This is the story about my unorganized mess of a life, the process of receiving my ADHD-diagnosis and how I try to achieve some sort of balance.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a physician, not an M.D. and I do not hold a degree in psychology or any related topics. Described below are my personal experiences with ADHD. Do not regard the tips, schedules or tasks mentioned on this site as medical advice. Do not change any prescription drugs or routines without consulting your physician or other medical personnel.
I’ll be the first to admit it: I’ve ALWAYS been a very messy person! And not in the quite charming ”oh, I misplaced one of my socks” way. Rather, in the ”I haven’t done the dishes in over three weeks” way. I could get away with being messy as a teenager, but not functioning as an adult has been rather embarrassing… I could have a whole mountain of dishes, all over the kitchen, when my friends came over. I would miss appointments and be late for meetings because I couldn’t remember the time.
I spent a lot of time combating depression, fighting with being different and feeling like I’m not like everybody else: why am I not able to keep my house clean? Why am I constantly late for meetings and daily events? It’s not like I’m not trying! This was also coupled with a lack of stamina which meant I could never finish my chores or complete my university classes. I spent SIX years in adult high-school before even entering university, because I couldn’t maintain my focus over a long time. (I still haven’t manage to complete a degree from university)
It’s not like I’m not trying!
For many years I felt alone and miserable in my struggles. But then in 2015, at the age of 30, I met a physician who suspected I might have ADHD – something I had never even considered. ”I can’t possibly have ADHD”, I told him, ”I read books!” The physician laughed and explained that ADHD can manifest in many different ways. ADHD isn’t simply about a lack of attention, but rather a different kind of attention – it’s either 100% or 0% focus on a task at hand. (That 100% is something I experience from time to time: hyper-focus. It’s like a spotlight, a zoomed in and laser sharp focal point. Nothing else exists; I forget to eat, shower, do chores and how to adult in general when I hyper-focus on something.) Also, the physician ended the meeting by explaining he had noticed me fidgeting with EVERYTHING. I was twirling my hair, pulling on my clothes, spinning my jewelry and shifting about in my chair, wiggling my foot while scratching, rubbing and touching my face and neck. I knew I was a fidgety kind-of-person, but I wasn’t aware of the level of it!
After roughly 18 months of meetings, interviews and examinations I was diagnosed with ADHD, the mixed/combination type. In layman terms, this means I struggle both with impulsiveness AND focus. When I received my diagnosis at the age of 31, I was both mortified and relieved. Mortified, because there is still so much social stigma around mental health and especially ADHD. But I was also relieved because NOW I FINALLY KNEW. I knew what was the root of all of my issues! And with that knowledge, I could finally create a strategy to help living with the difficulties.
I knew I was a fidgety kind-of-person, but I wasn’t aware of the level of it!
So what exactly is my strategy? Well, for starters; it’s more than one thing. More than a one-time quick-fix. My strategy consists of DBT, zen-inspired mindfulness and ROUTINES. Millions of tiny, seemingly redundant, routines. Before my diagnosis, I used to think I was a free-wheeling sort of person who didn’t need routines or schedules and that routines are terribly boring. But I was oh so very wrong! It turns out one of the biggest reasons why I was failing my endeavors all the time was my lack of structure – and the biggest building block of the daily structure is routines. And that is what this site is about, in a nutshell: me finding a way to accept and deal with my ADHD and what I do on a daily basis to help with the the major difficulties.
But is ADHD only struggles and downsides? Of course not, but when I leave my ADHD-traits unsupervised I tend to wind myself up so much that I head for a brick wall, emotionally speaking and energy-wise. There are many things I really love about having ADHD – including my go-for-it impulsiveness and my inability to do things half-assed. Another thing I really love is that my curiosity makes me a great problem solver. It also enables me to enjoy many different interests and passions, and I have found a way to “rotate my hobbies” throughout the weeks… So that I don’t end up bored, because boredom is the worst thing I know! However, when it comes to functioning on a daily basis, I desperately need strict schedules and routines. And those routines will be discussed further in upcoming posts.
So come along with me, let’s see how this turns out!