Then I met Sonny. He can’t use an electronic calendar. Readers with ADHD, I know you know what I mean when I say that: it REALLY doesn’t work for him for the same reason it once took me 6 months to turn in an electronic time sheet to get paid.
Of course we should just have our own calendars…but WAIT. We’re married and have three children in the house that we have to plan around. So…we can’t really have independent calendars if our life is to make any sense. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even schedule a new appointment at my therapist’s office while I’m there, because I have no fucking clue which dates are truly ones where he is home to be with the kids and I will be able to access a vehicle to get there. And if I leave the office without making the appointment, I won’t make the appointment because that adds an extra step to the process and that extra step makes it impossible to complete because by the time I remember to do it, she’ll be all booked up. Living successfully with ADHD is all about simplifying, eliminating steps, and being realistic (though NOT unnecessarily limiting yourself or making excuses…it’s a delicate balance!).
So I am making a concession. I hope it doesn’t make me insane. I bought a paper calendar. Paper calendars give me anxiety to a level that makes me almost cry. Last night I spent three hours putting all of our appointments and obligations into this calendar. And I will kill him if he doesn’t remember to tell me when he puts new shit on his calendar. I will fucking kill him.
Yes, I realize this sounds like I’m setting us up for failure. It’s also possible that my TERROR of him not telling me when he puts new things on his calendar will motivate me to ask him. Probably 30 times a day. Because if ADHD doesn’t help you remember, OCD-mimicking certainly will (as it takes years off of your life span).
Random side tangent that I think is valuable to the non-ADHD reader and amusing to the ADHDers in the house: If you have been a regular long-time reader you may already know this…at my former office we had an Excel spreadsheet that we had to fill out as a time sheet. I use such things all the time at work, but this one was really, really overwhelming for me. It had individual little boxes to fill in. It had shit popping up in military time. It had what seemed like endless categories of types of time to fill in…and a mileage section. I guess this is all standard time sheet stuff. In that format, for me, it’s crazymaking. I avoided it for 6 months before our payroll person finally went “DO YOU WANT TO GET PAID, EVER?”. Yeah. And yet…for calendars, I like electronic calendars…where you have to type a bunch of crap into little boxes on a computer of smart phone. But the little reminders that pop up are LIFE SAVERS. Ah, the predictable unpredictability of ADHD.
And so, contrary to what I know is generally true of living with my ADHD, I now have the paper calendar. I now have to remember to LOOK in it, and write things in it…AND I have to remember to remind my sweet Sonny Rollins that he needs to give me updates. I have become the reminder. I know that “being the reminder” often drives wedges between ADHD and non-ADHD partners. This might be survivable for us, because I REALLY understand that he’s not just trying to drive me insane by being challenged in the calendaring department. My anxiety really comes from worrying about my own ability to manage.
We’ll see how this goes. It’s the first step, hopefully, to my getting my creative life back. I haven’t been able to schedule me-making-stuff-time because I have no idea what’s happening on our calendar. I need that time to keep me sane, to make my life literally worth living. I turned down law school to preserve this ancient piece of myself, the piece that stated, in kindergarten-ish “I want to be an artist.”. I took a vow of poverty in committing to my life, and committing to my musician-teacher husband (it’s a mutual vow of poverty, taken with a smile on our faces). It’s only worth it if I get to do the things that make me happy.