When you’re in the midst of working your hardest, learning to manage a disorder like ADHD, it is easy to go from one extreme to the other. You see, my life is pretty chaotic to begin with, I’m a very emotional person at times and I can be a little — ahem — intense. I like to be the best at what I’m doing, so when I was out of control, I wanted to be the best at being out of control: I’d show up a half hour to an hour late for everything, including my job ( I had a flex schedule ), my messiness was epic, including a semester of college where an old flame sent me a computer, and the peanuts from it had to be waded through for a month before my best friend came and insisted I clean them up.
When I found out why I couldn’t overcome these behaviors, I ran to the opposite side of the spectrum. I’ve become rigid in my expectations: I want an immaculate house, I want to be punctual and I don’t want things to go wrong, or else my nose gets seriously out of joint. In order to make up for my previous lack of control, I’ve become a control freak. The unfortunate part of this is, I don’t live alone. And when I say unfortunate, I mean unfortunate for my husband, my children and my dogs, who have to deal with me when someone has violated one of my many “musts”.
I spend a great deal of time micromanaging my family, insisting they pick things up, terrified that someone is going to visit and find the house in disorder. It is exhausting, and of course we almost never have visitors, but when we do, it is invariably on a week when I have thrown my hands up in despair and insisted that I won’t do a single thing. The house will be in shambles, and if I’m especially lucky, our visitor will be of the variety that likes to lecture one about the importance of housecleaning, turning their nose up in disdain. Little do they know what hell is visited upon the inhabitants when the door closes behind them; the reason after all that I became a control freak is to avoid these types of embarrassments.
Needless to say, I’ve become a bit of a tyrant, and even I don’t like me anymore. Anxiety and depression have become a daily part of my existence. I live in a never ending terror of what happens if I’m doing something “wrong”. It is time for the control freakiness to come to an end. I was supposed to go to a party in NY last week, but my plans got screwed up, I was pissed and I realized how tired I was of being pissed off. So last weekend, I decided to devote myself to having fun, and be my “old self.” I went out to an expensive dinner, refused to do any of my chores or housecleaning and left the dogs and my poor, long suffering husband alone. His clothes are in the dining room, the dogs have their fur all over my carpet and you know what? I just don’t care, and I couldn’t be happier not caring. We are a little messy and disorganized, but our home has love and laughter. If someone prefers a model home, they should go visit one. I’m not advocating for squalor, I’m saying that “lived in” is acceptable.
My self-worth can’t be tied up in whether my house is immaculate or not anymore, or whether I’m on time anymore, or whether everything is under control. We have been missing out on so much because of my constant desire for perfection. Me and my family will continue on, with lint rollers and love.
I was relaying this experience to my good buddy and fantastic ADHD Coach, Jennie, and we realized that this is a problem that many of us ADHD folks face. There is such a need for us to remember to make intentional time fun, not just stolen moments of distraction and procrastination that we treat by feeling guilty, then punishing ourselves by cutting even more fun out of our lives. We will be joining forces to bring you a live chat on Periscope: “Focus on some Freaking Fun!” @roseytrellis & @seeinadhd Come join us and learn how to make time for fun when it seems like everything in you is straining how to fit ten minutes worth of work into five minutes. Can’t wait to see you there!
Until next time!
P. S. What do you do for fun? Tell me in the comments!