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Is there anything I can do to increase focus/learning?

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Obsessive, Mar 16, 2011.

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  1. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    One of the main reasons I don't have any social life at all, am failing miserably at college, and absolutely hate myself is because I literally don't know anything. Supposedly my IQ is slightly above average, and I got straight A's in high school, but I have many mental issues and my brain functions entirely on its own - I have no control over what I can learn, what I can remember, or what I can focus on no matter how hard I try.

    For tasks that are trivial I basically just go into a sleepwalk state while I complete them. Mostly I get overwhelmed easily or just plain can't keep up with my brain processing things so slowly, at which point my head is all over the place and I daydream and dwell on my pain.

    For high school I was able to get by committing material to rote memory to regurgitate on tests, never having to actually apply any information I was supposed to learn. Instead of trying to force myself to read textbooks and not get anything out of it anyway I would just rehearse the bolded words for rote memory word for word, which were pretty much all we were ever tested on. Once finished with those words, I'd quickly forget them. I would ace English classes being able to just spit out each definition word for word even without being able to comprehend the word. Hell, over the years my brain automatically picked up big words from conversations that I can't even begin to define.

    The biggest problem with this form of "learning" is that there's very little that actually stays in my head - trying to hold onto memories is like trying to hold water in my hands for as long as possible. Everything I process is in bits and pieces that, if used in conversation, would just end up making me look like a retard. I also never remember things based on name, appearance, or time which is insanely frustrating.

    Worst part is that my brain automatically analyzes everything, often forcing me to relive events from long ago, searching desperately for a way out of my current miserable state, and examining all the negative possibilities of continuing to live. My brain is literally killing me...it's too fucked up.

    Is there anything that doesn't involve medication that could help with basic cognition? I've been on pretty much everything for ADD/ADHD. I've also tried hypnosis/guided meditation, and it's impossible for me to focus for it to have any effect.

    If I can't change the way my brain functions I don't want to live at all.
  2. jota1

    jota1 Well-Known Member

    That part is a reasonably good description of myself!!!! If you do find a solution let me know. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2011
  3. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    This sounds like me too. Procrastination is my biggest enemy (I'm meant to be writing an essay right now!), and I just can't focus.

    Anyway, studies have found that drinking lots of water does actually make your brain more focussed and helps your memory and concentration. I know you don't want to take meds, but have a look at natural supplements, like Omega 3 and N-Acetyle Cysteine, etc. A lot of them have naturally occuring amino acids which can aid concentration.

    Does your college have a student services department who could help you? My uni has just run personal coaching sessions to try to help people with this sort of problem.

  4. ZombiePringle

    ZombiePringle Forum Buddy and Antiquities Friend

    I've heard that sometimes it helps you to focus on certain things when trying to learn them if you kind of personalize it to your personal preferences. Like try and find a way to get the exact thing you are learning to actually relate to something you enjoy in life. Or... sometimes just trying different learning methods can help as well. If you are more of a visual learner than perhaps you could just make flashcards or other various visual aides. If you are more of the type that learns better when listening and speaking than maybe you could get a voice recorder and record the lessons for yourself then play it back with headphones.

    Learning is always so much easier when you are doing it how you are most comfortable with doing it. If you venture out of that comfort zone it can really make it a lot more challenging.
  5. bluegrey

    bluegrey Antiquities Friend

    I would definitely try the previously mentioned omega 3 supplementation- fish or flax seed oil capsules. I would set aside at least twenty minutes a day to meditate to slow down and focus your thoughts.

    I have a similar and very frustrating problem with reading. I can read an entire page in a book and realize that by the bottom of the page I've retained nothing because my thoughts were all over the place. I suppose that takes a bit of discipline to remedy.

    Most people have some type of learning disability or deficiency in some subjects, dyslexia, poor short term memory...we all have stumbling blocks. I hope you find better focus soon but please be patient.
  6. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    I bought my daughter focus factor you can get it from drug store anything likethat name helps it does with memory and it helps you to concentrate better ask your pharmacist okay they will help you get the best supplements but even ADD JUNIOR it was a supplement for adhd it help my duaghther learn better she went from D to B average
  7. jota1

    jota1 Well-Known Member

    haha thats me also, believe me when I say that I can read an entire book and be thinking about a thousand an one things. I am consciously reading it but my mind is no where near it. I then have to reread it but sometimes I just give up.
  8. Stranger1

    Stranger1 Forum Buddy & Antiquities Friend

    I agree with the other poster that you should record what your being taught.. Then you can puton the headphones and take in what your instructor was saying..My therapist did that when she was in college and she passed with high grades..
  9. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    I've been on Omega 3 fish oil before, but never noticed a difference. May as well go back on it anyway I guess. Never heard of N-Acetyle Cysteine.

    As far as I know only student services they offer at my college are tutoring for specific subjects.

    Never heard of water drinking affecting focus. Used to drink a lot of bottled water. Happen to have a study or article to link to?

    Flash cards and repetition has been pretty much my only ways to memorize, can't do auditory at all, but even then it all goes to rote memory, not long or short term. That isn't learning. Don't enjoy anything in life atm either, so no positive things to attach stuff to for memory.
  10. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Meditation is good for increasing concentration.

    As to fluid intelligence (the ability to figure out new things), that's a little trickier - it's thought to be mostly innate, but a single system has had some scientific research demonstrating an improvement in fluid intelligence: http://brainworkshop.sourceforge.net/ It definitely improves short term memory, and may or may not improve fluid intelligence (the research is unclear.)
  11. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    Probably, but you still need some level of focus to be able to meditate in the first place. I've been told not to fight my other thoughts, just let them come and ease back into concentrating on the exercise, but this makes no sense to me - if I don't fight them, that's it.

    Meh... I'm kind of skeptical of those brain training games. Seems more like as you get better at those games it's not that an entire area of cognition is improving across the board, but that you're getting better at that very specific task. I'll do it regardless, don't have much to do anymore.
  12. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    Wow, nevermind. I literally can't do that one - my memory works like an Etch-A-Sketch so as soon as I try to remember a second thing I immediately forget the first. And if I struggle to remember the first thing I forget the second, too. That's especially why my memory is so horrible, because my lack of focus quickly empties out my head.
  13. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Your inability to focus is why you meditate. You have to remember, though, that when you lose focus you haven't failed, you have improved a little bit. It's the best tool for the job. Get to it - start short. Count your breaths for a minute right now. When you lose count, start over. Expect to start over often. Tomorrow do 2 minutes.
  14. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    Ok. In that case will throw it into morning routine. Much appreciated. Works much better that way than the complicated long imagery my hypnotist was putting me through with guided meditation, I have trouble forming pictures in my head.
  15. InnerStrength

    InnerStrength Well-Known Member

    Hey man, I can sympathize. Unlike you I don't have an above average IQ, even though mine was supposedly not representative of my intelligence, I believe it was. My point is, try to use your intelligence to compensate for your weaknesses.
  16. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Oh MAN do I know that one. I was doing really well in a guided meditation with my therapist and then she said that I was sitting on a mountain and I couldn't picture it and I came completely out of trance. -_- If only she'd said hill...
  17. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure if so much stock can be put into IQ testing though. I've had three IQ tests, my IQ supposedly dropping between each one by at least 4 points. I was told that this was because of my depression.

    I can't use my intelligence in such a way because I have disability in all areas of the brain it seems. Can't multitask at all, memory just plain doesn't work to the point where my mother knows more about my own history than I do, have virtually no attention to detail, learning disabilities, slow processing speed, zero situational awareness, and maybe a 20 second attention span. It's as if I was programmed to fail at everything I could ever think to try. The only way I can use my intelligence is to attempt to avoid/circumvent problems. I get through essay writing by copying relevant bits from books/sites and just rewording them so that plagiarism cannot be established, and I can somewhat cheat through reading by focusing on key words. That's pretty much all; I cannot use my intelligence to solve problems, just work around them.

    I honestly can't understand how these IQ tests are structured in such a way that an incompetent such as myself can supposedly score average to high, yet I can barely muster through a single college course a semester while people in the average range all over are doing at least three AND balancing a healthy social life on the side. Hell, I can't even drive by myself; I need someone constantly telling me exactly what to do and where to go.

    Even worse with my processing and multitask problems, which make it nearly impossible to process the words being said and visualize things at the same time. =/
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