How do you pull yourself out of the cave/avoidance pattern?

This is something my husband and I need some help/suggestions about.  Someone mentioned in another thread that my husband seems to do well when things are relatively calm (the way most of us NTs do) and when things take a chaotic turn he tends to spin in place without being able to get his bearings (also in a way that happens to many of us NTs when we are overwhelmed).  It is true that he basically has the same pattern a lot of us have, but the frequency, duration, and amount of outside help needed to resolve it seem very different.

A similarity I can see between when this happens to me and when this happens to my husband is that comfort and empathy and NOT adding anything to the plate of the overwhelmed person seem to be the best way to go.  For example when my grandmother was dying, my husband picked up the slack like a champ until I could deal with all the things having a slowly dying family member entails.  By the same token, my husband tends to get overwhelmed a lot more often and more easily than I do, therefore I try to step in and take over the things that I can until he can re-gather himself.  One issue that I have is that he is not that great at the re-gathering process, and when he is caving/avoiding/feeling a little down and I step in to help, it seems like he feels such relief that he wants to wallow in having the help when I need him to re-gather and get back to our regularly scheduled life.

Obviously this having the other one step in only works well when something is overwhelming one OR the other of us.  Sometimes we face things that are overwhelming to us both, and the other just isn't in a position to take on anymore. 

Here is where I see a real difference in the way we handle this. I have a much better sense of priority than my ADD husband (I read this is a common weakness for the ADD mate), so I can tread water pretty well and realize what to put on the back burner until I am at full strength.  Because my husband lacks this ability, if I am not there to walk him through the process and keep him feeling grounded (which I am just not up to for example when the problem is his family like it was recently), he just seems to spin in place until I am able to pull him out of it.

I really feel a necessary skill for him to develop is the ability to stop himself from spinning.  Have any of you had success in conquering this?  Recognizing that you are accomplishing nothing even if you are trying, stopping, taking whatever kind of deep breath is needed, and working your way out of the hole the overwhelm causes?

My husband's natural defense is to shut down and hole up.  Frequently while in his man cave, this is when the video games come out.  Now I don't mind this because I grew up being taught the Mars/Venus explanation of the man cave is that when the man gets overwhelmed, he goes into the cave in order to regroup and he will come out with a plan.  My husband NEVER comes out with a plan, and I wonder if I am not somewhat to blame in that I usually have to prod him out after what I feel is a reasonable period of time to caving/avoiding.  There comes a point where you have to get back to regular life, and if I am honest I am afraid if he is left to his own devices that he will never reach that point on his own.

Our life is such that while he is avoiding, things are coming in to do, therefore the longer he is in there the more behind he gets, and the result of this (as best as I can tell from observation and conversation) is more desire to cave/avoid because he is overwhelmed by being behind.  To be fair he keeps up with the bare minimum......he does his work, he cares for things on fire, but he cares for little/nothing that isn't actively on fire so there is all sits smoldering during these times.

Like I said, I think we have an OK system for when he is overwhelmed and I am not.......I can gently get him back on track.......sometimes if I am honest not so gently, but as long as I am not in the mire too, I can pull him out. 

He has infinite patience if (in Mars/Venus parlance again) 'my wave is crashing'.  I especially have a week every couple of months where I get hormonal affected overwhelm and he does FABULOUS at not stressing me out further.  He will take on things like all the cooking (he usually does 1/2) and maybe a little amount of extra cleaning, but basically I pull myself out my hole, whatever I got myself behind while I was in there is cleared up by me, and onward I move.

He seems to need a lot more of me to pull him out.  I would like the situation to be more like it is for him.....where my part of the equation would be just to help and support and know confidently he will bounce back, he will take care of what he is behind, and he will be his regular self.

I did mention this in coaching.....

I think the response went something like 'HMMMMM'

During extra chaotic times we know are coming.....extra work surrounding being on vacation, etc......we seem to have learned to prepare for it and it goes much smoother, but there is a lot that happens in life that you just can't prepare for!

It's a Work in Progress...

Hi Aspen,

"I really feel a necessary skill for him to develop is the ability to stop himself from spinning.  Have any of you had success in conquering this?  Recognizing that you are accomplishing nothing even if you are trying, stopping, taking whatever kind of deep breath is needed, and working your way out of the hole the overwhelm causes?"

Right now, you are my break from Home Office Organizing Hell.  I can't find my Ipod charger, which is my sanity maintenance gadget while doing what I don't do best; organize paper.  Lots and lots of paper.  Here's the thing:  I have had the entire summer to get this office together.  School starts tomorrow.  I am not panicked (no students until next week), just meetings and such).  What I have lacked and still lack, but now to a lesser degree is the KNOWLEDGE of what I need to keep and what needs to go and HOW TO BEST organize it in a way that both makes sense to ME and that I can ACTUALLY MAINTAIN.  I have been "studying" type A people for a long time (as a teacher, I work with some wonderfully anal people).  I still remember asking a teacher my first year teaching why she never lost things (she put papers in folders).  I marveled at her ingenuity.   About a dozen years later, and I am refining my own system which has to work with my many deficits.  I think deciding is the worst part once I'm engaged in the task.  But I keep stopping to reassess whether or not this is the best way to organize things.  I think I have FINALLY (and I swear this is the proudest accomplishment of my life, and I have some pretty great non-ADHD accomplishments) found an organizational system that will work for me at school.  I spent the summer getting rid of so much paper.  That required a lot of stamina, because it was so goddamn boring.  I swear, I recycled my own rainforest.  I was going to just put all the like papers together by chapter, which I had already started, and then I thought, "Why am I doing this?  I should just keep 1 original.  Who cares if I lose it?  I have so much paper right now, I can't find anything.  I'm just like that ADHD student with the overstuffed binder who insists on bringing 1 binder to every class because he has "EVERYTHING" in 1 binder, but can never find anything and insists his system works.  I don't want to have to refile extra papers after each chapter.  The only thing I hate more than filing is REFILING."

Trust me, for someone who loses things, this was a bold move.  But it was the right move, and I had to modify my original objective to do it.  But I couldn't be happier.   But this can be learned, especially as I develop more confidence in my ability to solve my own problems in a way that works for me. 

The other skill I am trying to develop is breaking a task down.  It is neither easy nor natural for me to look at a daunting organizational task and see the component parts, but I am getting better at it.  I will give myself a certain amount of time, INCLUDING TRANSITIONS to work on part of a large task.  I also give myself the option of going from point A to point B, and telling myself I am done and that next time I will tackle from point B to point C.  If I'm starting to hyperfocus, I can pull myself back more easily, reminding myself that "ANGRY HYPERFOCUS" just stresses me out. 

Wondering if the video game come out when the meds wear off or he's tired?  That's when I am most likely to zone out. 

Check out Dr. Steven Worringham's Focus on ADHD:  Attention and Concentration for Study.  9.99- on ITunes.  1 hour of Beta wave music to help you focus.  It works like a charm.  That reminds me.  I'm going to turn on my computer speakers.  Time for more organizing fun!

ADHDMomof2

So how have you come to your systems?

It sounds like you have spent years observing how other people do it and working on your own system until you have finally discovered what you believe will work best for you.  I admire that SO MUCH. I am an organization junkie (don't throw anything at me!), and I get so excited about good ways to organize things and I get frustrated because of how difficult it is for my husband to maintain the system.

It sounds to me like you have realized the value of a skill you don't naturally have and have persevered for years developing it so that it works for you.  My husband.....I don't know... he is great at so many things that I am just starting to realize that tasks that require perseverance on his part sometimes just get left by the wayside and ignored.  Like just by virtue of it needing so much effort, it isn't worth the effort.  I mentioned something like this to him yesterday and  now we are letting it mull.  He thinks there is something to it though.

I feel my husband is getting somewhat better at breaking down a task, but in our case it is basically because I have walked him through doing this so many times.  I don't understand why neither his coach or nor any of the numerous ADD books/workbooks we have that mostly sit on a shelf walk him through this type of thing.  I am impressed that you are doing it on your own now, but how did you get to that point?  Did you always know how to do it and just struggle to do it?  Or did you learn it somewhere?

Also I notice you keep mentioning the beta waves thing.  I keep meaning to check it out.  Will talk to hubby about whether he thinks that will help.  Is there some kind of preview you can try?  It isn't that I am unwilling to spend the money, but we have spent money on so many things that don't get used that at this point something has to really convince me of its value and also I have to be convinced it will get utilized.

I LOVE organization junkies :)!

Aspen,

"If you are in a frequent state of overwhelm and trying to recharge adds to it, and you feel like a drained cell phone battery.......well I think I would just start screaming and not stop."

Oh, my God, Aspen, I don't know why, but I find your comment hilarious-as well as also being deeply sympathetic to my experience.  It is so sincere and radiates the understanding I wish I received from my husband.  You always reflect my comments back to me in a way that lets me know you get it on a level few who are not "one of me" do.  Thank you.  It's so nice to be understood.  Truly.   And yet the idea of you, carrying on like the dude on the Edvard Munch painting, aptly titled, The Scream, makes me want to laugh hysterically.  Not a bad thing :).

I would be Type A if I wasn't ADHD.  That's part of my perseverance; I WANT to get it right, and I'm stubborn enough to do it.  I just need to know how to do it and why certain methods will or won't work for me.  I have organization envy ;).  I just went to the Container Store for the first time over the summer.  I thought I would crap my pants.  It was wonderful.  I know that's very unADHD of me to say, but it's true.  I LOVE organization.  I just happen to be exceptionally bad at it, but know that I still need to work on it. 

Honestly,  I have had to look at different systems of organizing, and keep changing what doesn't work for me.  Over and over.  I used think once I got organized, that that would and should be it.  WRONG!!!  If the system doesn't work WITH my ADHD, it will NEVER BE SUSTAINABLE.  For years, I've thought with each new system that has failed that it was on me and not the system if I failed and had to dig myself out.  I would then berate myself to anyone who would listen and keep talking about how I needed to get organized, but I still had a hard time getting started and finishing, because I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.  Eventually, I would see or think of a new system and the cycle would repeat itself.  Another mistake I made was trying to do it the same way as other people.  I use my colleagues' ideas as a jumping point and see what needs to be different to make it work for me.

Historically, it takes me a long time to realize what isn't working, but I've realized I'm adapting faster and faster as I get closer to certain goals; as in I just need to tweak my system until it works.  Over the summer, I've had some really important epiphanies: 

1. Ideally, the system is so simple it's (almost) self-maintaining.  The best example I can provide of this is a utensil organizer:  I never ever get confused about where to put my forks, knives, and spoons, because there is a specific drawer where the organizer remains and it is subdivided.  My epiphany was not realizing I know how to empty the dishwasher properly;), but that if I could use that as my guide to design other systems, I would be on to something realistically sustainable.   I've already applied this system to my linen closet.  EVERYTHING is in a bin now except for the bath towels because bins give me visual boundaries for objects and also reminds me WHERE things go.  I haven't had a messy linen closet in months.  It's a small victory, but it lends credence to my theory. I did the same thing on the large shelf on the top of my side of our walk-in closet.  I used to chuck my clothes up there.  No problems since.  This is slow work, though...

2. Organized people make more ruthless decisions about what can be tossed/recycled.  This has been the hardest lesson to learn, and I'm still learning it.  I am not a hoarder.  I am not a "pack rat," at least not in the traditional sense of needing to hold on to things.  I love to throw things out, especially knowing I never have to organize it again :D!  I struggle with establishing the criteria for getting rid of something, especially paperwork of any kind.  So many ways to sort it.  What can be thrown out?  What should be saved?  For how long?   Does paper know how much it sucks?  Why does mine appear to be part of a secret government breeding program?  Why is it everywhere?  How does it use itself to shield its' friends when I need to find them?

3.   Organized people are often very willing to share their secrets (how do you make a decision about what to keep or not?) and love discussing methodology and what they love about their systems .  Maybe it's because I approach teachers, many of whom are naturally inclined (at least at my school) to be helpful and don't mind 'teaching' me.  Oh, crap, who am I kidding?  They LOVE it.  They love showing what they can do (not in a jerky way, but they love for their organization to be properly appreciated).  Perhaps venerated would be a better word.  But I love that they are so willing to help me.  I work with great people in a great district.  I just thought of a few more people I'm going to talk to tomorrow.  Super nice Type A's who happen to be helpful.    I'm not sure if this is uniquely my experience, or if I'm the only shameless person out here asking lots of people for help.  I think I just feel comfortable because by virtue of their profession, they understand executive functioning better than most, so they know what they're dealing with when I ask for advice.  Aspen, I have forewarned my friend/roomie at school that I will be asking her questions all year.  She's cool with that, because that means our room will stay clean.  I literally ask her questions like, "What is your thought process for deciding whether or not to throw that out?" and she tells me.  I have to be THAT specific.  It's not even enough to watch her deal with her/our things.  I need to know HOW she arrives at her conclusions.  THIS HAS BEEN A FABULOUS TOOL which has aided me greatly.  My classroom has NEVER been this clean.

4.  There are many more things that I can stand to get rid of than I think.  When I do this, it means I don't have to overcrowd objects.  I had no idea how much crap we had; things I had never even seen before until we started tossing, recycling, giving away things.  Our room doesn't look like it could possibly belong to me. 

5.  A decrease in visual overwhelm is calming.   As an ADHDer, I have to fight the urge to crowd things together.  One of my epiphanies came from reading a Martha Stewart Living magazine this summer.  I was looking of a picture of an entryway, and thought to myself, "Wow!  That is really neat!"

And so began the conversation in my head:  "But she could have fit SO MUCH MORE on that shelf..."

"But it's neat and organized!"

"But there's barely anything there, of course, it's organized."

"But it's really neat!"

"That's because there's barely anything there.  It isn't overcrowded."

"Oh.  I think I get it finally."

As I had that last thought, I had flashbacks of my Type A friends and their commentary about how I overcrowd things.  And then I thought about my ADHD students' binders, and how I would tell them they have to get rid of unnecessary papers and not overcrowd, because they won't see the forest for the trees.  Finally, I realized I was doing the same exact thing...except on a much larger scale because I have so much more paper than they do.  Yep.  My Type A friends were right. 

Itunes allows you to listen to a preview (maybe 30 seconds?).  I probably have written this before, but a Music teacher in my school and I were discussing it the other day.  She is very knowledgeable, and absolutely buys into the science of it.  It really is great.  It got great reviews- 5/5 stars.

Sounds like your DH needs to take more initiative to ask the right questions.  He SHOULD talk to other people as well whose systems he admires.  I don't know if he would be willing to do this.  I have no pride left anymore, and I just don't give a flying poo what people think of me.  If he is ready for that, he should casually ask some specific questions.  

"How do you organize that?" 

"How do you keep it organized (Type A's usually have a system with criteria for purging)?"

"How do you keep ___________________ from happening?"

"What are the best and worst parts about your system?"

"Are you happy with your system?  Why or why not?"

"What about _________________? What do you do when _________________ happens?"

I hope that helps.  I have do what I'm talking about and work on this stupid office ;).  Better find my Ipod first.

ADHDMomof2 :)

 

Pbartender's picture

Don't Forget Labels!

"1. Ideally, the system is so simple it's (almost) self-maintaining.  The best example I can provide of this is a utensil organizer:  I never ever get confused about where to put my forks, knives, and spoons, because there is a specific drawer where the organizer remains and it is subdivided.  My epiphany was not realizing I know how to empty the dishwasher properly;), but that if I could use that as my guide to design other systems, I would be on to something realistically sustainable.   I've already applied this system to my linen closet.  EVERYTHING is in a bin now except for the bath towels because bins give me visual boundaries for objects and also reminds me WHERE things go.  I haven't had a messy linen closet in months.  It's a small victory, but it lends credence to my theory. I did the same thing on the large shelf on the top of my side of our walk-in closet.  I used to chuck my clothes up there.  No problems since.  This is slow work, though..."

Oh, also...  Labels.

I did something similar to your linen closet with my tools and at work, but the I also labeled all the drawers and bins.  There's a "small wrenches" drawer, and inside that drawer, there's labeled bins for each size of wrench.  That way I don't even have to think about where something goes...  The labels tell me exactly where to put it away, and where to find it when I need it.

After that, I took some time and effort (and it took a LOT of time and effort) to consciously ingrain the habit of cleaning off my workbench and putting all my tools away after I complete each project...  Or rather, I changed my mindset such that before I let myself even consider the project as "complete", my bench needs to be cleaned and the tools put away.  My supervisor, being rather "anally retentive" about such things has helped me stay on track with it by example.

I've started applying the same principle to jobs around the house, as well.  It's making a big difference in the kitchen and in the garage.

"5.  A decrease in visual overwhelm is calming."

That was a big epiphany for me, too...  And not just visually for me, but sensory-wise in general.  Less clutter and less mess means less distraction and less competition for my attention.  I find it so much easier to concentrate on a project and complete it, when I keep things organized (however difficult that may be at times). 

And to tie things in with "recharging", I've found it's also a lot easier for me to relax when things are tidy for the same reasons.

 

Pb.

Good point, Pb.

Hi Pb,

How did I forget labels?  Oh, yeah.  It's me. 

6. Labels AKA "the Pb" with ADHDMomof2 amendment  Seriously, though, I LOVE my label maker.  But having to teach and put things away in a hurry has taught me a lesson which may or may not apply to anyone else:  I pay better attention to labels when I don't have to rushMy tool box is also labeled, and that works, as it tends to be used for non-urgent (I call the pros when urgent) matters.  Labels didn't work with some of the interlocking bins I have to store school supplies, because they themselves were not designed to be opened and closed in a hurry, so I'd be so flustered, I started shoving things in the bins to get ready for my next class.  When I have to rush, I react more strongly to COLOR.  The brain recognizes color instantly, but labels need to be read to be effective.  I have used colored labels, but that wasn't enough.  I would still need to stop and read the label.  A variety of colorful open bins would be more effective for me in this case.   

I agree it is easier to relax when in a clean environment (also have the sense of "deserving it" more, so less guilt).

I am going to print these things we've discussed out so I can actually remember what works.   I can't even begin to tell you how often I have reinvented the wheel FOR MYSELF because I HAVE FORGOTTEN that I have found a solution to a problem.  Also, time to wise up and start bookmarking my favorites here like YYZ.  It's great to have an insight or read someone else's, but not too helpful when I forget them!

I almost forgot number 7.  Meds are starting to kick in again.  Fog is lifting...:D

7."If it doesn't simplify your life, don't do it."  One of my friends at work gave me this suggestion today after (A) I started worked on a project that didn't need to get done at the particular moment I chose to start it and (B) was therefore causing myself stress and adding to an already full agenda of things that ACTUALLY needed to get done.  I am, as I've mentioned, a bit discombobulated after the summer off.  I am trying to continue to make my room into ADHD Nirvana, but I'm having trouble figuring out where to prioritize my time.  I will need to make a to-do list after this so I have a focused agenda for Monday.  I make lists a lot, but sometimes, I just get in a see-react mode, and that ALWAYS stresses me out, because I don't know what's coming next, how long it will take, how long my TO-DO list is, etc...

Thanks, Pb.

 

I tried labelling

I tried labelling things......like a few shelves in the fridge so that all the leftovers would be in one place and I could use them before they rot and also what goes on the shelves in our laundry room, but he started out well and then got numb to the labels and didn't follow where they went anymore.......that was a frustration that I forgot about so thanks for reminding me.........I kid I kid :)

I have started believing that things like labels and systems only work when the ADD person is the one coming up with them and thus far my husband hasn't shown the interest to really come up with his own complete working system.  Part of that is probably that I handle a large part of it and part of it is that I am always suggesting things for him to try, so he hasn't had to think one up for himself.  I guess I need to let him do it on his own.

Hi Aspen, I think there is

Hi Aspen,

I think there is probably some truth to that.  I have had the most success with problems I have either solved for myself, whether or not I create a solution or ask for help.  I also need to be able to perceive the problem to be able to see a need to solve it.  I need to see the whole picture; sometimes I only see the isolated parts and not the cause and effect altogether.   I might know Fact A and Fact B, but I don't consistently recognize the two are interrelated and lead to Fact C.  It's kind of ridiculous, because when explained to me I understand it immediately. I'm not really sure what that's all about, but I've seen my son, my mother, and my ADHD students lack this ability to consistently predict outcomes.  Maybe it's an attention thing, or how the brain communicates, I don't know.  But it is absolutely ludicrous because I understand independent facts.  If explained, I treat it like obvious information.  Yet, it doesn't always occur to me.  I don't know if your husband is just not seeing the big picture, or what the issue is.  But I definitely think he would benefit from having to initiate these tasks; he just isn't invested in the way you are because he doesn't get it and knows (not that I think this is in any way malicious or lazy) you will take care of it for him.   I know Melissa suggests to step down with support in place, but I don't know what they would look like for you.  I know it must be easier said than done; you're clearly and understandably concerned that he is having trouble leaving the cave.

You're welcome for the reminder about labels ;).  Sometimes, I need to periodically change up my labels/signs so they don't become "background noise."  Or clean up the surrounding areas so I actually notice my signs and labels.

Thanks for your patience as we ADHDers got distracted and derailed the thread.  I think we amuse each other too much.  Oh, distraction!

ADHDMomof2

Need Help As I Chisel Way out of Avoidance Cave

Hi Aspen,

I hope the "mulling" is going well on both ends. 

 I considered putting out my own Forum Topic, but then thought it might further illustrate to you and anyone out there that it isn't just a question of how to persist, but not knowing our ass from our elbows when it comes to organizing, or how to make decisions concerning the filing, storing, and purging of paper. I have developed and borrowed some rules for organizing, but this is by far the worst area for me.   So here are my boring paperwork questions:

(1) Do you ever get those "This is not a bill" papers from your health insurance company?  My husband has deemed me in charge of these for the kids (and me) as I am more the "expert" on all things health-related.  (2) What is or what would be your parameter or timeline for getting rid of such a thing?  Between my ADHD psychiatrist appointments, therapist appointments and my kids, I get A LOT of these papers.  I want to get rid of them.   I don't see the point of keeping them... 

(3) How often do you clean up your files?

 (4) How do you deal with mail?  Junk mail, bills, how to sort, how to make sure you see it...  HOW TO DEAL WITH IT/STORE IT when in a hurry... HOW TO MAKE SURE YOU DEAL WITH IT LATER... 

(5) What do you keep receipts for, and what do you discard immediately?  My husband says I should keep receipts for places like the gas station and cross reference them monthly.  I keep the receipts, but honestly, I don't know why.  I have never seen anything suspicious before.  I don't think I've cross-referenced more than a few times, if it all.  (6) Where would you keep them since this would be a monthly chore (I mean BORE :D).

(7) What kinds of paper (if any) do you see your DH leaving around, not sorting, keeping for no reason that you can't understand.  Knowing his difficulties, what do YOU think he SHOULD do?  

have been working all night on the office again.  I am making real progress and have made some "ruthless" decisions, like getting rid of my filing cabinets, because I can't see what's inside of them.  Going to use a milk crate and hide it in my closet because it takes up less space and I can easily rummage through it when needed, unlike a file cabinet.  Plus, it's portable, so I can take the boring sorting with me in front of the TV, which would make the process actually REALISTIC for me; a first...

This is officially the MOST BORING POST I've ever written.  Alas, addressing the mundane is just what I need.

Anyone else who wants to weigh in on this, have at it ;)! 

Thank you much!

ADHDMomof2

Here are my answers to a few

Here are my answers to a few of your questions .

1) I keep "this is not a bill" things from the health insurer for at least a few years if the expense is something that the plan actually paid for.  If we paid (as we did on our last plan, for which we had a huge deductible), I'll keep the documents for maybe a year.  (If you're wondering about the mention of many plans, it's because we've been on five different plans in the past three years, because of my husband losing his job.)  I'm a little paranoid about getting a bill from the provider or health insurance company saying that we owe money for something we thought was covered and isn't.  If I was really well organized, I would keep bills in one folder and "not bills" in another, but I tend to put them together.  BTW, when I pay a bill, whether online or by sending in a check, I write "paid" on the part of the bill that doesn't need to be sent in with the check.

4) Mail:  Our recycling-appropriate items are picked up curbside every two weeks.  I go through the mail right away when I get it and often while sitting next to the bag into which I put paper products for recycling.  I drop in most junk mail without even opening it.  If it's not clear it's junk mail, I'll open it and then, once I make the determination, I'll put the unneeded things into the recycling bag immediately.  Envelopes also go into recycling immediately.  Things that need action (i.e., bills) go into a clear bin that I leave in the kitchen or living room.  The hardest things to deal with are items that need to be saved but need no action (the aforementioned health insurance items).  I don't have a good system for them yet.

5) I don't keep gas station receipts (after I pick them up from the car seat, that is!).  I keep receipts for items that I might return, but I don't keep receipts for groceries or restaurant meals.  (I do check receipts to see if there is a deal, like getting $2 off next time I'm at the store, if I fill out an online survey.)

If it's any consolation, I'm uber-obsessive, but I still struggle with dealing with paper.  TMS:  Too much stuff!   

 

 

Rosered, Thank you so much

Rosered,

Thank you so much for your advice.  I appreciate you taking the time to do that to help me.  I really liked hearing from you (and the rest of you, too) to know what works for people.  Sometimes, my DH treats me like he's cornered the market on "right" ideas, but there is more than one way to skin a cat, as the appalling expression goes ;)!

ADHDMomof2

Pbartender's picture

My Old Method...

Before I changed over to get as much of my billing correspondence via email as possible (it's really easy to sort, tag, archive and search for stuff that way...  and I can access it almost anywhere), I had a system of sorts that worked for me...

I've got a little two drawer filing cabinet that sits next to my computer desk.  One drawer was "Short Term" and the other was "Long Term".

The Short Term drawer had a folder for "Bills, Unpaid", one for "Bills, Paid", one for "Receipts", and one for "Other Important Stuff".  Like Aspen, I also have a recycling bin right under the computer desk.  I sit down with the mail, and immediately (Don't wait! It might get forgotten later!) sort it into the "Bills" folder, the "Important" folder, or the recycling bin...  I'd do this even if I was in a hurry.  It never takes more than a minute.

Once a week on Friday, when I got paid, I'd go through "Bills, Unpaid", pay the ones scheduled in my budget, and then shift the paid stubs into "Bills, Paid".  I'd also run through the "Important" file, just to make sure I didn't miss something that needed to be checked up on.

Once a year (usually over Christmas break, when I'd also make the new budget for the next year) I'd go through the "Bills, Paid" and "Important Stuff" files, and resort them into the "Long Term" drawer.  the Long Term drawer had files for the important papers by type ("Taxes", "School", "Medical", "Insurance", "House", "Autos", "Misc." and so forth), and files for paid bills and receipts by year.  Bills and receipts would be sorted out by type of bill (Rent, Car Loan, Phone, Utilities, etc...) and then organized by date (January through December for that year), and each stack got stapled and put into the folder for that year.

Old bills and papers get kept, so long as I had room for them in the drawers.  The oldest, least useful stuff would go to make room for the new stuff.  We still have all the saved "important" stuff from the last 14 years, and about seven years worth of paid bill stubs.  It all fits in one short filing cabinet.

My system is not so different now, except that for most things I use my gmail account instead of a filing cabinet, I have sorting labels for the emails instead of file folders, and I can keep everything and just search for it when I need it.

 

Pb.

Thank you. I like your system, Pb :).

Hi Pb,

The reason I hadn't switched to paperless was because I thought I would need the visual reminder.  But much like a lot of visual reminders, it only works when you can find it and notice it.  So, essentially, bills are part of the clutter.  You've convinced me to go paperless.  I do pay my credit card bill online, because I hate having to locate stamps, envelopes, and write everything out, so I'm not completely in the dark ages.  Do you have a specific e-mail account just for bills?  That might be good, or bad.  Good, because everything is in one place.  Bad if I forget to check it if it only has one purpose...

ADHDMomof2

Pbartender's picture

Nope, I use my regular

Nope, I use my regular non-work email address, specifically because I have the habit of checking it at least once or twice a day.

If you are familiar with Gmail...  I've got my inbox set up so that it's separated into "important" and "everything else", and "important" stuff is always on top.  The only stuff on the "important" side is bills and other similar correspondence (Gmail has learned to automatically sort them with 99% accuracy).  It's all labeled with a green "BILL" tag.  When I pay a bill or the correspondence is taken care of, I archive it (there's so much room in there, I've kept all the bill emails since 2006 or so when I switched and it still only takes up an eighth of the available space).

The unpaid bills are always right there... I see them in my inbox every day as a reminder until I take care of them.  I can keep everything, it takes up no physical space, and it's easy to search through when I need to find something.

 

Pb.

I get and pay a lot of bills

I get and pay a lot of bills online, too.  My method for avoiding forgetting them is to not open the email until I'm ready to schedule payment of the bill.  Most of the companies for which I pay bills online allow me to set a payment date for the future.  So, for example, with the credit card, I can open the email containing the bill, set the payment date for one day before the due date, and then be done with the process.  

Pbartender, I'm thinking...

...you are an imposter.

Any more sound advice about organization from you, and I'm afraid we'll have to terminate your membership to our club.  Unless you can come up with some proof that you still belong, say, lose your keys or something in the next couple of days.

time is running out!

we're watching you....

My membership is assured...

About 5 minutes ago, I almost put my eggs in the freezer after using them.  That said, no one who knows me would question my membership :D!

Adding to your imposter theory...;)

ellamenno,

I laughed when I read your post.  You are hysterical.

So, about Pb...

His system is a long-standing one, as in BEFORE he started meds!!!!!  How is that f-----g possible?????  I am ON MEDS and I am STRUGGLING with this... 

 What's really happening:   He's sitting in his basement right now surrounded by 10,000 D & D cards, all out of order... There are cockroaches and empty pizza boxes...everywhere...  The only thing illuminating HIS cave is his laptop, but he tripped over a pizza box and accidentally unplugged it.  Oh, no!  That was the only light to the outside world!  I smell a cave crisis.   Or maybe that's just mold...

Seriously, how is it possible?  Apparently, it is possible to be organized, but how when you can't remember, sustain attention, tend to boring tasks?????  HOW??????

O.K.  I'm just jealous.  I'm not often jealous, but there you go...

;) ADHDMomof2

Organization

For me by electronic reminders (Actually doing them when reminded) and repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition... :D

YYZ, So...does this mean,

YYZ,

So...does this mean, that you, too, are an IMPOSTER?????  Et tu, Brute?  Were you able to do this BEFORE meds?  If so, I should just give up ;).

So...reminders.  I just asked my boss the other day an exception could be made for me having my cell phone on but silenced so I could have one central place for notes.  Students ask me things requiring note taking (extra help on a different day, an extra copy of a handout lost for the 99th time but I need to make a copy, etc...)  I can hand write notes but I need to be able to find all the paper at some point.   Have made no secret of my ADHD.  Nope.  Against policy.  I was told I could do it surreptitiously, but if I walk over to my desk and sit down right after they ask me a question, they'll figure it out.  I can't wait until a better moment because I'll forget, which is the entire point.  I understand their reasoning; we set the example, but it sucks.    Back to the drawing board... or cave.  It would be easier for me to be consistent about reminders if I could use the same device in all circumstances.  Not sure what to do about this one. 

Teachers are restricted from technology?!?!?

I'm stunned... You don't get paid enough, they put too many kids in each class, limited budgets and on and on. I understand not texting or talking on the cell phone, but making notes to improve your your skills should be supported?!?

What about using a tablet/iPad? That would make note taking/organizing even better :)

 

Not sure...  I would love

Not sure...  I would love one.  Maybe for Christmas from DH or parents?  I know one teacher who can no longer bring in her laptop because if we all did that, our system couldn't support the bandwidth... Did I say I work in a good district?  With money?  I DO.  I can't imagine if I didn't.  The horror!

Yeah, technology... They talk so much about it and yet what we use or are allowed to use is very different. 

I just signed up for Evernote.  Don't have time to do much but it seems cool.  Wrote my first note to self!  Yay!

ADHDMomof2

 

My suggestion would be an ipod touch

basically works like a little smart phone, you can get third generations all day long for around $100 (Hubby just got me one) and as far as I am aware, they run all the apps that apple phones make.

I think an Ipad or tablet would work great also but if you are trying to be lower key they tend to be pretty large.  My ipod touch is smaller than an iphone and would probably get the job done also.

Pbartender's picture

Heh...  That's funny... I

Heh...  That's funny...

I don't think I've ever actually truly lost my keys since I started carrying them 20 years ago.  I've frequently left them behind (in fact, just last Friday I walked out the door at work to go home and left my wallet and keys sitting on my work bench...  didn't notice until I got to my car), but I can always find them in short order. 

I attribute that to the "M.U.S.C.L.E." figure with the hole through his head that I've used as a key fob since I was 16.  My theory is that he protects my keys from danger while I'm away, and always drags them to a safe place where I will find them later when I "lose" them.  He fights hard for my keys, as evidenced by the fact that he's lost his left hand and most of the fingers on his right over the years.

 

Pb.

IMPOSTER!!!!!

Listen, dude:  If you haven't managed to lose your keys (and I mean REALLY lose them, like you have NO idea where you left them and never saw them again.  None of this, 'left my wallet and keys sitting on my work bench' BS) in 20 years, you are a POSER.  When did you say you were you 'diagnosed?'  I thought so.....  Send back your member card IMMEDIATELY.  OH?  You gonna try and tell me you lost it?  Huh?  C'mon.  I know you've got it in your wallet (which is probably in your POCKET or some other freakin' logical place) instead of stuffed in a drawer with miscellaneous crap where it belongs....

You've had the same key fob since you were 16?  Hello?! And what kind of self respecting ADDer uses a 'key fob' anyway?  What the hell IS a 'key fob'?!  I had to google that shit!  Newsflash:  The twisty tie thing from a loaf of bread will do JUST FINE.

you think you're so awesome, don'tcha, Fancypants?

mmrrrhphph.

 

Sounds like

I think ADD Island's First Steel Cage Cave Match has been set...

Ellamenno VS Pbartender

:D

 

Pbartender's picture

Look, Ellamenno! Something shiny!

No contest...  I'll win by default simply by dint of being able to find my car keys, and showing up on time. 

M.U.S.C.L.E. Man keychain for the win.  ;)

 

Pb.

IT'S NOT NICE TO MAKE FUN!!!

Besides, there is a good chance that I WILL get there on time.... not guaranteed (um... where is it?  will my GPS recognize the address?)

Pbartender's picture

You're just jealous of my prosthetic memory...

"If you haven't managed to lose your keys (and I mean REALLY lose them, like you have NO idea where you left them and never saw them again."

Sorry, Ellamenno...  that honor is reserved solely for my relationship with my wife.  O_o  Take that.

Joking aside, losing things had never really been a big problem for me.  I do misplace stuff often enough, but they're just things...  They're here somewhere.  Sooner or later, I'll find it.  And if I can't, they can always be replaced.

I have a much bigger problem with losing thoughts and conversations.  You can't get those back.

 

Pb.

Oh, totally jealous.

And that's no lie.... sooooooooo jealous of both you and YYZ for having the whole reminder thing down.

my thoughts & conversations are elusive as well.  So elusive that I've started to record conversations.  Not so that I can say, "GOTCHA!" later... no.... Nobody knows I do it... it's simply for myself, and I am stunned.  STUNNED at the amount of things I simply don't remember the first time. (or completely twist into something else).

Email, sadly, works best for me (instead of face to face meetings or phone calls)when dealing with anything where I have to remember details

Memory of Conversations

The worst arguments between my DF and myself our when old issues come up and me having to recall what I said to someone. I cannot remember what my daughters were wearing when I dropped them off at school this morning, much less recall the specifics of a conversation I had with someone 6 months ago. So a year later when I have to recall what I said 6 months ago about a conversation that happened 6 months before this one is just a disaster waiting to happen.

A: Do I need to mention a poor memory???

B: I get pretty defensive/PO'd rehashing things that have been put behind us / forgiven (If I did something wrong)

When we are having issues, our best work is handled through emails. We can better work through the misunderstanding / angry part by writing our responses and thinking them through. Then the face to face goes much better.

How do I find perspective so I can take ownership of me?

YYZ,

Yeah, and unlike conversations that occur in real time, you can edit and delete before pressing send.  Plus, there's the added bonus of being able to literally SEE your side of the conversation from beginning to end so as to avoid working memory issues while writing your part of the e-mail conversation.  I have more than once changed my mind in the middle of a verbal conversation without having realized it, which is later turned into "You just lied..." 

Uh, no.   My mom always told me I was "honest to a fault," which may have been an underhanded compliment, but I'll take it, 'cause it's the damn truth.  It's just that in spite of my stubbornness, if I see something which makes more sense, I am capable of altering my opinion.  Just not always aware that I did.  This seemingly uncharacteristic mental flexibility paints a bad picture to my husband, and I get it.  His brain works SO differently from mine that he can't imagine a world where someone can contradict themselves within 30 seconds of having said something entirely different.  Also, sometimes I have memory flashbacks as I'm having the conversation which can also alter my opinion or discussion of the "facts."  Sometimes, talking helps things come back to me, or he says something which triggers my memory.    As I've said to him many a time, "Do you really think if I was going to lie, I would lie to someone with a short-term memory and logic like yours?  Really??? Do you think I am so stupid to think I could 'get away with it?'" 

His response is that I must feel cornered and so I'm backpedaling.  Again, I understand how someone like him could think that way, but it's simply NOT TRUE.  It's one thing to be rightly accused.  But to have him ascribe moral defects I simply do not have ON TOP of the genuine issues I do have is so unbelievably frustrating.   It makes it really, really, REALLY challenging for me to know when to take him seriously when he brings up a concern.  Is this AN ISSUE or "an issue?"  The thing is, my world view is so vastly different from his, I don't know who is right sometimes.  If he could just stick to the REAL issues instead of ALSO manufacturing them and sometimes being petty, it would be a lot easier for both of us.  It's still my responsibility to sort my end out; I just don't know how. 

I can only speak for myself and say that while e-mail CAN circumvent a lot of the impulsivity/verbal diarrhea, it can't circumvent that my perspective may still be substantially different based on the deficit in working memory issues and being able to see the big picture rather than just the component parts.  I'm still struggling with that one.  Substantially.  It may well be near the top of the list for reasons our marriage is falling apart on my side.

I think I may need to record some conversations to see how off I am.  Maybe that would help me to stop disagreeing with him defensively so often, and then putting on the brakes once he's pissed.  This isn't a fighting-is-stimulating issue, though that can be the case in other situations.  I don't tend to yell off the bat, unless I'm already mad at him, which he himself concedes, but I might simply disagree with his assessment of a situation very quickly before I think it through; not even with any discernible tone.  Sometimes, I admittedly snap.  I'm the snapper, he's the yeller.  I guess I question his judgment more now than ever.   He calls me disagreeing "fighting."  What do you guys think?  Can you explain to me HOW you see it as fighting if you do?  Or pick it apart depending on whether I am mad and snapping vs. dispassionate but distrusting.  I am not necessarily even angry when I disagree with him, which is another reason I don't see it as fighting.  I can change my mind once I understand his perspective, apology included within a sentence or two (sometimes it take more time, but just enough for me to understand).  By this time, he doesn't care if I have apologized; he's already mad, and has a hard time calming down.  I don't  even necessarily raise my voice.  He tells me I don't think I'm fighting if I don't yell, but that I still am, even if I say it nicely, and that I would disagree with him even about empirical evidence ("the sky is blue").

Help!

Sorry to sour the thread.  I enjoyed reading all your sassy rants:)!

ADHDMomof2

I'm the non-ADHD spouse, but

I'm the non-ADHD spouse, but I am like you on the "are we fighting or disagreeing" issue.  My husband seems to think that any conversation in which we disagree is a fight.  I'm also the type of person who can change my opinion mid-conversation.  

Gender Difference or Other Reason?

I wonder if this is partly because women like to talk through issues?  I don't want to negate what I've previously said, but this is also an issue for us.  I sometimes need to meander through the possibilities to even "see" what is going on.  Or maybe it's an ADHD thing.  Or a Me thing.  I am so utterly confused!

I have mentioned this to him; that I need to talk things out.  He disagrees.  Grrrrrrr....

could be...

I have the same problem.  Like my mom (and every other woman I know) I get to decisions by talking through the possibilities.

My DH often gets irritated regardless of whether we are disagreeing or simply trying to make a plan for dinner.  He'll bring up something I need to take care of, I will try to come up with a solution - and he'll huff and puff before I even finish a sentence because I'm already wasting his time with my 'thinking aloud' process.  example, he'll say, "well, I'll be away for a few weekends, so with your new job you'll have to arrange for the sitter to pick up DD1 at school."  I'll say, "Well, it depends on when I have to be there..." he'll cut me off, put his hand up in the air (like the 'talk to the hand' gesture) and wince as though I have caused great pain and say, "whatever, whatever..."

also, if I come to him with a question, he'll cut me off if the subject of the sentence isn't the first word, or if he doesn't immediately recognize who/what I am referring to within the first 5 words.  Again, with a look like i've just caused great physical pain and annoyance accompanied by the hand gesture indicating I am wasting his time and possibly taking up too much of the planet's oxygen.

So I'm slowly learning to stop asking about anything unless absolutely necessary.  Which of course requires making decisions on my own without 'running it by' him constantly.  Sometimes this is fine, sometimes it's disastrous.  The disasters are fewer and farther between though...

Soon - possibly in the next week - we'll sit down with my list of projects/goals etc. and make a schedule and in theory (I'm hesitant to get my hopes up too high!) I will be able to stop spinning in circles and actually have a life.

 

No-win decisions

He'll bring up something I need to take care of, I will try to come up with a solution - and he'll huff and puff before I even finish a sentence because I'm already wasting his time with my 'thinking aloud' process.  example, he'll say, "well, I'll be away for a few weekends, so with your new job you'll have to arrange for the sitter to pick up DD1 at school."  I'll say, "Well, it depends on when I have to be there..." he'll cut me off..."

Same thing for me.  I try to think through the logic of it (and here I think this might be the ADHD, because linear thinking, hierarchical decision-making, and planning blocks of time and the logistics thereof are what we're looking at here) and it drives him crazy.  He wants me to accomplish my thoughts quietly, but like you, I'm in a catch-22:  either (#1) I put on my big girl pants and try to plan it out myself, risking possible disaster should I overlook something,  or (#2) I allow him to do it for me, and give him something else to complain about.   If he tells me I need to listen to him about a particular plan because he's better with this task, if I try to do it myself and/or even respectfully disagree with his need for control, I'm FIGHTING with him.  But I WANT to be an adult and I WANT to learn the habits I need, and I HATE THE FACT HE HOLDS IT OVER ME he had to help me so much.  I have recently told him I think he's a control freak about certain things  (I know, not going to win any diplomacy awards) and he in turn browbeats me to say he's not a control freak (Irony, anyone?)Essentially, no matter which path I choose, it doesn't bring the marital peace I am seeking.  I'm doomed either way, at least that's how I see it.  I feel like it comes back to my husband's serious issue letting go of his resentments toward anyone close to him who has wronged him.  Anyone have suggestions?  I'm open :)...With scenario #1, here are the issues:

  • sometimes dropping the ball by overlooking a key element while making my plans
  • it takes me FOREVER to estimate the time required, task to task, including transitions, buffer time, and other random things
  • sometimes, after I say I'm going to do it myself or he tells me to, he INTERFERES ANYWAY and throws in his two cents AFTER I'VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME PLANNING (ROAR!), at which point, I am sooooooooooooo pissssssssed, especially as it takes him about 1 minute to plan what could take me 45 (DOUBLE ROAR!!)
  • I also feel like my valid attempts at independence and partnership are undermined (don't tell me you want an "equal partner," and suffocate me daily; I'm READY to do what I need to; I need support and encouragement, not a daily litany of my many, many misdeeds)
  • he gets MAD that it takes me SO LONG to figure things out that he can solve with ease, and he doesn't think I'm trying as hard as I could because of the length of time it takes me (You need to HUSTLE...") 

I try to get to the point, but as I've addressed elsewhere here, I can sometimes see the goal but have a really hard time verbally summarizing and with an economy of words that would placate him.  My DH also cuts me off, especially when he asks me a Yes or No question.  In spite of the fact he second-guesses me daily, when I try to offer an explanation of my choice, he gets aggravated, saying he didn't ASK for an explanation. 

Oh, and one of my worst faults is being defensive, which is mind-boggling to him and leads us to fight. It would be funny if it didn't suck so much...

Thanks, ellamenno, for responding.  I feel like you "get it."  Even your conversation with him ("well, I'll be away for a few weekends, so with your new job you'll have to arrange for the sitter to pick up DD1 at school." ) sounds like us:  he initiates and leads, you try to respond appropriately, only to be invalidated.

ADHDMomof2

Man... I just read your posts and totally want to jump in...

The problem is it is 10:53pm and I'm whipped. Mega-IT disaster this week and finally get a normal night at home and since my mind reading powers were set to "Low" I did not jump up at 8:30 (I get up at 4:45am) and start doing stuff around the house??? Okay... Rant over...

I plan to try to contribute to the exellent string between you and Ellamenno. Great Stuff... "You lied" jumps off the page at me... Like tonight, after hearing "Just sit in your chair" while I do stuff... I should have just Sat in My Chair, because going to do something after a shitty comment like that net Zero! I'm tired in the evenings, but I kick ass early. Walk the dogs at 5am, get the kids moving, feed them, make sure they are getting ready, take both of them to separate schools at separate times, then get myself to work on time. If I get too busy at night, then I cannot get to sleep at a descent time, See... it's 11:03 now and 4:45 is coming fast... Sorry rant was not quite over ;)

I agree, YYZ, nothing

I agree, YYZ, nothing positive every comes out of a comment like "Just sit in your chair" while I do stuff..."  By that point, you've already lost the guessing game you didn't even know you were playing!  Why?  Because you, dear friend, do not possess the ability to read minds.  Heck, if you're anything like me, you might not not what your DW is saying even if she S-P-E-L-L-S it out for you (I think you might be a bit more evolved than me in this regard :)).  And if there's a PITY PARTY involved, you're not invited, but you were supposed to bring a gift, but it will be rejected outright.  What?  You didn't know thisFor shame ;)!

Looking forward to your contributions.  Sorry about the IT disaster.  Hope it gets better!

ADHDMomof2

PS  I am going to get my kids ready for school, incompetent ADHD buffoon and useless contributor that I am to the world ;).

I hate games...

Especially guessing games... During the week, we operate on a pretty set routine. Regarding the house, just general pickup because there is homework to do, dinner, baths and that pretty much gets us to 9:00pm. My DW and DD#2 are going to brother in law's house today, so my DW told me last night she was going to pack their bag. This is not something I can really help with, since the suitcase was already downstairs and it is a two day trip, so not that much to gather. So when she went upstairs she suddenly decided it was messy and started picking up, now she is off task. If there was something really bothering her, then why not ask me? I ALWAYS help... I don't ever mind and do not Huff and Puff or anything dramatic like that. When things start with anger, I don't do so well. In the pre-DX days I always felt shame/guilt, but now it is a bit different. How can someone approach me in anger and expect anything positive to come from it? I DON'T Ever do this... If I am doing something and need a hand, I'll ask for help with something. I'm not mad because she is watching TV when I ask???? She knows I'm not a mind-reader, so why not ask me?

Momof2, you are hardly incompetent or useless ;)

Is it fighting or disagreeing?

We have a variation of this question.  We also have the "Why are you hollering at me?" version when I am only disagreeing and I tend to speak more forcefully based on how strongly I feel about something and also based on how difficult of a time it seems to be in getting through to him.  Sometimes I swear I can almost see my words bouncing off of him and not getting through :)

I think all of the reasons mentioned before could have something to do with it.....gender differences, defensiveness/tone in others....but I truly think in our case anyway the culprit is different backgrounds.  My family is loud and loving.  We are demonstrative and we share our feelings pretty openly  (well not my dad but he is coming around).   His family is SOOO QUIET.....like time spent together is watching TV, maybe talking about what is happening with ppl you used to know, nothing that could cause an emotional reaction in anyone.  I tend to look at it as a fairly surface relationship.   Feelings are stuffed and emotionally no one is really close though my husband is making a few inroads due to suggestions from his psychologist.

Feelings stuffers (like his family) just literally don't know what to do with Feelings spouters (like my family).  I even have a family member who has a touch of ADD or something who doesn't seem to have a good sense on when she should stuff her feelings a bit in front of others and have things out privately.

I think it just seriously took my husband a while to realize that I WASN"T hollering at him......and I think there are still times when he isn't sure.  Probably by now he has a pretty good grasp, but that probably is at least in part because I have been able to prove to him categorically (by plenty of hollering unfortunately) that there is indeed a difference and you might not want to go griping and complaining and help cause a discussion to turn into hollering.

Thank you, Pb.

Hey Pb,

Just so you know, I was totally joking earlier.  I mean, I KNOW you know, but just wanted to make sure in case I sounded a little...edgy...  I totally appreciated your sound advice.  And also wanted to let you know that my DH has been known to play Magic, so I'm not judging. 

 I also like to hear success stories because they give me hope.  I'm having more of that lately, in spite of my ongoing issues, and I am making progress.  Still, I enjoyed my imagery of you in a "Hoarders" style D & D basement... I have a very active imagination, like a lot of us who are easily distracted, and once the ball gets rolling, it's hard to stop...

Have a good night!

ADHDMomof2

Pbartender's picture

Busy Weekend...

That's cool...  I just had a busy weekend, and didn't have much time to respond here.  It kind of went nuts while I wasn't looking.

I'd tell you all about it, but it'd only serve to reinforce the conspiracy that I somehow get my jollies out of spending my time on message boards masquerading as someone suffers from chronic inattention and bad memory.  :P  Honestly, once I mentioned "D&D" I was surprised you guys even believed that I've actually got a wife and kids.  ;)

I am a pretty big nerd-geek, especially when it comes to science-fiction....  but I don't take it too seriously.  One of these days, I'll have to tell you about the time I went to a Star Wars movie premier dressed up in a (very bad) Star Trek costume.  Hilarity ensued.

 

Pb.

Big surprise--I am the family's filer

To quickly answer your questions.......I am relaxing at the lake for a few days :D

(1) Do you ever get those "This is not a bill" papers from your health insurance company?  My husband has deemed me in charge of these for the kids (and me) as I am more the "expert" on all things health-related.  (2) What is or what would be your parameter or timeline for getting rid of such a thing?  Between my ADHD psychiatrist appointments, therapist appointments and my kids, I get A LOT of these papers.  I want to get rid of them.   I don't see the point of keeping them...

I follow the Getting Things Done methodology of having an A-Z file, so I have a file labeled Health Insurance--my name and another Health Insurance--hubby's name (cause we are on diff plans) and all those things get filed.  I put the in network reference books on an open shelf so there is easy access on my desk and I throw away the old when the new comes in (actually I tend to keep the last two assuming I might need to reference who USED TO BE on plan but so far have never needed to do this, so it is probably an unnecessary redundancy.

If I were to get a bunch of them.......and I don't.......then I assume I would keep everything for a year after the event and once everything was billed correctly and our payment portions matched what they should be, then I would throw them out.  I do this because I believe you are only supposed to be able to bill medically for one year after date of service.  This is based on an accident I had about 15 years ago, but that was the policy then and I have never needed to check on updating it.

(3) How often do you clean up your files?

End of the year every year

(4) How do you deal with mail?  Junk mail, bills, how to sort, how to make sure you see it...  HOW TO DEAL WITH IT/STORE IT when in a hurry... HOW TO MAKE SURE YOU DEAL WITH IT LATER...

Deal with it when it comes in and we have a wood stove, so junk mail goes immediately into burn pile.......before wood stove into shred pile, though I seldom shredded it immediately.  I do have times when I am not sure if something is junk or not.....it goes on the dining room table and has to be removed before dinner.  If I am honest then I will admit sometimes I STILL don't feel like dealing with it and it goes into my inbox in my office.  That is cleared out fairly regularly.

(5) What do you keep receipts for, and what do you discard immediately?  My husband says I should keep receipts for places like the gas station and cross reference them monthly.  I keep the receipts, but honestly, I don't know why.  I have never seen anything suspicious before.  I don't think I've cross-referenced more than a few times, if it all.  (6) Where would you keep them since this would be a monthly chore (I mean BORE :D).

We are self employed and I like to run everything through our checkbooks so that I always have a record of spending (yeah yeah I know it is a bit anal). I have a long (but not tall) plastic 13 tab envelope for each year and I file the month's receipts in each tab. I have another for work expenses that can be claimed on our taxes and both envelopes get kept in a plastic bin with the years financial info.  It is filed in my office closet after our taxes are done with all forms and our copy of the taxes.

I do cross reference that all my receipts go into my budget spreadsheet every month and at the end of the year I got through everything quickly again to be sure all the things marked for Taxes in my checkbook have a corresponding receipt in the correct envelope.  This is VERY quick since I do it monthly and normally generate a report at the end of each month and each quarter to compare our how budgeted amounts are comparing with actual expenses.

(7) What kinds of paper (if any) do you see your DH leaving around, not sorting, keeping for no reason that you can't understand.  Knowing his difficulties, what do YOU think he SHOULD do?  

My husband has a physical inbox also in his office where I put any papers he lays lying around.  He sometimes goes through it on his own and sometimes we do some kind of reward based system involving him clearing up the papers in his office.  The site of his office is enough to make me want a shot of whiskey frequently!  Not kidding either, but we are both working at staying on top of it.

Hope some of that helps.....I feel it has just made you consider me an even more anal NTer than you did before LOL  I am sure the sympathy oozes for my poor husband :D

Some of my BFF's are Type

Some of my BFF's are Type A.   Remember:  I have great admiration for people like you!  Plus, owning your own business is a gigantic responsibility.  What if you got audited?  What if you spent too much?  Thankfully, you are able to do what you need to do to be successful!

The only time Type A people drive me crazy is when I feel like I'm being judged or if they insist their way is the only way.   You are honest but understanding, and I'm cool with that :)!  Secret:  I'm pretty hard on myself.  Perfectionist tendencies and ADHD don't mix well, but that's what I've been fighting my entire life.  My husband would scoff at this:  he is so critical he never sees this anymore because I am so defensive. I am working on this as well.  It's not easy to accept criticism when that's all I pretty much get.  But I'm trying to do the right thing and ask myself if there is a grain of truth in the criticism.  At the same time, I'm also expressing my anger when he is inappropriate or hypercritical.  Tonight, I couldn't find the ketchup in the fridge (it was on the door, mostly empty) and he made such a big deal about it.  "It IS serious when I can't rely on you to do simple things and it increases my stress level!"

He has no idea how demotivating that kind of shit is.  I understand the bigger picture of his comment, but he is being melodramatic and doesn't see me for who I am anymore.  Though I'm annoyed, I'm not going to let his shitty attitude determine my progress any longer.  I really used to let it affect my consistency in the past, but I'm letting go of what I can't control.  He keeps trying to control me, and he can't.  He can't.  I can't control him, either.  This is allowing me to do what I need to do:  be in charge of me. 

You are nothing like that, Aspen, so forgive my rant!  Thanks for your thought-provoking questions and your support.  I appreciate your cool logic and kindness more than you know:)!

ADHDMomof2

PS I am shocked that you are the filer ;)

A related follow up question...

what do you do that relaxes and recharges you?  My husband doesn't seem to have a lot of things that fit this category. As we've been pursuing trying to answer the question in my original post, it came up that my husband has a hard time recharging.

He says he feels at times like a cell phone battery.  It gets run down and you have to use it, so you plug it in to charge it while still using it so while it is getting some charge, the usage is keeping it from charging very much.  Ok I get the metaphor and I can even understand part way why he feels that way, so the obvious question is what do you need more of to get and feel recharged?

Answer.........I don't know. 

What have you done in the past that has caused you to feel recharged?

Answer.........I don't know

What do you do you do that you really enjoy?(keep in mind this was when I'd started a dialog about hobbies which btw he has several of)

Answer.........I guess nothing really

I was immediately offended but didn't react and told myself that I knew he wasn't saying there is nothing he enjoys in his life, he was poorly communicating that his hobbies aren't refreshing nor recharging him lately.  I did bring this up with him later just to confirm and he was horrified I'd have thought for a  minute that he doesn't enjoy his life "I have a great life and a great wife and ......"  He was only referring to hobbies, so I proud of myself for not overreacting, but other than that I feel at a loss with what will make him relaxed and/or recharged.

Sometimes he just seems sooo blah........he is seldom moody, he is very rarely angry........but he just seems like everything is......ok.  You know what I mean?  Like nothing is better than ok.

He's gotten good at dealing with the regular schedule, but seriously he seems to get in a rhythm where just treading water and keeping the balls in the air is his entire goal.  He doesn't appear to be swimming TOWARD anything......do you know what I mean?   He seems stuck and I don't know how to help him to get unstuck cause the answer to most everything is "I don't know"

My husband is like yours in

My husband is like yours in some ways.  He cannot seem to think about goals and about the future except in almost impossible ways.  So, if I push him to answer "what would you like to do with your life," he'll say something like, "only things that I can't do, like becoming a doctor or being rich."  The concept of envisioning life goals that are very attainable (going on vacation regularly, having a nice garden, doing satisfying work, for example) seems alien to him.

I do see some similiarities

My husband has much more reasonable goals for the future.  We especially have a big goal analysis at the end/beg of a new year, but he doesn't seem to work the steps to get to the goal.  I am not sure if that is because treading water just takes everything his has (because in that case we need to get some things off his plate) or if his sense of the now/not now keeps him from realizing "I need to do X if I really hope to accomplish Y this year". 

This year for each goal 3 steps were listed underneath, but I am not sure he ever looks at them except for during our quarterly review of how they are going.  I get frustrated because I feel like he is content to follow along behind what I do or am trying to accomplish for the most part, and I want him to step up take the leadership role....as a partnership of course too but I want him in the lead and not me.

I love the metaphor.  That is

I love the metaphor.  That is exactly the way I feel about my life, because I have spent the entirety of it struggling to manage my time and my belongings.  This may sound odd, but I have frequently found "recharging" stressful, because I've never felt I have enough time to invest in it, and then when I return from "recharging," I often lament having taken the time from other things I need to do.  The truth is, and I'm only starting to see this, I have more time than I think...and less.  Was it Melissa Orlov who wrote of time being like a rollercoaster, sometimes fast and other times slow?  Whomever it was was absolutely correct. 

So in answer to your question, what do I do to recharge?  Not much.  I think that is a big part of the problem now in my marriage.  I have slowly dropped out of my own life since my marriage torpedoed to crisis status as much as to tend to the marriage as not being able to muster the energy or focus for anything else, I was so depressed, tired, and anxious.   I am trying to make a comeback.   I don't just want to return to how things used to be, though.  I want to be better, do better, and BE HAPPY, even as my marriage descends into oblivion.  I am doing this by taking charge of what I can.  I started with my classroom, am continuing with my office and home organization.  I am working on my anger and recognizing and UNDERSTANDING for the first time, the unhealthy patterns in my life in terms of dealing with this difficult emotion (Thank you, Harriet Lerner, for your fine book; The Dance of Anger).  Even though I'm not doing much, I have a vision for how I want my life to be.  I've been thinking about this, and how I want to go about it.  That book by Ari Tuckman that I recommended to you has been a great guide in this vision. 

I want to be able to spend more time with my friends, and to initiate more contact with them, and become a better planner in that regard.  I want to return to martial arts, which I did for 10 years.  I want to be more consistent in my workout routine.  I want to be on time.  I want to become better with finances.  Though I pay my credit card in full and usually on time,  have never had a poor credit score, and have always been gainfully employed, I still need to learn how to save and invest better.  I want to be a better role model to my children by being consistently clean and more patient...  I want to be able to enjoy my time with them more, and get better at compartmentalizing, like my husband.  I want to learn something new; maybe take a cooking class (I can cook well, but can always learn more...).  These may not seem like lofty goals, but this is what I want.  To lead a simple life that I enjoy.

It may be difficult for your husband to articulate what he wants or even remember, even if deep down, he knows.    Communicating what we mean isn't always for us given our memory issues and distractibility, and given that he's been "blah" lately, everything might be influenced by his current mood ("now vs. not now" also means he has no long-term perspective). 

Aspen, let me say it again.  Your husband is lucky to have you.  I can feel your frustration and completely understand why.  I also feel that your love for him is stronger than frustration or any other emotion you might be feeling.  I hope he finds what he needs (and takes the initiative to do it!)

ADHDMomof2

ADHDMomof2, this is what I

ADHDMomof2, this is what I wish my  husband could believe:  "These may not seem like lofty goals, but this is what I want.  To lead a simple life that I enjoy."

My husband does not seem to believe that it is OK to just live a good life that he enjoys.  He can't be perfect (no one can); he has ADHD and so even nonperfect, good things are harder to achieve than they might be for other people; but he doesn't even see these good things are worthy goals.  The all-or-nothing outlook is so self-defeating.

I understand the

I understand the "all-or-nothing" thinking because I know it well.  I think I am finally striking a better balance in that I'm starting to make more realistic goals, which gives me more confidence to have higher standards for myself because I'm feeling less defeated.  Maybe I'm off the mark here, but I know I was not only more negative in the past prior to starting medication, but I was also easily bored, both with people and things, and few things seemed worthy of my attention.  I realized once I could pay attention better that I was wrong, and that there are many more interesting things in the world than I thought...

I guess I never realized there could be such angst over

I guess I never realized there could be such angst over recharging........it is just a vital thing to do.  The ADDers seems to mention overwhelm and spinning fairly regularly and I think I would be in the same boat if I struggled so much to recharge!  Maybe this is a bigger part of the problem than I realized!

This may sound odd, but I have frequently found "recharging" stressful

OH MY GOODNESS, ADHDmom, that not only sounds odd to me but it sounds horrifying to me.  If you are in a frequent state of overwhelm and trying to recharge adds to it, and you feel like a drained cell phone battery.......well I think I would just start screaming and not stop.

I think we need to really find a way to address this and I will be talking to hubby today about whether trying to recharge stresses him out.  The convos about it seem to have stressed him some.  He says some things like vid games work sometimes.  He has an unusual work schedule and works at least a few hours on 6 days a week, but it all adds up to about 30 hours a week which is short of full time which provides well for us and allows us to volunteer full time with our days since almost all his work is early morn/late evening.  I think this schedule, rather than having a reg 9-5, probably causes some stresses of its own, however the job isn't stressful to him hardly ever and the payoff of getting to have the life he wants while also providing for his family supposedly makes up for it.

Yesterday in a little bit of frustration his asked me "Well how do YOU recharge?!" as if it was going to prove some point of it all being harder than I think. 

1.  I don't think it is hard at all

2.  I make sure I am recharging pretty regularly

I told him........I call a family member or friend, sometimes we go to lunch, I swim with my mom (been doing this daily for the last few weeks), I read a book, I play Farmville on my computer, I read trip reports at my favorite Disney site,  I watch a TV show without also balancing our checkbook or doing laundry at the same time (which is how I usually watch TV cause I don't care much for TV/movies, etc

As I am listing things, his jaw literally drops....and he said almost accusingly "YOU ARE RECHARGING ALL THE TIME!"  I said Yeah, I am.  I take care to recharge because I have a very busy life and I don't want to get stressed out/burn out.

I think you have something with the time issue.  It takes my husband SOOO LONG to do things that he probably doesn't have as much pure time to decide what to do to relax as I do.  I am pretty quick with things especially things I don't want to do because I don't want them hanging over my head to get done.

Yesterday he came to the conclusion that when he gets home from either work or volunteering, the recharging days are when he doesn't have to work that night.  Where he only has maybe 1-2 things to do additionally to the regularly daily things before bed.  Well that is Saturday when he gets home around 8:30am, about 1/2 the time we volunteer till noon, but that is date night and he says date nights are recharging......so he should be thrilled with Saturdays but he doesn't seem to be.   Also Sundays he doesn't work generally at all so we get home from our religious services, and the whole day stretches out........I find it pretty boring because we generally don't do anything interesting........he tries his best to talk me into naps WHICH I HATE HATE HATE NAPS.  Sometimes I will lay down with him (cause he sleeps best if I am there) and read a book. Or if there are 'other activities' preceeding the nap I can sometimes drop off with him.

So from the info I've been given, Sat and Sun should be perfect relaxation days.......they don't seem to be. He is working on figuring out why.

Vacation sleeping is extremely relaxing to him because when he gets up there is nothing he HAS to do.  Can I just tell you how much I hate wasting time on VACATION sleeping.   We went for a 2 week vacation last year for our 10th wedding anniversary, and had a busy first part at Disney with family, and by the time we got to our awesome resort in San Maartin, oh my lord the amount of sleeping this man did.   I went with it for most of the week........we took a nap a day and slept in a bit too but it was anniversary and there were plenty of 'other activities' to keep me happy too, but by the end we actually had a fight about it.  Because I went with it, he decided to push for even MORE sleeping........see what I mean about him? It isn't really recharging if you just need to do more and more and more of it right?  So I pushed back hard and bascially told him he needs to learn to be grateful when he is getting what he wants and stop pushing for more.

We talked to his coach when he got back and she told him the same thing.  It is like he thinks "A little is good"  "An hour is great" "Therefore maybe 2 hours is even BETTER!"

We leave Saturday......after the Fantasy Football Draft which we have because he set up a league cause he desperately wanted to play but now he says can be a burden......for a end of August getaway.  My dad gave us 4 days in a resort an hour away (we go ahead and do our work and everything) on a lake (which automatically makes it relaxing for me--put me at a body of water and my stress just vanishes) and we were stunned at how great it worked last year!  We'd both thought it was a little silly but gave it a shot because my dad gave it to us because we both seemed stressed.

Worked like a charm, but this year I am a little concerned cause where we split the week last year, this week we are sharing the week with my parents in a 2 bedroom resort.  We travel with them regularly and generally everything goes great.  We'll be there till Tues, and are both REALLY looking forward to it so I guess we'll see if this does the trick.

He says date night give him a 1/4-1/2 a battery charge, but we've had so many funerals to deal with lately that we haven't been going out as much for date night and have been doing whatever just staying in.  I kinda thought that would work better for him but the answer appears to be no, so we will work on getting back out there........honestly in his blah sorta mood I kinda thought he didn't want to bother and he didn't say anything, so how could I know he wanted to go out? I mean you know how hard it is to get me to go out?  You say "Hey babe you want to do X tonight?!"  It is true we've had a lot of weekend company lately, so that is probably interfering a bit.

I don't know.......got to mull this all over!

 

Pbartender's picture

"Recharge time" sometimes feels like "wasting time"...

"I love the metaphor.  That is exactly the way I feel about my life, because I have spent the entirety of it struggling to manage my time and my belongings.  This may sound odd, but I have frequently found "recharging" stressful, because I've never felt I have enough time to invest in it, and then when I return from "recharging," I often lament having taken the time from other things I need to do.  The truth is, and I'm only starting to see this, I have more time than I think...and less."

"So in answer to your question, what do I do to recharge?  Not much.  I think that is a big part of the problem now in my marriage.  I have slowly dropped out of my own life since my marriage torpedoed to crisis status as much as to tend to the marriage as not being able to muster the energy or focus for anything else, I was so depressed, tired, and anxious.   I am trying to make a comeback.   I don't just want to return to how things used to be, though.  I want to be better, do better, and BE HAPPY, even as my marriage descends into oblivion.  I am doing this by taking charge of what I can."

I'm in a spot similar to ADHDMomof2...  Most of my "recharging" hobbies have fallen by the side over the years, I don't have many good methods remaining for recharging, and I'm trying to get a few back.

I used to have plenty of ways to recharge, but over the years I've let them go, one by one, because they all took time or money or both.  I kept hearing complaints about how I wasn't spending enough time with the kids, or enough attention to my wife, or about projects that haven't been finished or need to be paid for...  Eventually, whenever I wanted to distress, decompress and recharge, all I could think about was all the other more important, more useful things I could be spend my time and money and attention on.  I felt guilty about spending the time and money for just myself.  Especially since I worked a rotating shift for the first 7 years of our marriage...  I was constantly worn out and tired, sleeping and working at odd hours.  It was like being jet-lagged constantly, and put a lot of strain on our marriage.  With her complaints, I felt compelled to make up for it.

It was an almost ridiculous situation...  In my attempt to address her complaints, I went too far and pretty soon she was complaining that I was being "too clingy".  First she complained about not enough attention, and then she complains about too much attention?  Can't she make up her mind?  It was terribly confusing.  On top of it, I wasn't destressing myself anymore which, in hindsight, greatly magnified my undiagnosed ADHD symptoms and made it a LOT harder to keep control of my emotions, resulting in crazy mood swings.  At the same time, I drifted away from many of my friends, since I wasn't devoted much time to maintaining the relationships while hyperfocusing on trying to fix wife and family.

It got to the point where my wife actually complained...  "You need to go get some hobbies and find some friends...  All you ever do is go to work, and then you come home and do housework and yardwork and deal with the kids."  To a large degree, she was right.  But instead of letting me go about it my own way, she pushed me into getting into hobbies I wasn't really interested in, and so they didn't really recharge me very well.  She would try to set me up with new friends, but would go so overboard with it (I need to go slow and take my time with making new friends) that they'd end up being better friends with her than with me.  She was pressuring me into hobbies and friendships, instead letting me get back into them in my own way and I wasn't enjoying any of it.

So, recharging hobbies and new friends were pretty stressful for me (they still are a little)...  I already felt bad about spending time and money on hobbies and friends, but then at the same time I started feeling like I had to find some hobbies and friendships -- even I wasn't enjoying them -- or I'd be letting her down.  Eventually, when I'd give up on the hobby or when the friendship wouldn't work out, I'd feel bad about letting her down again, anyway.

The only recharger that's survived all this is my weekly Dungeons & Dragons game with my gaming buddies.  I think much of the reason it did is because DW shares this particular hobby with me, and plays with us as well.

Anyway...  that's much of the reason why I'm trying to pick up a few new things for just me.  Things like the motorcycle training class, or joining the small laboratory choir that meets every Wednesday at lunch (yesterday was my rehearsal with them!), or occasionally attending the day-long "Gameday" mini-convention at a local game store, volunteering with the lab's nature conservation group, meeting with my counselor/coach...  Even small things like setting aside an hour to play a mindless computer game, or reading a few chapters of a good novel, or cooking a fancy dinner, or rooting around in the garden, or camping out on the couch and watching an episode or two of some show or a movie with the kids, or going on a cheap date with DW (presuming she was currently interesting and willing in doing so), or taking a little canoe trip on the river with my son.

Really, it doesn't have to be anything specific...  anything I enjoy doing that occupies me enough to take my over-active mind off of my worries and responsibilities for a bit is a good recharger.  Alone works, and especially if I have to recharge from an angry frame of mind, but it's also nice to recharge in the company of people I enjoy being around.  If I have excess energy, something active can recharge me just as well as something sedate.

The trick is, that with an ADHD mind, to actually recharge you have to find an activity distracting enough to tamp down all those pinball machine thoughts and emotions.  That's not easy without dropping into something that you might have a tendency to hyperfocus on and lose all track of time (like many computer games for me!).  In that case, recharge time all too easily turns into what the hell happened spent all day wasting time.  And then you guys justifiably get grumbly at us.

That might be why your husband likes his sleep...  It might be one of the few times his brain is actually turned "off" to any degree.

Guh...  I've got a little more on this, but my lunch break is over.  Back to work!

 

Pb.

I'm eager to hear anything you can share to help me here

I used to have plenty of ways to recharge, but over the years I've let them go, one by one, because they all took time or money or both. 

I think this has happened somewhat to my husband also.  He LOVES to recharge together and a lot of the reason he let some of his previous hobbies go is that he knows I find them pointless.  I don't care if he does them, but I feel the minutes of my life ticking away with some of this stuff.  I play wii games with him some, he mentioned one we played all day and 1/2 the night a couple years ago and it was a real blast for both of us. ( I had forgotten about it and I guess he did too cause he came back to me while we were both mulling and mentioned how recharging he felt that day/night was--we even had to order in food cause we were having so much fun we both refused to stop to cook!)  I am not generally up for things like that (just too much to get done), so I can see why it stuck in his head and I can also remember how much fun it was. 

I try to help him understand that I can do more things like that when there aren't things behind and on fire in our life.  He realizes I need things to be caught up to let go that way esp for something so silly as a game, but it is true that bonding time is valuable in itself.  He is going to try to keep things more caught up and I am going to try to let go easier

 

I kept hearing complaints about how I wasn't spending enough time with the kids, or enough attention to my wife, or about projects that haven't been finished or need to be paid for...  Eventually, whenever I wanted to distress, decompress and recharge, all I could think about was all the other more important, more useful things I could be spend my time and money and attention on.  I felt guilty about spending the time and money for just myself.

Yeah I think this happens some esp since I am not big on spending on myself so it makes him feel guilty how much he wants 'things' when I really don't or esp if I am putting off something to save money for something we need more.

The trick is, that with an ADHD mind, to actually recharge you have to find an activity distracting enough to tamp down all those pinball machine thoughts and emotions. 

Do you have hyperactivity with your ADD? I ask because this just doesn't seem to be as much of an issue for my hubby and he has no hyperactivity.  He even say he feels no guilt about what he 'should' be doing once he is playing games or whatever because he can put it all out of his mind no problem.  He does feel guilty when he comes out though which might be part of why he doesn't want to come out.

Pbartender's picture

"Do you have hyperactivity

"Do you have hyperactivity with your ADD? I ask because this just doesn't seem to be as much of an issue for my hubby and he has no hyperactivity."

In a way, though I wonder if it just manifests in a different way than what's typical...

Physically, I sometimes get the bouncy-leg-jitters (which drives my wife nuts), or sometimes it shows up as a sort of tactile hypersensitivity.  My body starts feeling vaguely restless and almost "creepy-crawly-itchy" in a way.

More often, though, it's a mental-emotional sort of hyperactivity.  I'll get an odd urge to GO DO SOMETHING(!), but not be able to figure out what I want to (or should) do...  I've gotten a lot better at channeling that into doing something useful or at least entertaining, but I used to end up just wandering about the house in indistinct boredom, but never finding anything to hook my interest hard enough.

Also, it often crops up simply as the unremitting torrent of thoughts and emotions that can't be shut off.  That, too, is something that's I've gotten better at regulating since I started treatment, and especially since I found a good medication.  Though it can still catch me by surprise if I wake up in the middle of the night while my meds are worn off for the day.

"He even say he feels no guilt about what he 'should' be doing once he is playing games or whatever because he can put it all out of his mind no problem.  He does feel guilty when he comes out though which might be part of why he doesn't want to come out."

That's exactly what I mean, though...  being able to put everything out of your mind is almost essential to a good recharge.  So, for an ADHDer that often means doing something that triggers hyperfocus.  Like your husband says, that drives all the worries out, but it's so easy to lose track of time and feel like you've wasted all that time when you're done...  You don't actually reduce stress, it's merely postponed and it also accumulates, so it very nearly negates any "recharge".  Because of that -- and especially with an ADHDer's now-not now time sense -- it's very tempting to prolong the hyperfocus (and it's freedom from worry and guilt) as long as possible.

It may sound obvious, but...  My solution was to train myself to reduce or eliminate as many sources of potential worry or guilt before I start relaxing, in the same way that most ADHDers have to train to learn to reduce potential distractions to make it easier to finish a project.  That way, I'm far less likely to feel guilty about using that time for myself.  Plus, I get the chores and work out of the way early in the day, and don't spend the whole day in a vaguely bad mood from the anticipation of jobs that I'm putting off and will have to rush through at the last minute.

 

Pb.

Spelunking....

First, I'll start off by saying I have never read the Mars/Venus books - so I'm not sure of all the terminology, but i've heard bits and pieces of it described....

I am not a man, but I DO like to go into a cave and often get stuck there.  I don't do video games but can get deeply distracted by other projects, mostly involving music.  Yes, the longer i'm in a cave, the harder it is to come out.  It becomes almost like agoraphobia, or something.  I'm afraid to come out.  I'm afraid of all that's passed by that I missed and how obvious it will be that I don't know what's going on... But now i know that I've got to force myself out.  Sometimes, if i'm on my own (DH out of town) and it's a day I don't have any work, it's REALLY hard to get out of the house.  it used to be that these days would stretch before me in the morning.  I'd think - i've got so much to do!  but, then I'd fritter away the morning with DD#1 (while DD#2 is at school) or if they're BOTH home, spend the morning refereeing them (and one or the other spends hours in time out).  I learned that I've just got to get myself (and them) OUT SOMEWHERE.  An errand, something, to kick in a logical routine.  I can make lists and schedules til the cows come home, but unless I start moving in the morning, it doesn't become a reality.

I sat down with my husband a month or so ago and had a huge talk... i mentioned this somewhere else - can't remember where!  he'd told me a YEAR ago that all i needed to do was to write down all the things I needed to do to achieve whatever goals I had, write down how much time per week i wanted to spend on them, also write down everything I HAD to do in life otherwise (including showering, eating, sleeping.... everything) and we'd sit down and make a schedule.  I couldn't do it last year.  I couldn't get past the 'stuff that has to happen or the family falls apart'.  I couldn't even let myself WRITE DOWN ON APIECE OF PAPER the goals I had or the actions i'd need to take to reach them because i was embarrassed that they were selfish and I didn't deserve to spend time on them, EVEN THOUGH I can't get a job that I would excel at without them.  It's taken me a YEAR to be able to write them down.

DH is still away on his research thing for another 10 days (I've been on my own already for 10 days with the kids).  when he gets back we'll sit down and agree on a schedule.  I'm ridiculously excited.  This might actually work.

The whole 'recharging' thing...  Hm... the only thing that recharges me is music, but then it's also a distraction when it gets in the way of housework and applying for jobs with actual benefits.  So I guess I'd say the best 'recharger' for me is running in the morning (which I haven't done for 10 days because I cannot get any babysitter to agree to babysit at 6:00am).

Does your DH exercise?

the only thing that recharges

the only thing that recharges me is music,

Wow the difficult to recharge is becoming a theme.  Do you think this is why you tend to feel overwhelmed more easily because you are always on the edge?

I think my husband is much more of a music person than me.  He discovered some new singer he is trying to make me listen to and the truth is, I just don't care that much.  But I listened to 3 songs last night and it was fine.  We've been to a few concerts with family/friends and they were fun, but music doesn't do it for me.  And with my follower husband, I don't turn music on therefore he doesn't either.  I would never say to turn it off.........I just never think it turn it on in the house......and usually not in the car either.  He used to love to clean house to music and I thought it was fun too, but he doesn't turn it on anymore and I didn't really realize when he stopped.

Maybe he doesn't do it cause it I don't appear to care? Cause I don't care, but it is find with me.......I don't know.

So I guess I'd say the best 'recharger' for me is running in the morning

He did mention that when we exercised either walking or swimming, it was recharging to him.  We were doing some version of the Insanity DVDs and I suggested we get  back to that and he said NO those are exhausting!

He also said something odd in that relaxing exhausts him.  As his stress dissipates (and it is funny because he acts like the least stressed person on the planet usually) he is left just exhausted and in need of a nap.  I was like ?!?!  As my stress dissipates, I am ready to take on the world.  I guess there is just a lot of variety in ppl.

I am excited for you about your goals talk!!  We have these regularly and my husband doesn't follow up great with the steps needed, so if you make that breakthrough, I'd love to hear how you do it!

Unwinding

I can totally relate to the feeling of being stressed after relaxing.

If i've been away or not working for a while or any other kind of break, it is really hard for me to get back on track and I get really stressed out.  It feels as though i was a tightly wound clock spring and I've allowed myself to unwind completely. Once I am unwound & floppy it's so hard to 'wind up' again.  Also, there is a severe disorientation that happens with 'breaks' or vacations.  I feel like a time traveler in a sci-fi movie running up to someone and shouting anxiously, "what day is it?  Who is president?!?"

The music thing....  If he's like me, he is probably desperate to listen to this new singer, but is embarrassed, or hesitant because you aren't interested.  My husband has no interest in music, and i used to think that he just didn't GET it and i could eventually convince him of its value.  But finally I realized that he 'gets' it, for the most part (or gets it as much as a non-musician can) but he still doesn't give a shit about it.   This makes me feel weak and silly for placing so much value on something that ( in 'real' terms) has none.

I will turn music OFF when I hear the key in the door.  Not because I fear he'll be annoyed (he's said several times, 'it's ok- you can keep it on') but because I just suddenly feel incredibly stupid.  I gave away nearly all of my CDs 2years ago (before I got an iPod) and stopped listening to music And performing altogether in the hopes that I could 'get my shit together.'. It didn't really help.  Just made me feel (even more ) out of touch.

well... Speaking of those goals i mentioned, I've got to get out and chip away at the 'to do' list!

DH gets back next thursday and perhaps labor day weekend well formulate The Plan....  I'll let you know how it goes!

Deviation from the Norm = Doom ;)

 Once I am unwound & floppy it's so hard to 'wind up' again.  Also, there is a severe disorientation that happens with 'breaks' or vacations.  I feel like a time traveler in a sci-fi movie running up to someone and shouting anxiously, "what day is it?  Who is president?!?"

I am still trying to get back into the swing of things at work.  I was 10 minutes late to a meeting this morning, because I have been on ADHD time all summer ;).   Embarrassing. 

Please forgive me if I say

Please forgive me if I say things that have already been discussed or if I am somehow way off topic. I was fascinated by this discussion and tried my damnedest to read it all, but my ADD is not allowing me to stick with it. So, I  read some and skipped around and skimmed. 

As you pointed out, the difficulty recharging and the stress it can sometimes even add, are more of an issue than most of us (even us ADDers sometimes) realize. For me, I have to be very mindful of time. When I get overwhelmed, I take a step back to disengage from life and distract myself enough to calm down. The big problem is that, in doing so, I can easily get lost in the ADD land where time is nebulous and unreal. I sit down at the computer to distract myself for a few minutes and lose hours. Or, I go take a bath with a good book and end up realizing how long I've been there when the water starts getting cold. That sort of thing. Then, like you said, I get more overwhelmed because I am suddenly stuck in catch up/survival mode. And suddenly, my recharging has become a cause of more stress than had I just let myself spin without stopping.

Then, there's the issue of guilt. Even if I don't get lost in the time vortex, when I am doing something to relax and recoup, I am fraught with constant nagging in my brain of all the other things that I could and should be doing. Which leads to guilt, and not really being able to enjoy myself. The two responses I have to this are either to hit the ground in an all out sprint the moment my "recharge" activity is over, or to feel so bad that I go back to spinning my wheels and wasting more time in overwhelm.

Don't get me wrong, it's not ALWAYS like this. What has been most helpful to me is scheduling. I live and die by alarms and timers. Lots of them. Often multiple ones for the same thing, in case (as is likely) I will brush off and ignore at least the first alarm with a "just another few minutes" intention. I try to do things that I can set down in an instant. Sudoku is a good one for me. I sit down and play for a while (usually 10, 20, or 30 minutes) and when my alarm goes off I stop. What helps me A LOT, also, is exercise. Regular exercise to help maintain, and the the occasional over the top exercise where I push myself to work off frustration and drown out the chaos. When I was younger, I would drive. I'd hop in my car, turn the music up loud, and just drive without caring where so long as I could be out away from traffic and too much stopping. I used to know every back road and a dozen ways to get anywhere I needed to go because of all the driving. My husband (also ADHD) benefits a lot from some sort of "social" exercise (racquetball particularly) or "escape" exercise (rollerblading). He also loves to "unwind" to computer games and video games. But, then he gets caught up in it and loses track of time or purposely ignores it. He also uses timers.

Breaking down anything, be it task or work or unwinding, into short spurts helps a lot. I set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes and work until it rings. Usually, even if I feel like I'm in a good groove, I will stop what I'm doing and take a break, setting the timer for 10 or 20 minutes. When it rings again, I go back to work and again set the timer for a short time. The times when I follow this practice rigorously are the times I get the most done in a day, often with less mental and emotional exhaustion by the end of the day. Also, if I'm having a hard time getting started on something and feel like I'm spinning my wheels or avoiding, it's best to just start doing SOMETHING for ten minutes. That gets me moving and the gear slowly grind into motion. By the end of the ten minutes, I have usually gained enough inertia to get going on whatever I was putting off. If not, I change tasks and do something else for another ten minutes. If that doesn't work after two or three times, I call it a loss and move on to something else and try to come back to whatever the overwhelming task was later when I am in a better place.

Sometimes, though, the only thing that really makes things better is an outside source. Someone else stepping in and telling me to walk away, or to go relax for a bit. My husband and I try to be mindful of each other and recognize and intervene when the other is starting to spin out of control. If we both hit that point at the same time, well, there's not much way around losing time and having to just write off a loss (hopefully a small one) and dig out as we each can.

ChaosQueen; I didn't know I had a sister :)!

"As you pointed out, the difficulty recharging and the stress it can sometimes even add, are more of an issue than most of us (even us ADDers sometimes) realize. For me, I have to be very mindful of time. When I get overwhelmed, I take a step back to disengage from life and distract myself enough to calm down. The big problem is that, in doing so, I can easily get lost in the ADD land where time is nebulous and unreal. I sit down at the computer to distract myself for a few minutes and lose hours. Or, I go take a bath with a good book and end up realizing how long I've been there when the water starts getting cold. That sort of thing. Then, like you said, I get more overwhelmed because I am suddenly stuck in catch up/survival mode. And suddenly, my recharging has become a cause of more stress than had I just let myself spin without stopping.

 

Then, there's the issue of guilt. Even if I don't get lost in the time vortex, when I am doing something to relax and recoup, I am fraught with constant nagging in my brain of all the other things that I could and should be doing. Which leads to guilt, and not really being able to enjoy myself. The two responses I have to this are either to hit the ground in an all out sprint the moment my "recharge" activity is over, or to feel so bad that I go back to spinning my wheels and wasting more time in overwhelm."

YES, YES, EMPHATIC YES TO EVERYTHING.  YES, with YES on the side.  ALL OF IT. 

Why didn't my mom tell me I had a twin?

We Are Fa-mi-ly!

..... I got all my sisters with me!!!  (and brothers....  don't mean to leave y'all out Pbartender & YYZ!)

My husband often says people with ADHD should just be quarentined on an island somewhere.  I'm always trying to imagine what that would look like...

*sigh*

The Isles of Impulsivity

Terrifying, creative, and FUN!!!  Hopefully, there's a pharmacy on this island, with frequent shipments.  Otherwise, we're all screwed...

Island...

I'm in!!!! Just tell me where. I'll program to location in my GPS, then come out of my cave ;)

creature comforts...

Well, YYZ, I'm sure on our island we'll all have our own caves.  Hey, we can work from our caves!  Brilliant!

...just hire the IT egg-heads to set it up while they're all fired up and hyper-focused.  Then they can play their video games til there's some sort of crisis, then they can get fired up again....

What could possibly go wrong?

My cave

Mine will be a paper free environment.  I will paint note pictures to myself instead...

No Paper!!!!

Evernote is a better solution! Paper just clutters my desk up ;)

Evernote?

What is this?  I'm intrigued...  Where do I find such a wonder?  What can it do?

Evernote

Go to evernote.com the program is free, but of course you can pay $5 a month for extra features. VERY organized note system. Separate Notebooks, Tags and you can cut and paste from any program. I can take an email, press the evernote button and turn it into a new note. Evernote syncs with any device you have evernote installed. I access my notes from my laptop, home pc, iPad, iPhone and Windows Phone.

GREAT ADD tool ;)

Sounds cool :)!

Hi YYZ,

That sounds awesome!  I'll get the free version and try it out...  Thanks, buddy!

Got to get the groceries out of the car before I forget!

ADHDMomof2

Only Handle Once ;)

If you forget the groceries, you will have go back to the store! Danger! Will Robinson! ;)

I think you will like Evernote...

Thanks for the Evernote suggestion

I had heard of it before in a Getting Things Done forum, but there is so much discussion of specific tools and programs that I tend to get fairly numb to it.  I read my husband your description, he looked it up and downloaded it  :)  Only negative so far is he hasn't found a way to get due dates which he needs for some of his notes......at least I think that was the problem

Evernote

I had not ever tried to add and reminder alerts and I am not sure you can. I use Tasks in MS Outlook for my serious stuff, like a project at work. I can track my % complete, paste emails, screen shots or documents into the task. Set Start, Reminder, End dates and these alerts keep me on track. I can get an email during an insanity day that I know I need to respond to so I immediately flag the email for follow up with an alarm automatically set.

Evernote is more of a resource to me. I use the Notebook feature to categorize the notes, Like Home or different Work Categories. There are lots of Task phone apps out there too. I have one on my iPhone called 2Do, probably the best one I've seen for a phone apps. Reminders, lists, tasks and it syncs with DropBox. I think there is a free version you can try out.

Pbartender's picture

Bells and Whistles...

I downloaded Evernote for my Android phone this morning to try it out, and was almost overwhelmed by it.  It's very nifty, but I was having a tough time navigating through the user interface, too.  :P

I've been using a free app called "Simple Notepad" lately, and have been pretty happy with it.  It just creates fairly straight forward text notes and checklists.

You can't exactly set a due date, but it's easy to set (multiple!) reminders or add the note or list to my phone's calendar...  You can share the note or list as an email, or text message, or Facebook post (or with Evernote! ;) )...  You can add checklists or notes as widgets on your phone's Home screens...  You can attach photos to the notes and lists...  You can search and sort the notes and lists...

It's much simpler than Evernote and doesn't have the option of syncing between devices, but if all you need is a way to keep track of notes and to-do lists with reminder alarms, Simple Notepad's worth a try.

 

Pb.

Crisis

Don't we just stay in our caves in a crisis? ;)

cave crisis smackdown

Yes, unless it's someone's else's crisis, outside of our immediate tribal cave "community (oxymoron?)," of course.  Because then it would be funny to watch ;)...  Especially if it resulted in a cage match (or a cave match).

So two ADD cave systems? ADD

So two ADD cave systems? ADD vs ADHD? or Passive ADD vs Agressive ADDer? Super Bowl Steel Cave Match?

Hijacking apology :)

Hijacking apology :)

Hi Aspen...

Sorry about the "Left Turn posts" on your thread...

My comments about the program/app Evernote is good though. Evernote is a Great note program searchable, instantly updated on all devices. evernote.com

 

No apology needed.....

I have to be honest, I don't get why you guys are always left turning all over the place (I don't mind but honestly don't get it).  To me this is a place for info and support.  I do my goofing on facebook or whatever.........but feel free to carryon :)

Update from the lake!

I have been looking forward to these days away for MONTHS!!  We have really needed them.  We are with my parents so it isn't as great as last year where we came the same time to the same lakeside resort alone, but we like travelling with them so it has still been very nice.

I am having some issues with how much he wants to sleep. I am just not a sleeper but in accord with my new mulling I am trying to let it go and see how he monitors himself.  Maybe he will get enough.......though I doubt it.  The last time I tried this was out of country in the Caribbean last year and the more I said "Ok we can nap" the more he asked for until I blew up at him.

I think this is an area that we will just never see eye to eye on.  He loves to sleep and I hate it especially on vacation.  I see sleep as a necessary evil and require like 6 hours a night and he sees it as a hobby and requires at least 7-8 and actively wants more.

Yesterday I think he fell asleep unexpectedly while my mom and I were out swimming.  He thought it was too cold for swimming so he stayed in to watch TV with my dad but when we came in the TV was on something stupid, my dad was reading, and hubby was asleep on the couch.  He tends to fall asleep often when he is tired and there is nothing going on around him.

I was irritated........I feel if you are tired or think you may sleep then you don't do it when you should be visiting with ppl (I mean my dad was right in the ROOM) or in public areas where you will affect other ppl if you are not in your own home.  We have a bedroom......go there if you are tired.  But with my new "let him do what he wants" atty I just went up and took my shower and did the whole night regimen and went back down.....still sleeping.  So I woke him up for bed. 

I didn't say anything and he clearly didn't realize anything was wrong.  Our room is set up wierd and is two single beds with a nightstand between which I assumed we'd move and move the beds together as we have in a similar situation before--we try to never sleep apart, but he in his sleepy state just hopped into the bed where my luggage wasn't and started going to sleep........no goodnight, no goodnight kiss, and no nighttime prayer like we normally have.  He was prob just only 1/2 awake, but I was angry.  Decided to say nothing and just started reading.  He said something to me and I snarked back........he realized there was an issue but couldn't come up with what it was........infuriated me more so I wouldn't tell him.  He kept nagging so I told him. so he came and tried to sleep in my bed with me (we have shared single beds on occasion when necessary.  It isn't ideal but neither of us are large either so we do fit). 

I tried many times to get him to leave but he was just more stubborn than I was, so I gave in and we had a nice night.

Great day today though he had a flat on his way back to the resort so he prob had a bit harder day than the rest.  We slept in though and he said he slept fine (which of course he sang a diff tune after I asked why he fell asleep at the pool but that is later).

Had a great dinner.......took parents out and all had steak as a thank you for the resort, then mom and I wanted to swim.  He again didn't want to but said he'd come visit.  Now when he comes and visits at my parents (smaller) pool we talk the whole time and he often swims too but he was just too full even after we waited for food to settle.

Instead of visiting he spread out on a lounge chair and went to sleep.  I understand that talking to us the whole time would have been hard cause we were going back and forth across the pool, but seriously why even come just to sleep.  He really wanted to go in the hot tub and came to life when we went in there.  On the way back when I asked about sleeping at the pool and if he was ok, he mentioned he didn't sleep that great in the tiny bed last night.  So I didn't say anything but I think he can just read my face cause he immediately started getting clingy and kissy and asking why I didn't seem to be returning his kisses......I just said I needed a shower.

So I came on here to check while they took their turns showering and how he wants me to go have tea or wine on the dock.  I am going to go, but I don't know what to say when he asks why I freeze up over the sleeping.........and he will ask and so I guess I am avoiding........but he just called again so away I go.

If I made it sound like we are having a terrible time, we aren't.  The break has been great and we have 2 more days to go, BUT the sleeping oh the sleeping........I may never get it :(