We all have that friend who is really indecisive and just goes along with your suggestion, but you are never really sure it that’s what they want. Yes, that’s right, it’s me with my executive dysfunction.
Before my brain injury I would have described myself as opinionated. However I would be open minded enough to consider others views, and still tactful even if I didn’t completely agree. Well that person is still in there, just took a wrong turning. (I always did have issues with my left and right.)
The frontal lobe, which is directly behind the forehead, is responsible for the brains executive function. Due to it’s position, casualties of falls, road traffic accidents and sports injuries, commonly sustain a brain injury in this region as it impacts with the skull.
Some of you might have come to realise that supermarkets have become my nemesis for a variety of reasons. But being bombarded with choices is definitely one of them. Executive dysfunction makes those choices feel more like a trick question. The supermarket visit has become a very regular activity of modern life. But it challenges those with brain injuries in ways other people wouldn’t expect.
Low motivation/ability for completing tasks
Sometimes it can be hard to even write the shopping list because you have to decide what you need. If it’s not in front of me, I might not remember it’s missing! So I just don’t want to do it.
In some UK supermarkets their trolleys are chained together and can only be released by putting in a pound coin (you get it back when you return the trolley). But so many times I have spent my last pound coin without thinking, and not realised until I’m at the Supermarket.
I always think I’m in the way and trying to get out of the way. But actually maybe the other shoppers are just busy in their own world. They haven’t even noticed me, let alone be bothered about where I’m standing.
Supermarkets are designed to harness the power of the impulse buyer. When you have a brain injury it can be torture. I’ve never used it before, but what if I’ll need it soon for something? Even though I don’t know how to use it I better buy it, just in case!
I think most people at some point have got frustrated during a Supermarket visit. However when you have a brain injury it can feel like the world is ending. So many times I have had to just abandon ship, and get out!
Struggle to socialise
Usually the staff try to engage in some polite conversation as is customary. But a brain injury can mean you can’t read the situation properly. What to you mean, “Do I want any cash back? I haven’t given you any yet to give back to me?”
Short attention span
You struggle to concentrate, and there are so many things in one space demanding your attention. Making you miss things all the time. I have walked marathons looking for things as I just never saw them!
All of this can lead to decision fatigue. This makes your brain is so overwhelmed you are more likely to make a bad decision.
So try not to be too frustrated with that indecisive friend who has a brain injury. Sometimes you have to choose your battles in life, and for us that can mean trusting someone else to decide. It’s a compliment really that we chose to leave it with you.
But it can get better. You can read why sometimes it is better to try in Avoiding problems: I must stop burying my head (inc injured brain) in the sand
Do you struggle with executive dysfunction? What other “normal” activities do you find a strain?