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K - Keeping House with Mental Illness

In my previous post I talked about how my struggle with housekeeping really frustrates me. Even though during my worst moments I use it as a verbal assault against myself, I know it's not just laziness keeping me from succeeding.

My ADHD is the biggest culprit. I have a long list of things I want to do that never get done. And that's the key. I want to clean. I want to be one of those people who seem to make housekeeping a hobby. I want to live in an organized space. But my brain won't let me. I could stare at a sink full of dishes and scream at myself to clean them, but my body won't move. It's like my brain is in constant battle with itself.

Part of that battle is my perfectionism. This pairs quite nicely with my overwhelm. I am convinced that if I can't do something perfectly there's no point in even trying. If I can't clean all the dishes, why bother? And then it piles up and I get overwhelmed and don't know where to start. This applies to all aspects of housekeeping and eventually I don't even know which chore to tackle first. Then I make a list to try to put some order to the chaos, but the list is long and intimidating.

Sometimes I'm able to get some housework done, and this usually follows the cycles of my DID. Some alters are more able to do chores than others. That comes with its own problems. For example, Veronica gets sick of having to clean every time she's out. And for those who don't front very often, the last thing they want to do when they're actually out is chores. Sometimes I'll actually plan to get some things done, but then we switch and the alter who fronts has no interest in the plan.

It's a real problem when our depression hits. When we get depressed or extremely stressed, cleaning is the first thing to fall apart. Dishes and laundry get done as needed. All other chores go undone. Which makes things so much worse when we finally climb out of the depression hole.

All of this is exacerbated by our chronic fatigue. A lot of the time we really don't have the energy. I haven't been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, but the signs are there. Of course it could also be the burnout of living with ADHD and DID, working full time, and being a single mom. Whatever the cause, my body just can't keep up with the demands of reality. I have to push myself to do the absolute bare minimum, and it is so incredibly frustrating to get tired so easily all the time.

I am trying to learn to give myself grace. I try to remind myself that a little bit is better than none at all. Washing one round of dishes is better than none. One load of laundry is better than zero. Organizing my closet is better than doing nothing. Some of my headmates help too. When I'm really struggling one of the others will step in and clean if they're able to. Some of them regularly remind me of our limitations. A couple of us have more energy than others, and they try to take advantage of that when they front. Our therapist is alo really helpful. She's always pointing out all the things we deal with in life. It's easy for me to say we need to just suck it up; so it's nice when an outside source is validating my exhaustion.

The biggest step right now is to try to get on ADHD meds. We just have to remember to schedule the appointment. I really do suspect that our recent struggles are caused by ADHD burnout. When you spend all day battling your brain, of course you'll be exhausted. I'm really hoping that getting on the right meds will help with that. I suppose it remains to be seen.

All in all, housework is hard. And I know general outside perception would assume I'm just lazy. Sometimes I tell myself I'm just lazy. But I'm really not. I'm just constantly battling my own brain and body.


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