Holidays and ADHD

The holiday season is upon us once again, no matter if we’re ready or not. In our family we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, and A and I usually do something nice and quiet at home on New Year’s Eve. But oh, the sheer chaos of the month can be a bit overwhelming.

Thanksgiving was relatively easy this year. We gathered at my mom’s instead of my house and I was only responsible for about four dishes. I enjoyed the day with my family, but my anxiety can hit a high level, even among people I love. What’s up with that? I call it holiday overwhelm.

I find myself, after the fact, looking back on the day and wondering, “Why did I say that?” “I hope they didn’t think I meant…” “I was so loud!” I have all these swirling thoughts and I try to remind myself that I’m talking about my family here, they love me quirks and all…right??

And after Thanksgiving it’s all just a mad whirlwind. Clean the house to put up the tree. Shopping. A has finals coming up so it’s study study study. More shopping, trying to figure out just what A would even REALLY want for Christmas. Holiday Baking. Christmas programs. This is added to our already full schedule with school, homework, doctor’s appointments, counseling appointments, getting A to the gym, working, and if I’m lucky finding a bit of writing time.

Now, the thing is, I love the holidays. I love the sparkly lights, the decorations, and the baking. I enjoy it. I also try to slow down the month as much as I can and really enjoy the season and taking time to be grateful and think about my blessings. It’s just very hard to slow it all down. Is it even possible to do so??

With my ADHD it’s difficult for me to prioritize. I am keenly aware of that during this time of year. With extra things to do on top of our normal schedule, sometimes it’s really hard for me to keep up with it and not get terribly overwhelmed.

I hope to make A’s holiday special though, so I can’t afford to go into shut down mode. She loves the holidays and I want her to have good memories. I don’t want to add to her stress by letting her know I’m stressed.

Funny thing is, if holidays just add stress, I could choose to skip the baking, the decorating and all that jazz…but I LIKE it. I can’t skip it! I am my own walking contradiction.

I don’t think I’d have holiday stress if I didn’t have ADHD. My “problem” comes from my lack of organization for being able to prioritize tasks as they need to be completed. I wait for the last minute to do anything and then I’m rushing around like a mad woman. I get angry at myself for procrastinating and well…you know the rest.

Is there a solution to all of this? I use lists. I use a whiteboard in the kitchen. I use a calendar. I use alarms and reminders on my phone. Even those things don’t always take away the procrastination though, so there I am, still rushing around when I don’t have to be. Oh well.

It’s important to me to do all the holiday fun things for A. She battles the PTSD and Depression so damned hard that I like to do things that I know give her joy. I like to see the smile on her face as she watches the Christmas lights twinkle and I like to share laughs as we bake cookies together. I also enjoy watching her open gifts on Christmas morning and see her excitement as she unwraps the treasures I found for her.

Little things, I suppose, but I like to think that these things become part of the good memories that she will carry with her. I don’t want her to remember only the dark parts of her childhood.

We’ve already been watching cheesy Christmas movies. Another thing we like to do. With her depression high at the moment, she likes to cuddle up on the couch in the evenings and watch something together. And everything I have to do? It can wait. And I will try my best to not get overwhelmed when things aren’t very clean, or I have too much left on my to-do list. At the end of the day the things that matter most aren’t on that list. My daughter. She’s what matters. Her health. Our memories. Being there when she needs me. That’s what’s important.

So when the holidays come and my ADHD has me feeling like I’m spinning in circles going nowhere fast, I try to remember why I do the things I do. I try to remember what’s truly important.

Does it matter if I didn’t dust the cat hair from the windowsill before I put lights in the window? Not really. Do I have to clean the baseboards before I put up the tree? Nah. Will anyone know if I take the stuff off the dining room table and just shove it all into a cabinet because I’m not sure what to do with it in the first place? Probably not. Unless it was something that belonged to them, of course. Will anyone know that I chose to make the “easiest” cookies I could instead of making beautiful frosted creations like you see on the cover of a magazine? Nope. Does it matter to anyone else if I let the dishes sit overnight because I chose to sit down and watch a dumb Christmas movie with my daughter and then she needed me to stay in her room so she could sleep? I doubt it. They will be there for me to finish in the morning after I take her to school. Will my daughter remember that I didn’t have a lot to spend on Christmas gifts? No, because she will remember that I looked for things I knew she would truly love.

And when Christmas Eve comes and I am gathered with my family, I hope they do not remember that I talked too loudly, or too fast. I hope they do not remember that I sometimes zone out, that I am a bit twitchy and I’m scattered and chaotic. I hope they remember that I love them, and that I am grateful for the opportunity to share another holiday, a meal, and some laughs.

Moving into 2017

2016 will soon be behind us. I don’t want to rush it or anything, but next week this year will be a memory. I’d like to think I made the most of the year, but as always there are moments that passed me by. After all, I do have ADHD, so there is plenty of misspent time and chaos. There are times I feel scattered and rushed and times I feel like I am just in the rut of the daily activities that must be accomplished.

Christmas is over and I find that I am very tired. I guess it’s the overwhelm that can come with the holidays. It’s so busy and everything is so rushed. Even though I promise myself I am going to enjoy it all, it still ends up being pretty stressful. So much going on and no way to process it all. We still managed to have a nice holiday. A couple of snags maybe, but everything has a way of working out.

So with Christmas over, I start to look toward the coming year. It’s always a time of reflection. A little sad to see the old year go and a new one come, yet excited at the possibilities that lie in a fresh start.

This year had its share of challenges, but we have faced them squarely and made it through. I’m proud of us. I am especially proud of her. This year also held some great moments, and I am grateful for them.

For the year ahead I want to read more books, take more time to see what is right in front of me, and do more things that make me happy. I want to laugh, live and love.

I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions, but I do want to be more grateful, more relaxed, and more present.

I don’t know if I am ready for all the changes the new year will bring, but I will do my best. There are so many things I want to accomplish. I just hope I at least get to some of them.

Happy New Year to you all. I am looking forward to spending 2017 with you.



Happy Holidays!

I just want to take a moment and wish everyone a happy Holiday Season! November with National Novel Writing Month is behind me – and yes!! I finished!! I have a very nice, VERY rough draft waiting for me  come January, but for the time being I’m taking the holidays off from my novels. I have the last editing to do on Finding Home before I delve into the rewrites of my NaNo novel, but both will be there waiting for me come January.

December usually passes by in a whirlwind and each year I say I’m going to mindfully ENJOY it, but every year it passes and I am wondering what happened? Didn’t I just put that Christmas tree up yesterday?!!

Yes, I celebrate Christmas. But you want to know something? I am not offended by being told “Happy Holidays!” instead of “Merry Christmas!” and do you want to know why? Because there are A LOT of holidays celebrated between November and January and if I don’t celebrate every one of them why would I be upset that someone else also does not celebrate every one of them? I have my traditions and my beliefs and others have theirs. I respect that. I get it. So HAPPY HOLIDAYS PEOPLE – whatever holidays you celebrate I wish you a wonderful holiday season. My wish for the year ahead is that we all finally learn to get along with one another.

For the next few weeks I hope to drink lots of cocoa, make some cookies, do some knitting, enjoy my family, and maybe even watch a cheesy Christmas movie or two. I hope to drive around listening to Christmas carols while enjoying the neighbor’s lights. I want to sit in my dark living room with only the glow of the Christmas tree and remind myself of how truly blessed I am. I have everything I need.

It’s been quite a year but next year is going to bring about a lot of changes. I’m nervous and excited.

I’m not going to make any blogging promises for this month. I may be back before January, but I just might be too busy with my cocoa. 😉

I wish everyone a very happy New Year and I will see you soon!!

A Holiday Tale – ADHD Style

Twas a short time before Christmas and so much to do, but this chaotic gal was still searching for her shoe!

The stores were jam packed, the aisles such a mess! But onward I trudged, despite my distress.

My list growing longer, I wished I were stronger, there isn’t enough time to make decorations sublime!

What did I need? What is it I forgot? I stumbled through the store, did I come to buy a yacht?

Home at last, I remembered the thing, the wee little thing I could not do without. No time to cry, no time to pout, back in the car, I zoomed down the street. I’d run to the store, this time I’d get meat!

The lines were still long, they went for a mile, I tried to be nice, I tried hard to smile. I got what I needed, then headed home fast, hoping on hope that I had enough gas.

Now in just over a  week, guests will all come. I grabbed my broom to clean up some. Soon distracted by some shiny thing, I flitted and flew but ended up on the swing.

So now my time is running out, Christmas will be here without any doubt. I won’t be ready, I’m never prepared if I were my guests I’d be rather scared.