November 29, 2021


by: admin


Tags: Attacks, House, Meltdowns, Messy, Panic, Provoked, stress


Categories: adhd

My Messy Home Provoked Stress, Meltdowns, Panic Assaults

I’ve always been organized. Even before I had children, I had an aversion to clutter. I just find it hard to relax when there are things everywhere.

That means, of course, that I married someone who doesn’t care about clutter, doesn’t really care about clutter, and leaves clutter everywhere. Laure used to come in the door and toss her handbag on the couch, where half the contents regularly leak out, and then toss one flip-flop and the other across the room in wild arcs.

So when we had kids and the mess kept increasing, she usually shrugged. “Children make chaos,” she said. I was struggling to adjust now. If I wanted to sit on the couch, I had to move toys out of the way. If I wanted to drink my coffee in bed, I had to clear my bedside table of half-empty juice boxes and half-eaten snack bags. And when I went to bed at night, I had to clean up crumbs – unfortunately.

Now we have three teenagers and one preteen and a fairly long list of neurological diagnoses. The impact on my mood of living in a messy house with five messy roommates may have been hard to manage when I was working in an office, but we were all doomed when the quarantine began.

For months I became more and more irritable and uncomfortable. Going to the gym didn’t seem to have any effect, nor did the antidepressant I’ve been taking for years. Eventually, after a few weeks of daily breakouts, breakdowns, and panic attacks, I realized that I needed help. And I’ve reduced my options menu to three:

  1. Go to my GP about my antidepressant
  2. Go back to the office
  3. Find a therapist / counselor

[Get This Download: Your Free Guide for Controlling Clutter]

I made an appointment with my doctor and within two days I had an appointment. I told him about my three solutions and he agreed that they were all great ideas. Then he wrote out a prescription to double the daily dose of my current medication and we set up a 30-day appointment to discuss the result.

Then I contacted my company to return to the office. My current role as a trainer requires multiple zoom / video calls a day so I couldn’t work in a cubicle without disturbing my colleagues who were also in the office. So I took over an empty office and had a lot of fun decorating it with lamps and records.

Eventually I found an advisor who accepted my insurance and I have now had two sessions. I’m talking about being a husband and a father and work stress. We meet weekly, which is more money than I want to spend, but I’m making progress so I’ll be sticking to that schedule for now.

It has been three weeks since I put this plan into action and the results started almost immediately. The drug has improved my mood and stressors have less of a physiological effect on me. Being in the office all day means that I can concentrate more on work – and not on whether shoes are strewn all over the place or snacks are open and unattended in every room. Plus, when I get home at the end of the day I don’t seem to mind that the house is messy. I’ve been away all day and I guess I don’t want to berate the kids as soon as I walk through the door.

[Read: Making Peace With Your Clutter]

“You’re much more pleasant around you,” Laurie told me the other day. “We all felt we had to walk around you on eggshells, but you are completely different now.”

Yesterday was soccer Sunday and we usually have the TV on all day, even when nobody is really watching. I was watching a game when I noticed Laurie or one of the kids walk in and sit next to me on the couch, which hadn’t happened in a long time. It was then that I realized that I had either avoided them or they had avoided me for some time.

It didn’t matter that they were on their phones, nor did it annoy me when they bombarded me with questions, told me random stories about how they fell asleep in class, or sent me a meme on Instagram. It made me feel good that they wanted to be in the same room with me. And vice versa. So I leaned back in my chair after moving a pair of shoes out of the way. I then moved some rubble to one side of the coffee table to make room for my popcorn. I covered myself with one of the 10 blankets scattered around the room. And I breathed in and out deeply, enjoying my cozy, messy house.

Messy House: The Next Steps

Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider registering. Your readership and your support help make our content and reach possible. Thanks very much.

Save on computer


Don’t miss these tips!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.