Psych Central


Is this Executive Function for dummies?

Is this Executive Function for dummies?

Having ADHD means that I have non-functional executive function, executive dysfunction if you will. This is the part of my cognitive machinery that is supposed to help with decision making.

It isn’t that it doesn’t work, it does, when I engage it. But engaged should be its default state, and it isn’t . Or at least, when it is needed, it should kick into gear automatically. It does not.

Worse still is that, since I have to engage it manually, I have to decide whether I need it, without having it engaged. Do you see a problem there? How am I to make a decision on whether I need the decision making machinery without having the decision making machinery up and running.

It’s never that easy …

That all sounds rather simplistic, and it is. In truth, if I’m slowed up a bit, my uncommon common sense will often give me pause to think. I love that phrase, “pause to think.” It’s often what I need. If pausing to think isn’t common sense, if it isn’t executive function, it is a damned good substitute.

No you may be wondering whether I’ve gotten off on the wrong topic here. I haven’t mentioned social media yet. Well maybe now is the time to tell you that social media isn’t really the social filter I was alluding to. It’s more the context of the social filter, mixed with a means of communicating. You see, it’s the enter key that I use. Okay, sometimes it’s the mouse button, it’s what ever gives me the chance to differentiate between thinking and saying.

It all happens too fast

When I open my mouth, I don’t get to assemble the words, take a second and maybe a third look at them and then click send or hit enter.

When I open my mouth to speak, in my mind, the deed is done, the words have already been spoken. In fact, my mind is already farther on in the conversation, anticipating what the response will be and calculating options for my next response. And it gets pretty upset when it has to backtrack to apologize for something it has already forgotten it sent to my mouth.

But online, oh online …

Yes, when I’m logged on to some social network or other, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul, I am the editor of my own thoughts. And before I hit enter or click send, I have the opportunity to edit those thoughts, and sometimes delete them entirely.

Now I’m not saying that I always edit those thoughts, that I never mess up online, I’m simply saying it happens less often. Those of you who only know me online are now thanking whatever god or gods you honor for the gift of not knowing me IRL, in real life, right?

Don’t worry, I’m not offended …

I'm so much cooler online ... no, really.

I’m so much cooler online … no, really.

What I’m really saying is that somewhere in the fact that there is an enforced difference between typing the statement and sending it, is a clue to what is missing for us, the thing that is dysfunctional.

It is as futile to tell us to stop and think before we speak as it would be to tell us to pay attention.

But there must be something to this. There must be, because I truly am … so much cooler online.

I know, scary thought, eh?

 


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    Last reviewed: 2 May 2013

APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2013). So Much Cooler Online: Social Media As A Social Filter. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 21, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2013/05/so-much-cooler-online-social-media-as-a-social-filter/

 

 

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