Like most people with ADHD, I avoid and procrastinate until life becomes a mad scramble to pick up the pieces.
by Rebeka Covell
Tonight at my retail job we had a "visit." The regional manager and the district manager came to observe our store while it was open – they were supposed to be seeing our “normal” business. Of course, when you know you’re being critiqued it’s not normal. We’ve been cleaning the store for days now – vacuuming and mopping the floors, making sure the tags are tucked in on all the clothes. The manager called me yesterday and asked if I would come in tonight for the visit so they would have extra staff and we wouldn’t look shorthanded (like we sometimes are). Everyone wore dressier clothes than normal; and then changed from heels to flats the second the district managers had left.
While I was standing in the front of the store greeting customers and telling them about the store sales, I was thinking, don’t they know this isn’t how we act all the time? Seriously, if you’re on your feet for an eight-hour shift there’s no way you’d be wearing heels – you would be crying from the pain after two hours. Then again, I guess it’s what a lot of us ADHDers do everyday.
Think about it; we make excuses for why we didn’t do what we were supposed to, when really we just don’t know why we didn’t do it. I know I do. We try to come across as calm, put-together and organized while hundreds of thoughts bounce around our brains at the same time. We close the door, or think about something else, when there’s a mess we don’t want to clean up.
I do all this avoiding and procrastinating until someone comes to visit – or I get fed up and angry that I’m not as in control as I seem. Then it’s a mad scramble to pick up the pieces and wash four huge loads of laundry before I run out of clean socks.
But really, the stress keeps building; because even when we’re not looking at the mess, we’re still thinking about it and how long it will take to clean it all up. If we just take small steps every day it would be easier – but it’s the details that we ADHDers aren’t good at. Why does it matter when the small pieces get done; as long as the whole project’s done on time? But it’s the stress and the turmoil of dreading an approaching deadline that tips the balance. Who wants to live under constant pressure?
I’m going to start cleaning up my messes as I go so I don’t create a huge project for myself. My first step is to clean up my clothes neatly every time I change outfits so I don’t end up with massive piles everywhere. Well, starting tomorrow – because I’m really tired right now and after all – what’s one more day?