ADHD / ADHD and Kids / Adult ADHD / Coping Strategies

ADHD and “Routine Rage”. It’s like road rage. Without the steering wheel.

Anyone out there get “routine rage”?

Routine rage is the feeling I get after the novelty of a new routine wears off and it’s boring now and I’m hit with the realization that even though I’m bored with it now I probably have to keep doing it.

ROUTINE RAGE.

The feeling I get when I get to that point and then…make myself push past it.

ROUTINE RAGE.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

It defies logic. And you should hear the conversations in my head as I try to talk myself out of it (as any adult ADHDer with a certain amount of therapy under their belt should at least attempt).

“Oh FUCK are you kidding me?! No. I won’t do it.”

“Yes you will.”

“NO I WON’T. YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.”

“You’re a selfish asshole.”

“You’re right. I am. But there’s no way in shit I’m doing that right now. I don’t want to and you can’t make me. You fucking bitch.”

“Are you still talking? While you’re still talking, you could have already DONE that shit.”

My grumpy half dissolves into a wordless silent salad of bad words with a white hot rage dressing.

Meanwhile, this morning, my dogs are sitting there wagging their tails, waiting for me to take them for a walk, while I’m staring at the wall swearing at myself.

I love spending time with the dogs. The dogs are my people. Animals are my people. i like most animals better than I like 98.7% of humans. The problem is, I hate having to do the same things at the same time every day because it makes me FREAK. OUT.

As a result of my probably selfish resistance to routine, one of our dogs has an unreliable potty habits issue. I’m trying to turn the situation around. They definitely always get out often enough, several times a day, but I’ve never been able to maintain a schedule for them. And so, two weeks ago, I decided that I would start creating a routine in such a way that I would sneak it up on myself. I decided that every morning at 9am, we would take the morning walk.

I was able to stick with that for a week, so I kept going for a second week. It turned out to be a decent way to finish waking myself up in the morning.

Until this morning. When I REALLY DIDN’T WANNA. And when I told myself I had to, for the dogs…I’ll tell you straight up, there was no love in my heart. Just a nasty ol’ piece of meat in my chest, pumping hate throughout my body.

I made myself do it anyway. I was so uncomfortable I nearly had an out of body experience. It was one of those times when I wished I did drugs because I wanted an immediate escape. I’m sure the dogs appreciated it, they’re an easy audience. But I don’t even know how this will go in the morning. I take my meds before I go. I take a different route every morning because doing the same route is just too much to take. But…I’ve taken every route now. There’s no new routes. THERE’S NO WAY OUT.

Hey dogs? Dogs? Why the shit don’t you guys speak English?

Do you think they might give me permission to stop with this routine shit? If they spoke English? (Considering this scenario in my head…they might agree if there were hot dogs involved…)

This is precisely why, ideally speaking, an ADHD household with at least one ADHD parent needs a second grown up of some kind, handy and available. Children, like dogs, thrive on routine, and we have a lot of kid routines in our house…but I know that I, personally, would struggle if I had to maintain all of the kid routines by myself all of  the time.

Yes that’s right folks – I can’t handle dog routines but I am raising America’s next generation.

Brace yourselves.

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5 thoughts on “ADHD and “Routine Rage”. It’s like road rage. Without the steering wheel.

  1. Oh my god, I am exactly this way. I think this is the very reason my husband and I can’t get along since we had kids. Neither of us like routine but kids without any structure sucks even worse, so we walk around in the morning chronically irritated. I hate to be the annoying person offering a solution, but have you ever done yoga? I was forced into it a few years ago when I hurled myself down a mountain and jacked my knee all up. I hated it at first but went to a class to help with my knee rehab for 6weeks. It gave me some tools for sitting with discomfort — and routine causes me an ungodly amount of discomfort. Great post!

    • I have tried yoga! I do find it interesting and helpful. I don’t really enjoy exercising, except for dance, and because of my vertigo I’ve taken a break from that. So yoga is a healthy thing I can do, that has helped me rebuild my relationship with my body. My biggest challenge though, is finding time for it. We have three young children so it’s challenging. When they are with us (50% of the time) there’s rarely time, and when they aren’t, we are just catching up from when they are with us, LOL.

      I like my yoga teacher because she teaches in a way that works well for me…she makes suggestions for what to try, or focus on, or extra challenging things you can try, so my mind isn’t just running around the room the whole time. I warned her ahead of time that it might be challenging for me, and she said “I think my style will be a good fit for you”…so I was glad that I’d checked in with her about it. She also doesn’t teach the same routine all the time. If it was the same routine all the time I would be outta there! I can’t know what’s coming next.

      My husband (who also has ADHD) is very motivated to maintain routine for the kids and I’m good at playing a supporting role (I don’t always have to do the same tasks and I try to fill in around the routine that was already established…I’m a step-parent so many of the routines pre-date me). There are other ways though, on top of the basic routines though, there are other ways in which I’m able to take a more central role – for example, one of our kids who has an ADHD diagnosis has needed some specific types of support this school year and I’ve been able to step in to help set up routines for them, and help to maintain those. My husband and I are good at complementing each other’s roles. I think that’s the best you can do in a household where both adults have ADHD. Find what each person is good at, and specialize. He’s good with the day to day stuff (for the kids…he has a more challenging time with his own personal details, lol) and I’m good at the specialty stuff (and challenged at my own personal details, LOL).

      • Yeah, I agree that the teacher is super important. I’ve had a few that were good fits for me and the ADHD, but others that were not. I know what you mean about finding time to do yoga or any exercise, for that matter. A few months ago I paid for an 8wk session and only went twice. I started doing an online class membership at yogavibes.com and it has worked well for me. It offers different classes and I can do them whenever I want.

        My husband and I compliment each other in many ways, but we both really resent the maintaining routine since having kids. More accurately, I resent having to maintain a routine and he doesn’t see the need for one. We have come to some agreement and learned to select tasks that we like and luckily the things I hate he loves and vice versa. He loves to grocery shop and cook, so he does the majority of that. I’m better at other household tasks like laundry and basic straightening and organizing, so I do those.

        I enjoy your blog. It’s rare to read about a couple where both partners have ADHD. My husband and I both have it, but our symptoms are different. I’m more hyper and inattentive, where he’s more inattentive but can seriously hyperfocus. We’re both impulsive but in very different ways. Our relationship is definitely not boring. Sounds like you guys have worked out a good system. Take care.

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