Neurodiversity, option-paralysis & procrastination (Personal post - seeking some wisdom - LONG POST)

Hello gang.

Personal post, I don’t really have too many friends - those I do have probably don’t have time or the inclination to hear me ramble on. Of course, nobody here might either - but at least anonymously through the screen I don’t need to see the boredom, or worse - pity, in people’s eyes.

I might be autistic, I’ve had a proper assessment via my employer - waiting for the NHS (UK resident here, the wait times are insane) to do the same tests etc. Of a possible “score” of 45/50 for likeliness of Autism Spectrum Disorder following interview. At almost 40 years old, it’s a little late in the day but explains a lot. I’m definitely Borderline Personality Disorder. Chronic depressive and anxiety sufferer.

I procrastinate a lot. Like, a lot. When I am presented with myriad options, my brain seizes up into paralysis and I just default to comforting activities or I shut down and stare at the wall until things settle down. I am also horrendous with money and I am in a good old chunk of debt. Close to £30k. I have nothing to show for it. I am very prone to deep obsessions and with a good credit rating, I buy things I don’t need to “participate” in said interests. I buy things, sell them for a loss, buy them again, sell for a loss, buy them again etc. The pattern extends, of course, to Audio software. I currently own three DAWs, I just bought Bitwig on credit. I haven’t even started to use it, like I’ve installed it and configured the audio and plugin paths - listened to a demo project.

I have already listed it on eBay.

Since May 2020 when I made the decision to get into this all again, I’ve owned Bitwig twice (third time now), Renoise twice, Reason 12 three times, Cubase twice, Reaper and Studio One once. This is just one hobby I treat like this. When it comes to consoles and console gaming, the pattern is identical. This is a deep shame.

I have been flipping between Windows 11 and Linux - no lie, in the last week I have wiped my system, installed Manjaro, set it all up, installed a VM, created a Windows 10 VM and created a bootable W11 memory stick, moved back to windows, set everything up and then wiped it, installed Manjaro… no lie 5 times. Since the start of THIS year I have done this 10 or 11 times. I’ve destroyed all my memory sticks, ordered new ones, done the cycle, had to explain all the memory sticks to my wife (lol) asked her to hide it - then in secret scoured the house and done the cycle anew. I’m on my 5th PC case of the last 6 months, chasing quite what I do not know, I just keep buying them to “upgrade”.

I have also got a bit paranoid about privacy, I’ve thrown money away by developing a sudden hatred of DRM like iLok - so I contacted all the companies whose software I have bought and insisted that they delete my accounts and licences. My £99 copy of Decapitator? Gone. A few Softube, Izotope plugins - like dust in the winds of history. I sent an awful email to iLok and now that account itself and all licences are gone. The privacy concerns drive me off Windows (even though it works wonderfully for me) and to Linux. I feel out of my depth with Linux and so back to Windows I go.

I’m pretty broken mentally right now. Signed off sick from work. Adrift in the limbo of the health system. My physical health is similarly poor, flared right up by the mental health - fibromyalgia (chronic joint pain, fatigue, memory issues etc.) - so it’s a shitty loop.

This is all so way off topic, what began as an idea to try to reduce option paralysis has devolved into an outpouring of mental shit. I had intended to narrow the option paralysis by seeking advice re: the best DAW to keep out of the options at hand. Maybe just give away my copy of Renoise to somebody for the hell of it, except the cycle of trying to discipline myself through harming myself financially as a deterrent hasn’t ever worked. I can’t hold myself accountable at all. When I came back to making music as a therapeutic solution to long, long-standing mental health issues it was supposed to be breezy and light and a creative outlet. Like so many hobbies, I have ruined it.

I should probably post this on a Neurodiversity support forum, but without a “formal” diagnosis I feel like a fraud - the impostor syndrome is real and I’d worry about being judged for the excessive nerdiness of my current manifestations of this issue.

I should probably delete this. Or ask the mods to permaban me for the shame of it. What the fuck am I even doing.

Time to install Manjaro (again).

5 Likes

Try to cut yourself some slack, buddy. Treat yourself like someone you care about, if you can.

Unfortunately the world doesn’t owe any of us a goddamn thing, so we all have to struggle through in one way (or many) or another. If you can at least be on your side, it makes things infinitely easier.

Wishing you the best and hoping you can get all the help you need/want. We all need help sometimes

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I think you are living a hard life compared to some fortunate person.
If you have not been diagnosed with ASD or any other disorder, check out a doctor with a good review rating and get a diagnosis. It will make your life easier through the welfare available to you.
You may be able to soothe your depression by listening to the following music repeatedly in your earphones while you sleep. It worked great for me.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBNwvpHmBncX3HFZg2H3iGV3inH-884vp

You should be able to download all of them by specifying the above URL as an argument with yt-dlp, etc.

I felt the same way when my depression kicked in very hard about 10 years ago (or more) and did most of the things you describe here ,also felt like I had physical problems except mental , which I had but I made them seem bigger than they really were. Depression makes you think like that ,like you have all the problems in the world and you are good for nothing .Don’t jump to conclusions wait what the doctors say and when you go to the doctor tell him everything and always be truthful if you want to get a correct diagnosis .You are somehow in a good path because you acknowledge that you have a problem and seeking help so things are going to get better for sure.My personal advice would be to start organizing your life,sleep at least 8 hours in the night don’t drink alcohol or any other substances that messes up with your nervous system (caffeine included), exercise outdoors.Wish you the best and we are always here if you need to talk again.

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If you really suffer from a Borderline disorder, I highly recommend you to search for psychological help, which is highly specialized here, not just average psychological support. There are only a few specialized institutes for this, in Germany for example in Mannheim. I think what would help you is the dialetic-behaviourial therapy approach. It is about learning skills to daily maintain spontanous impulses and emotion. And often about overcoming addiction. Stopping self destructive behaviour. It is a behaviorial and hard training which you need to learn just like regular sports. Regular training is the key here. I think this is really the only which is approved to help for borderline. And do not watch youtube videos about it or visit a regular therapist.

Procrastination is quite normal and mostly a symptom of depression or a brain which is used to addiction (hunting for the next dopamine release). You sum a lot of problems, like autism + borderline seems to be very uncommon. Maybe you first should get a proper diagnosis, not a self diagnosis, neither an internet diagnosis, but instead made by a real expert.

I am diagnosed as Borderline Personality disorder as well as chronic depression/anxiety - by a consultant Psychiatrist, who suspects co-morbid Autism. A clinical psychologist has suggested I am likely to be autistic but I need the NHS to diagnose it. Treatment can be provided but the NHS want to wait until their own Autism investigation is complete before referring me to the correct therapy. Covid and the general disaster of our government mean this will be delayed even longer than the 11 months that have already passed.

@stoiximan i am sleeping as much as I can, the old brain box is often doing 200kph. I have gone on a diet and have lost 52lb/23.5KG since late July. No booze. I do take caffeine however. I’ll see if I can tolerate phasing it out.

@slujr self-care just feels impossible to when I loathe myself so.

Invest time making a song, give it away .
Invest time making a song, give it away . .
Invest time making a song, give it away . . . .

Eh man take it easy. I mean you already know which things cause you pain, like not being able to decide how, not being able to get it going. So time to make a change, or what. I don’t know maybe like others suggest you you could try make a therapist kick your butt to teach you how to get over such things. Maybe just try to make for a change even earlier. Why not cut off all that stuff and take a break and go for something simple for a while. You seem to always seek to find a cycle of work/reward that leads upwards, but when you’re in a limbo like you describe the drawbacks that will come can kick you out of the game early.

So I suggest to take a break and look for simple things that don’t have the intrinsic learn/effort/develop/reward situation in, but are just pure recreation. Something simple, go into nature, watch some birds. Just listen to old music, or thinking of the old times that are long gone with situations and people. Avoiding all the easy distractions and really trying to get some space to think and be with yourself. You know, you don’t always need to put all these burdens of productivity onto your shoulders, you also now and then need some time to find a balance. Like then you will maybe be very surprised, how all the things will come up and want you back to your struggles!

I don’t want to sugarcoat it, when you try to get out of a hamster wheel for a while it will keep spinning in your head, and you need to put your feet onto the ground so you don’t get dizzy. Just try to face it all, be all brutal honest with yourself, try to wrestle down the maniac in you. However that game would go, in the end you can just get higher from it, no matter how. Try to load up that inner battery with the simple things and peace and silence, then you can try to return to the race after some time when you feel better. And then, well maybe some inspiration from myself on deciding which track to go. If you love music, don’t stop making music somehow. I myself have made a simple decision in the past, that was restricting myself to renoise and avoding plugins in the beginning, to really get a simple thing going that suits the sounds I want. Then I made that decision and set it strong, and kept with it, always going for it again and again. I know I also tried out a lot in the beginning and before the decision…that is what everyone must do…but once I knew it was my thing I tried to really keep with it and not stray from it. Then going for each thing at a time, some time for experimentation, then when good results come, some time of work with it, and now and then a little time for learning about new things that are useful for the work.

You can only get good in a thing if you keep with a single direction, making the stream broader flowing through the same river, not diverted through many small streams that are not joint. Now I am at the point where I feel I can work well with the renoise thing, and want to start including other things, i.e. a modular synth plugin into renoise, or other recording software for audio tracks, but only because now I became firm enough by experimentation that I can now just experiment and work with the skills without having to learn new things all the time. Before that point I’d just daft stupid keep on practicing and evolving until I found the results started getting good, always the same thing, just again and again and learning from mistakes and setbacks and growing in tricks and knowledge on it.

That is how to become good and proficient at one thing. Yeah well, and when you feel you have something in the way of being creative ATM and you can’t get anywhere, then maybe it’s time to resolve it, so you can go on. I think it is always like that, life will just call you back from whatever you want to avoid and annoy you until you finally stop running away from it and start trying to face it! Just give some time and attention to that, whatever comes up, all the brain action usually is not for no use and no reason, and to make peace with it you have to listen and make your own conclusions from it and learn to accept or even use whatever is driving you around.

Just some words of caution, sometimes it’s better to stay away from things in life that seems ot be more meant to provoke us to listen to our heart or guts than to be of real use for us, but it’s always good to look inside for the resentments one has and to resolve them, because when the heart is free then your whole life can fly, no more distractions. Just the way there can sometimes be long and burdensome, so it’s better to prepare and take it easy and find some balance in it and just walk every day as much as you can walk without getting sore feet. You’ll get there, you’ve already begun asking the right questions so the answers probably are not far away, as well. Cheers…

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Thanks for taking the time. You raise a lot of good points and have some insights I appreciate. Sorry I can’t type more back, my brain isn’t co-operating today.

I have made a DAW decision - time to enact the decision and move on with things so to speak. Thanks again.