Tips and musings on organizing your way from chaos to calm

Posts Tagged ‘avoidance’

ADHD and Avoidance

Friday, July 20th, 2012

You might have noticed that it’s July (late July in fact) and I haven’t blogged here since February.  I love writing and, as an ADHD person, never have a shortage of ideas. So what gives?

Perfectionism and anxiety, those same 2 nasty culprits that seem too often to rear their ugly heads.

I tell myself things like, “You need at least 2 hours to sit down and write this,” which isn’t particularly realistic when you’re the mom of a 3.5 year-old. Or I hem and haw over the “best” topic to write about and have difficulty navigating my way through all of the thoughts floating around in my brain.

In my mind, I’ve written 3 books on the topic of organization, including one specifically around ADHD. In practice, I have a head full of ideas, a relatively neglected organizing blog, and zero books. Even typing this makes me feel ashamed, I admit. I can’t believe how time has passed and how long I’ve been making excuses about something I truly love to do. The irony is incredibly funny and painful at the same time.

So much of the frustration of being ADHD is knowing you have the ability to do something (and the desire) while simultaneously struggling to follow through on that very goal.  Reminds me of the title of a great book on ADD, “You Mean I’m not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?”

It’s not that I’m not productive. In fact, I’m one of the busiest and most productive people I know.   There’s much more, though,that I would really like to be doing.  As my 40th birthday approaches (slowly, slowly), I’m beginning to panic ever so slightly about all that is yet to do – that I still want to do.  Deep down I believe I could excel in about 10 different careers, ranging from district attorney to stand-up comedian.  Currently, I’m balancing about 3 – professional organizer, gluten-free consultant, and mom.  Still, though,  I know I spend too much of my time on the unimportant, urgent stuff and not nearly enough time on my passions and activities that  give my life  meaning.

I suppose we all feel overwhelmed in many ways. It’s the nature of the beast.  Yet, ADHD compounds that feeling to the point where you are truly running in place. When you’re ADHD the reasons for poor follow-through are many: lack of mindfulness, perfectionism, anxiety, distractiblity, difficulty with impulse control, and a love of interest, variety, and complexity. I find at times that even washing a sink full of dishes is too boring so I need to stop half way through, do something else, and come back to it 20 minutes later.

The shame and anxiety also make it hard to be honest about my struggles. Here I am, a professional organizer with a doctoral degree, and yet I struggle with some of the very same challenges my clients do! My house isn’t cluttered, true enough. But my mind is, and the frustration I feel about my lack of progress on my professional and personal goals is palpable and depleting at times. I try to remind myself what I tell the people I help – that I’m a finite resource, I don’t need to please others, it’s okay to be imperfect, it’s not too late, my life is full of love and meaning even if I do nothing else, and I am more than my flaws and weaknesses.

I also tell my clients that the best antidote to anxiety is action.  The more I wait and worry and self-criticize about my lack of blog posts, the more I guarantee that I will feel more anxiety, worry, and even self-loathing.  You know, “What’s wrong with me?  Why can’t I just…?”  So, I’m doing it.  Blogging my way out of shame and into the satisfaction of knowing that if I give myself permission to be imperfectly me, I CAN get things done!  Now, how about you?


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