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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.

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 11:06:45

These are almost exactly the symptoms of my depression. The tiredness and procrastination, the staring at the screen etc I am now on antidepressants and it has improved everything so much. Please go to the GP and talk to them. When I went, they got me to fill in a quetionnaire and it really made me realise it was depression. It is not normal to feel like this. Please get help.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:07:24

Don't know why all my dashes have turned into stupid question marks – sorry, hope you can read it properly anyway.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:09:58

shrinkingnora, I feel militantly, emphatically unable to admit to myself that it might be a form of depression. I just CANNOT accept that I might have it. Why why why????? sad

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 11:13:25

I honestly could have written your exact thread. The flying round doing everything before DH got home so he wouldn't see how bad it was. I have wasted days and days of my life on the computer. Don't beat yourself up about it but do talk to someone. I have whole days now where I don't log on at all and am mostly much more organised. Once I got the right dose of ADs the kitchen was miraculously tidy and everything was much more organised without me actually feeling like I had done much - everything seems to be going much more smoothly. I can remember things again - appointments and sports days and social things. When it was really bad I was permanently on the back foot, surprised by stuff coming round so quickly, not ready for anything.

The reason you can't admit it is because there is a huge social pressure to be coping. If you had suffered for years from a sore throat you wouldn't hesitate to go to the doctor. I found that when I admitted to friends that I was on ADs, almost 50% said they were too. And they were the ones I thought were brilliantly organised and coping well.

Couldn't read this and not respond as I have had exactly the same problem. In fact a year or so ago I could have written your OP - with the exception that my DH has no expectations other than that I keep the children alive, despite the fact that his wonderful DM kept an immaculate house. I think the key is not expecting miracles from yourself overnight - you're unlikely to change from sitting there unmotivated in front of a screen all day to being a domestic goddess who always does stimulating activities with her children whilst fitting in her part-time job etc etc. If I have a super-productive day and try to do too much too soon, I burn myself out and then slump right back into old habits.

For me, the biggest thing which helps is scheduling things in. So if I have to be out and about places for a big chunk of the day, I tend to make more effective use of the small amount of time I have at home. I actually love days when I am simply too busy to log onto FB or MN - it usually means I am being productive. But if I have entire days with nothing in particular planned, I get nothing useful done at all. I often try to just do 15 minute slots of working as hard as I can - I set my phone timer and just do as much as I can in the kitchen in that time. Then stop, have a drink, admire what I've done, then go and do the same in the living room. It is amazing how much you can do in short bursts.

You could also start by planning some activities out of the house to do with your DD2. Add some structure to your day by setting timers - eg. do something which does not involve the computer for 45 mins, whether it's tidying/ preparing dinner/ playing with DD then reward yourself with 15 mins browsing or whatever. I also find that getting stuff done first thing, such as preparing food and getting it in the slow cooker as soon as I'm back from the morning school run or putting a load of laundry in and hanging it out before school etc... make me less inclined to waste the rest of the day - you think it's 9am and I've already done x, y, z - just think how much more I could achieve if I carry on being this productive.

I feel for you, and it sometimes feels like you'll never get out of the vicious circle. I know, I've been there. I still have days like you describe, but they are becoming less and less frequent.

recall Tue 02-Oct-12 11:16:08

sickofmyself I too read the organisation thread, and someone on it asked the OP if she may have Attention Deficit Disorder. I went and googled the symptoms, and sat there open mouthed, it was like a description of me. I have since gone to the GP, and had an assessment, and am waiting for a further appointment to be assessed by a specialist. Its worth getting it checked out, there is treatment available.

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 11:17:50

Front loading your day can help too. If you are totally exhausted in the evening then do the majority of the stuff first thing. I never make lunches and pack bags the day before, it just doesn't work for me. I can do an amzing amount of stuff in a very short space of time first thing.

I also often work from home and in fact run my own business so even when I'm at work there's no-one to stop me arsing around on the laptop all day.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:19:28

I would have to take them secretly. I couldn't admit it to DH, He wouldn't understand. Which makes me feel even worse that I'm in this so-called lifelong relationship with someone I can't actually talk to about things like that. But maybe I should just surrender and be a Stepford Wife while I try and sort myself out.

I can enjoy myself hugely, though – out with friends, etc ... DD1 said a couple of things at breakfast this morning which had me doubled over with laughter ... people really have always thought I'm a cheerful, happy-go-lucky person ... ??

Once I got the right dose of ADs the kitchen was miraculously tidy

That does sound miraculous to me, shrinkingnora ... thank you, I'm taking your posts on board.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:24:45

Frontloading your day can help too

Yes, this is what I have always tried to do, as I'm much brighter and more energetic first thing. Doesn't seem to work though.

twolittlemonkeys thank you too, I know the scheduling works, meal planning is great too as it reduces my stress levels no end when I KNOW ALL DAY exactly what we're going to be having for tea .... BUT I JUST CAN'T BLOODY DO IT! I have tried so many times to schedule a time to schedule and plan(!), if you know what I mean, and it might work for one week and the next ... all falls flat again.

But thank you for your posts, I appreciate them.

GobblersKnob Tue 02-Oct-12 11:26:02

I do feel for you, I can be very similar and suffer from both depression and anxiety.

First of all read this (hopefully) it will make you laugh, there are so many people just like this out there, it is me to a tee, you are not alone.

For me it has been a long slog of ad's and therapy, but this year I have started a degree and am determined to do it 'like a mother fucking grown up' grin Tbh though I now just have no time to procrastinate, it just isn't possible.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:26:32

I have been sitting here since about 20 past 9, composing and writing this while DD2 watches bloody Pingu ... I am GOING to go and do something with her now as I'm actually starting to feel a bit unwell from the screen, but I promise I'll be back later, thank you, thank you.

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 11:28:13

Re the kitchen - I hardly noticed that I was doing it, I just seemed to be able to do a fraction more each day! It's by no means always tidy but the average standard is much higher.

Twolittlemonkeys suggestions are excellent. I find setting timers really helps me. The last minute doing everything in the afternoon sounds like you work well under pressure so you may find that setting mini targets with strict time limits helps. Can you ring fence time for work etc? That also helps. I know if I am working from home that I will do eg 10-12 and then have half an hour for lunch then I might set aside 20 minutes for household stuff on the computer eg checking bank stuff. If you log off fully at the end of each of these times it makes it that much harder to log on. I think I have something of an addictive personality and blame my computer use on that.

Interestingly enough I am meant to be working right now. I seem to have good days and bad days now but the good are getting more and more frequent.

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 11:28:59

Go for it, I am going to take your lead and log off MN and do some work. Right now. I will be back to check on you later!

Viviennemary Tue 02-Oct-12 12:05:21

I've got a bit of a problem too about getting round to things. I decided I wouldn't switch my computer on till late in the afternoon. Sometimes I last until lunch time but sometimes if I need to look up something and I switch it on in the morning that's me all day. I do a list of what I must do. Like clean bathroom, put on washing, and so on and if it's written down there's a lot more chance it gets done.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 12:51:28

I'm terrified I'm going to turn into my mother, who has been lurching unsuccessfully from one depression remedy to another for probably not far off 50 years now - ADs, exercise, meditation, diet - and everything seems to be great at the start, but it's always a false dawn and she slips back. I'm so scared to get onto that same treadmill. I'm terrified my brain will be changed for ever, or even if ADs do improve things, if I try and come off them things will be just the same as before.

Thanks, Vivienne, I actually love writing down lists and getting them done, crossing them all off, believe it or not, but the crippling inertia that prevents me from actually getting my finger out and DOING it ... I just don't know how to get over.

My temper is getting worse too – I was just washing dishes there and DD2 came up to the sink and kept pushing her doll's bottle in front of me to get water - I kept saying I'd just be a minute while the hot water was still on, and then I'd fill it for her - but she kept on pushing and pushing and I took her bottle, chucked it behind me on the floor and shouted at her. What a complete and utter evil fuck-up I am. sad Of course I should just have given her her water. I'm also totally against shouting at children. Like, ever. I shouted at both of them yesterday. sad sicksicksickofmyself.

Also, if this is partly, or largely, due to actual problems such as having such a fucking repressed relationship with DH that I know I can't share things such as this, wouldn't ADs simply mask the problem? We have had a little bit of counselling but are by no means out of the woods.

Gobblersknob that is funny! grin

Has anyone had any success with more natural remedies?

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 12:55:17

And there's all the playing around with doses, and getting side-effects while getting used to/coming off one or other kind of AD - I've seen it with my mum and the prospect freaks me out ...

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 13:16:54

You are not your mother. But I can see why it scares you. I have stopped screaming at the DCs too. I tried Citalopram, it didn't help, I tried Sertraline and it did. I have since upped the dose because I was starting to feel as before. So not plain sailing but certainly not much mucking around. I can now see things much more clearly and am not so fucking exhausted all the time. I do think that too much screen time makes me feel terrible but I needed to address why I was having so much screen time. And it was because I was depressed and that was because I was putting myself under pressure from all angles and also cause I was just, you know, depressed. I have also been booked in for a course of counselling/CBT over the phone via the GP.

In order to make your relationship better you might have to take time to make yourself a bit better first.

Natural remedies would include exercise and meditation and things your mother has tried btw.

And most importantly you are not an evil fuck up. Would you talk to one of your friends like that? You are so mean to yourself. Please stop telling yourself you're so horrible all the time.

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 13:17:22

PS I did work solidly for the whole time I was gone thanks to you!

fuzzpig Tue 02-Oct-12 13:18:33

Oh sweetie are you me?!?

You are really, deeply depressed. You are not a bad person, none of this is your fault, it really isn't. You learned this from your mother (just like I learned from my dad), the paralysis, the helplessness. Of course it is so hard to bring yourself out of that, when you don't know any different.

I can't give any magic solution as I am roughly where you are right now. But accepting who I am has helped. I am very 'all or nothing' and hence feel like a failure all the time because I'm not perfect. So basically I lowered my standards and now I see every little thing as an achievement.

I hope you can tell your DH, and he understands you.


winnybella Tue 02-Oct-12 13:35:54

I am exactly the same. Actually, much, much worse, as I should be looking for a job as well and the guilt of not being able to pull myself together to do that is crippling.

I've got to go and be productive for a bit now, but will come back to this thread later.

Badvoc Tue 02-Oct-12 13:41:45

I think it's very had as a child of a depressive to admit that you might be suffering from the same thing.
But it's important to remember that doesn't mean you are the same person!
Depression and risk of depression does run in families.
I think going to the gp and asking them for advice would be a food first step.
It's hard, but you will be so glad you did in a few weeks time x

Viviennemary Tue 02-Oct-12 13:43:32

Write three things on your list. Even if one of them is 'have lunch'. Then when you have done either two or three of these, then write down two more things. Try and break down tasks. Like looking for a job. Give yourself something specific to do. Depending on type of job. Go on website, buy local paper, buy national paper on the day it features the type of job you're looking for. Make one phone call re a job. It's hard.

WhyTheBigGoldPaws Tue 02-Oct-12 13:46:58

I'm sorry you feel like this and don't have much advice to offer but I sympathise with not wanting to repeat the pattern of behaviour you've learned from your mother. You want so much to be different and get it right but actually doing that is such an effort isn't it. I also find myself being intensely irritable and constantly tired (even after 8 or 9 hours sleep) but had never imagined that depression could be the cause - like you I am a 'coper' and 'the fun one' - am now wondering having read this thread confused. It sounds as though you are being very hard on yourself but I appreciate it's difficult not to be.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 13:52:25

Thanks for your continued replies, everyone, and glad you got some work done, shrinkingnora! So sorry you feel similar, fuzzpig and winnybella, it sucks.

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?

Really going to leave this thread now – have things on with DC after school. Which will involve chatting and being perfectly normal/cheerful with other parents ..?!? Thank you all again and I'll be back later on this evening xx

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 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.

PrincessSymbian Tue 09-Oct-12 10:34:29

You also seem to be trapped in a cycle of punishing yourself. You don't get ready in time, so then you have to run round being a mean mummy, which means that you are bad! Except your not.
But if you start trying to accept yourself for who you are, things will get better. If your husband does not get this, then you need to take him to marriage counselling or something so someone else cam help him get it.
Procrastination and self punishment are classic signs of depression. Start trying to accept yourself for who you are.

Molehillmountain Tue 09-Oct-12 10:39:10

Sickofmyself-all the things you describe are symptoms of things. A gp would know that. You might have depression, anxiety, add-all kinds of things. Also, even if it can't be named, cbt or counselling might help you move forward. Although Mu natural tendency is towards procrastination and shutting off from the world through telly or screens, cbt and flylady (check out have helped me to get better. Also, helped me counteract some of the negative voices I hear that prevent me moving firward(eg I've already ruined their childhood, I can't get enough better, yes, okay this moment is nice but what about all the others). They all are completely unhelpful and are what stop me fulfilling myself. Do go to the gp. You'd be surprised.

Glad to see you back sickofmyself I've been thinking of you.

I'm not ready to see a gp yet. I think I'm too frightened of what they might say. I'd rather just think I was lazy.

If you are ready you really should make that appointment. Imagine the relief you'll feel afterwards.

jojane Tue 09-Oct-12 11:09:21

I feel exactly like you, I am exhausted all the time, and spen half my time on the Internet on my phone, I sit down and put things off til later, I fell muggy and tired all the time, I am overweight and have been saying for months I am goin to start running in the mornings starting on Monday, Monday comes and I don't get up so outbid off til the next Monday and so on, we aren't poor but live month to month and I get so fed up of constantly worrying about money, my car if an old banger and DVD school is in posh village so everyone else have new posh cars so I feel embarrassed about my car but can't afford another one. I spend hours on rightmove daydreaming about winning the lottery and how my life will be magically better if we had more money! I work 3 evenings a week which means come Sunday I am shattered. I get stressed at the kids and do the whole race round trying to tidy before DH comes home

I have found that the busier I am the better I feel and get more done if I only have an hour at home before I go out again. Thing is we don't have the money to be out and about all the time either, especially in bad weather.

SpeshK Tue 09-Oct-12 11:36:43

The only thing that really matters here is that it sounds as though you have forgotten how to enjoy your kids which is really sad. You sound like you are weighed down by your own guilt about all of this and this seems to be paralysing you, stopping you from sorting it out. Forget about all the domestic crap for a minute and spend some time thinking about how you can enjoy being a mum again. Be as honest as you can about this. (For some people the answer is simply to do it less. Get out, do grown-up stuff and then you can enjoy your kids more.) In the meantime, try to make time to enjoy the little people you have. Tickling a small girl until she is doubled up in hysterics is more entertaining than looking at your mate's holiday photos on FB isn't it?

Molehillmountain Tue 09-Oct-12 12:31:07

I try to look at guilt and regret in perspective too. If I'm feeling them, then I'm feeling something and I can use them to make myself overcome procrastination. The timer is your friend-if you really struggle to play with the kids, set it for ten minutes or even five and allow yourself to stop at the end of that time. It's amazing what ten minutes of concentrated attention can do for your relationship with the children.

ChocobananaBalls Tue 09-Oct-12 14:19:31

wow sickofmyself, I am another who could have written your OP sad.
Because of my laziness and procrastination I am in serious trouble at work, but I just can't seem to do anything about it sad.

*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?
Really going to leave this thread now – have things on with DC after school. Which will involve chatting and being perfectly normal/cheerful with other parents* ..
Are you me OP?

I have started a thread on this section of the board about how I don't think I am depressed but nonetheless 3 health professionals have said that I am?? I have the anti depressants but not taken any yet. From what i haave read on this thread I wonder if they are right after all and I should start taking them??

Woozley Tue 09-Oct-12 14:34:50

OP, I am soooo glad someone has posted this, particularly on Mumsnet. Often I feel I don't know why I come on, as it's just full of threads talking about how people wash their bedding every week and full of people sounding terrifyingly organised. I wanted to post something like the above but didn't know how to begin, and it all sounded so self-absorbed and rubbish when I attempted to write it down.

For me, I am not a disorganised procrastinator all the time. In fact I am pretty organised, or my procrastination would get me into a lot more trouble. I have periods of being "good" and then it slips, quite quickly, into something which feels a bit out of control. Then I wrest back control, then things slip again. The thing is, I am quite relaxed about it now. I know I have mild depression, and sometimes it gets me in its grip and sometimes it doesn't. But it's a lot better than it used to be, as a lot of the stress, causing, a lot of the depression, came from my job. Now I work for myself, in something I enjoy, and it allows me just more flexibility and TIME to do everything. Also the kids are at school/nursery for 3 days so it allows me time to be knackered and melancholic and go back to bed if I want to if I haven't slept properly. I am actually quite content and learning to be less hard on myself. The really worrying things that were happening more than a year ago - sudden bursts of anger and tears and the real feeling of sadness and numbness, and the inability to do anything whatsoever, have gone.

Woozley Tue 09-Oct-12 14:36:59

I have never seen a GP about it. I don't see what they could possibly do that I am not doing myself. I think anti-depressants would be a seriously bad idea.

Molehillmountain Tue 09-Oct-12 16:46:54

Chocobananaballs, I've been in a real fix at work because of my procrastination before. I am really trying to override my natural setting which doesn't seem to recognise the point at which I need to get started on a task in order to avoid chaos or disaster. I have got better in lots of ways since children but the net result is only slightly ahead because the task has got bigger! I also recognise the fits of rage-mine are related to my parents and issues with them in the past. I really found cbt helpful as it helped me to stop sinking too far into the damaging thought patterns. Also, having a dh who resolutely refuses to accept that I am a no hope waste of space is a big plus smile

Ponyinthepool Thu 10-Jan-13 22:43:58

I'm fairly new to MN so I'm not sure whether its ok to post on an old thread like this but if any of you are still out there, please come back!

I've been struggling with depression for years, feeling like a chronic underachiever, hating myself for having made so little of myself and generally feeling like a failure.

I too read the OP's post with eyes on stalks, I thought I was the only one who felt this paralysing lack of motivation. On the back of some of the comments here I've been looking into ADD and I think that might be at the root of it. I think there is even a book on ADD called 'No you're not lazy, stupid or crazy' - all the things I have always thought I was. I've been on citalopram (which has had absolutely no effect) for about 6 weeks and I'm waiting to see a psychologist. I'm worried they won't take me seriously. I'm also worried that even if they do nothing will help. It would be great to hear from anyone who has any experience.

I'm so grateful to the OP, I feel for the first time that there might be light at the end of the tunnel.

WifeofPie Thu 10-Jan-13 23:04:54

Darlings smile. Citalopram.

I didn't realize I was depressed until after I started taking it. It doesn't always manifest as sadness. Sometimes it's irritability, procrastination, apathy, rage, weird physical sensations...
Combine a low dose with daily exercise (Yes, daily), a balanced diet, a little bit of chocolate, lots of good sleep and you might feel much better and get your get-up-and-go back.

Branleuse Mon 14-Jan-13 18:35:28

Reading your OP, it sounds a lot like me. I suspect I may have ADD.

sickofmyself Wed 16-Jan-13 15:55:34

Hello everybody :-) Sorry for disappearing from the thread - I have been following it and it's really ... reassuring? affirming? I don't know ... that so many people seem to identify with all the crap that I do on a daily basis. Sorry that you feel like me though sad

Things with me are more or less the same. I have started an online CBT therapy thingie with some woman in the US to try and sort out my thoughts. Haven't told DP as he'd flip at the price of it. (£150 for about 6 or 8 weeks, which we totally cannot afford, but I'm desperate sad). I haven't managed to get to the GP yet (I know, I know). Terror and ongoing procrastination are kinda holding me back a little bit, along with the thought (probably unfounded) that I'll probably just be whacked onto the nearest generic one-size-fits-all ADs, especially with my family history of depression. I just don't think I can get across what I want to say in a 10-min GP appt.

Branleuse and others, I read the ADD/ADHD symptoms with great interest. A lot of them do apply to me ... but a lot of them don't. I've never been considered "a dreamer, a goof-off, a slacker, a troublemaker, or just a bad student." I always did really well in school with the minimum effort, I was just lucky. I don't think I have poor listening skills and I'm not hyperactive or impulsive. And I'm actually good at not being late, as I think I said in my OP. But of course the poor organisation/procrastination is the main symptom on the list on that page which fits me perfectly. The "Emotional difficulties" bit definitely applies to me too.

So ... I don't know what I'm saying. I know things have to change.

Ponyinthepool Thu 17-Jan-13 20:19:22

So glad you came back, OP :-)

So do you think the CBT is helping? What sorts of things does it address? Do you think that will help you to change things in the long term?

If you're prepared to throw a little money at it, why not book a private session with a psychiatrist and explain how you feel about going on AD's, explain that you can't discuss it with your husband and ask whether they think there is a chance it's ADD? Just a suggestion - I'm considering doing this myself because I think I might be waiting a very long time to see someone on the NHS and the citalopram is still doing nothing, it feels like it's actually making things worse. I'm sticking it out for a bit longer though and hoping for the best.

SoupyTwisty Thu 24-Jan-13 21:47:10

sickofmyself - I can identify with a lot of what you have described. I dont have any words of wisdom at all, but i can only share my experience.
I have had counselling through my GP and been on and off antidepressants in recent years. I'm not on them now although I wonder whether I should be. However, part of me is just plain fed up with the concept that perhaps I need to be medicated to feel normal. I just don't want to accept that, so I try to battle on. Then I have days like I've had today, that prompt me to look up 'fucking exhausted' in mumsnet and find your thread!
I question whether I just need to suck up all the monotony and frustrations I feel, because perhaps 70% of mothers feel the same about the realities of motherhood and they take it on the chin. I can be very optimistic about the future and very ambitious and other times I feel incredibly alone and become convinced that I'm the only person feeling this dissatisfied with my ability to cope.
I am forever writing lists about how I'd like my house to run, things I need to sort out and get rid of, great projects. I should probably start with me before I work on the house. I look a wreck and always wear old faded clothes and scrunch my hair back and don't bother with make up. I kind of dont care because I feel I could look alright if I could be bothered, so I allow myself the lazy appearances.
Basically, I think motherhood is fecking hard a lot of the time and maybe mothers should just generally be a bit more open and honest with each other. It might make us feel that we aren't doing such a poor job after all. Obviously sometimes people reach a point in their life when they would benefit from receiving help and I hope anyone who has posted here has that opportunity if they need it.

slowlycatchymonkey Thu 24-Jan-13 22:59:59

I hope it's ok to join this thread. I read the op and felt like someone was describing me inside and outhmm

Wifeofpie- what you said about not feeling sadness sums me up. I don't necessarily feel down. I feel lazy, demotivated, unable to sleep, anxious, and worst of all- so irritable. Like a slow burning simmering rage that is always always there, choking me:/

Sorry to butt in.

Pythonesque Fri 25-Jan-13 09:21:56

Hey monkey, thanks for joining - means I can join too smile

I'm another for whom this thread resonates strongly. Currently back in bed really really glad the cycle path had improved so my son could cycle to school with his father - I've taken him by car the last 3 days. But often I have days where it's a struggle to get dressed in time to pick him up in the afternoon.

I've been on citalopram quite a while and I know it helps me - but for several months I've been struggling to remember to take it regularly ...

I need to get back into paid employment (even very part-time would be fine) but right now it all feels too much, need to master the basics first.

Loneliness is a big big issue. I moved to the UK 12 years ago and then worked away from home a lot until my kids were born. I have a couple of people I feel I can blub on perhaps and one of them is my psychologist ...

Mother2many Tue 29-Jan-13 17:20:11

sick When I read your post I thought, wow, that sounds like me! Then I read your responses. I was so glad to know I am not the only out there!

I was on Zoloft, and emotionally, it calmed me, however, everything else in my life was the same. I took myself off (eeikk) off them over a month ago, and I do plan on going to see my Dr. I wanted to know personally how I would feel after I quit.

I am still just as lazy. I also don't do nothing during the day, until the kids come home from school. Then, I spend the time cleaning/cooking and not doing anything with them. I feel guilty watching them play on their Ipods constantly. IF I am not busy trying to make it look like I did something, I am on the computer or my own Ipod. On Fri. before my partner comes home, I "spit shine" my home, for his arrival. I HATE him showing up I am embarrassed at the way my home looks. I don't invite anyone over/in...or am I invited over to their home.

My poor dog never goes for walks, as I'm too lazy.

I am over weigh. No sooner to do say, "that's it, today is the day I am going to watch what I eat..." and I am walking into the kitchen to grab junk food...

In the past few years, I have withdrawn from the world. I no longer invite people over. I no longer go visit my friends.

I start college in Sept. and I am soo looking forward to that. Hoping it will help kick me into reality.

I was initially diagnosed with Bi-Polar 7 years ago, but now I question it...

I'm here too! Thinking of you!!!

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