Can I be honest for a minute? I am totally freaking out over this global pandemic.
But it’s not what you might think.
Am I scared my family and I are going to get sick? Yes.
Am I scared my mom with a really bad heart disease is going to get sick and die? You betcha!
But more than all of that, I am now working from home, my girls are home and I have to become a teacher, my husband is required to go to the office so I am alone with the girls all day, I can’t have my babysitter over to help with the girls, and I can’t have my housekeeper over to help with the house and laundry.
Oh, and I have severe ADHD.
All of America is going through the same thing in one way or another. I want to make it clear that this situation is incredibly hard for everyone. Things I struggle with may not be an issue for a neurotypical person, but their struggle may not be an issue for me. I am going to talk about my struggles during this very difficult time. If this was 6 months ago, I might have said I struggle more than others. Today I want to make it clear that what is going on right now means we are all struggling. It just looks different for different people.
Let’s start with the obvious….. House + kids + work = No Bueno!
Because the way my brain works, I cannot work for 15 minutes, make lunch for the kids and then get back to work starting off from where I stopped. I need to go back to the beginning. I forget what I was doing and I can’t remember how I got from point A to point B. And if I do manage to carve out a chunk of time and am able to get into hyper-focus, I am inevitably interrupted by the dog who needs to go out. For me, getting interrupted in a hyper-focus is like getting tazed. It makes me angry and totally screws up my flow.
While I’m working, the kids have destroyed the house, I have forgotten that I was supposed to give them schoolwork and I haven’t taken anything out of the freezer for dinner. I look around and get paralyzed by what to do next. Should I straighten up? Should I get that spreadsheet to India like I promised? Do I make the girls stop watching TV since they’ve been watching it for 4 hours? And what the hell are we eating for dinner???
(Just writing this is giving my major anxiety, FYI)
I feel like I’m doing a half-assed job at everything which is not my modus operandi.
The next is my emotions.
By the end of the day I have fully gone down a shame spiral and all I want to do is crawl into bed and play Candy Crush on my phone while listening to an audio book. My heart hurts, I realize I have no idea when this is going to end, and the amount of people who have died up to this point is staggering.
“By the end of the day I have fully gone down a shame spiral and all I want to do is crawl into bed and play Candy Crush on my phone while listening to an audio book.”
Since I “feel” bigger due to my ADHD, keeping the tears at bay has become progressively harder and harder. I think about all those people who have a loved one who has died and cannot have a service. I think about people who have lost their jobs and are close to living on the streets. I think about the kids who’s only good meal comes from school. I think and think and think (because I can’t stop my brain) and I am breaking from the inside out. I cannot compartmentalize which would be a good skill to have right about now.
Lastly is how my Neurotypical husband experiences my ADHD and how that affects me.
My husband is what he and I like to call “allergic” to clutter and a messy house. It makes him seriously cranky.
Guess who is a tornado leaving destruction in her wake??? ME! Oh, and my girls are too because from what we’ve experienced from them in their short lives looks a lot like ADHD. They are mini tornados. I know, most kids are. But other kids you can give a list of 3 or 4 things to pickup and off they go. Mine might do 1, (hopefully without a meltdown) but will forget about the rest and next thing I know they are in their beds watching their iPad.
I do my best to try and keep us organized throughout the day, and close cabinet doors, and put food away in the fridge after I’ve used it but, often, I forget. And then at some point during the day I look around at the destruction and realize my husband is due home in 30 min. I pull myself out of hyperfocus (again, which I hate doing) to run around the house like a crazy person cleaning up.
“I do my best to try and keep us organized throughout the day, and close cabinet doors, and put food away in the fridge after I’ve used it but, often, I forget.”
Now, I don’t have to straighten up. I could continue working and say “sorry hun, it is what it is.” And sometimes I do. But I want to do this for him. Imagine walking into the space that is supposed to be your sanctuary and see it destroyed EVERY DAY. Relationships are give and take. I must take responsibilities for my actions and clean up my crazy. Otherwise I’d be a victim to my ADHD and my husband would resent me everyday for not being able to have a clean house.
Whether or not we are in a global pandemic, these issues are relevant to my every day life.
Working from home is hard. Working at home with kids and a large, stupid dog is even harder. Add my emotions into that and the responsibility to my family to keep us as calm as possible… at the end of the day I am spent.
(cue Austin Powers reference)
I have nothing more to give. To be honest, I have lots of days like this even when there isn’t a global pandemic. And it’s on those days where life is that much harder for me to navigate than it is for the Neurotypical person. But I give myself grace and remind myself that tomorrow is a new day. My kids are still alive and actually ate some fruit instead of living on goldfish. I think that I can consider that a success.