So the other day my mom sent me this:
And I loled.
But not the oh that’s funny type of lol but the nervous laugh of oh crap how did you know. Does my mom have cameras in my house and if so… Mom stop.
The thing is I don’t know how people do it. I dont understand how people get a routine and keep it going. I dont get how it takes people 15 minutes to do a task when for me it takes hours and all of my mental energy. Did I miss out on the grown up gene?
My home is the out ward evidence of the chaos in my head. It overwhelms me and I feel ashamed of it. The idea of friends coming over sends me into panic attacks. The idea of tackling the mess overwhelms me. Trying to get the day-to-day things done are my biggest trail and not only because it takes so much brain power and takes so much out of me.
It’s the word LAZY. I have been called it so many times. My room isn’t clean: stop being lazy be organized. My home work wasnt done or I am late on getting paper work in: why can’t you just have better time management. My house isnt clean, laundry not done: why don’t you just get up off the couch and be responsible. So many people have labelled me as lazy without knowing the full story.
Because you see I have a neurological brain disorder. This affects the executive functioning of my brain (this is the part of the brain that tells you how to take a big issue and break it down step by step) and my short-term memory. This means I have trouble taking a big messy house and finding the step by step to get the job done. I can’t cut up a big picture problem into bite size pieces. Then add in the short term memory issue and I am lucky if I remember the little chores that pop up during the day.
Now you are probably wondering what this mysterious neurological brain disorder is. It is Combination ADHD. The chemicals that effect the executive functioning either don’t get made or my brain doesn’t receive them properly. It actually is closely related to depression (which I have as well).
But a few days ago I met with a career counselor at the local community college. I had met with her in the middle of summer to see my options and she sent a follow-up email with the local crisis center phone number. It was a bit of a wake up call. A complete stranger was seeing the cracks in me (it could have been that I completely fell apart in her office. I am pretty transparent lately).
But this meeting she was asking me follow-up questions of how I was moving forward. And I told her that even though I had not found permanent work (not surprising in a city with a 30% unemployment rate and me without any higher credentials) that I had taken steps. I have gotten into a program that paid for a current ADHD assessment to get better treatment and the paper work for better funding for schooling. I had started seeing my long-term therapist more often and I somehow made a local therapy organization take me on pro-bono so that their intern could learn how to be an ADHD coach (the only one in town is something like $200 a session with out extended health care). I had found a new doctor with a better understanding of ADHD and depression and working on a better medication route because combination ADHD is usually treated with both a stimulant and an antidepressant (especially when battling depression as well). As well as going to many interviews for jobs and doing research on how to do the undergrad degree in want to do via distance as I can’t move cities due to my child custody agreement with my ex. Oh and working through the vetting program to do volunteer work and now I am starting the training of that.
Now I said all this as simple fact. Because in my mind I did not see this as being anything big. My house is still a mess. My relationships not much better. I still can’t find full-time work. I feel like I am surrounded by chaos and failing at being an adult. But she was amazed. She was delighted and proud of the extraordinary steps that I was taking to take control of my life, my health and my self. She called me strong. She called me driven. She did not see me as lazy.
And to be honest she is not the first. For every one person that has mislabeled me there have been so many others that saw the truth. The problem is that it is so much easier to believe the ugly things that are said. That I am lazy, worthless, unlovable, no longer beautiful. I have allowed these over the last 5 or so years take control of who I am and I believed them.
The hardest thing I am trying to do is not how to get better organized, find a job or even go back to school (not to mention trying to be a mom). The hardest thing I am trying to do is rewrite the narrative in my head that says I am lazy and too much of a screw up to be of any good. I am trying to rewrite it so that I can see what the career counselor did; I am strong, driven, a glorious survivor that will rise above all this.
I cant see it yet; I am too distracted by the chaos around me. Too distracted at being so hard on my self. Forgetting that this is a step by step process and my house is a mess but guess what it doesn’t matter. I am working on a different area of my life. That will get better and then I can focus on getting better at being organized. Or not it may never be my strength and I am beginning to be okay with that.
I am starting to be okay with who I am. Not saying I don’t want to improve or strive to be better. But I am going to stop apologizing for who I was created to be. Because I am not lazy, but I am not super woman and I can’t do it all. And I refuse to be shamed for doing my best. Even if it is different from what you may think as best.