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I'm lazy and childish and don't know how to be a grown-up

(69 Posts)
sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:01:52

My procrastination is terrible, and getting worse. I can sit and stare at the screen on MN or FB until I go slack-jawed and I'm not really looking at anything any more. I come home from the school run with DD1 (6) and plonk DD2 (2) in front of a screen for AGES, while I stare at another one alongside her. I know this sounds weak and lazy but I feel utterly physically paralysed ? I simply CANNOT tear myself away from the screen! This is despite me putting on appearances to the outside world about being hugely against TV for little ones ? which I am. I believe it does them harm. And yet I do it to my DD almost every day. I am such a fucking hypocrite. I know it's affecting my brain in a really bad way. My memory is getting terrible. I also feeling I'm losing the kids' childhoods as well as I feel I can hardly remember anything from when they were younger. Other people, including DH, will sometimes remind me "You know when DD did such and such last year ...?" and I won't remember and feel like an absolute fool.

I don't know what to do. I'm sorry to put this in mental health when most people here have awful problems to contend with ? I know this is just fucking weak and wussy in comparison ? but I was scared I'd get so much contempt on Chat or somewhere from the domestic goddesses of this world ? who I aspire to be like soo much. I take on board advice for disorganised people like me about starting slowly and trying to instill one small habit at a time, but I can't even fucking do that. I can't do it. I start trying to do one thing religiously, and another thing drops off the radar so I end up every bit as disorganised.

I've read books ? the NOW habit etc ? but nothing works. NOTHING WORKS AND I"M GOING TO BE LIKE THIS FOREVER. I've been trying for so long.

My lovely stepmother is one of the most organised people I know ? and also the least stressed. I've only seen her even slightly agitated once in 10 years ? and that was when her DS was taken to hospital, FGS. But her house is tidy, she whisks up and clears away meals with seemingly zero effort and helps me do the same when she comes to my house, which again makes me feel like a child (but I'm only angry at ME for this, not her!). She's the most relaxed, laid back person ever. I'm 41, fgs, and just the crappiest hostess ever ? I just have no idea when people need a top up of their drinks, how big a portion of food to give them, when to stand up and start clearing the table etc ... just so useless. I know, I know, it's all a stupid First World Problem, I totally agree. My own mother was terribly depressed all my childhood, I didn't see her much, she never did anything domestic like make dinner and certainly never instilled any kind of domestic responsibility into me. I sit on the PC in the morning ? once DH goes out, of course ? then try and fit 45 minutes of getting me and the DDs ready into about 15 mins. Which inevitably ends up in me getting inexcusably irritable and shouty at them, and utterly stressed and anxious myself. (One bright spot, however, is that we're never late. NEVER. I just feel it's so rude and irresponsible. The DDs might look a mess but at least DD1 is at school on time.)

I know I should put out school uniform, lunches etc the night before, but I get SO UNBELIEVABLY TIRED in the evening, after cleaning the bloody kitchen after dinner till about 8.30 or so and end up glued to the couch, usually surfing the net as usual.

When DD1 gets home at 3 oclock, things seem to kick into motion and I know I have to get the place into a reasonable state before DH gets home. So then I spend practically no quality time with her either ? I'm suddenly flying around washing dishes, sweeping, chopping veg etc. And this is getting to happen every single day now.

You know that mammoth thread about organisation back earlier in the year? I took so much wonderful inspiration from it and was all set to implement some of the tips etc - but it all fell flat on its face very very quickly. And I TRY and just pick myself up and start again if that happens, not be too hard on myself and eventually habits will just click ? hah! Not yet, in 41 years, and I just know in my heart that it's all too late.

I think it also might partly be some kind of rebellion against DH ? he is hugely organised and also faintly contemptuous of weakness ? if he knew I go home after the school run and my days often pan out like this, his jaw would drop and I really think he'd be pretty disgusted with me. As am I, of course. He goes out all day and earns money for the family; I repay him by sitting our DD in front of a screen and pissing my days away on the internet. Of course I use Private Browsing so he can't see exactly what I've been looking at.

Part of the problem is that I can't just go cold turkey and never switch on computers etc ? I do work from home on things and need to be available on FB and Gmail etc. Or look at online banking etc.

I don't know why I'm writing this anyway as I know nothing is ever going to change. I'm desperate for suggestions but I've written threads like this before. I'm hoping for some kind of holy grail and it's not there. I know I"m going to be like this for the rest of my life.

Thank you for reading such a long, utterly pathetic moan.

As I read your op my eyes could have popped out of my head. There are other people who feel like me.

The posters on here are wonderful. Keep listening to them.

AlexanderS Tue 02-Oct-12 13:56:11

You sound just like me. I'm on MN now doing the very thing you describe, whilst DS is watching the Lingo Show on CBeebies. You and me are both depressed. Like another poster further up the thread I feel better when I take DS out somewhere, days where you have nowhere to go are the worst. I've been on ADs before and I don't know if they're the answer...the one I was on longest was fluoxetine/Prozac and it made me a panicky, sweaty mess, albeit whilst raising my mood. I prefer to be depressed but calm, as opposed to happy-ish but manic and edgy. I was also, in a different period of my life, on St Johns Wort and I don't recommend that at all - I had terrible highs and lows on that, I think if you're going to take anything you're better off taking regulated medications.

fuzzpig Tue 02-Oct-12 13:56:30

That's part of the problem with depression. Very often it is invisible to the outside world because you get good at hiding it!

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 13:59:40

Thing is, though, (sorry, I shouldn't still be here!) I didn't really learn anything from my mother because she wasn't around most of the time - just stayed in her room for weeks at a time sad. Noone ever told me she had depression, this was just the normal state of affairs for my family when I was small. I didn't really know any different.

So I didn't realise that - I suppose - she suffered from similar inertia and lack of motivation as me.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound unhelpful, just sort of setting the scene and trying not to drip feed! Really got to go now, honestly smile

quietlysuggests Tue 02-Oct-12 14:10:06

Re this:
"there is a huge social pressure to be coping"

Yes there IS pressure.
But it is not from society, or from me, or from any average person who lets their child watch a bit of television and has no strong opinions about it either which way...

The pressure is coming from YOU
So step one - you call yourself a hypocrite and I suppose you are
So stop pretending to be a domestic goddess
Stop pretending that you dont use television
Stop pretending to be so organised

Turn up late from timeto time,
When your DH asks how was your day say "Pretty crap, just watched loads of television, surfed the net for hours
And stop talking to other hypocrites about how you are all so perfect and never turn on the television.

You might find that you cannot ever be the person you pretend to be,
But you can be a slightly happier, more active, more involved, kinder person than you are now.
Good luck

Longtallsally Tue 02-Oct-12 14:49:05

"I feel like a phoney, though, as I'm perfectly capable of having hysterical laughs with people/at TV, etc etc, and the work-from-home I do often involves setting up stalls at events where I need to be totally customer-facing for hours - which I do cheerfully and competently. Surely I would feel sort of dead and numb inside all the time if I were truly depressed?"

Oh I could have soooo written that a couple of years ago, when I was just like you. Life has become easier as the children have grown older (less cr*p to tidy up?) but the other turning point for me was realising that although I was struggling, I probably wasn't depressed - I was, however, the child of parents who struggled with depression. I had learned from them how to live as a depressed person, or more to the point, I hadn't learned how to live a happy fullfilled life. So addressing the learned patterns of behaviour I had, rather than antidepressants was the way forward for me.

You have made a brilliant first step of posting here: there is a lot of good advice. Talking to your GP and explaining that you may seem depressed but are probably grappling with the weight of learned behaviour may be a good next step.

PS You don't have to be grown up. Not grown up can be good - but you do need to be at peace with yourself and your choices and to be making them for you, rather than resorting to a default setting which you don't really like.

PPS - Do you also love chocolate/comfort eat? Bit of a perfectionist too - like things to be right?

LosingItBigTime Tue 02-Oct-12 15:29:51

I procrastinate like no one else I know. I find it hard to structure my day or even write lists. I recognise all of the things you posted about yourself in myself so I know how you feel. The difference is, I feel pressure from myself to be better rather than feel it from others. Thesis thing I'm procrastinating about now is that I have a baby due in exactly 9 days and I have not packed my hospital bag and I haven't washed and sterilised all the bottles and teats I will need. The bottles and steriliser are still in the original packaging they were posted to me in. I have an 18 month old DS and I'm ashamed to admit that I pretty much have cbeebies on in the background pretty much all day. I physically can't run around and frankly don't want to. I am suffering from anxiety and depression so I just have to keep telling myself that ill have to be just ''good enough" for now as I can't be perfect no matter how much I wish to be so. You're not alone.

LosingItBigTime Tue 02-Oct-12 15:38:15

By the way, I still haven't had a shower (procrastinating at its worst) but I did manage to empty the dishwasher and eat some lunch so two good things I've done versus one thing I haven't achieved yet. Maybe I'll go shower now as DH has taken DS out in the garden.

topsi Tue 02-Oct-12 16:47:04

Hi you are probably a bit depressed. You asked if anyone had had success with alternative remedies. I use St John's Wort with good effect and can let you know about dose and brand if you wanted to try it.
Can I ask what you are doing on the computer. Maybe you should be less harsh on yourself, I spend a good deal of my day on the computer but often if we are looking for the answer to something like what is wrong with us and what do we do to feel better than that is our first place of call. I have done a huge amount of reading on the internet about depression, fatigue etc and I have been able to help myself feel better because of it. Probably if it wasn't for the internet I would be in a much worse state.
I use the TV as a baby sitter too. Not proud of it but sometimes it's all I can manage.

I don't know if it would be helpful for you or not, but there is a website called Moodgym (sorry, not got link but I think it should be easy to find). It's got questionnaires, exercises etc. to help with mood and depression.

When I looked at it (some time ago) I found it good, and also, it is there when you need it for a bit of help. It covers things like the expectations you put on yourself, negative thinking and so on. Although it does mean more screen time (initially), it might be worth a try?

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 18:29:26

I'm back, thanks all so much again. It's a lot to process but I'm thinking about it all.

TheOneWiththeHair, I'm glad you don't feel alone but sorry you're suffering the same way sad

When your DH asks how was your day say "Pretty crap, just watched loads of television, surfed the net for hours And stop talking to other hypocrites about how you are all so perfect and never turn on the television

quietlysuggests, I just COULDN"T do that! I think he would think I was lazy and disgusting. sad Unless I said I wasn't feeling well, but only in a physical sense, I think. I often have to rehearse what to say when he asks that, to big up of the tiny amount we have managed to do - even if it's just a visit to the park. Also, I don't go round lying to people that I don't put on the TV - I concede that I do, but I still maintain I'm very much against it for littlies, which I am.

LosingIt, some people on this thread seem to think I'm being hard on myself - I think you REALLY are! 9 days from giving birth? You should have your feet up eating custard and I think if there was ever a justified time for CBeebies, it's now! Don't beat yourselfup. Of course you just have to be "good enough" for now - that's absolutely fine!

Topsi it's mainly surfing FB - some of which is business-related but only a bit - and MN - I post on and off (have NC for this thread) but mainly lurk and skim. Bad for concentration in itself, skimming. See, you said St John's Wort works well, another poster said it was awful - I'm just so scared to start traipsing through that minefield - there seem to be so many things that don't work and give horrendous symptoms ...

Inigo I signed up with MoodGym a few weeks ago but it all seemed to tail off after that. I should give it another try. I think I felt then that my problem was more internal anger than depression ...

Thanks, longtallsally, that was interesting. YY to the chocolate/comfort eating bit, though am not really overweight so I guess I can't really complain. Again, though, I'm not sure I've learned any behaviours from my mother - I really don't think I have but maybe I'm deluding myself. All my life whenever I've gone through a rough experience (and there's been nothing terribly bad at all) I've always thought to myself "at least I'm not/will never be depressed like DM". She was actually a very very good mother when she was around, was always extremely positive and upbeat and made me feel very good, positive, confident and loved. I think she was determined I wouldn't end up like her sad sad

TheSilverPussycat Tue 02-Oct-12 23:50:50

Hi there, I'm like this, think I have Asperger's and ADD, I get depressed but only because I often can't get started even on things that I like and want to do. I hate routine and 'having' to do things, so I use a continously changing variety of things to get started. Am also on small dose of paroxatine. My official diagnosis is bi-polar, but me and my psych are not 100% sure of this.

In a way I both long for a schedule, and hate having one. I have kind of half adapted the Flylady system. But my most useful way of functioning is to decide whether I am acting as a 'guest' or an 'employee' of Hotel Pussycat at any particular time. eg as a guest I can make myself a sandwich from the stuff in the fridge, but cannot sort the fridge as part of this - that has to wait till I am in 'kitchen maid' mode! Employee modes are often linked to a 15 minute timer.

I am 60, by the way, and have wrestled with this problem my whole life. It's like a battle to outwit myself. Exercise is actually v helpful, I have just started going for walks after a lapse, but it can be hard to force myself to do it. I have to think of it, sometimes, as a form of medicine.

It's like a battle to outwit myself. That is a brilliant way of putting it. I constantly try to outwit my bloody brain so that I can get things started and finished (the middle bit is usually OK).

sick (what a horrible shortening of your name, sorry!) I keep re-reading your OP going "yes, I do that, that and that", I thought I was the only person who was like that!

recall after reading your post I then went and did a couple of online Adult ADHD diagnosis tests and scored very high on them all (yes I know Dr Google is not the most reliable!) but (as DD would say) O.M.F.G that is me .

When I was about 15 I was really worried in school as I was top in several classes and expected to do well in exams, however I could not hit the books for more than 15 mins at a time. I would tidy my room to procrastinate and not study. Drank oceans of tea on "study breaks". Friends of mine said they were doing 12 hour days (probably shouldn't have believed that though!) - but I was lucky if I totalled 6 hours at the books.

I felt panicky all the time because I knew I wasn't studying half as hard as I thought I should have been capable of (knowing how long my friends were working/or said they were working). I talked to the school counsellor and she got my parents in for a chat, it was only 1985 and they basically decided I was a perfectionist and shouldn't be too hard on myself.

I didn't have the language or understanding (or the trust in the counsellor! god she was a scary lady!) to articulate how I really felt but I knew this wasn't it. To be fair, it was extremely unlikely that anyone would have had a gnat's notion what was wrong with me even if I'd been able to talk all day about it.

So since then I've just accepted that this is the way I am and perhaps some people are not quite as ... whatever... as I am.
(I did fine in the exams btw and all subsequent ones, would like to have done better but have mastered the fine art of cramming - I've been known to go to bed at 5am and get up at 7am and go to an exam at 9am - and pass it too...)

That was 28 years ago and I actually have been on the verge of tears of relief all last night and today thinking that there may be a name for how I feel and perhaps even a remedy. 28 fucking years of it and now perhaps I can do something about it.

sick please please go talk to someone, there is help out there. As well as here. I've been lurking and posting for about 2 years and yours is the most helpful thread I've ever read.

TheArtisticSlattern Thu 04-Oct-12 09:55:43

I am a bit like you OP. I procrastinate every day. This morning I made myself sort washing to go in the machine and I still haven't put them in the machine yet! confused (sidetracked by the lure of the internet).

I am on AD's though and am a bit hit and miss about taking them so probably have myself to blame for how I feel right now. sad

booge Thu 04-Oct-12 12:32:03

I have been watching this thread as when I read the op I thought 'that's me!'

I've since been reading about ADD and that's me too. I'm feeling very mixed up about it all. I recently found my old school reports and cried at how bad they were and now I'm thinking I might not have been bad and lazy after all. I've been in trouble for untidiness, forgetfulness, laziness, tardiness, impulsiveness all my life and have always felt inadequate and that I've let people down. I can't say anymore because I'm at work and I might cry.

booge Thu 04-Oct-12 12:32:49

...at work trying to be productive and not distracted...

charlottehere Thu 04-Oct-12 12:41:45

First thoughts when reading you initial post was depression or serious rut or both.

You need to stop comparing youself to other people, you are you and can only be the best you can be. Other people may seem perfect but you don't know what goes on behind closed doors.

A trip to the gp is defintley needed, one small step at a time. (((hugs)))

charlottehere Thu 04-Oct-12 12:46:24

Oh yes, and 8.30 I think most parents are totally done in. grin Go with it, use your evening to relax, watch tv or whatever. Try getting the luches/uniforms ready earlier in the day.

margerykemp Thu 04-Oct-12 12:49:59

Have you ever done a test for aspergers?

Molehillmountain Thu 04-Oct-12 19:40:51

This is me! I'm so, so relieved to find this thread. Now what to do about it? I'm determined to get better smile

dysfunctionalme Mon 08-Oct-12 11:11:02

I sympathise!

Used to be the most organised person on the planet but somewhere along the way morphed into a slothful creature who leaves dishes in the sink, bathrooms unwashed for weeks, cajoles children to watch tv/any screen and every freaking night am panicked about what in god's name to rustle up for dinner.

Is there a name for this condition?

TheSilverPussycat Mon 08-Oct-12 23:05:24

How interesting, dysfunctional, I thought some people were what Flylady calls Born Organised, and that that was how they stayed. How did you come to change?

How many kids have you got? Have you got one of those crammed full lives that younger people seem to have these days?

dysfunctionalme Tue 09-Oct-12 06:38:02

SilverPussycat - I have 2 kids, hardly an army! I am a single parent and work ft, no other commitments. It may sound v strange but I think it is a sign of improved mental health in that I used to be highly anxious and highly organised and, as I've relaxed, I've been able to let things go a bit. IYKWIM

sickofmyself Tue 09-Oct-12 10:15:46

Sorry to have disappeared from the thread after all your helpful posts. Just been feeling pretty <meh> and hating myself for appearing normal and cheerful to those outside my immediate family while treating my nearest and dearest like shit ... shouting and screaming at the kids for things that are MY fault (failing to get things into motion early enough in the morning to avoid a rush); constant, constant irritability with them ... watching DD1 trailing behind me to school this morning while I was cajoling her to catch up every 30 seconds so we'd make it before the bell rang, I thought "THIS is the kind of thing she'll remember from her childhood" - the feeling of miserable walks to school with a grumpy mummy. Sick of it.

I know I should make a dr's appt but I'm worried I won't be taken seriously - all the Gps at my surgery that I've met seem to be incredibly well put-together high-flying, sorted women in their late 20s with manicures and no kids. I just can't see how they'll deal with me saying "I'm really irritable and I sit procrastinating in front of a screen all the time" with anything but uncomprehension and contempt.

sickofmyself Tue 09-Oct-12 10:16:41

margery, Aspergers - what where who???!??? I am really stunned that you could think this but please, tell me more.

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