Are you constantly missing appointments and late for everything?
Have you had to accept being late for events when, in fact, you just forgot they were happening?
While people may snub you for being lazy or rude, you may suffer from a little-known condition known as time blindness.
It refers to the inability to recognize when time has passed or estimate how long a task may take, according to Robert Common, a qualified psychologist and mental health expert.
As a result, you may often find yourself rushing for the bus, missing deadlines, or thinking that a task will take ten minutes to complete, when in reality it will take twice as long.
According to experts, time blindness refers to the inability to recognize when time has passed or estimate how long a task may take.
If you don’t know you have time blindness, these symptoms could pose difficulties in your daily life, for example, your employers may not think you are taking your job seriously.
Or, you could fall victim to the exact opposite effect and show up for an event three hours before it starts.
The phenomenon is not defined as a medical condition as such, but doctors use it as a way of talking about the concept of losing track of time.
Time blindness is also a common symptom of ADHD.
Smriti Joshi, Lead Psychologist at AI Mental Health Chatbot wysa He told MailOnline: “Many of the factors associated with ADHD, such as difficulties with working memory and attention regulation, can contribute to a distorted sense of time.”
But this doesn’t mean you have to have ADHD to experience time blindness, as anyone can experience this phenomenon.
Early childhood trauma can also lead to time blindness and feelings of dissociation in childhood or later in life, according to Sue Smith, a psychotherapist and spokesperson for the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).
According to experts, anyone can have time blindness and it can be the result of childhood trauma or be related to ADHD.
According to Mr. Common, common symptoms of time blindness include:
- Regularly losing track of time
- Inability to keep appointments or stick to schedules.
- Repeatedly missing deadlines
- Feeling absorbed in a task or like nothing else matters
- Not being able to attend to do anything other than the task you are doing
- Overpromising what you can reasonably deliver
- Feeling stuck in the present
- putting things off
Ms Smith added: “Symptoms can range from totally absorbed in an activity, to the polar opposite, total distraction, for example starting five jobs at once and feeling overwhelmed by chaos.”
Unfortunately, if you don’t know you have time blindness, these symptoms could make your daily life difficult.
Common warned that time blindness could be mistaken for laziness or stupidity. He said: ‘Employers may think you’re not involved in the job or that you don’t take it seriously,’ he said.
Relationships can also suffer if you push yourself to meet the priorities of friends and family because this can be mistaken for being selfish or self-absorbed.
He added that children suffering from temporary blindness could be mistaken for having intellectual or learning difficulties.
Fortunately, there are several ways to control the symptoms.
Ms. Joshi suggested mapping out your daily life and using visual aids, such as timers and alarms, to remind yourself of upcoming tasks.
To help with time blindness, you should tell your friends and family about the condition and ask them to encourage you to attend important meetings or events.
All the experts noted that practicing mindfulness is a good way to combat time blindness, as it can help you ground yourself and focus your attention more on the present.
If you are having trouble with time blindness, you should contact your support network for help.
Family friends who are aware of your condition can help you keep track of time and even let you know before an important meeting, such as a hospital appointment or job interview.
And, if someone you care about is suffering from the condition, Dr. Elena Touroni, a consultant psychologist and co-founder of the Chelsea Psychology Clinic in London, suggested being compassionate about their struggle.
She said: “While it can be frustrating, remember that time blindness can be a real challenge, and avoid being overly critical.
However, he added that if they are having difficulties, you should guide them to expert help and perhaps suggest that they seek the support of a therapist who specializes in ADHD.
Common also said that the best way to support someone who is blind at the time is to be compassionate and promote self-compassion.
He added: ‘For children with ADHD, consider co-creating a schedule. It can also be helpful to be there to help them prepare and stick to a schedule, promote their interests but not let them trump everything else, and use clear and visible reminders.’