If you have PTSD from trauma or C-PTSD from on-going trauma you may be having problems organizing tasks and managing your time. Executive function is a process that is controlled by the frontal lobe of the brain. PTSD can cause problems with this part of the brain.
Executive function is in charge of things that have to do managing your schedule and getting tasks done. Organizing tasks and knowing the steps to get them done is part of executive function. Other things that are controlled by this part of the brain include: self monitoring, focus, prioritizing tasks, and dealing with resources and people.
According to Web MD…
“Executive function is a set of mental skills that help you to get things done. These are controlled by an area of the brain called the frontal lobe. “
Executive function helps you:
Plan and organize
Do things based on your experience
If you find that you are feeling overwhelmed by tasks, easily stressed about getting things done, then you might have an executive function deficiency. If this has been caused by being in a long term abusive relationship, then it will hopefully get better with time. This is different for different people.
Web MD lists the things that can cause problems with executive function as follows:
- Learning Disabilities
- Brain trauma
- Alzheimer’s Disease
I was a bit disappointed to find that Web MD did not have PTSD or domestic abuse on the list. There is research and evidence that PTSD causes executive function issues.
This is not anything to feel ashamed of or guilty about. You do not have to feel less than other people because you are not good at organizing and managing your life and day to day tasks. This is something that you cannot help, but you can come up with techniques and strategies to make things easier for yourselves.
About the YouTube Video
In the video which I included with this post, I give some ideas for helping to deal with the anxiety and feelings of frustration over this. I also show some of the methods I use when I feel overwhelmed trying to get things done.
Strategies and Techniques
Writing lists can be very helpful and it can help you to prioritize things. You also need to create a logical order to do things in and identify which things are time sensitive such as a doctor appt. or important paperwork that needs to be mailed by a certain date.
Sometimes I will send myself emails with important info that I am afraid I will forget. All of my user names and passwords have been sent ” by me to me.” When I need to retrieve them I simply type in something like “Ebay password and user name” into the search emails box.
This way they are all stored safely and I can always access them. If you use this method make sure to send another email to yourself any time you reset password. I have made the mistake before of forgetting to do that and I ended up trying to use an older password. Then you have to reset all over again.
PTSD from on-going Abuse
Most importantly is to treat yourself with kindness. If you were in an abusive relationship then it is not surprising that there were organic changes that occurred in your brain that are causing things to not function properly.
Depression and Executive Function Problems
The same goes for mental illnesses like depression. When you have depression, many of the processes of the brain are slowed down or otherwise not working normally. Getting frustrated and beating yourself up over this will only make things worse.
PTSD from Combat or Military related Trauma
If you have PTSD from combat or military related mental trauma, then the same issues can arise with your executive function and your ability to deal with the daily things that need to be organized, scheduled and followed through on. It is not unusual to be easily distracted and to get off track.
ADHD and Executive Function Deficiency
If you have ADHD then you are very familiar with having trouble with organizing and getting things done on time. This may have been a frustration for years now. There is information you can search for on Google about ADHD and help with executive function.
I am not including all of this information here because it is a lot. I will write a post in the future dedicated to ADHD.
You can buy folders, notebooks and special clipboards that open into legal pads. You can use sticky notes and cell phone message pads. I have a special plastic folder for critical papers and smaller folders for current tasks.
If you can be honest with yourself about having a problem with your executive function then you can do better to help yourself with it.
There is no reason to feel like you are less than other people because you do not do these kinds of things as well as they do. If someone has a broken leg then they don’t walk as well as other people, right? This is a physical problem in the brain.
The brain can be rewired and function normally again for many people. Others may have to compensate for deficiency in their executive function for their entire lives.
Write things down and help yourself as best as you can. Research executive function and learn more about it.
Mention symptoms to your therapist and your doctor. If you have family and friends that you think would understand then you can give them links to more information. The more support you have the better you will feel.