Ep 7 - 10_10_19, 11.52 AM
5:40PM Nov 12, 2019
Lee Skallerup Bessette
Welcome to another episode of all the things ADHD.
ALL THE THINGS.
There we go. I am Lee Skallerup Bessette. And my co host is
All right, it worked that time we were having we've been having some technical difficulties. So here we are. So today and I think it's apropos or maybe it's always apropos because life is hard. Especially when you have ADHD. Today, we want to talk about exactly that. Just how challenging day to day life can be with ADHD and how just like seemingly ordinary mundane, quote unquote simple things can absolutely derail us in our days.
Yeah. So what's one of the things that you really struggle with Amy?
I struggle with maintaining enough kind of mental executive function capacity to deal with my home life after a day at work. It's just really hard for me to like, Come home in the afternoon, not sort of completely exhausted, and everybody looks at me and they're like, so what's for supper? Like? I'd hope no. Right? And then I have to figure out like, wait, what am I going to cook or, you know, who has to be where At what time? And do we have time to eat all together? Do we have to eat later? And then I just like hold it down and cry? Because it feels like too many things to kind of manage at 430 in the afternoon, I'm like, I'm done. I find that stuff really hard. Yeah,
yeah, I, for me, it's the sort of mundane To Do List tasks, right. Like just where we're, we're in the process of moving and I had a list of things to cancel you know, stuff to fill out to change our address and it just I just couldn't I couldn't even get started with it right? it you know they say pick one thing and I was like I pick none of the things
I don't want any of these things.
I don't want any of these things and yeah and again it's like. It's not even that I had to talk to me some of them I could have done online and even just that I was like go to you go to the Postal Service website and just put in a change address for like, all you have to do like I do that daily on Amazon and on shopping sites right. No problem with like, other things was like, Oh, I gotta change my address with the Postal Service nah I can't do that. And then when my credit card information Oh, no.
Feels like a lot
feels like a lot. It does
I feel like things go really well for a while. And then I just think suddenly remember, like in the hyperbole and a half web comic, right, you know, I can do all the things for like a week, that's like, to me and I have to cook like again tomorrow. But I, like, you know, work so hard to make home cooked meals all of last weekend, I paid all of the bills on time, last month, right and, and didn't I just like file all of the tax documents last year, like, I have to do it again? So like, both I think I have trouble with getting started on these tasks, because I don't like to do them. Right. And also, because I find that they're often sort of like, focused on precisely the types of details that I have difficulty managing, right? Like, you know, you need to find your employee number, like, Well, shit, I don't know, where's that? Like, I don't know, or we have to remember a password for a website you use once every six months and so like Yeah, I don't want to do it because the tasks are interesting and be the tasks that you feel stupid, right? Because they are asking me to sort of produce a little bits of detail that I never remember. Because I just know that when I start, I'm going to get angry. And then it just feels like Sisyphean because then you have to just do it again, the next time and I feel like I should get a medal because I just submitted, I would say, like, one year of medical receipts for reimbursement, but it's like, actually, two years because that's the maximum like you have to submit it by the end of the next calendar year or you can't. That's how infrequently I submit all of our medical receipts for reimbursement because every time I do it, it's so awful that I feel like I deserve a Caribbean vacation, a medal and possibly a parade and then I'm just outraged. That it has to be done again. And I sound incredibly windy and entitled when I say that, but like, believe me, I feel I deserve those things because it's that hard for me to get it done.
Well, and it really is. And this is this is actually pretty common with ADHD that have trouble getting started and things that we're not interested in. But it's also why we have trouble finishing things, right? Because we're our brains are wired for the new. Yeah, brains are wired for new we want new shiny things. We want stimulating things. We're looking for that stimulus. And so like, whenever I finished a task, and we found this and it's been it's served us well as academics is that you finish a task and you get to move on to something new. Right? Like, Oh, I got a new topic. I get a new subject. I get a new, but like these mundane things that you have to do every year. It's not new. There's no novelty, right?
No, there's no like every day. Every day. I have to have a shower every day. Do my hair. Every day I have to floss. And like, every day, I have to make like lunch for somebody and it was like our goggles. So boring. And I feel like because I so badly don't want to do these things that it requires a disproportionate amount of my willpower for the day of which I have like mountains, right. And like, I feel like I also don't want to like use it up on this because that's a stupid thing to use up all my spoons on. Right. So I'm like, so resentful, the same time that I am procrastinating and failing. So yeah. Awesome.
Yeah. For me, it's laundry. Hate and I mean, I do it and I kind of I kind of actually don't mind folding the laundry like there's something like soda. I can sit there and watch TV and do on but actually starting laundry.
And I just like I'm like, I hate you laundry. I hate you. And I like the laundry basket is empty for all of eight seconds because I'm done on Sunday night. As soon as I bring my laundry basket upstairs Sundays clothes go the laundry and I'm like, no,
it's never as.
WHY. WHY. Yeah, I hate every laundry.
you know, in the week, you know, we divided and a lot of these again, are, you know, a lot of these this is housework, right housework, the kind of third shift stuff. Yeah. Whereas I struggle with a lot of the mundane stuff at work too, right? It's like, Oh, I have to like net, I have to change my address at work. I don't want to change my address at work. Can't they just figure it out? Right. Oh, I've got a you know that there's certain things that even at work or I have to do these all jobs have mundane tasks, right. Yeah, you know, you're talking about filing the paperwork for medical expenses, but we also have to file the paperwork for travel reimbursement.
Oh, my God. That's like a whole other something. Yeah.
Yeah. So I mean, there there are some things that are common that are common even in our own in our own professional lives that though these are all professional jobs have some mundane tasks? Right? Yeah, of course. Like, and those I struggle with too. But it's interesting how in particular, we're talking about these kinds of, I don't even want to call them third shift jobs, but you know, Home Home jobs, right. The jobs on the home front that really seem to, to wait, and a way and to make things particularly challenging and it's just it's really interesting that that's what we've naturally gravitated to, to focus on to complain about. Right? Well, we could have easily complained about you know, again, privilege life of an academic filling out travel reimbursement forms or book orders. Have you ever done a book order on time?
Oh, my God, I don't think you saw my tweet the other day. I like got a book order in.
I'm gonna have a drink!
I got a book order in like, five weeks before the term starts, right. So it's normally like designing my syllabus two days before class starts like you get through the first two weeks with no books because like an order though yet, right? Yeah, make this look like a feature, not a bug. But I was like, Oh my god, I actually ordered my book. But I'm on sabbatical. So I'm not like grading everything from this semester. So maybe I just had like, a little bit left in the tank to try to be like, I'm going to order a book. But I'll tell you, I did order it when I got the like chiding email from Little bookstore, right? Yeah. Through our department coordinator. It was like this list of shame of all the professors who have not yet ordered books, right? It was not blind copied. We could all see who the who the losers were right. And nobody wants to be on that list. So it's like,
ah, I don't know. It seems that that also makes me feel better because I'm Oh, look, that's like 90% of the department. Okay.
We're all in this together, guys.
Right. we all struggle with with getting this stuff done. I mean, there's Yeah, there's a lot of people stuff. I mean, easy stuff. I say that because it seems to be easy for other people and I'm like really conscious of what I sound like when I say things like, you know, there's, there's too many forms I have to fill out, you know, to get this done. Because now I feel like I sound like one of those sort of classic entitled, sort of academics who's like, life of the mind. And Can't you just leave me alone with my big ideas? Like, why do I actually have to, you know, sign my contract that's beneath me, like, kind of thing, and I don't I've never wanted to be that person. And I don't like that person. But you know, my brain. My brain is like, be that person because like, I'm like, you could take all the emails out of my life and all of the kind of like, fiduciary aspects of paperwork and handing stuff in and that I would be happy, right? If I could just live the life of the mind. I mean, it would still have these crises around deadlines, but it would have Like death by literally 1000 paperwork cuts, right?
But I know those things have to get done because that's part of our sort of department or or unit citizenship in the academy is to like, get your grades in on time or like, you know, sign that permission slip for that student or like, fill out your grad students travel forum so they can get paid. I'm like, why?And I don't I don't like how I sound when I say those things. But at the same time, it really is very difficult for me to do them.
For me, it's been like, and this is no, I'm back on third shift again, but it's like, I I'm so inordinately mad at places that still don't let me pay online automatically.
Right. I went into my daughter. My daughter does ballet. It's a very small studio run by a wonderful elderly lady who's been doing this for years and she has a little little hand like a little pencil hand written you know ledger with everyone stuff in it and she only accepts checks.
Oh, yeah, that's like my karate guy. You're my daughter is karate you have to like write checks
Ask me if I've ever paid for ballet on time?
I don't have my checkbook on me or I'm like in a hurry. So I don't actually go in or I like forget to write it. So I went in, I went in because I knew I owed money for Nutcracker tickets, right? And she's like, and I'm like, oh, and I haven't paid for December. She's like, you haven't paid for November either. Like, really?
Oh, it's so stupid. I'm at that stage in my life and you are to where it's like I have the money to pay for stuff I do. There's no reason for like the electric company to send me a second. Notice about my Bill like honestly, I'm always surprised when I get it. I was like, What did I pay this right? I felt like I paid double last time but it was like double for like one bill behind right? It's like Yeah, right. Like don't cut off my electricity I have plenty of money I can pay this it's just like somehow I don't write again every month or like for karate I wrote like 10 post dated checks. Just please take them take them all because I can't like and the 10 post dated checks came in three weeks late like unless you want 10 checks individually three weeks late each just take them all because I failed. Right?
Well, I mean and even when I was in university, and we were in residence, and you could pay with your debit card, right because this was in Canada when the you had interac. No, no one knows. We had done we were able to pay by debit card way before everyone here in the States was able to but I was you could pay my debit card every month. Yeah, I'll be damned if I didn't if I was late every single month, right? Paying my frickin rent. Yeah. And only thing, you had your transcript. Right? Like, it wasn't even like that bad. You would just be like, you don't get your transcript. But at one semester, I finally just said, You know what, I just got my student loans. Just Just take the four months of rent. Yeah, right. Just Just take just take it. I can pay it all now because I don't want to have to
manage it. Yeah, I don't want to manage it. Yeah.
Yeah, I just ended another and I mean, when I moved out, of course, I we were we had roommates. And so it was, you know, one person paid the rent and then we paid the roommate.
And so you know, I had someone standing there going, Lee, you owe me your check. And I was like, Oh, yeah, here you go. Sorry. But like if it wasn't for, you know, my roommate tapping me on my shoulder and me like it's the first of the Mom, you know, again, just like, just like last month, it was like, a just paid. Yeah. And I feel like I literally felt like I was like that with ballet where I was like, swear I just wrote you a check. Yeah, come home and I ask my husband. Like, did I? He's like, no last one was October It was like, Ah, really? Really?
Yeah, that's me all the time to write this with. Like, I think I paid the piano. The piano teacher like I swear to God, I think has ADHD as well, because she always bills us three months late, and for like six months at a time, right? gives us two bills a year and then I was like, hey, my husband said to be like, Oh, I guess the the bill is going to come for piano again. I was like, Oh, crap. I didn't pay the bill from June. Oh, no. She never like hounded me about it either. Yeah, like, through an extra $20 I was like, oh my god. I'm so sorry. Like, yes. interest. I like what she's like, oh, I forgot
yeah no it's a same thing with the babysitter's basically I just ended up like, because I've had a couple of undergraduates come over, to help out with the kids to get them to their activities, and, you know, and that kind of stuff and just make sure they eat reasonably decent food before they leave. And finally, it was just, you know, and it's always a rush, right? It's always a rush when I get home and it's like, how much I so finally, Murray, my husband was just like, Well, how about our PayPal them? And I'm like, No, now we venMo. Yeah. I'm like, I don't know. It's what all the kids are doing.
But, but I had to tell the girls I said you have to bill him. Yeah, right. Like you have to find him. Or else it's just never gonna happen. It's never gonna happen. Yeah. And it's again, it's not like we don't have the money we have. Yeah, right. Like, and if we had cash, I'd be even easier but you know, no one has cash anymore.
No one has cash and like, I never even like When I need cash, I don't have it either. Oh, yeah, just what can I do the card? e-transfer you something? internet use some money? Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I think it's astonishing, like every sort of like online group of ADHD people I've been before, like, if it wasn't for auto pay, I would be living in a van down by the river. Right? Like, yeah, not for lack of money. Although, you know, many people with ADHD have sort of difficult employment histories and situations for various reasons. But like, even people who are like, I am a lawyer, and like, I never build my clients on time, because I forget, right? And I think people just don't understand that that's actually just really hard to do an edit, like, difficult to explain to people because it just seems like, like you're asking for someone to be your mom or your wife or your secretary, right, which is like, gendered and it's a power Move and it's yucky. Like, honestly, I would rather like walk over hot coals that be in charge of the bills, right? Like, I would do anything not have this.
And I mean, and I basically advocate I've it just caused so much stress and and part of me was like maybe I didn't have and chances are I do have issues around money. And so you end up with a chicken and egg situation right? Where do I have? Because you know, my husband and I had very similar upbringings in terms of our parents having or mothers in particular having financial struggles. Right. And we both have had very different reactions to it where he has no hang ups about it whatsoever.And I'm nothing but...I know right? How did that happened.
It totally is.
I mean it but But at a certain point at one point when we were first together I was I was paying the bills, and it would keep me awake at night. Yeah, right, like and is it on time? And so finally I just I had to tell him, I always say this is like the least feminist thing I've ever done, but it was like a solely self preservation self care move. I'm like, take care of all of it. Yeah, right. Like, just take care of it. Right? Tell me what my budget is. Tell me what I can spend. I will attempt to stay in it. Just like just pay them just Yeah, I don't I can't.
It was just it was it was too much. Right. And even then, even the stuff that I'm left with which like you know, the taking care of ballet just because I'm the one who's usually picking her up right? Or you know, take care of the babysitter's or whatever it is then even that is just like I can't I can't do this. I can't like This is, you know...and ge knows that about me, right? We're doing I do a lot of freelance stuff too and he reminds me it's like have you done? Have you invoice them yet? No. Yeah. Well, you need to Yes.
That's like you mentioned, it's the kind of thing that keeps you up at night. And I think that's something else that may be people with ADHD understand and people who don't sort of figure we're just, you know, irresponsible with money and carefree is not like that at all right? Like, you really want it to get done. And I want to be organized and on top of these things, and I want to order my textbooks on time, and it will keep me up at night. And somehow I still don't do it. Right. It's so hard. So
In part because you'reexhausted because you were up all night worrying about it, let's Be honest.
Yeah, yeah. And then it's like, so you sort of come across to others like this. Sort of like devil may care, you know, irresponsible, he'd be this type of just like running around, you know, buying lattes all day and, you know, never pay the electric bill, because I just don't care. But like, I really care, there's just like this, you know, like I always say to my husband, I've just so upset because there's, again, a mismatch between my intentions and my values, and my actions and their effects, right, like so. And so it's productive of like, both cognitive and emotional dissonance to not be able to get these easy things done, right. And we come across to people like, like these kind of like screw ups, who like don't understand the consequences of their actions. And you know, and I, but I don't I do understand the consequences of my actions. It's just somehow not able to change my actions right? as effectively as I want to.
And that's such a common ADHD thing again, it's like getting started, right, like, how do you start you just start Yeah, that doesn't make any sense. To me, yeah, right. How do you pay the bills? You just pay them? Yes. Pay them like yeah,
You know, that's what people say. And I try that. Yeah.
Yeah, it was doing it. Yeah. And I mean it's it's it or like again my you know, I get the threatening phone calls from the school about my kids having an overdrawn balance of their lunch money right yeah. Mom I'm like you just take $5 just go let's go and you write a check. I'm like no, just have cash just take the cash.
So this is a good place to stop. Apologies about the sound quality on my track. I thought I was being clever by recording in my kids room in the bunk bed. Because I thought it'd be soundproofed and instead it was just really muffled. So I've done the best I can with my rudimentary Garage Band skills, and I hope you enjoyed it in our next conversation. We are are going to get into things like gender identity and effective labor, as well as finally getting to some tips and tricks and what we do to manage the day to day lives of being ADHD and being productive. So remember, you can always email us at all the things ADHD gmail.com visit our website at all the things adhd.com and then of course on Twitter, reach out to us ready writing and did you on or use the hashtag all the things ADHD with that, have a great day and try to stay focused. bye