I have never been an organized person.
It’s something I’ve struggled with my entire life.
I want to be organized, but it is SO hard for me.
It requires massive amounts of mental energy for me to maintain any level of organization.
I can usually last for a couple days and then I’m shot. It’s too tiring and so I take a break from staying on top of stuff and then everything gets out of control.
Then I beat myself up for not being able to stay disciplined and vow never to do it again.
And then I do it again.
Over and over again.
It’s super frustrating because I really don’t function well when my environment is a mess – I get overwhelmed and impatient and irritable.
And often I end up being completely paralyzed.
I’ll know what I need to do but not be able to do anything.
Like I sit in my chair for an hour trying to will myself to just do what I know I need to do. But I can’t figure out how to get started.
Then three hours have gone by and I’ve done absolutely nothing, and I don’t even know how that much time has passed.
And then I beat myself up for being lazy.
But I know I’m not lazy!
For 52 years this is how I’ve existed.
I was the kid whose room was always a mess.
I was the friend whose car was always a total disaster.
And everyone has seen my kitchen sink.
I have the hardest time keeping my sink empty. It requires so much physical and mental energy.
Forget about paperwork. And emails. And returning texts.
I suck so bad at that stuff.
It’s so frustrating.
I’m an intelligent, educated woman with a masters degree in education and I have the hardest time doing stuff that I should be able to do. Easily.
Or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself.
It’s not just disorganization that I struggle with.
I am REALLY GOOD at procrastinating.
I hate it but I’m good at it.
It’s also almost always the only way I can get anything done.
If it’s not urgent, I can’t do it.
So I create these situations for myself where I’m totally stressed because I’ve put stuff off for so long.
And then I vow NEVER to procrastinate again.
Until I procrastinate again.
That’s a cycle I really don’t like either.
But I’ve never been able to break it.
In addition to the procrastination, there is the impulsivity.
I’m a little torn on the impulsivity.
It’s an issue because I decide to do things without thinking them through.
This creates more problems for me.
Sometimes the impulsivity leads to some cool stuff that I wouldn’t have experienced if I had sat and really thought things through.
Like the New York City Marathon.
It was the first time I ever ran a marathon.
The NYC Marathon is the first weekend in November.
On a whim I volunteered to run it in August.
I ran my first marathon with less than four months of training when I was 43. 😂
It was actually one of the most awesome things I’ve ever done.
So the impulsivity is a double edged sword for me.
But I know it’s not good. It creates a ton of stress and it requires lots of energy and then I end up with nothing left over for things I actually need to do.
If you’ve ever listened to me on a Facebook live you know I lose track of what I’m talking about ALL THE TIME.
That is super frustrating.
I am also chronically late.
This one really bothers me.
I haven’t been able to get on top of it no matter how hard I try.
I’ve struggled pretty hard core with organization, time management, procrastination, and impulsivity for my entire life.
What I didn’t realize was that I had managed to create some systems for myself after getting married and having kids.
When the kids were little I didn’t have too much unstructured time available to me.
I was always functioning in some degree of urgency.
It was exhausting but it forced me to be focused, and I was able to be relatively productive.
Over the course of eleven years, I managed to create a few systems that I was able to maintain.
This was the laundry situation for about the first six years I was a parent:
It took me a LONG time to figure out something that worked.
Then I got divorced and I moved into a new house.
Any routines I had managed to create were demolished.
With the kids at their father’s house every other weekend and on Wednesday nights, I have more free time available to me than I have had in sixteen years.
Plus the kids are all in the double digits and self-sufficient and one even has his license, so I have even more unstructured time.
And I’ve been completely floundering. Like totally flailing.
Incapable of staying focused on anything.
Working so much but producing almost nothing and feeling like a total failure.
Being completely exhausted and having nothing to show for it.
I blamed all of it on the divorce and the emotional stress that accompanies it.
Then a couple months ago I got a message from a good friend.
Have you thought about getting evaluated for ADHD?
A few weeks later I got another message.
I think medication might really help you.
Then I got another message. From a third friend.
Medicine I think could be really life changing for you.
I had never connected all the dots before.
Disorganization. Impulsivity. Procrastination. Inability to focus. Inability to effecively manage time.
I didn’t even get to the relationship concerns. Or the issues with substances. Or the being overly sensitive.
I have spent my whole life beating myself up for not being able to do so many things that come easily to other people.
Then I was diagnosed with ADHD.
OH MY GOD.
Everything makes sense now.
I’m not stupid. And I’m not lazy. And I’m not a failure.
I’ve just got ADHD.
Anthony Saracino says
You should have joined the USAF, that MIGHT have helped…17-18 yr olds doing unthinkable things ……for at least the next 4 years…..honest….
Joanna Norland says
so happy for this milestone for you and the clarity you now have.
And i love you exactly the way you are!
not your average mom says
Aww HEY JOANNA!!! Thank you. You have always been here for me, from the very beginning. Love you back, Lady.
Super hard with a large family! You’re doing great Mom! Give yourself two pats on the back! Happy Holidays!
Ashley Skinner says
Thank you for sharing. Rmas I was reading this I thought you were talking about me! This has inspired me to call my dr for an appointment to see if I too have ADHD. Maybe you and I share more than just the same day of birth. Congrats on finding out what was going on with you a d Merry Christmas🎄
As a teacher, I was reading this thinking- ADHD. I was so happy to read the end!! It is life changing to know and make decisions from there.. Keep us posted on your journey!! 💕💕