This blog is a stream of conciousness from my head to the keyboard to the screen. There will be talk of random subjects. If you have delicate eyes, proceed with caution. I like to talk about controversial subjects and sex a lot. So, take heed my friends. This is not a blog for debate, but for love and sharing. If your views do not match my own, love to you, but don't bring the rest of us down. That's all I'm saying.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Labeling of it All

OCD, depression, ADHD
Social Anxiety Disorder, Depression, OCD
Significant Anxiety and OCD, Inattentive ADHD
Suspected: Significant Anxiety and OCD, Combination ADHD

These are the members of my immediate family according to the DSM V. Counselors, doctors, neurologists, teachers, and family members have all confirmed this information. What does it mean? Does it mean anything? What does it look like? How does it affect our lives?

It's just a bunch of labels. But, it's all true and it is significant in our lives.

I will clarify the meaning of these letters quickly for anyone not familiar: ADHD=Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, OCD=Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Inattentive ADHD=Not the kid running around the room, they just can't pay attention and concentrate, Combination ADHD=The kid who can't pay attention and concentrate and is also running around the room, Social Anxiety Disorder=Fear of engaging with people, even people they are very familiar with.

What do I do with this? For a long time I ignored it. I didn't think it was making that big of an impact in our lives or was noticeable to outsiders. Sure, I have been in and out of counseling since college and I've been on medication for a very long time. This is true for a lot of people. How was I different?

I was different because there were times that my house got to the point of being barely livable due to the dishes piled up, the stacks of laundry, toys and things everywhere, dirty bathrooms, sheets that hadn't been changed in months, kids having meltdowns on a daily basis, and a husband who would prefer to stay at work than come home. Not because he didn't want to be with us, but because it was such chaos and clutter and confusion it was awful to be part of.

There were times that I wanted it to be/feel different, but I was stuck. It was so hard to fix what was going on with my home and family, so I started to help fix things elsewhere. I'd help my mom organize. I'd volunteer places. I was the one willing to run errands for people. All of this got me out of my house so that I didn't have to look at it or think about it.

I was overwhelmed. I couldn't get started. I felt like the person who weighed 600 lbs., lost 300 lbs., and was still morbidly obese. I would clean one room, even two, just to have the stuff from other rooms spill into the clean areas, and I would give up again.

Meanwhile, things were getting more difficult at school for my big girl. This year has been significantly better. Part of the problem, a big part, was the teacher from last year. This is not be being a protective parent, she is no longer at the school. It was the teacher. However, I am grateful. Seeing my child struggling kicked me into gear.

I decided to quit my teaching job. That environment was poison to me. It was not like the other teaching jobs I had. I did not wake up ready for the day and excited. I woke up dreading having to go. I knew quitting that job would make me stronger and then my job could be my family, my home, our issues, our needs. I knew I needed to quit fixing outside things so that I could fix what was right in front of me, what the actual root of the problems were.

It has been 8 months since all of this has come about. Change is difficult. New routines are difficult for me and for the rest of my family (remember the OCD part). My house is now more often clean than not. Laundry is done weekly. Bathrooms are cleaned weekly, or more often. Floors are swept and things are dusted weekly. Bed sheets are changed every other week (I'm still working on getting this to weekly), dishes are done on most days, but are never more then 2 days behind. The girls have clipboards with morning, afternoon, and evening routines on them. They will follow them with reminders. The girls are getting to school on time since I am getting out of bed on time. We are not missing meetings or outings because I am keeping, and referring to, a calendar.

All these things are items that most people do. I am starting to do them, too. I still have rough spots. There are still days that I struggle to get out of bed or off the couch. I still hate answering or talking on the phone. I get impatient with my children only to realize that I am not providing the structure they need. And it's ok. I know it is not the end of the world. If my house things do not get done for a day or two, I can catch up because it has not been weeks or months since I did those chores last. The phone is a good and friendly item. People are calling to talk, not yell at me. And kids are resilient. They roll with things and forgive me for not always doing what I know is right. I can always try again.

So, these labels do mean something. They mean that I have to be diligent, without distractions, to get to where I need to be. I need to focus on my family to help them focus. My family deserves my attention and I deserve my wonderful family.

I know there are so many other people out there who struggle. I want to tell them: You are awesome. You can make any changes you need. There is help. There are people ready to support and love you. You can do it!

I am awesome. I can make any changes that I need. I can access help. There are lots of people who love and support me. I can do it!


  1. Since I have a stay-at-home dad (well, part time) for a husband, I think I have an objective take on house work- and it's depressing. I know this might seem like a such a small recommendation- and I used to think it was wrong to pay someone to come clean your own house- but I've been convinced its a decent job and *worth every penny* to the momma who gets the help.
    People might scoff and say getting your house in order is the key to getting anything else set right, but I just don't believe any evidence bears this out (to me it seems to be: your life or your house?). On the other hand, one resource I love (and think shows how oppressive housework is) is fly lady? If you've found her online? She gives homemakers a task a day- mixing it up week by week. It brings a plan to a project that can just be too big to start fresh on every single day (hour?) after day (hour?)

  2. The Fly Lady is awesome!!! She was my inspiration to do small amounts everyday and not beat myself up over not getting as far as I wanted to in a given time frame.

    I think paying someone to clean the house is fantastic!!! If it can fir into the budget in anyway, it is worth it.

    I believe in spending time with my kids, family, and friends before stressing about the house. I think life should come first. However, my house was to a point that it was not possible to take a step anywhere in the house without stepping on something. This is not an exaggeration. That made my depression spiral. That was why I needed to gain control over the house. It was not an issue of cleanliness and much as of sanity.

    Thank you so much for your comments!

  3. I think changing the sheets every two weeks is spot on! (No pun intended!)