Sunday, September 27, 2009

Let it go at what cost...?

I'm a little worried about my filing cabinet.

It was living in the living room. My pile of filing had gotten insane...I got it under control and figured out a new way to store it (VERY TIDY, even the boyfriend agreed) while it's waiting for me to file it (and have found friends who can help with getting my lil' bits and pieces put away).

But in a fit of further organization of our house, I suggested (and I don't know what I was thinking) that maybe the filing cabinet could go in the "man cave" aka the office. He agreed...but...and I know this is going to sound picky but...he picked the spot for it, and it's not exactly "visible" to me.

...this is becoming an old, tired refrain...if I don't see it, it doesn't exist. I know that's a crazy way to organize your life, especially if you're as busy as I am, I mean you can't just have PILES of reminders everywhere. I understand that...but because I'm so busy, I have a lot of "important papers". No, it's not just me neurotically hoarding papers for no good reason, it's my business filing papers, and insurance policies and my event permits, and my bank statements and such, my tax records...they really are important and I technically have two separate small businesses that perform very different functions. All of that loveliness lives in the filing cabinet, that's why I got the filing cabinet, to centralize them. It's also my first stop when my mail comes in, so that piles of mail don't form. I take the shreddable junk mail and dump it immediately into the shredding bin, and the important mail gets added to either my "to do" folder, or to the filing pile. Creating this system, in itself, was revolutionary for me (I formulated it for myself) and using it regularly has been a big achievement.

And I've blogged before about the stress that change in routine can cause me.

Now, instead of a source of reassurance, the filing cabinet is a source of worry because I won't see it regularly. I am going to have to now create reminders to myself to do my filing, which I didn't need to do before (if it wasn't getting done before, it was because I either didn't feel like it or didn't have time). At the risk of sounding melodramatic, even though I'm being very sincere, it's sort of like moving furniture around on a blind person (yes, I fully acknowledge that I made the suggestion, I'm just highlighting my regret at this clearly stupid decision). It would hamper that blind person's ability to function efficiently and safely in their world, and it would take longer than it would for a seeing person, for that person to find their way around again. Or how about this. Let's say you live in a snowglobe and all of the flakes have settled, and you may have even gone to the trouble of arranging them somehow. And someone picks up your snowglobe and shakes it...and then you have to sort all of those identical flakes all over again...

I don't know if this is going to be a good solution. I need to make sure to speak up early though it if IS a problem so that I don't get myself into a mess... another thing I have to remind myself of... The boyfriend is great, he really just doesn't understand some of these dilemmas that I have, because he doesn't have them so it's not a matter of uncaring on his part...but then sometimes will get irritated with me because he doesn't understand why something that seems logical to him backfires, and that is obviously stressful to me. And in this situation I know he's "trying to help"...the only reason I drag him into this post at all, truly, is that...and again, this is not his fault...I may have made the suggestion based on what I thought would please him...d'oh.

Doesn't THAT really make an ADHD girl want to kick herself in the ass.

I am trying to structure my life so that I need as few "reminders and notes" around as possible because even having reminders around, though they are necessary, can be stressful...and I go and pull this on myself. And to him it makes sense, so he agrees, unwittingly stepping into the trap I set for myself.

This is how ADHDers can begin to exhibit behaviors that looks like OCD. This is how someone like me comes to rely upon anxiety as a motivator. Doesn't it seem like in your own home, as long as things HAVE a system that doesn't inhibit others, that you should be able to map things in a way that minimizes your anxiety? The answer is yes, and I should not have pressured myself to conform to someone else's sense of logic, especially when they weren't even asking me to!

Okay. I'm going to think this over a little more (no, not obsess, just think) for a few days and see how I feel about it then (putting a little cushion of time between myself and the impulse to MOVE the cabinet back NOW)...and then figure out if it still needs to be addressed. If there's one thing I KNOW as an ADHDer, it's that it sometimes can be helpful to create a little space between impulse and action, even if it feels unnatural.


  1. Yep, same here, in some ways. My wife has often said that I must also have OCD in addition to whatever else I have. Yikes! So I looked it up and read about OCD. I showed it to her, and we both agree that OCD is a very serious mental illness by definition, so she's gonna have to come up with a different name. She chose "Your just a bit out of control with your fear of being out of control. Thats alot of letters, so OCD easier to say, if we say it in a humorous way.

  2. Well, of course OCD can co-exist with ADHD...but from what I understand it is fairly common for people wtih ADHD to exhibit behaviors that LOOK like OCD, because of exactly what you to control our "unique" lives. We are very aware of our forgetfulness and our special gift for forgetting things, so we become obsessive about stuff. And for many of us, because we are a bit non-linear, things can seem like they are out of control quite often! Which is pretty crazy-making. For me, obviously, this is true about my filing cabinet, but over my lifetime has popped up in other ways too. As a child, I was a ridiculous perfectionst, to the point of debilitating at times. As a young teen (right around when ADHD can get "worse" for girls) I had an obsessive-compulsive handwashing episode of about a year. And in high school I flirted with an eating disorder. I would eat just enough to keep people from asking me if I had an eating disorder, but got comfort from controlling my meals and leaving myself "hungry". I think there's about 5 different levels of "control" issue in that one! Haha...

    My parents are not big ogres or anything, they had certain expectations, but were not particularly strict (not at ALL actually), and allowed me to choose my own activities. If anything they are very SELF-critical so I probably absorbed a little bit of that from watching them. I was just a very intense child with ADHD and the only way I knew how to control those "out of control" things in my brain and in my life...was by being a perfectionist. I still struggle with this, obviously, but...I'm making progress :)

    I love your wife's description...that's a perfect description of me too. I am indeed a bit out of control with my fear of being out of control ;)

    I thought about this issue more after posting and realized...that filing cabinet means a lot of things to me. It is a reminder to me of many things that I have to take care of...I really rely on its presence to help me stay on track, not just as a storage device, but as I said already, as a reminder. Those kinds of reminders can be very reassuring.

    I still might move it, I'm not sure...but I DID finish my WHOLE 12 inch high piles of filing yesterday. It was stressful but it felt really good to get it done.

  3. Besides the teenage girl ADHD thing, I'm seeing alot of myself in the way you describe your life. I am now dealing with an eating disorder(I'm not sure it is a disorder, but my wife is worried about it)that started a few yr.s ago, after I lost weight to control my blood suger.

    I think it's great to weigh less than I have since I was 17. But she thinks I am too skinny, and knows I don't eat anything all day until about 8-9PM. But I do eat a full dinner, and can have some desert, and test my suger, and it stays good. So lately she bought me some nutrition bar things, and I will eat one during the day(when I remember..SHHHH don't tell).

    But what you said about obsesive behaviour..etc. I may be,or have been doing that with eating(not eating). I just don't want to ever be overweight again. I went 20+ yrs at 200lbs, which was 30lbs overweight. This morn. 153lbs, but I was just stepping out of shower, so I bet I'm closer to 160 with my clothes on. That's about normal for my height...give or take a few.

    But yes I am obsesive about it, I will admit that now. This is making me hungry talking about it, so I'm gonna go out to the shop and work on something..It's good exersize.

  4. Forget the shop, grab a snack kid ;)

  5. What shop? ;) Is it ok to eat leftovers with a lil bit of mold on em, if I scrape the mold off?