I found this very interesting but also somewhat discouraging. Thanks for writing it.

I haven’t got ADHD myself, but I do have a combination of anxiety and aphantasia which gives rise to ADHD-like behaviour and characteristics: difficulty with planning, scheduling, prioritization, and (above all) pursuing aims or goals. A total inability to visualize mentally is, I’m convinced, a major factor in this behaviour.

Under item 2, you recommend:

write all chores, tasks, and activities, down. This way, there is no chance of you forgetting these details later on.

I’ve been making an effort to use to-do lists recently and I’m finding that they’re more difficult than they look. I end up either with an intimidatingly long list of items in the order in which they occurred to me or, less often, a short and manageable list which immediately gets me worried about what important thing I’ve forgotten to add (and there’s always at least one).

To be useful, the long list would have to be written out at least a second time with the items rearranged into some kind of order of priority. And I’ve been finding that step incredibly time-consuming and surprisingly difficult. I’m convinced that visualizers use their mental picture gallery to help with the sorting of this kind of list without even noticing that they’re doing it.

For someone like me, I’m afraid, your recommendations promise an unexciting existence with no prospect of a payoff or reward — because I can’t hold in mind the “image” of the payoff. I’ve no focus. I believe that if I could discover a way to conceptualize the outcomes of my actions in a non-visual but nevertheless real and immediate way, that would be of much more use to me than any number of to-do lists.

Written by

Writer of (mainly short) fiction, criticism/discussion and other stuff; aphantasic; antimasculine male, no pronoun preference https://www.artkavanagh.ie

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