I scored off the chart but task-forgetful wife is mild?!

I have always figured I have had mild ADHD. While working with a psychiatrist for other issues, he tested me for ADHD and I shockingly scored nearly off the chart. However, my wife who always leaves stuff in disarray, moves from one task to another without fully completing but eventually does, amongst other things, scored mildly. How can this be?!


Looking forward to furer evaluation and treatment plan on Wednesday.  Also enjoying Orlov's book On ADHD/Marriage. 

Same thing at my house...

I'm the ADDer and my DW is not. I am the organized one, but I think I became that way because I knew disorganization made my life miserable. My organization is about self preservation, my DW is a "Worrier", so she would rather move stuff from public areas and deal with them later, but then never does, so we have piles of "who know's what" to go through later. I prefer to hit the clutter where I see it, put it where it needs to go and move on. Sometimes this keeps me from my original task, so I have to use my improved "Time-Awareness", thanks Adderall, to try to stay organized and still get the #1 jobs done.

I believe that you are seeing is the WE ADDer's can really stay focused and sort of ignore the others things we cannot deal with at that time, while the NonADDer's see all the things they think we miss and try to "Over-Multitask" because they think we won't do these other things. I KNOW I used to be oblivious to many things that needed attention in the past, so I understand my Non-ADDer DW trying to take on Too much and failing in typical ADD fashion. Weird... I had not really thought about the reasons for her Disorganization until now.

Sherri, Aspen, Sue, Gardener... What do you guys think?

I'm not sure how related this

I'm not sure how related this is, but here goes:  My husband has ADHD and I don't.  Our house tends to be messy (TMS, aka Too Much Stuff!).  When the house is messy and I don't have time to deal with it, I sometimes get very stressed.  Then I express my frustration to my husband.  He offers to help.  I usually do not accept his offers.  That is because of memory issues.  If there are five piles of miscellaneous papers in our living room, there is a good chance that I will know in which pile the particular item I'm looking for is located.  If my husband picks up a pile to do something with it, he is likely to put it down somewhere else and forget where he put it.  Example:  He and our daughters were planning to go out to lunch.  I found a coupon for them.  I gave my husband the coupon book.  They then had to look for something else.  By the time they were ready to leave (five or 10 minutes later?), my husband did not know where the coupon book was.  After looking for half an hour, we gave up.  I can be overfocused on occasion, and this was one of those times:  I looked around for another half an hour.  I eventually found the coupon book, under a nearly empty box in my husband's closet.  

The point of this short story made long is that despite the appearance of our house (I'm responsible for the living room; it's often messy because it's the room where everyone dumps their things), I know where things are and my husband doesn't; I don't have ADHD and he does; these things all correlate. 

Sounds right to me...

Maybe my system is uncommon for an ADDer. Developed out of necessity, I have a place for everything, especially the important things like keys, my wallet, phone and laptop bag. If I were given a coupon to take my daughters to lunch, I would immediately either put it in my wallet, or under my keys. This is the best way I can keep from "Not using the coupon".

The living room example: Our living room / kitchen is a common area where we both try to keep it neat. Our "Dock" is at the end of the kitchen counter and there is a common drawer underneath (Junk Drawer). This is the "Common Pile"... If I get home first with the days mail, I go through the mail and immediately throw away the junk, ALL of it... Next I take out the bills and put them in my Bill to be paid folder, throwing away everything other than the sheet that says "who to pay/how much/when", anything to my DW gets set aside temporarily, then I go through the existing pile at "The Dock" using the same methods, leaving only stuff my wife needs to see/sort/do something with it. My sorting keeps the pile under control and none of the bills get lost (They used too when the pile would get moved) I pay what I have in my folder ;) I won't move anything my DW needs to look at, because I cannot determine what she might want to keep or not. She eventually grabs the pile and moves it. My DW does usually know sort of what each pile contains, but they sit around cluttering things up in a Non-Public area (Bedroom or closet) Drives me crazy... I'd go into my kitchen routine, but this post would go on for hours ;)

"(TMS, aka Too Much Stuff!)." - I am with you 100%! This makes a task for me over-whelming because I don't know what to do with all "The Stuff". If the rest of my family had a place for things clearly defined it would make things A LOT easier...

You have a great system and I

You have a great system and I wouldn't mind hearing about your kitchen system. 

I think sometimes that perhaps TMS in our society has contributed to what seems to be an increase in ADHD. 



Chaos in the kitchen drives me cRaZy... First of all I hate cleaning up the kitchen (Boring, and is never done), so... Fast = Less Pain and Suffering. If I'm cooking, I throw away and try to clean as much as possible while I am still cooking. As the meal is coming together I start putting the food into the containers the leftovers will be stored in, so I can wash the pots and pans and put them away before dinner is served. The pots and pans take up too much real estate in the dishwasher. For daily meals, paper plates are my fiends. In my world, when I take something to the kitchen that needs to be washed I rinse it clean of all food matter and put it in the dishwasher (If it is clean), otherwise the food free item goes neatly in the sink dish holder thingee. If time allowed, I would empty the clean dishes and put the dirty ones in the dishwasher. 

Very simple... Clean things immediately = LESS Work ;) If only the others would follow my lead... Let anything sit around and the food/liquids harder and/or get nasty. THEN the person cleaning up has to do 3X the work. When the person is me, I get a bit agitated ;) Because my methods don't make kitchen work nearly that difficult. 

All this being said, I cannot take credit for this system. I am just following what my mom had me do when I was a kid :)

I have a similar system in

I have a similar system in the kitchen but it sounds like you do a better job than I do, XYZ!  I seldom get to the pans before dinner, but I agree with the principle of CLEAN AS YOU GO.  My husband leaves ripped open packages and pouches everywhere as well as open cabinets and drawers everywhere.  He doesn't even see it.


I used to get irritated and sigh as I shut them, slam then so he'd hear me, call him in to show him the mess he's left.  Now I just view it as part of the price of loving my particular husband and close them with a smile.  Since I've relaxed about it, he has gotten a little better.   If he sees me shutting drawers/cupboards he will rush in to help and we'll share a laugh about how I can follow exactly what he made in the kitchen by what is left open.


The fact that we both cook and load/empty the dishwasher means utensil drawesrs aren't as neat as I would like and usually he doesn't follow the categories the way I do....ie second drawer down is for all types of spoons and baking supplies like measuring items, third drawer is misc kitchen items....graters, zesters, tongs, and 4th drawer down is all the grilling items.  He remembers that the top drawer is silverware and even puts the right item into the right slot, so I have decided that is "good enough" for me.


I used to be REALLY bad about the "Almost Closed" doors, drawers and cabinets ;) The other thing was me letting the cabinet doors Slam shut... It drove my wife cRaZy. I'm sure there are things I don't put in the exact right spot and I'm sure I don't put all the pillows in the correct place on the bed, but I do make an effort. It's never 50/50 but we both work pretty hard to get things done.

We have the more typical

We have the more typical ADDer/non dynamic at work, I guess.  I am the wife and the non and the organized one.  I do the same as XYZ's wife in putting things out of the public areas to deal with later if we have surprise company coming, but I get to it fairly rapidly.


My husband has ADD and is fairly oblivious to *stuff* regardless of where it is located.  He used to kinda walk out of his shoes and just leave them lying in the path to the front door or in other doorways.......I sorta get the front door thing, but other doorways still makes me go !?!?!?  But he was cured of that habit fairly permanently because I had a broken foot (broke 2 weeks before we were leaving for a month in Europe :(  ) and we were trying to avoid surgery which was to be scheduled the 2 days before our flight and I tripped over his shoes and almost fell down.   He about had a heart attack and his shoes have never been left in any doorway except for our front door since (this happened 5 years ago) and even at the front door he tends to move them to the side and out of the way--although he almost never puts them in the shoe cubby sitting right next to the front door for just that purpose.....oh well.


My point is at least for my husband the only time he notices *stuff* is with a very good reason......he almost hurt me by being careless before, or we are cleaning for company, or he wants to straighten things up before I get home which he claims he does by walking into the room and asking aloud what I would consider out of place and putting things away one item at a time until it is clean--I mean whatever works right?  But what a time wasting exercise....glad I am never around to see it :)

Three separate things

I have always thought of organized, tidy and clean as three separate states of being.  You are organized -- regardless of how things "look" -- if you can lay hands on things, whatever they might be, when you need to, and you know when you need to.  Take bills, for example:  if your bills are late because you forget to pay them or you can't find them, you are not organized.  My work requires what are usually called strong organizational skills, and because I work with others, organization requires things be done in the same way every time, be kept in the same place all the time, and be frequently verified.  My ADD guy, on the other hand, works in a more "creative" field, and mostly independently.  He can have piles, scraps of paper, things in the home office, the work office, the vehicle, on his dresser, but if he gets the job done on time, and done well, he is organized, even if "looks" disorganized to me.  When someone asks me for something at work, I open the appropriate drawer, select the appropriate file, and withdraw the appropriate document.  When someone asks my ADD guy for something, he stares off into space for a bit, whirls in his chair a bit, then lifts up one-third of pile A and withdraws the appropriate document.  These two different styles of "organized" tend to make the other party... insane.  But look to the results, not the method.

Tidy can be defined as does it appear that things are where they are supposed to be?  Notice I said "appear".  You can definitely be "tidy" and "not organized".  These folks are the hide it for now, take care of it later adherents.  I think the "appearance" has more value to them than the "results".  In the business of life, the organized-but-not-tidy folks probably get in less trouble over the long run than the tidy-but-not-organized folks.... because organized focuses on getting things done, and tidy focuses on how things look, and the bank doesn't tend to care if you have dirty dishes so long as you pay the mortgage.   If you have Too Much Stuff, tidy is actually not possible.  More storage doesn't solve, more clever storage doesn't solve it, a pole barn out back doesn't solve it.  You will just FILL IT UP.  I finally understand, after learning about ADD, why my guy is not tidy.  When he no longer needs something in his hand, he "forgets" it exists.  It falls from his hand onto whatever surface is nearby, and it is gone from his consciousness forever.  If I find a part of something, or a bit of packaging, or a scrap of paper and ask him about it, he looks at in wonder like he's never seen it before, or even like he's been loosing sleeping since it "vanished".  "Wow," he'll say.  "Where did you find this?"  Me:  on the dining room table.  Then he will take it from my hand, say thanks and carefully place it on whatever surface is nearby.  Insert screaming here.  My guy can spend 12 hours organizing and cleaning his workshop, but I do believe he will never be "tidy".  His computer files?  Organized to the nth degree.  But the nifty thing about computer files?  You can't put them on the dining room table!!! 

To me, a tidy environment calms my mind -- I can't stand all the "stimulation" of crap sitting every where, noisily begging to be put away!  To my ADD guy, well it's pretty well established ADDers like and need stimulation... a clean empty room probably feels "lifeless".  Plus, with the short-term memory thing, when he sees "stuff" sitting somewhere, he forgets about it the moment his eyes land somewhere else.

Clean, well you know what that is.  Are the piles of mail sitting on a table free of dust?  Are the shoes in the hallway sitting on a carpet that was recently vacuumed?  Is the bathroom counter that is covered with bottles, brushes and appliances free of soap rings, hair balls and beard trimmings?  It is really, really hard to ever get to clean if you have to wade through all the untidy first.    I have always said I wouldn't mind doing all the cleaning if I didn't have to first deal with all my guy's "stuff" -- which I have no idea what to do with anyway.  I spend most of my house cleaning time putting away shoes, empty pop cans, closing cupboard doors, moving dishes from the counter above the dishwasher TO the dishwasher, throwing away empty envelopes, packaging material, used tissues, putting laundry down the chute, returning tools to the garage, and asking "what is this?" or "Is this important?" 

Most people, whether ADD or not, have areas of their life where they are organized, and where they are not.  Areas where they are tidy, and again not.  Etc.  In my office at work, the only thing visible is the project I am currently working on.  The trunk of my car.  OMG.  Don't look.  People just need to honestly assess if their approach WORKS and if it doesn't, change it.  And if you have a mate whose approach drives you crazy, you need to let it go if they are getting things done.  Unfortunately, many folks are not honest about whether or not it's working.  This should apply no matter who has ADD.