There are days when I can’t get meals on the table on time. Time passes me by and before I know it, it’s 6 pm. Scrambled eggs again.

Laundry is often piled up if it’s not still sitting in the washing machine for days, since I tend to forget to put it in the dryer. For days.

You should see my desk. Then again, maybe not.

I have ADHD. And so do all of my clients.

As a psychotherapist with ADHD, I understand the struggles of being chronically disorganized, distracted, overwhelmed, and forgetful.

Let’s break this down even more.

Adults with ADHD typically struggle with:

  • Getting to work on time
  • Finishing projects
  • Putting together a plan
  • Focusing
  • Feeling restless
  • Boredom (a real curse if you have ADHD)
  • Poor time management skills

…and more.

Everyone struggles with these at some point or another, but as an adult with ADHD, these are daily challenges.

I absolutely hate planning meals and find myself too tired or overwhelmed to even think about it.

When my kids were growing up, it was a daily struggle: what to make for dinner. I agonized over this because I often ended up making meals that weren’t exactly stellar choices nutrition-wise.

I felt like a loser- the worst mother in the world.

I’d forget to sign school papers though more than likely, I lost them the minute they landed on my cluttered counter.

Bills were paid late, and I accrued more than my share of penalties. I probably could have hired an accountant to take this on, with the amount of money I paid in late fees.

I was embarrassed to have people over. I hated entertaining; it was all too much to manage.

Laundry piled up daily but rarely made it back into their drawers in any kind of logical manner.

The house was a disaster. I felt like a total failure as a mother, as a wife, as a woman. Back then, I didn’t understand my ADHD brain. I didn’t know how to help myself, how to move beyond the piles, the messes, the daily decisions that needed to be made.

Fast forward. My kids are now grown and out of the house. My clutter is of my own making (and my husband’s). You’d think that with ½ of my family now out of the home, I’d have a handle on keeping things somewhat organized.

Not true.

Until I read this one sentence (somewhere, can’t remember where) that changed my life:

Don’t do it because you have to; do it because you can.

I suddenly realized that I had a choice. I could continue living a cluttered, confusing life. Or I could learn strategies to improve my situation.

As a woman with ADHD, these strategies don’t come naturally to my brain. I’ve had to work hard at figuring out how to make things work for me. Even though I’ve written two books on the topic of women with ADHD, I still have to remind myself how to start and finish projects, how to stay on top of household chores, how to remember to be where I need to be, etc.

But it’s my magic sentence, above, that always gets me back on track.

One of my daughters has special needs. She’s like me- forgetful, overwhelmed- but struggles one hundred times more than most. I’m familiar with the world of disabilities because I’ve advocated for her for over 30 years.

Her world is the world of people who have to work harder just to get one step beyond the starting line. They face a tremendous amount of adversity, more than most people will ever understand. She and others like her, live a life of being misunderstood, as do others with invisible disabilities, (which can include ADHD, if the symptoms are as debilitating as they often are).

So when I find myself staring at a pile of papers that should have been filed away six months ago, I tell myself:

Don’t do it because you have to; do it because you can.

I immediately think of my daughter and others who are challenged in many ways, whether due to physical, emotional, or psychological reasons, or because of the color of their skin or ethnic backgrounds, or because of socio-economic factors.

I’m lucky. I can do all the things I need to do. Many of these don’t come easy for me, but I can find the tools and supports I need. It’s taken a lifetime to learn these skills, these tricks of the trade, along with reaching out for supports.

Many are not as lucky as me.

Next time you’re stuck with a project or task that is seemingly overwhelming, boring, or otherwise unpleasant, remind yourself that you’re lucky that you can (with the right strategies) do it. Not everyone can.

Like this article? Read more at my blog! And please leave a comment, below. Share your thoughts, resources, hacks, etc.!

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