Getting Honest About ADHD Struggles
It’s time for me to get more honest with this blog. Not that what I’ve posted thus far isn’t honest about my ADHD struggles, it’s just been very curated. When I researched how to start a successful blog, everything I read at some point tells you to offer a solution to a problem people have. Problem solving? Now that I can do!
On some level, I always knew (and in some capacity, wanted) to get open and honest on this blog. But that part of it is pretty terrifying, even if I know it could be helpful for others. As a result, I’ve been treating this blog like many neurodivergent people treat therapy: dancing around the hard parts. We’re great at distracting with good things that have happened and venting about trivial day-to-day issues. This gives our therapists areas to help us work on while we get to avoid talking about the difficult things we struggle to put words to. It also means we can avoid being truly vulnerable because autistic people and people with ADHD have so often been rejected for being themselves that we’ve learned how to come off as bluntly honest and open while simultaneously withholding a lot.
And that’s what I’ve been doing with this blog. I’ve been admitting areas I struggle in while providing endless solutions. Solutions for how to make planners actually work for you. Tips for making your kitchen more neurodivergent friendly. Offering neurodivergent-friendly recipes and books to read. Basically: “I struggle with this and this has helped me so let me help you!”
But I’ve realized that if you’re a stranger reading this blog, you probably think I have it together a lot more than I do. Recently, I posted about how much habit trackers have helped me form routines and do things more consistently. Habit trackers truly have helped me a lot over the last decade. But if I’m being honest, I’m really struggling with my ADHD right now.
Honest ADHD Struggles
I used to finish habit trackers pretty consistently but for the last year, I’ve made it halfway through the thirty days and just fall off the rails. A big part of it is the change I’ve had with work. For five years I worked with babies five days a week. The requisite structure of that job allowed me to catch up on reading, cleaning, and laundry while they napped. I had to keep things spotless because there were babies on the floor every day. I now realize that was basically like having a cleaning deadline and gave me enough adrenaline to get through it.
But now I work freelance and that comes with its own set of neurodivergent struggles. While I could write (and probably will at some point) an entire post about how freelance sites and networking benefit neurotypicals, that’s not what I’m talking about in this post.
ADHD Life Struggles
What I’m talking about is struggling with basic life shit. Working from home, if I know I’m not going to see anyone other than my partner the next day, it’s hard to make myself shower. Without parents in and out to drop off and pick up their kids every day, there’s less drive to maintain the level of clean I prefer. On weekends when I do a tolerance break for my ADHD meds, it can take me hours just to get myself to brush my teeth.
Even when I’m having a good streak and keeping up with cleaning and self-care, it’s usually because work is slow that week. When work’s busy, I’m frustrated with needing to clean things. And because my brain is spicy, I often can’t stop myself from cleaning to a certain extent before it won’t distract me from work. Then I’m mad I’m unable to regulate to some kind of middle ground.
I feel guilty if I neglect the house for work but the cost of living is high where we live so then I feel guilty for hyperfocusing on cleaning too long when I could be working. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time to clean what needs to be cleaned, feed myself, do the paid work I have, exercise so my arthritis doesn’t cause my body to shrivel into misery, and put time into the things I’m doing to build up passive income so that life doesn’t have to be as hard as it currently is.
And I don’t even have kids yet.
ADHD Work Struggles
Then there’s the fact that I don’t seem to be able to do anything full-steam if there’s no deadline. I have so many ideas for products to add to my Etsy store or things to add to this blog. But more often than not, it takes the deadline of a looming holiday I want to launch products for and I end up working late into the night, hyper-focused for hours, grumpy to my partner, and still get things up way later than they should be according to my e-commerce research.
With these sticky summer days when we wake up to daily heat warnings in effect, I also have a lack of deadlines. Every field I work in tends to slow down a bit for the summer so unwillingly, I have also. Without multiple looming deadlines, I keep finding myself finishing whatever’s urgent each day and then unable to focus on anything else. Too often, I’m crawling back to my dark, air-conditioned bedroom and hiding out there for the day. Sure, I could technically bring my laptop in there to work on various projects but the setup isn’t very comfortable so that means it’s actually next to impossible in my head.
So what are my solutions this time? I have none at the moment. It doesn’t help that my preferred ADHD medication has been nearly impossible to get for the last year. I usually take 20mg extended-release Adderall but have been trying to survive off two doses of 10mg non-extended-release throughout the day. This leads to a few issues:
- I start to struggle around noon, unable to focus on anything tedious. Realize it’s time for my second dose and have to decide if I really need to take it if I don’t have that much work to do. Making tolerance considerations is important when the other issue is:
- I take the second dose knowing I have a bunch of work to do. Then I forget I took it and take a third dose.
So basically my options are decision exhaustion and a test of executive dysfunction or being a zombie who barely eats all day. Hooray! So helpful.
ADHD Habit Trackers
I did make new habit trackers though. Like, a lot of habit trackers. I know that when I’m sticking with them, I’m eating better. When I’m eating better, I generally tend to function better. (Shocking, I know.) But I’ve realized my spicy brain is bored with the same habit tracker I’ve been using for the last ten years.
So I made new ones that would appeal to my novelty-seeking brain. Some of them are coloring habit trackers, some are colorful whereas others are minimalist but cuter than the basic grid in my ugly handwriting in my notebook. I’m hoping that by making habit trackers more amusing, I’ll be able to get more consistent with things again. If you want to try them also, you can find them in my Etsy store.
So now you know I’m really a big mess. All of my solutions here are coping mechanisms I manage to implement some of the time. Keyword being: “some”. I do hope my coping mechanisms can help others cope. But I also want to be relatable and for my readers to know that I have, by no means, perfected my ADHD. I am the problem as much as I am a problem-solver.