ADD clutter. If you live with someone with ADD/ADHD, you know what I’m talking about. The piles of clutter: numerous papers, letters, cards, shoes scattered around, clothes still where we left them — and yes, I said “we.” I am a maker of such ADD clutter piles.
I’m not even talking about the kid messes — we all know that most kids seem oblivious to the tactics of neatness. Here, I’m referring to adults. Those of us who have ADD also have ADD clutter and drive our significant others out of their flipping gourds.
It’s not on purpose. While we recognize that such clutter makes things more difficult for others, in our eyes, those papers are laid out just fine. We know where they are and that in them we will find what we need — and if not, it’s in the next pile over.
I get it. ADD clutter is often completely incomprehensible by those who do not have ADD. How is it, our partners wonder, that we cannot see the mess accumulating on our desk? How is it possible, they insist, for us to walk right over the clothes on the floor and not think to pick them up?
Because, I say to you — we genuinely do not see it.
Just recently, I noticed a piece of clothing on the floor. It occurred to me right then that I knew right when it had been taken off, two days before. It wasn’t mine. But I recognized then that it had been lying there for two days, in an area where I walk dozens of times a day — and I had not seen it. It might as well have been invisible for an entire 48 hours when suddenly, for whatever reason, it penetrated through the dozens of things that run through my mind every minute and I saw it.
This, my friends, is the honest truth. There is nothing wrong with my eyes — besides the fact that I think they’re lying to me about my age every time I look in a mirror — and I am not crazy. No more than any writer is, anyway. But I do not see the mess, the ADD clutter. We do not see it.
The ADD clutter that drives our families insane is representative of the way our minds have learned to deal with the dozens, even hundreds of things that scream for our attention inside of our heads every day. Our minds are ADD clutter. We must push things aside to “deal with them later,” in hopes of focusing, even for a moment, on whatever we absolutely must do. It’s not easy. I swear to you, it’s become a habit for us, and it’s not easy. But what other choice do we have?
Our ADD minds are some of the most creative in the world. Inside, our minds can comprehend dozens of different things all at once, recognizing people and emotions and events in ways that are awesome but are not recognized. The outward representation of our insides is highly criticized, forcing many of us to despise our uniqueness.
We understand, I promise. We understand that our ADD clutter is driving you batshit and that you wonder how the person you adore can be so impervious to the piles around us. Even my husband, who is one of the most loving people I know, finds it hard to reconcile the oblivious mess with the woman he regards as highly intelligent. No one quietly cleans up after me more than he does, and I love him for it.
So trust me when I say that we don’t mean to leave our ADD clutter for you to handle. In our minds, we will “get to it later.” In our minds, we have dealt with it momentarily and cannot focus on it with the other 23 things screaming for our attention.
But seriously, if anyone wants to have a contest with the organized people of the world to see who can find a coupon from two weeks ago amidst six different piles of paper — count us in. We will win, hands down.