It’s frustrating having executive dysfunction. My house is a disaster and I know it. There’s recycling that hasn’t gone out, there’s trash beside the bin that fell out that nobody picked up. There’s dishes everywhere, and the laundry only got done by the grace of my housemate doing all my laundry as a Valentine’s gift for my husband and me.
And it’s driving me insane.
I ache to have a house that I feel good coming home to, one that’s tidy and clean (but not necessarily spotless) and where the floor doesn’t have dog hair bunnies in every corner. I want the top of my fridge and microwave to be clean instead of jammed with junk that has no other home.
And people tell me “Well, if you want that sort of house, you have to keep it that way” like I didn’t know I have to clean the house to have a clean house.
There’s not much accounting for mental illness. In a mania, I can bake a hundred cookies, a cake, and three pans of cornbread but I cannot focus on the idea of folding a towel. I can do what I’m told to do- “Wash and rinse the plates and put them on the towel” is about as complicated as I can manage, manic or not- but I cannot wrap my brain around large ideas, big tasks, or multi-step projects, unless it’s written down in baby steps so I can reference it repeatedly.
It makes me feel stupid and useless, to know that I can’t do dishes without a step by step tutorial and adult supervision. I can’t do anything requiring extensive steps without step-by-step instructions. Recipes? Got this. “Clean the living room?” How? Where do you start? How do you clean a whole room?
I used to think “I must just not remember how to do chores from when I was a kid”. But no matter how many times you tell me “Just put things where they go and sweep up”, I just cannot wrap my brain around it. Clean the living room for me looks like this:
“Pick up all the dishes, put them in the sink, pick up the laundry and put it in the hamper. Put away books. Put away toys. Sweep. Vacuum. Clean off the piano. Put away the DVD’s. Put away the games. Put away food. Organize couch blankets. Pull out chair. Sweep behind chair. Put chair back. Sweep under the couch. Put away new toys. Put away new dishes. Put away new laundry. Wipe altar with a damp cloth. Dry altar. Sweep, and vacuum again.”
And then it looks like someone tell me this, ad nauseum, over and over, as my broken, messed up brain forgets over and over the simplest instructions. Put dishes in sink. Get distracted by other dishes, start to wash them. Get distracted by a dirty washcloth, start a load of laundry. Be tired, sit down, rest, get up, forget how to clean, start from the beginning of the list again.
I hate it.
So I know my house is a wreck, and it makes me feel terrible. I don’t need someone telling me “Oh, it’s just simple, just put things away when you’re done with them!” because it doesn’t work that way. I wish it worked that way. I’m glad for you that your brain lets it work that way. But I just want to not dread coming home.
We have had a hell of a week.
We spent the night of the 6th in the ER with Kaeli- we took her to urgent care in the daytime hours and were told her cough was a viral cough, to give her Benadryl, she’ll be fine, we don’t -give- cough syrup to her age group, go away. That night, she coughed until she vomited and literally did not stop coughing for two solid hours, gasping for breath in between fits of coughing. We finally took her to the ER and several unpleasant tests later, we’re told she has pneumonia. She’s on high dose antibiotics right now and her cough is already improving.
On the tail of that, on the 7th, we’re on our way to my sister’s house and we get into a car accident. It happened so fast that I only vaguely remember what happened- I looked up, there was a car in front of us pulling across three lanes of busy traffic, and I hear Ben say something and I have this realization that we’re going to hit them, and I sort of resigned myself to the idea- then there’s a big crunch, and everything went black. When it came back, it was like in the movies. It sort of faded in from black, with everything muffled except for a powerful ringing in my ears. Everything was fuzzy and blurry, and my first thought was “…. oh, my glasses…” because I can’t get them replaced. I put my hands on my face, which was numb, and felt my glasses (which were intact and just fine except for needing some minor adjustments) and then realized my face was wet. For a panicked moment, I thought I was bleeding, but when I looked at my hands (the world still ringing and swaying) I found no blood. (It turned out a cup of soda in the cupholder exploded and got everything wet.) The other driver was fine, but Ben punched the windshield with his wrist when the impact happened, and it crazed and broke the windshield- there’s a bump there now- and fortunately, his wrist is bruised and scraped but nothing’s broken.
So I have a headache and my jaw hurts, and I’m in a little shock, and a bystander calls the police for us. When the officer shows up, he takes everyone’s information and everything, and issues the other driver a ticket and assigns him fault for the accident. The way I understand it, he neglected a stop sign and just pulled out into traffic. Ben says he tried to stop and turn, but there were people beside us, and instead of speeding up and getting out of the way, the other driver panicked and slammed on his breaks, which stopped him just too soon. Our front driver’s headlight caught his back driver’s bumper and crunch, here we are.
We went to urgent care where they recommended I go up to the ER, which I chose not to do that night. The next day, I still had a headache and dizzy spells, so I went back to the ER on the 8th….
Which was a nightmare in itself.
Seven hours sitting in the waiting room of the ER, twenty minutes in the ER itself. They did xrays on my neck and my jaw, and finally a CT scan of my brain to make sure I’m not bleeding in there. Final verdict? Mild head injury and jaw swelling, go home and sleep it off.
Seven hours, for … well, not nothing, but for validation. That’s a long wait, which is why I chose not to go to the ER that night. Apparently, -everyone- got into accidents the last two days and the ER was full of it.
Which brings us to today: No school due to snow, unexpectedly early morning, and a day full of things like “Mom, she’s not touching me!” “Kaeli, don’t trip your sister” and “Please, for the ninth time in a row, leave the dog alone.”
We still have pneumonia cough, I still have a headache, and the car is still undriveable. But my ex kindly loaned me his car for a few days which is a blessing since I have errands to do today. Wish me luck.