Trouble concentrating

Richard Armitage as Lucas North in Spooks 8.5.

So, mixed news. On the one hand dad has 100 percent on the Medicare evaluation of independent living skills — so he can theoretically be left alone for longer periods. (The problem isn’t so much his living skills but his impulsivity, which seems to have few bounds.) He has also been discharged from occupational therapy — he had met all of his four week goals and while there was more they could have done to help him with right side strength and dexterity, he had become mean to the therapists and uncooperative about participating in the sessions. As they have a waiting list for those appointments they suggested we stop at this point. He will continue with speech and physical therapy until the ten week boundary, which is about two and a half weeks away now, in hopes of improving his focus, attention, and general balance. He is still cooperating with the physical therapy and at least not resisting the speech therapy. Upside for me: that’s two hours a week fewer that I have to spend at the stroke rehab center with him and 30 min per day less of doing the exercises they prescribed. And I can spend more time away from him. Probably not as much as we might both like, because the second I’m away he heads straight for the things he knows he is not supposed to do. I think we’ve found all the alcohol stashes, and I’ve hidden all the keys to things with engines and all the things with blades that actually have keys, but there are still plenty of ways for him to use machinery even though he may not yet have the necessary focus to use it safely. I’ve asked my brother to come and evaluate him using it this week, in hopes of heading off a situation that I currently feel powerless to prevent.

So today, he spent most of the day with Flower. I have issues with this because her physical condition is worse than his and when he decides to do something, it’s near impossible to stop him, and I don’t have any sense that he listens closer to her than to me. But for both our sakes and for the sake of our relationship I have got to relax on this question. As the occupational therapist told me, he probably was doing some questionable or dangerous things before the stroke that I wasn’t seeing — the difference now is that I am forced to witness them. If he doesn’t want to protect himself, I probably can’t protect him, at least not 100 percent.

As an additional reason for separate time, I’m teaching a fully F2F class (for the first time in two years) that I haven’t taught before, that starts in two weeks, so I need some time to concentrate, so actually it was a good thing not to have him with me.

But oh, my concentration. After two months of doing things mostly in blocks of seven minutes or less, I am having a really hard time focusing. I know some of this is caffeine — I need to get the caffeine intake straightened out again. I had to go cold turkey after the stroke and that broke my daily pattern, so getting it back together should help. Also, not worrying every seven minutes what dad could be getting into would help — I somehow need to tune that wavelength out and trust that he will not do something dangerous just because I am not there. (Hard given the events of the last few weeks.) I think I also need to find a topic that can generate a hyper focus. Often that has been Armitage, but I sat down to blog today, I have several topics in mind, but I couldn’t write more than two sentences before I got distracted.

I’m going to have to get into shape fast so I can finish my syllabus ASAP.

What do you do when you need to increase your attention span?

~ by Servetus on August 13, 2018.

12 Responses to “Trouble concentrating”

  1. I had trouble with concentration during the first year after my cousin’s suicide a few years ago when I was in mourning. I found that the only things that really worked for were keeping my sleep in control, and really just getting through the issue. My concentration returned when my mourning waned and absorbed back into myself. I find that doing word puzzles like crossword puzzles and word searches helps a bit too. I don’t know that this is much use to you, but I do feel your frustration at the concentration issue. Good luck finding a technique that works for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I find that music really helps me with focus and concentration. It does not have to be soft music either, hard rocks works just fine. I would listen to music while studying for my exams last year, the first exam I didn’t listen to music and I didn’t do well at all. It just puts me in a better place.

    I hope that the rest of your dad’s therapy goes well for everyone. Hopefully teaching can help you not think about your dad all the time, but I not hope it puts more stress on you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Therapy can improve your dad’s health, not change his nature, so breathe and delegate, otherwise you will no be able to teach…
    if you need more obvious or trite stuff I’m at your disposal. I find my concentration praying; say the rosary never fails to calm me down and refocus.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope you get to take some time off and do things you love. Is there anyone who can help caring for your Dad? I’m glad he’s making such progress in his recovery. Again, all the best for you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with Katie70 that music is a great way for focus and concentration and also to relieve stress. I can totally see why Richard uses music in his research and prep for a character. I think one of the obvious ways for concentrating is staring you in the face if I may be so bold–blogging. I thought you have written multitudinously about the blog helping you through some difficult times and it has really helped me and I am sure many of your other loyal readers! If you love discussing politics, then blog about it. In my opinion your readership can certainly engage in healthy and stimulating political, economic and social discussions without descending into name calling or cattiness. Also I think as O8 has proven this summer movies seem a great way to focus and concentrate and a great escape from the situation at home. Very glad to hear your dad physically has greatly improved. That definitely must be a relief of sorts. Hang in there!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sometimes when my brain is running all over the place due to anxiety it helps me to make lists. They don’t have to be tasks to do necessarily, just a place to organize my ideas about various things on my mind. They can be fun lists like movies I want to see, books I want to read, places to travel to or places to kiss RA lol ( a cue from you). Or they can just be things I need to vent about. Well, you get the idea. I like the comments about music too. I agree that’s a great way to calm the runaway brain. I’m glad to hear your Dad is making strides. As someone who has been in your shoes I know the challenges you’re facing on a daily basis. It’s really important that when you feel overwhelmed to speak up and ask for support. You shouldn’t have to go it alone. Best of luck with the teaching job.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Weed

    Liked by 2 people

  8. If I have a work project (usually which involves writing and drafting, plus reading boring and difficult material) I do NOT listen to music because, as a former musician, it distracts me. I make sure I eat and drink something so I can’t use that as an excuse to drift away from my desk. Then I go to my study, shut the door and plan what I’m going to do and how long I’ll work on the tasks. I make a list of things, breaking it down into chunks. If I don’t reach my goal completely, at least I can look at the stuff I’ve crossed off as accomplished. It may seem simplistic, but it helps me to concentrate when I have a bird’s eye view of my overall goals. Perhaps start small and work your way into longer stretches of time. Like exercising, maybe you have to kind of slowly increase the stamina.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Serv Du machst gerade einen Wahnsinns”Job”
    ich kann mir gut vorstellen dass Du einfach ausgebrannt bist und die Konzentration für alles andere fehlt. Auf Dauer kann man das kaum durchhalten.
    Wenn ich nach einem Bürotag nach Hause komme und dann noch die Probleme meiner “Schützlinge” privat lösen muss hilft nur laute Musik im Auto,die bringt mich auf der Fahrt nach Hause runter. Bei dem Wahnsinnssommer den wir haben sitzte ich ganz oft im Garten mit dem ipod und versuche all das Chaos zu verarbeiten oder ich schaue serien auf netflix. Noch nie habe ich so viele Serien gekuckt. Aber es lenkt ab von den Problemen die ich sowieso kaum lösen kann und auf mehr kann ich mich auch nicht konzentrieren.
    Ganz viel Kraft und Durchhaltevermögen wünsche ich Dir! Ich kann mir kaum vorstellen wie viel Energie Dich der Alltag mit Deinem Dad kostet und ich hoffe, es bleibt noch genug Zeit für Dich selbst übrig
    Alles Liebe und big hugs ❤


  10. Serv, I truly understand the frustration of not being able to concentrate. In 2010 had a stroke, I was lucky I didn’t think it affected much, unfortunately it turned into epilepsy and I had seizures (thankfully not grand mal) I did not black out, I had a lot and they messed with my brain. I lost my cognitive memory ( which till this day is crap, but it is better) but I wanted a divorce and when my husband told the Dr. He said I was not capable of living on my own. Dr. recommended putting me “somewhere”, as my husband said you don’t know her. So I struggled through ( got my divorce) live alone and I still do not cook unless it is something I can stand there and watch only on the burners, because I will forget. I find reading is helping me to concentrate. No I will not always remember what I read completely, but i definitely feel an improvement in my concentration. To learn songs, I have to do them like a paragraph at a time with many repeats and then add the next. You learn tricks as time goes on. I keep trying to keep my brain active on things I love and eventually you can learn to control the process again. Meditation helps and you will find your niche, I am sure. Good luck because it will come back.
    Distractions of all the things around us do not help ( as you are going through much). Now I am living alone I see a big improvement for me. You will too in time.


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