Saturday, February 12, 2011

ADHD For You And Me

Ever since I took on the role of wife/mother/homemaker and started making (or trying to make) friends with other wife/mother/homemakers I have always had the feeling that our family was different.  Our house was always messier, the kids were always more out of control, the volume was always louder.  We always had more dirty dishes, more scribbles on the walls, more piles of clutter than anyone else.  We'd go for a playdate and someone would say "Oh please excuse the mess, I didn't get a chance to vacuum yet this week" and I'd think "Hmmmm - I haven't vacuumed yet this semester - what does that say about me?"  I don't think it said anything about my worth as a person, so don't worry, i'm not getting all down on myself or anything.  But the fact of the matter is that I felt like we were different, like I was different.  Was it the fact that I had a boy with ADHD?  Maybe partly.  Was I just lazy?  Again, maybe partly, but I didn't feel very lazy.  Maybe I was just making a choice and valuing sucking the marrow from life over household drudgery and time-outs?  A bit, a bit, but on days when no one has clean underwear or clean spoons, it's definitely not about some high falootin' values decision.

I thought maybe I had ADHD too, but after an evaluation with a psychologist they decided that I was a bit ADHD-ish but since it didn't cause academic problems at a young age, they weren't going diagnose that.  My diagnosis?  Unorganized ha ha ha.  I could have told them that.

I just couldn't shake the feeling that I was the only one who couldn't get it together.  Now, I know I'm not the ONLY one.  I've seen Cops enough times to know that there are people out there living in trailers with eighty cats and who step over cat crap on the livingroom floor.  And in the trailer next door is the woman who had three days to clean up her piles of garbage all over the house and get rid of the fruit flies or they'd take away her kids.  But I'm not those people.  I'm a weird hybrid - there have been days when we would have made for a good episode of Cops, but then on the other hand I can single-handedly found non-profit organizations and hang with the private-school mamas.  I feel like I'm living in two worlds and I don't really belong in either.  I'm not comfortable chillin' in the cat crap trailer, but for totally opposite reasons I'm also non comfortable hangin' with the muckety-mucks either.  I want to have intellectual conversations about science, art, and politics, but at the same time I don't want anyone to see what my upstairs bathroom looks like.  I'm stuck between the folks whose lives are falling apart and the ones who have it all together.

But finally, I've met someone who gets me.  A lady who has been traveling in my same social circles lately was sharing the other day and all of the sudden I was hearing myself telling the story.  She was talking about how she was going to wait until her husband was out of town and then really try to get organized and clean up.  When he is around she starts organizing a closet but then it's time for dinner and everything is spread out that she was working on in the closet.  So it gets put in a pile and pushed aside since he gets crabby if stuff is left out.  And then that just adds to one of a bunch of other piles sitting around.  And everything ends up worse instead of better.  Since she quit working she is having trouble structuring her days and staying on top of stuff.  She can't have people over because it's just too messy.

Can't have people over, huh?  Stuff all over?  Sing it to me sister - I'm right there with ya.  Turns out she has ADHD and has been medicated alot in the past but for various reasons isn't now.  Hmmmm....  Now I'm not saying that I've got ADHD and my diagnosis was wrong.  But I've never met an adult with ADHD before (that I know of) and it was just so nice to hear someone describing my life.  Sooooo nice to hear that really, truly, I'm not the only one.

Now before everyone chimes in and says "Oh yeah, me too, my house gets so messy" let me tell you that chances are you have no idea what I'm talking about.  All my friends say the same thing and while it may feel that way to them, I've seen those houses when they are "messy" and trust me, we're talking about a whole other level of disorganization here.

So I just thought I'd put this blog out there in case there are more people that just us two who are living this life and feeling this way.  You're not alone.  And no, you don't have to hang with the cat crap lady to feel normal.  There are at least two more of us out there and you can come hang with us.

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