need some kind words to reassure against time/task management overwhelm

Hey everyone,

Just looking for a bit of support.  I feel like I am barely treading water and am looking for hope.  There is WAY TOO MUCH going on in my life and I don't know how I will manage it all.  Just some kind words & reassurance from those who have been through this.  I've had good periods before but am going through a bad one.

I am at the start of a new phase of life:

  • just moved to a new city in a foreign country 2mos ago
  • my wedding is happening, overseas, in 3 months (thank God we hired a planner)
  • just started a new internship (in a foreign language) working full-time
  • still trying to get our apartment in order (we don't have shelves or closets yet and have been here for 2 months)
  • want to get on top of the ADD 
  • just started new meds w/a local doctor (ADD specialist, but he is on the other side of town and only open during office hrs so I have to take 3hrs off from work every 4th Monday to go see him)
  • trying to find a couple of friend groups over here, including an ADD self-help group, and trying to get exercise back into my life, so going out 1-2 evenings a week (and giving the DH some blessed non-chaotic time at home)

I am trying to get on top of the ADD.  I am reading Ari Tuckman's workbook, looking for some kind of CBT and/or psychotherapist who a) knows ADD and b) possibly speaks some English and c) maybe can do some couples work with the DH involved.  I am trying to always make schedules which I just know I will break.  I am so frustrated at my inability to schedule, to follow my own plans, to listen to what my DH says he wants to do without forgetting & suggesting something else 20 seconds later, and to not get anything done at work day after day because I spend my whole day doing wedding stuff, looking up ADD stuff, or writing emails (e.g. hi friend, do you think you can come to the wedding).  I spend my mornings coming up with fun ideas which only irritate my DH, who just wanted to have a quiet morning after a LONG day at work yesterday and not think about adding anything else to our schedule.  On Sunday he talked about making a master list of everything that needed to get done wedding-wise and guess what, it's Thursday and we still haven't made that list.  Nor a meal plan for the week, nor a schedule, nor nothing, and we've floundered through more than half the week now.  

I listened to a webinar on overwhelm a couple weeks ago which suggested doing a brain dump then just focusing on what I have to do for the next hour.  But I don't WANT to stop thinking about these things because I know I'll just lose the paper the brain dump is written on, not do anything about what I've written down, not finish the tasks I was supposed to wrap up 2 hrs ago, etc, etc, etc.  I will just end up failing again.


People are always saying it takes us more time to do things, well, where do you get that extra time?  Stay up late to do stuff, not get enough sleep, and then feel worse the next day?  But all the books say to make sleep a #1 priority because getting enough sleep decreases symptoms.  It does for me.  So what do you do?  Work fewer hours in the day?  Earn less money?  Skip out on time with your spouse?  Skip dinner?  Skip the ADD support group?  Skip the concert Friday night which you were looking forward to and might help you relax?  


In my panicked motivation I am thinking of buying a Franklin planner (as suggested to me in another thread) and signing up for Laura Rowlands' time management course before the discount ends tomorrow but am pretty convinced I will just lose enthusiasm & fail at both of those too.  I can't talk to my DH about it until work hours are over because he is blessed with the ability to concentrate on work when he tells himself to, even when he has big emotions going on.  I feel like a sailboat blown around wherever my emotions lead while he is a steamboat, able to work despite what he's feeling, and put away whatever he needs to for the evening and pull it right back out of its drawer at the appropriate time.


Oh and meanwhile my mom (the ADDer too) has apparently been suggesting to my friends that DH and I have extra frequent flyer miles that we can give to, like, anyone who would have a hard time getting to the wedding.  Which is not the case - every mile we have has a purpose.  We are splitting wedding costs 3 ways (us, his parents, my parents) and don't want to go around giving extra money to anyone who asks.  So I have to respond to a friend's facebook message that no, we can't help her, and tell my mom to cut it the heck out with this promising-our-stuff-to-others-behind-our-backs.  And add on to that, both my grandparents are in bad health & my grandpa has gotten much worse in the past couple days.  And these are my mom's parents, and in this difficult time I have to scold her.


I can't breathe; can you guys help?!?

llc's picture

I'm sad no one has commented

I'm sad no one has commented on your post, but as I am learning, despite the title of the site, I dont think this site is actually geared to people with adhd. It mainly focuses on the spouses/partners of people with ADHD, and most are at the end of their rope. I am newly diagnosed and so I don't have Any advice, but I wanted to say hang in there and if you find a site that is more supportive of people with the disorder, come back and let me know! ;)

Hi Frankcesca!

Wow - ANYBODY would be overwhelmed with your situation. That is A LOT going on.

I'm the ADD wife also, and I am going through overwhelm myself... but I want to just say also hang in there.

As for the wedding, try not to let people walk on you and drain your finances. After all, a wedding is a celebration. A party. That's it. The ceremony and/or legal bond is what matters, but everyone these days gets caught up in the 'after-party.' If you cannot afford to fly people to your wedding, (like most people!) be honest about it. Say, "I would really love it if I had enough miles to fly you to my wedding, but we just don't." Don't apologize - you haven't promised anything and you don't need to scold your mom: just set the record straight and tell her your miles are already allocated.

You never know: Some people who are invited to weddings really would rather NOT go, but don't want to say so. You could even be letting people off the hook by telling them you can't help them get there.

As for all the classes and seminars - I would hold off. I think you're right. If you dive into a bunch of things you will get overwhelmed and lose steam, no matter how badly you want to get organized.  I'm right there with ya sister!

And speaking of how sleep decreases symptoms, i'd better get off the computer!



Thanks, Ella.... I was glad to finally hear a response.  I know we're all doing our best - guess I was just looking for a couple of people to remind me to see the positives right now, to calm down, and to think more about the good things than the bad.

It gets crazier!  On April 2, I was laid off.  My DH found another job and quit his current one (at the same place I had my internship).  I only got my internship because DH's employer said they could "figure something out for me" - so after he gave his notice, I was let go the first day of the new week.  I thought, this could be a blessing in disguise - 2 months free to focus on planning for the wedding.  That same night, DH's cousin got me an interview for another internship on Thursday (we're at April 4 now), who wanted me to start Monday the 8.  I took a week off to regroup, then started a new internship, and DH started his new job, on April 15.  We are commuting by bike to different places, everything is much more spontaneous at the new place, and I stay later because I am dealing with night-owl artists.  More suited to my natural style, maybe, but also throwing me waaayyyy off my groove.

I had my first wedding nightmare last night.  At first everything was just amazingly wonderful, all these little unexpected details were popping up everywhere, but then I was in my dress ready to go and had missed getting a ride with any of the guests or bridal party.  I was trying to hitch a ride with guests of another wedding who were staying at the same hotel but not going to the same venue.  Cut to a scene in a water-aerobics class (what?!) the day before the wedding, where the instructor stopped the class, told me the director of our venue thought the wedding was going on today, and I better get ready cause it's going down in a few hours!  So I climbed out of the pool to an excited chorus of "Bye!"  And then I dreamed I saw my groom the day of the wedding and everything was just so messed up.  

We only have 2/3 of our expected number of guests coming, and DH thinks our friends all bowed out 'cause they thought it would be so big that they wouldn't be missed.  So now we have 60 of my parents' friends, neighbors and family (who are local, settled, have savings, an older generation); 8 of DH's family (who have a far trip to make); about 18 of his friends and 13 of mine (many of whom are still students/interns/just starting out in jobs, living in Ireland/Ghana/Australia/Canada/South Africa/Germany/China/Switzerland/you get the picture).  And I'm always stuck in the middle between practical, linear DH and ADD mom who takes the fork in the road (or finds some fourth option we never knew existed) and makes excuses/explanations 2 months later.  And since I talk to DH every day and Mom only once a week or so, I have lost the ability to see the charm in Mom's ADD traits and have just started getting resentful towards her, which she has of course picked up on and which SUCKS.

If there's one thing wedding planning with my mom has taught me, it's to see ADD from the non-adder's perspective!  I have been making the very same discoveries (complaints) about her that all the spouses on this forum are bringing up time after time.  And it's only through that perspective that I am seeing just how much it gets under my DH's skin.  But that doesn't mean I'll be able to change myself, of course - hopeless.  


We've only got 31 more days to go.  But I still don't want to be crying every one of those days because DH is stressed, Mom is feeling that I've shut her out of my life, our planner is insulted that we actually want to stay within our budget (or UNDER, since we're having 50 less guests than budgeted for - a full THIRD of the estimated number has disappeared in the mist), I haven't gotten my arms in shape like I wanted to, my maid of honor might not have booked her flights yet from Australia (and would be the THIRD bridesmaid not to be able to come and leave me with ONE bridesmaid instead of FOUR), another cousin is offended we didn't send them an invite, someone else can't come, or whatever.  I am thisclose to checking out and just emailing everyone that the whole damn thing is cancelled.  


Somebody gimme a smile and a "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming," cause no matter how loud I tell it to myself it isn't getting through.

There is a reason people elope!

Wow you sure have a lot of life's top stressors going on right now.  Good job getting a new internship. Try to keep up the good management habits the best you can. Managing stress will be very important over the next month. Remember the wedding is for you and DH, not for all the others. Remind yourself why you are getting married when the crazy gets to you. Sleep. Good luck.

thank you!

just what the doctor ordered.  whew. 

Hang in there...

Yes, you must remember that you're not getting married simply to throw a party for your friends and family. It's YOUR day. Now, of course you don't want to be Bridezilla and make everyone miserable, but you can't go broke or put yourself in awkward or painful positions simply because someone's nose is out of joint or someone is offended by something you did/didn't do.

So many people feel insane pressure to have a perfect wedding and they let opinions of invited guests carry way too much weight. you have to stand your ground. When I got married, DH and I really didn't want anything huge or expensive, but my dad really wanted to have a big party and show off for his coworkers (none of whom he even liked and I'm sure he couldn't even recall a single name of any of them).  He was being really pushy about the seating arrangement and had wanted to put his 'important' work colleagues at the head table and kick out DH's family. DH simply took the name tags on the seating chart and put them back where we'd had them and said, "This is the way it has to be." Surprisingly, my dad backed down. I think if it'd been me he would've just bulldozed over anything I said (we are both ADD - although he's got the H in there with ODD symptoms as well and is neither diagnosed nor medicated).

The trouble with friends and family scattered all over the globe is that it's really inconvenient to gather everyone together. There will never be a perfect date when everyone can be there. You can't sweat it if people don't show up or even if they'd like to but just really don't want to make the trip. One bridesmaid instead of four? Meh. Who cares?? I had two - my two sisters-in-law and I told them to wear whatever they wanted, as long as the colors looked ok when the were standing together. I didn't ask my friends, because like yours, my friends would have to travel and I wasn't sure who would be able to make it and I didn't want to put pressure on people if they didn't want to come or couldn't afford it.

As for only having 2/3 of your guest list... Isn't that exactly the percentage one is supposed to expect?  I seem to remember that from one of my wedding planning magazines way back when...

Remember that it is a day. Just like any other day. Yes it's a day that's very expensive and lots of things are planned, but it is a day on planet earth where humans are involved and little things might go awry (you might trip, the flower girl might pick her nose on the video...) you can't prevent any of that. you have to just enjoy the day and focus on what you're there for. The marriage shouldn't start with a big fight about the wedding!

Nah, I meant 2/3 of the

Nah, I meant 2/3 of the numbers we did expect to come will actually be coming - with 231 invites we expected 150 guests but are having 100 (43% of our invited number).  Everyone who's there will be wishing us the best, but... damn, I wish more than a third of the guests were our age.  I wish there were more than 20 people my DH will actually know.  I wish my college friends weren't all having grad school finals and not able to afford the trip and all that crap.  It’s awesome to have friends all over the world for going on vacation, wherever you go you know someone you can crash with – but it sucks for planning a unified event like a wedding.

Eloping would have been easier… but we didn't want to.  So would organizing something locally – had we but known we’d be moving soon.  When we planned the thing, we were living in Ghana.  Imagine how few people would have schlepped over there – and then subtract DH’s parents, who can’t deal with hot climates.

We decided on this wedding happening in the US while we planned it from Africa, not realizing we'd be moving to DH's home country 6 months before the wedding date.  If we'd known, you can bet we would have put something together here in Berlin instead.  And now we're thinking we might have some little event here that more European friends can come to.

I was getting excited about the whole thing, finally (after 1 year of just trying to mediate between my ADD spontaneous “I just got an idea that was more exciting than the plan, so I just did it” mom and my practical linear “why isn’t she doing what she said she would do” fiancé), until I remembered just how few of our friends are coming after all – especially the ones who aren’t coming and live in the US!  It just sucks that so few of our friends will be able to celebrate with us.  Say it with me, folks - it just sucks.

Well, it’ll all be coming together this month.  I am so looking forward to the void of stress that will follow, after the thank-you notes are written and the gifts are all shipped to Europe and we have some time to actually decorate our apartment.  Oh, and I am looking forward to the celebrations too!!  Now we just have to pray that the snow melts and the trees get some leaves.  Colorado, always unpredictable...

I can relate to your

I can relate to your disappointment.  My daughter just graduated from college, and only four family members (me, my husband, my other daughter, and my niece) attended graduation.  The college is 2000 miles from home.  I didn't expect my elderly mom to go, but some other family members initially indicated they'd like to go and then backed out (including one who said he couldn't go for financial reasons and then told me, the next day, that he and his wife are planning a big trip for the summer).  All I can say is to make the best of whatever happens and whoever comes.  And congratulations!!!

definitely the same boat!

We are in the same boat for sure, Rosered.  We also had people say they'd come then back out - as late as 2 weeks ago (a month before the event).... because they are only going to have one chance to take a road trip to Alaska, and they're coming back from that after the wedding, instead of before like they expected.  It's a bummer.  My maid of honor finally bought her plane ticket from Australia last week, which was a huge relief.  

We will make the best of who is there and what happens.  I'm just worried I have some kind of invisible expectations that won't be fulfilled and I won't know until the wedding is over, that I really wished XYZ would have happened or something.  I don't know if this is part of ADD or not, but I basically can't make decisions on the spot - I can react, sure, but I don't really make up my opinion about something until long after it's over.  I had a hair trial last month and told the stylist it was fine until the next week when I figured out how I would have preferred it to go.  It's really a disadvantage.  Luckily with the hair stylist I got an appointment a few days before the wedding to try it out again, but I'm not exactly going to go out looking for a do-over on my wedding!!

It's about learning to accept what is there, rather than worry or wonder about what isn't.  Now let's just hope that gets through to my subconscious in time to enjoy everything!

And thanks for the congrats!!  :)


My wife did a wedding for her first marriage, but we ended up just going to the courthouse with no family. I have nothing against weddings, but that didn't seem at all unsatisfactory to us. I was recently the best man in my good friends wedding and it was wonderful, but the stress people put themselves through to make these events happen is staggering. His wife is also a good friend of mine, and I saw the emotional capital she expended on that event. Now that my wife and I are in a more robust financial position I think we may plan our honeymoon a few years late. It seems like the pinnacle of tragic irony to have the celebration of a union be a major threat to that union. Then again, the discord is likely coming from deeper issues, and the wedding could serve as a warning.