Adult ADHD Support
2,540 members694 posts

Scattered mind scattered life

Hi, I'm 28 and recently was diagnosed with inattentive ADD. For a lot of my teenage years and twenties my life has been chaotic. Anyway now I have an explanation for how I function and am ready to put in the work to address and manage it better.

One thing that i need to face is getting the 'simple' things in my life in order. Can anyone relate to always avoiding things like paperwork, bills etc until things become crisis-y? Logically I know i just need to sit down and sort things out but I feel ashamed about how impossible that is (has been) for me. Unpaid fines, overdue bills, school enrollments for my children, setting up direct debits, lodging tax returns...etc..

Can anyone relate to this and been able to overcome it? Anyone have any advice on how to face this pile of terror. Where do I start? What support could i look for? I don't really have family or friends close enough that I would be able to admit what a mess things are in. Has anyone hired a life coach, is that something they would help with?

Thank you for reading

25 Replies
oldestnewest

You said all that dysfunction so well! Geese, where to start? I have been on meds for almost 30 years and life is still a challenge. Get all the help you can. Be creative. A teenage kid to open and sort, even file all your mail 2x a month? Lose important papers? I have One box that all things important goes into. Mental Health? I have a case manager who helps me with things like lost phone numbers and forgotten Dr app and therapy appts. Get a life coach if you can and lol just want someone to Hate! This person will not be your friend. But. Just may be your salvation! Take care.

3 likes
Reply

Wow you sound just like my me. I'm so inattentive, that I'm not even sure how I've gotten this far in life. Lol I'm with you on the bills and mail(that continue to get stuffed in the mail bin) because dealing with them is "boring" or "I'll just do it later" but guess what, it gets late and it's time for bed. "I'll just deal with it in the morning. That's when I'll do it because it'll be a fresh day and it'll be the first thing I do". 🙄

I've gotten better actually because I just continue checking my bank accounts on my phone(on the app) because a month seems to go by soo quickly, that I don't wanna take a chance I missing a payment/getting a late fee. What also helps is downloading a "to-do list" app and make sure to add the widget to the main screen of your phone. It helps me a lot for times that I randomly think of something that needs to be done because I'll hurry up to the widget and add a quick note on what needs to be done. Because the lord knows I'll forget it in 10 seconds. I hope these tips helps with things. Hang in there! Cheers!

3 likes
Reply

I tried to download an app yesterday but forgot my new password before I could get from email to App Store. 10 seconds? Lol

5 likes
Reply

A good recommendation on passwords is to save your emails and passwords in a secret folder on your phone? That's what I've been doing and it's helped dramatically.

1 like
Reply

I save my passwords on my phone but they always seem to randomly disappear sometimes. It’s a convenient tool when it works though. The best thing I’ve found to help me with passwords was a little black password book I found at The Container Store....it’s so simple and it’s amazing. It’s already broken up into alphabetical tab divided sections and as long as I keep it near my desktop, I’ll use it and continue adding the ridiculous amount of website data we all are required to have these days.

I’m in real estate and I have piles of paper all over my place. For some reason it helps me to take the papers I know are trash and fold them in half the drop them on the ground. By the end of the day I just pick up the folded paper from the ground and put it in the recycling box without having to second guess whether I need to keep it or not.

2 likes
Reply

Oh my gosh!!!, I am a realtor as well and I do the same thing with the papers. So much paperwork and it piles up so quickly. I stopped printing so much , especially sheets to give to buyers when we are looking at homes. I can get on my phone now when in the homes and answer their questions. Less paper in my car and my offices. I give them a pre printed book that they can take with them of necessary paperwork and they can write notes in that and take pictures at the listings if they want. I just hired a licensed in my state virtual transaction coordinator last week because I get sucked into doing paperwork all day and don’t prospect so she is already showing me how much I have needed her for years. Amazing! Good luck.

1 like
Reply

So funny! I’ve had a contract coordinator since 2012 and I have no idea what I’d do without her. She just handles my contracts after they are escrowed until they close, and she’s not virtual. What all does your VA do for you? That sounds like something I might need.

Reply

That is so like me!! Haha omg

1 like
Reply

Also, beware, I call it life on the edge. Horrible and Scary but darn if I don’t keep finding myself there. I am bipolar as well as ADD. I think I like the little manic rush I get when I dance out there.

2 likes
Reply

I can't really relate on the bipolar part, but I do understand the want for a little manic rush. Even though I don't find myself there often, I do recall feeling confident and sharp whenever I do. It's odd to explain, really. I wish i could help more!

1 like
Reply

I’ve always been hyperactive as all hell, both with my thoughts and with my body. I was taking to my ADHD coach about this a few weeks ago. He’s ADHD too. My point to him was that I’m afraid of being so hyperactive in my 50s and his response to me was that he’s looking forward to it! I actually quite prefer that perspective. I was driving home from work tonight (I worked until midnight and running up and down the 5 story stairwell in the office every hour to get my energy out) and I was listening to house music thumping on my car stereo. I’m 34 and still as hyper now than I was when I was 14. I actually find it very joyous. I really don’t get depressed and I’m not bipolar but damned if I don’t bring the energy with me for those that need it!

Reply

How do you like using an ADHD coach? What types of things have they been helpful with? I’ve been seeing a therapist but I’m feeling like I may get more benefit from an ADHD coach.

Reply

I’ve always been hyperactive as all hell, both with my thoughts and with my body. I was taking to my ADHD coach about this a few weeks ago. He’s ADHD too. My point to him was that I’m afraid of being so hyperactive in my 50s and his response to me was that he’s looking forward to it! I actually quite prefer that perspective. I was driving home from work tonight (I worked until midnight and running up and down the 5 story stairwell in the office every hour to get my energy out) and I was listening to house music thumping on my car stereo. I’m 34 and still as hyper now than I was when I was 14. I actually find it very joyous. I really don’t get depressed and I’m not bipolar but damned if I don’t bring the energy with me for those that need it!

Reply

Automatic bill pay has saved me so much money in late fees. I can relate to everything you just said. Personally I can't afford a life coach but if you can, I think that would be very helpful to you.

3 likes
Reply

Yes, absolutely. I have every single bill on autopay, and I just make sure occasionally that we're not going over budget. I also never buy anything on impulse and for any purchase that isn't regular (groceries, gas, tuition) we make a point to first review accounts to make sure nothing will go awry.

1 like
Reply

Everything you said is VERY relatable! I looked and searched far and wide and unfortunately i came to the realisation that it's complicated.... many people swear by the effectiveness of checklist while others say it made things worse for them. For me, i found out the my problem isn't doing those tasks but only starting! i can take hours and sometimes days procrastinating but when/if i start nothing can stop me from finishing said task.

My advice would be just try, try anything and everything. checklist, rewards (for every task reward yourself with a small thing you really enjoy) and so on. I haven't fully figured it out but i can comfortably tell you that the more you understand how to control the challenging parts of ADD the more the advantages will shine!

Wish you all the best and good luck!

2 likes
Reply

Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply. I guess theres no easy answer. It makes me feel better that other people can relate. The one thing thats really resonated with me since reading a bunch of add stuff is that our brains are motivated by stuff that is interesting to us rather than stuff that's 'important' (found William Dodson's research/theories). It suddenly makes sense why important stuff that I am fully capable of doing always gets ignored until its super urgent. And it makes sense why I got through an entire degree not really 'learning' anything but getting good grades by smashing every assignment the night before or by cramming hours before an exam with my add 'hyperfocus'. I guess the answer is 'to do lists' and planning and calendar reminders and routines but ive always attempted and not been able to stick to them for more than like 2 days straight. At least acknowledging it is a first step right?

4 likes
Reply

I can really relate to that because my tendency is to pile things up, then have to look for them under stacks, so I hear your frustration and have been there. If you're a visual thinker, like me, you may have to put everything in front of you. My solution has been a corkboard with push pins. It's about 2 ft by 3 ft and I put bills paid and unpaid onto it using push pins. I put the date due outside the envelope and put paid on bills already paid. Well, I must admit, I keep the actual corkboard inside a closet, so it's accessible, but not in the way.

2 likes
Reply

All of that sounds great and very effective, EXCEPT for the part where you keep the corkboard INSIDE your closet. Out of sight, out of mind. I'd forget all about it. Well, I guess it all depends on what's in the closet and why I'd need to go in it? I'd most definitely have to put it on the outside of the closet. Lol because the system I have now of just stuffing all of my mail into the mail bin above my calender is NOT working. 🙄 I'll have to try your method dgs2018.

Cheers! 🤗

Reply

One thing: You don't have to feel ashamed, it's not really your fault. I just realized this yesterday after reading a number of works from Dr. Thomas Brown at Yale (http://www.brownadhdclinic.com/) According to his theory on how ADHD works, your brain basically looks in on one emotion and you can't change which emotion guides how you are viewing a task. I just had the guilt thing ruin a work project for me: I was late, and I had an email in my inbox from my co-author saying "Hey, what's up with the project?" I felt so guilty about not being done, I couldn't reply to the email because I felt I had to finish the project, but every time I tried to tackle the project I was overwhelmed by the guilt of it not being done that I fled to distract myself with wasting time online or with video games until I finally got the email "Well, looks like you don't care about it, so you're out." That hurt because I had put so many hours into the project but just couldn't finish it up, still, at least now I don't have that hanging over me.

So, if right now all you feel is guilt when considering that pile of papers and things left to do, then there's a good change your brain will just hijack that emotion and run with it.

I haven't figured out a really good strategy for getting around this, and apparently (according to Brown) people with ADHD are really bad at letting long term rewards or long term consequences guide their actions, so if you can figure out a way to get some immediate gratification or reward associated with getting some of those tasks done you might have some more success. Also, just acknowledging the emotion, recognizing it, and maybe stopping yourself from doing anything until you've processed through it might help. For example, RIGHT NOW set yourself about 5 alarms on your phone for a time that you know you will have about 30 minutes to get started on one of those things. When that alarm goes off, stop whatever you are doing, and just focus on the task you need to do. If you're feeling guilty, overwhelmed, or anything like that, stop, acknowledge the emotion, but don't flee to whatever coping distraction you usually go to. Make a very determinate plan to reward yourself for getting 30 minutes of work done on it (TV show, ice cream, whatever), set a timer, and work for 30 minutes while making sure whatever prescribed meds you've got are in your system.

Maybe that could help out, or at least be worth a try.

(sorry for the walls of text here, I'm trying to process stuff myself by writing ideas out, too)

Reply

I’m going to start a new thread with my response because it’s been sooooo helpful to me and don’t want people to miss it. I’ll call it “body double.”

Reply

Hi Lani,

I thought I had answered but unfortunately it did not work…

I can totally relate! I have learned not to expect too much. Break up things you have to do in small chunks. This way you won't get overwhelmed.

I am now trying out a big piece of paper with 'simple' chores on it, every time I manage I put a sticker on. It makes me smile and it is motivating.

Also: look at gamifying your life! Jessica from how to ADHD on YouTube explains this in one of her very good videos. For me Habitica (www.habitica.com) works very nicely. Just put in chores, you receive 'gold' and 'energy for every task you manage. You go up levels like in a game. Makes the most boring task into a quest :)

Reply

Hmmm

Ok maybe I feel a bit guilty for not posting anything.... I gotta email saying I haven’t posted anything .

So here is my second post.

I collect paperwork and have a ton of papers I need to go through... but my important part is billing.... I have the monthly bills all go on one of my credit cards. It has an app so I can monitor it consistently. Every Friday I make a payment on it so it doesn’t get out of control. I also use auto pay at my bank to pay my loan. I set these up years ago, except for the app which I downloaded last year.... helped me from not having anymore late payments.

Oh, impulse buying I only use cash.... if I don’t have the cash, I don’t make the purchase. And I never buy anything big with out sleeping on it for at least 2 days, and discussing it with my wife..... 2 days usually gets my brain to the point of “is it necessary?” With a bit of clarity and no the rush of desire... if it’s still yes then I talk with my wife.

Hope that helps someone

Reply

I would recommend the videos "How to Quickly Tackle Paper Clutter" and "Overwhelm Part 2: How to Fight the Paper Monster

" by the youtuber 'How to ADHD'

She has ADHD herself so she understands the struggle and she presents a solution broken down into easy steps.

Reply

My grandson is 24 homeless and life is upside down. I'm trying now to her him to start working with a phycologist to help him identify and start meds to help bring life into a fictional prespective. He thinks he is ok.

Reply

You may also like...