Lack of Focus

Last week I talked about how my anger had affected me in the past.  I have also talked about how that doesn’t really affect me anymore.  I still get mad, but only when there’s something to be unquestionably mad about, like when I learn about someone getting away with abusing their own child.  And I’ve talked about how after I got rid of the anger, I gained a problem with severe fatigue.  Well, I’ve mostly dealt with that, but now I have a new problem, because god forbid I cure one problem without gaining a new one to replace it.

The new problem, as I’m sure you’ve guessed thanks to the title, is that I struggle with focus.  Things that I used to have no problem focusing on for hours on end, I can focus on for about 5 minutes before getting distracted.  And this isn’t just work things, this is trouble reading books, trouble watching TV shows, trouble focusing on games that I used to start playing and then not stop until I realized I hadn’t slept in two days… My level of focus is basically that of an over stimulated toddler.

Obviously this is incredibly problematic.  It makes it nearly impossible to get anything done.  It makes it difficult to even TRY to get things done.  I have to force myself to do just about everything, including microwaving left over pizza so I can get something to eat.  I’m pretty sure I was more productive when I was sleeping 18 hours a day.

So, what am I trying to do about this?  Well, I have three different ‘to do’ lists that I keep posted around my apartment, I have multiple alarms set on my phone to remind me to do things as simple as taking the pills I need to fight the fatigue, I’ve tried denying myself things I want until I get things done, I’ve tried promising myself rewards for success and punishments for failing, I’ve tried meditation, I’ve tried omega 3’s which are supposed to be good for focus, and lately I have been trying the ‘pomodoro method’ of getting shit done.  Which is basically just setting a time frame that you shut off everything but what you need to get something done for 10 minutes then an alarm goes off and tells you to switch to take a break for 5 minutes.  So far this has been the most successful thing I’ve tried.

So far this is the most obnoxious result of my battle with depression.  Even writing this post has been way more difficult than it has any right to be.  My apartment is messier than it normally would be, I’ve been late paying bills because I get distracted and forget, even when I write myself lists I get distracted in the store and forget I have a list telling me what I need to get and so forget things I needed… It’s frankly massively frustrating.  It took me almost a week just to pick up the omega 3 pills and I had that in my phone in three different places and had reminders all over my apartment.  I would have just ordered them online but I kept telling myself ‘no, I’ll remember it today!’  And then promptly forget the second I got to the store.

I had been doing better at focusing when I was exercising every day, but frankly I have been getting distracted from doing that lately too!  Not quite sure what changed, it’s not a lack of motivation, I still enjoy working out, I still enjoy writing, I still enjoy making things, I just keep getting distracted and then forget to get back to what I was doing…  Which is why the pomodoro method has  been working so well for me I think.  There’s a bunch of free apps that set off a series of alarms telling you ‘it’s time to work’, ‘it’s time for a break’, ‘okay, stop being distracted and get back to work.’  It gets you in a rhythm.  Or at least it has been me anyway.

Have any of you had to deal with this? Any suggestions that aren’t ADHD meds?  I’m still very much struggling with this one so if you’ve been there and gotten through it, any suggestions would be fantastic.

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