggestions about what something is, which a detached part of me finds almost amusing. I had a watch incident at my mum’s on Sunday. We were sat round the table after dinner, my mum’s watch caught my eye and I had a long moment of massive confusion because it said half past nine. I sat there and stared at it, and it was several minutes before the realisation percolated through that I was seeing it upside down and it was actually 3 o’clock…clocks often cause me huge confusion because I mix the hands up so think it’s an entirely different time to what it actually is.

I suppose we’re guilty of trying to rationalise these things that our brains are doing (and NOT doing) and that’s probably not a good idea, as there is no logic behind these things. We just end up making ourselves anxious and stressed

1 Like


i dunno if this is similar to what u r discussing but…

the other night i thought i would text my b/f saying 'isnt the ??? poor tonight? i had no idea what the ??? was! i asked whats the black thing that we watch pictures on? after asking me if i was drunk he said television or tv for short. i didnt even get the short version!

but things like that happen frequently. i recognise i have 2 options-ask (or text somebody if i am on my own) or get upset whilst i try to recall the word. over the years i have learnt just to ask. yes i may seem stupid but those that know me know i am not and it is my misfiring brain thats struggling.

i get my words jumbled as well as total blanks.

there is no answer-other than to reassure myself that i am not stupid but trying to cope with damage done by plaques which are beyond my control.


1 Like



This problem with making phone calls and not really understanding what the other person reared it’s ugly head a coupple of weeks ago. Tried to discuss something with the bank I don’t know if there was a language barrier(hubby says I kept getting words mixed up) or I wasn’t making sense of what the lady was saying but the call ended an hour later with her and me in tears and the problem not sorted I was talking to wrong department.Brain in total melt down ended up going on 60 plus mile round trip to branch went it asked if I could do what I planned told yes and said then do it, doubt I will ever try phoning again they just seem to make everything so complicated.

I’m not sure how much is executive dysfunction, and how much comes under the brain fog umbrella. It’s all a pain in the bum though, isn’t it! Two years ago the nice neuropsychologist lady gave me this link, which I only found and looked at recently…

I need to link my mum to this, so she can get a better idea of the problems that I have.

Oh Stella, that sounds dreadful. It’s all sorted and past you now then?

I don’t enjoy phone calls at all, even if they seem to go well, because I do better with visual prompts, and my immediate decision making isn’t to be trusted at all. So talking about important things over the phone is not a good idea for me now. : /

Thanks jellysundae that is very interesting and answers some of the questions I had.I have had problems many years ago when I had a prolonged fit when my daughter was born I had to relearn alot of things and this brain fog is simular to what experienced then but more intense if you understand what I mean. I can’t seem to retain information at all well and cry at the drop of a hat burn the tea I cry,I dropped a drink in a resturant yesterday and cried can’t spell today and want to cry.Think I’ll go and cuddle one of the cats for a while before I try to do some knitting if I can remember the pattern that is.Think I’ll copy my daughter into the link too she can get embarresed when she takes me out.Do you find alot of noise screws with your concentration I can’t listen to music and do this anymore?

Stella, I think you’ve pinned down why I put off doing it!

I’m anticipating a stressful experience, even if it possibly might not be.

I think a lot of the healthy population find modern life stressful. Gone are the days when you could ring up and speak to a real human being who was in your branch (of the bank, or whatever), familiar with your file, and had perhaps even met you in person.

No, you have to dial (usually) a central premium rate number, choose from an automated menu (the thing I want’s never on there, and I have to hold for an operator anyway), and then talk to someone you might or might not understand, and who might or might not understand you, and who doesn’t know how to do anything if it’s not on the crib sheet in front of them!

Is it any wonder, after an experience or two like that, we think: “I’d better put that on the back burner for when I’m having a good day”? A good day that never comes.



Wow Stella! You know, I hardly ever listen to music any more, but I’d never made that connection! But yes, I absolutely suffer from what I call input overload, too much of anything coming at me at once and my brain just goes “…”. I noticed this when I went to Aldi with my mum and just couldn’t take in all the shelves full of produce (no way I could shop normally now, even if I was physically able to), but it impacts in me for audio stuff too, clearly!

I was watching Jamie’s 15 minute meals a week or so ago, there was 2 shown back to back and I had to switch over before it got to the end of the 2nd one because I couldn’t deal with it. It was just too frenetic, stuff going on relentlessly, I thought my brain was going to explode!

Hi everyone

I had a horrible experience the other day, like everyone else has been having, I went supermarket shopping with my daughter, went to the till with my stuff, came to pay & I totally, totally couldn’t remember my card number,not only mine but my joint account card number, I was lucky my daughter was with me & paid for the shopping but I am mortified.The numbers came to me eventually (when I got home) but I am terrified of it happening again. From now on I will only use cash, but it has really upset me. I too get very unnerved trying to communicate over the telephone & put things off! Passwords are a nightmare as well! I could go on all night! The frustration, I think is the worse bit, I get very annoyed with myself & this makes things a whole lot worse. It’s definately getting worse, as is my spelling, tried to type in big words, tried to correct them, I know they are wrong but I just cant put them right!!! Fed up Tracey x

Tracey I forgot my PIN number at one point last year, mainly because been stuck inside a lot and not been anywhere to use it. I remembered it eventually, or at least I thought I had, then I started doubting myself and thought I had one of the numbers wrong, then started really stressing about which one of the two it was.

In the end I went to the cashpoint on a Sunday morning when there was no-one else about. One: so I could make that arduous trek (I can see the bank up the street out of my window, but you guys know how it is), and two: so no-one would be queuing behind me if the machine ate my card!

Turned out the number I’d initially remembered was wrong, but the second one was right. I nearly melted from relief! It’s really hard to not berate yourself, I know. I wish I had something wise to say, I might have done a few years ago…now all I can say is we feel ya!