Friday, October 29, 2010

Problems with decision making?

I now have problems with some basic things like short term memory, paying attention, and sequencing. I have gotten a lot of help with these issues through Occupational Therapy but I still have a long way to go.

The current issue we are working on is my problems with decision making. In the past I would have been called decisive. I tended to be logical and fast and confident in my opinions. I tended to be a leader in many situations. My friends, after my illness, have commented about my indecision and a few actually said they were concerned because I wasn't being as "bossy" as usual. I could have taken that as a criticism of the old Linda, but I knew they meant it with love and thought of bossy as a good thing.

The hard decisions aren't so bad. If there are really clear pros or cons I am fine. If I have had preferences from the past that I remember, it is okay. Maybe there is a little lag time, but I do make decisions.

It has been the little things that really aren't important that get me hung up. What kind of tea do you want? Which direction do you want to turn on a neighborhood walk? Those now seem to be the difficult choices.

I recently told my occupational therapist, rather casually, that I had a crying meltdown in Wal-mart recently over choosing candles for Thanksgiving. Which scent to choose, which size, how many for how much money? Now, I really did not care that much one way or another, but I sure got upset when I found myself standing there, frozen like a deer in car headlights, crippled with indecision. I started crying and told my husband to forget it and that I want to go home! Bob just picked up 2 candles for $8. End of topic. He steered me to another department and tried to distract me. My therapist, T, thought we should address this as it is just plain not functional to spend my time crying and not making decisions.

She told me to come up with a phrase to repeat to myself every time I find myself freezing in order to diffuse the situation. It is "no big deal" ,"this is not a big problem"? Picking a phrase is just another version of the original problem. I went back and forth and back and forth on my phrase choices. Eventually, once cornered by T, I went with:

"It is just not the end of the world Linda!!"

OT homework for this week is to do research on the internet about decision making strategies. There is a lot out there on the topic so I will be kept busy this weekend. Doing internet research is very comfortable for me so I should learn a lot.

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