I’m 36, female, and I was diagnosed 6 years ago. I’m very educated with a masters degree and have an “ok” professional job/career. I live with my boyfriend and we don’t have any kids (yet). I take Adderall XR, and sometimes I feel like I am managing my ADHD issues well and sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and everything is a mess. I’m sorry if this gets long and I’m not sure *exactly* what I’m getting at, but I’m hoping some like minds will understand.
Yesterday I had a very bad day. I had to do a major house cleaning and I had to do the usual Sunday routine that stresses me out every week (laundry for the week, dishes, certain personal grooming things, sleep hygiene, etc). I wanted to go visit my family for a cookout, but I knew I had to clean. My boyfriend (who never cleans) went out for the day and I was in the house alone. I really wanted us to clean together, as a team. It was quiet, and I could not focus on cleaning at all. It was taking me longer to do it and I started freaking out about how much there was to do and what little time I had to do it. I just became completely overwhelmed and had a bad anxiety attack.
Finally I called my parents and I was crying. Finally I just said “I need HELP.” I realized that that is everything, I just need help. And I don’t think I’ve ever really said it out loud before (I read somewhere it’s very ADHD not to ask for help?). My parents came over and my mom helped me with some of the house cleaning tasks. But really it just helped that they came over. I didn’t feel overwhelmed anymore, and it just helped having people to talk to while I was doing the work. It was a huge relief. But my dad suggested something that I had never thought of seriously before: I should hire a house cleaning service to come every couple weeks and do the major cleaning.
I’ve never thought of myself as someone who can “afford” a luxury like that, even though technically it wouldn’t be a huge expense for me right now. I told my boyfriend about the idea and of course he was against it, so I said I would pay for all it and take care of everything. It feels like a failure I guess, other people—even people with kids—can keep their apartment clean without hiring a service, why can’t I? But then I realized, I’m not other people. I have ADHD and I have trouble with anxiety. I have a demanding job and a long commute. I don’t mind the act of cleaning, but having it hanging over my head on weekends gives me panic attacks. I suffer from crippling perfectionism—not the good kind you lie about at job interviews, the horrible kind. I had to call my parents in tears after taking a lorazepam because I couldn’t wrap my head everything I had to do. Having someone else worry about the dusting and vacuuming and tub cleaning would not only free up time but mind power to work on other things. Surely this is worth an extra small bill, at least to try out? Shouldn’t I be working on simplifying my life and managing things according to my personal constraints?
I’ve taken action to simplify life before, but I realized that people make me feel really bad about it because it usually costs money, and why can’t I handle it in the first place. I hate shopping so I buy everything online—my boyfriend (who supposedly also has ADHD but I can’t figure it out because he doesn’t get it at all) chastises me for spending the shipping costs. I do my grocery shopping at a local Whole Foods because it’s easy to get to and the store doesn’t overwhelm me and people make fun of me at parties for shopping at Whole Paycheck. I can just imagine what will happen if anyone finds out I have house cleaners come in.
So does it make me a bad person to hire house cleaners for my small apartment with no kids in it every 2-4 weeks? I just feel like it’s not about the time or the effort, it’s about making space in my brain. And is it really so horrible to hire someone to do a job? I mean, it’s contributing to the economy isn’t it?
Why is it so socially unacceptable, especially for women, to outsource anything? Why are we supposed to be proud to be frazzled messes all the time, worried about things we really don’t HAVE to worry about? Why are we supposed to be saving money at all times, even when your budget can handle something that would have real value? When it’s spending money on something that you technically can do yourself, it’s like the worst thing ever. And if you don’t have kids, you’re not allowed to do anything to simplify your life because you “can’t complain if you don’t have kids” (said every mother I know at one point or another).
On the one hand I know it would be great to come to a clean house with no dust and a clean floor, and wake up on Saturday morning and know I could work out or do extra work or go to the beach. I know it would be great to be forced to pick up the clutter on a regular basis before the house cleaners come so they can do their work. I could feel comfortable having people over, I would feel relaxed in my own home. On the other hand I feel…failure.
All of this also just got me thinking about why I feel like such an anxious depressed mess all the time, and why I can’t focus on the things that are important to focus on and why I can’t get stuff done at work: it’s all the crap that is taking up space in my brain. Commuting. Traffic. Clothing. The most productive and stress free I have ever been was when I had been laid off and was working at temporary position from “home” and I would go to the gym whenever I got up, and put on any clothes I felt like, and go to the library or the coffee shop or stay home and work for as many hours as I needed to, whenever I wanted to. How do I incorporate this back into my life? I need to get rid of all the crap and then I’ll have space to be productive. I feel like it’s really important for me to figure this out.
So what does everyone think? Should I hire a house cleaning service? Should I feel bad about it? How do incorporate more freedom in my daily life to free up more brain space and improve productivity?
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