I recently had an eye opening experience with a cooking attempt. I have often said that my brain uses 3x as much energy to do something than prior to my brain surgery. I don’t know where I came up with that number; it just appeared so I went with it. I found a recipe that had about a dozen ingredients and only 3 successive steps, and decided to take on that challenge. The steps were not overlapping. I pretty much had to prepare the ingredients first, then complete the 3 steps. What I discovered during this exercise was that my working memory isn’t working and/or my brain doesn’t trust the information it has so it is overworking. I would read the step, measure out and organize the ingredients for that step, start doing whatever the instructions said, and then question whether everything I was doing was correct. I’d then return to the instructions to re-read them, then triple check each detail of that step (the ingredients, the amounts, the heat, the time, etc.) and I’d also read the next step to make sure that I was prepared for whatever needed to happen immediately after this step was complete. As soon as I completed this second-guessing, the third-guessing would start. This continued until I got to the next step, at which time the entire process would start again. So my brain took these three steps and complicated them by making them overlapping, and questioning every single piece of information I had and every action I completed. It was EXHAUSTING. It was also some really useful insight into WHY things are so difficult for me now. It’s almost like every single thing I do is a test, with someone observing me and assessing my performance. That someone just happens to be my own brain, and it’s doing double duty as both the DOER and EVALUATOR.
So there’s a lot going on in my brain that leaves little room for other things to be accomplished. This is a new example of my limitations for me. I had been aware that my brain can get overstimulated in new environments or with noisy/crowded public places, and it’s fairly obvious what is going on there. That is my sensory processing limitations saying hello. But this was happening in my own kitchen, with little sensory stimulation and so it was insight into my working memory and information processing limitations. A previous doctor suggested that my information processing limitations may actually be a product of my sensory processing limitations, specifically related to my vision issues. This exercise suggests to me that is not the case, and that there are information processing issues as well. Whether it’s my jacked working memory and/or my lack of confidence in having all or the right information, my brain can seriously complicate what appears to be a very simple activity. It’s good times.