I have had to explain this problem a lot recently, so I figured I would write it down and send people a link.
I struggle with two diagnosed illnesses: ADHD and Depression. Both of these were diagnosed in my late 20’s. The symptoms of these problems were there through my childhood but my official diagnosis came as an adult.
Even before my problems were given a name, my family tried to help me. I was sent to therapists. I was enrolled in organization classes. They tried to help, they really did.
What I have been struggling to explain to people recently is why it is so hard to make things better. Even walking them through the process I see their eyes glaze over. So here it is, written out, so that you can go over it:
- a problem arises. It requires a multi part solution. not difficult steps, but several things that need to be done in order.
- I look at all the things that need to be done and want to get them all done at once. Some of them cannot be done until the steps before them are done creating frustration.
- I get the first steps done and wait for the next step. There is delay and the problem is forgotten about.
- too much time has passed and the problem is not resolved. Did I do the first thing? Yes. What is that thing I needed to do next again? of course I can’t do it right now the timing is off.
- More time has passed. I have forced myself to make the next step a priority. I obsessed about it until it is done.
- There are still more things to do. I am already overwhelmed by the process and getting mad at myself that it is taking so much effort.
- Now there are a ton of other things that need to get done, much more pressing then this problem. But because I am focusing so much on this one I have a hard time prioritizing the tasks.
- I finally remember to do the last piece. Hopefully there are no mistakes. Very often there are problems because it has taken so long and in order to get it done I have had to sacrifice.
- I get mad at myself for every aspect of the process. It is my fault this is so difficult. It is my fault it did not turn out right. I don’t get any satisfaction from the completion of the task because of this.
Do you get it now? I am tired of people volunteering suggestions on how I can turn this around. Forgive me if my eyes glaze over, like yours did, when you suggest “me time” or “positive thinking”. I know you want to help because you see me struggling and I would love for this to be the time it works.
I feel selfish, and often people interpret my behavior as such. How can I think about other people when all of my energy has to go to even the simplest of tasks?
I am not looking for sympathy, I am looking for patience. While you may feel that I am making things more difficult than they need to be, I assure you that it is not intentional.
and for those of you who have read about my thoughts on medication, no, I have not called a doctor yet. See the list above to understand why.