I’ve not written a post in two weeks for various reasons, and in this post I will address one of them.
As I’ve previously mentioned, we live in a house with one diagnosed ADHD person (my eldest), one undiagnosed but certainly ADHD person (myself), and one person who most likely has ADHD (my youngest). My brave husband is, as far as we know, mostly if not completely neurotypical.
Just in regular circumstances, we have to work decently hard at keeping the discipline to get things done in such a way that everyone can feel comfortable in our shared spaces. It’s a struggle on occasion to keep everyone on task: emotional dysregulation stemming from both ADHD and teenaging/pre-teening tend to get in the way when reminding folks of chores needing to be done and routines needing to be maintained. As for myself, I’m occasionally just effing bored with being a housekeeper, if I’m allowed to oversimplify for a moment (which I am; it’s my blog).
Added to this is the fact that a pretty prominent feature of ADHD is the absence of a filter for incoming (sensory) information (also for outgoing information) which makes processing in real time near impossible sometimes.
Now, no two people with ADHD are exactly the same, though there are certainly similarities in the ways ADHD expresses itself in people. In our house we have three distinctly different ways of dealing with what comes at us in a day. The eldest likes to either go inline skating or – more often – dive into their phone for entertainment or contained conversation with friends in various parts of the world. The youngest likes to jump around, hum, sing, talk (a lot), make noise and want to engage with his sibling, who is just looking to disengage for a while. Clash number one.
I just need to escape into a book or a movie, or do some physical exercise, or really engage in anything I need to focus on (focus is hard) without being interrupted by either directed remarks or questions, or a barrage of sound. Against a backdrop of vocal expression and arguments by the eldest that they need to not be disrupted by the youngest, that’s clash number two.
Now, all the above is just in regular circumstances. This past week, we’ve had extraordinary circumstances, because the only reasonably normal person (I use the term tongue-in-cheek because what the hell is normal?) is laid up and isolated with COVID. Leaving ADHD senior in charge of ADHD junior nos 1 and 2. The being in charge part isn’t the problem, that I can handle. I know what needs doing and I will get the essentials done, but having to manage the clash of the ADHDs on top of that has been a challenge for me because the overload is off the charts at the moment, and so I’ve found this week to be particularly challenging.
Keeping a handle on the household has been an, uhm, interesting exercise. Not because I can’t tidy up a space or do dishes or laundry, but because the junior ADHD (for both the preteen and the teen) also brings with it an enormous amount or unregulated chaos, since keeping organized is notoriously difficult for even well-regimented ADHD folks.
[Thought: there has to be a market for tidying shows like Marie Kondo and The Home Edit geared specifically to people with ADHD. Anyone?]
So I’ve been spending my time trying to figure out how to get a handle on things in the house while my husband recovers from COVID. For now, the only solution I can come up with is more discipline, and directing each of the kids towards their own spaces in which they can process their overload in their own way, away from the shared spaces.
To what extent is my solution realistic? No idea. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Wish me luck. 😏