25 Days of Chaos: An ADHD Story

As a woman with ADHD, I do pretty well keeping things together most of the time. But that wasn’t always the case. 

When I was younger, I was trying to balance a full time job, a home, and 3 kids; two elementary schoolers and a toddler.

My sister-­in-­law and I had an arrangement for Christmas. She would host Christmas Eve dinner for the whole family and I was in charge of Christmas dinner for just my family and hers. 10 people all together. I really loved doing it because I love to cook.

One memorable Christmas Eve, as we were leaving my sister-­in-­laws (after midnight) she asked what time dinner would be the next day. I asked her to call me in the morning because in that moment I realized I had not gone grocery shopping in two weeks. 

There was no turkey with all of the trimmings thawing in my refrigerator; there wasn’t even milk, eggs, or bread. All of the grocery stores had already closed for the night, so my only option was to get up super early the next day.

I’m sure I rushed the kids through the present opening so that I could get to the store. 
Image courtesy of Mister GC at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I had no idea of what to buy, since a frozen turkey was not an option. There were no stores open Christmas morning except a drug store.

I actually went in, expecting a Christmas miracle there in the aisles of CVS: a wonderful Christmas feast, waiting just for me. 

Needless to say, I was let down.
Image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I had to go home and call my sister in law and ask her to bring her leftovers from the night before for dinner. The shame. 

I’ve never forgotten a Christmas dinner since then, but I still find the holidays overwhelming.

I do most of my shopping online because the mall is just too much. The glitter, the glam, the crowds and the music, the sheer volume of stuff overpowers me. I actually get dizzy. 

In general, I have found that keeping Christmas as simple as possible works best for me and my ADHD. 

My friends make fun of me, but I bought 2 artificial Christmas trees that are on the small side. I decorated them the first year I had them, and because they are small and light, we simply cover them with a sheet and take them to the basement when Christmas is over. 
Image courtesy of holohololand at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Decorate once and done.

I do the same decorations every year outside and inside, I have gradually been downsizing the amount of stuff I put out. 

My friend and I get together once or twice during the season and do all our gift wrapping together. It makes it more fun and less of a chore.

I keep social events to a minimum and have given up baking.

And if my ADHD kicks in and something goes off kilter... like the time I bought my daughter the same sweater twice or hid a present and couldn’t find it ­ well, then we all have a good laugh.

Joy is what the season is about. Try to find as much of it as you can.

Today's guest poster is Brenda Nicholson. She is an ADD Coach who writes at An ADD Woman and the ADD Expert at Answers.com. She has been a coach for 15 years and has been studying the subject of ADHD for almost 30 years.

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