Just do one thing, and then you’ll feel better. How many times have you heard that phrase used. Hell, how many times have you used that phrase yourself either internally or on someone else. The trouble with ‘just’ one thing is that that one thing is made up of many little things. Every. Single. One.
Since my diagnosis of ADHD I have fallen down many rabbit holes of information trying to make sense of why I do the things that I do. Why I struggle with the ‘easy’ things. I wasn’t able to give myself the grace that I had given my son. I needed to do better, be better and not fail so damn much. One of those rabbit holes has been executive dysfunction and the road blocks it places in front of seemingly easy tasks.
The one thing that is actually more than one thing is where our brains become unstuck and get overwhelmed. Take having a shower for example. It’s a common ‘thing’ that people tell overwhelmed people to do. Even if you ‘just’ have a shower, you’ll feel better. Even I’m guilty of this one, even though I know that it’s not as simple as just getting in the shower.
First you need to get from where ever you are to the bathroom. Second you need to take off your clothes. Now if you’re only got one piece of clothing then its easier, but adding several pieces and the process becomes drawn out further. Thirdly you need to turn on the water and get it to the right temperature. Fourthly it’s time to get under the water. Fifthly you need to use soap. Sixthly it’s time to get out and dry yourself. Seventhly you need to put clothes on. See, that one thing is actually seven things.
Over the last seven or so months since my diagnosis I’ve begun to recognise the scaffolding that I had in place without realising why I was doing it. Receiving the diagnosis allowed me to begin to remove the shame from doing those things which make my day run smoother. Things like not having a lid on my rubbish bin or dirty clothes basket. Or buying precut vegetables and salads.
In a facebook group I’m part of a member was asking how people dealt with keeping up with personal hygiene and a responder highlighted something that I realised I do to get myself in the shower each night. I talk myself into while I’m on the toilet, regardless of the time of the day. I reason with myself that half of my clothes are off already. I just need to take my shirt off and the shower is right next to the toilet. I sounds so strange writing it out here, but it works for me.
Next time you tell yourself or someone else that they only need to do ‘one’ thing keep in mind that that one thing is always many. It’s ok to get overwhelmed. It doesn’t make you less of a person. In the words of Domesticblisters, care tasks are morally neutral. You deserve kindness, especially from yourself.