I wish I could come on here and write that the past few weeks without meds has been amazing because I have the tips/tricks/apps/and a really good schedule, but I can't. I'm a peace with that, and as I continue fighting with my insurance I'm stuck in Executive Function limbo. I've started about 12 new projects and finished none of them. With the help of some new vitamins I've been in better control of my hyper-focus, but the rest of my day has been a flurry of starting, not finishing, and forgetting.
ADHD and the Daily Struggle
Last night I left the stove to help my daughter and FORGOT I WAS COOKING. The house filled with smoke before I realized what was going on. I'm so grateful to have an incredible husband who laughed it off and reminded me that we had gift cards to a local restaurant. He really is the difference between me beating myself up and being able to laugh off my own mistakes. This is ADHD.
Changes From Last Time I Was Unmedicated
Although I'm still having a tough time managing my ADHD, what I will say is that it's MUCH better after learning more about my ADHD and working through a lot more of my Walls of Awful I have been able to keep better control on a few things than I have in the past. We have a LARGE trash can in every common room in the house... Sometimes more than one. We keep one by the dining room table, in the living room and one in our office. That way clutter that piles up around the house is less likely to be trash. It's immediately noticeable and next to each place that we need to use it. I also don't have to empty it daily, and guests are always able to find one during parties. We also have lots of laundry baskets. We don't keep them out for company, but I have one in every bedroom, the living room, and both bathrooms. We actually have two in our master bedroom, one for my husband and one for me. It's not Pinterest-pretty, but it IS life-perfect, and that's what matters.
Something That's Helped For Now
I will say that I have found a new tool that really does seem to help with the normal routines and making sure that I (and my kids) stay on track. Brili is a routine making app that was intended for kids, but it has worked beautifully for all of my family. Now I don't have to hold EVERYONE's morning/bedtime routine in my head, and the predictable daily tasks that have multiple steps can be added as well. This has been a HUGE help with my working memory since it shows the current task, how much time you have to complete it, and has "cards" that flip to the next task. You can also delay a card so if you are "brush teeth" and the bathroom is being used it will move that card to the end of your routine so you don't forget. It's simple enough that even my 3-year-old can use it all by herself.
The Problem with Tools
The problem isn't with the tools, it's with me not sticking to them. I have a continuous cycle of "look at these great tools that are really helping me right now", "I had the other thing that prevented me from doing the other thing on my daily routine, so I'll mark it as done because it was impossible to do", "I really wanted to do the thing, but didn't and looking at it undone makes me sad so I'll mark it off", "stopped using/forgot about the tool." With my anxiety mostly under control, I don't feel the same guilt for not doing tasks, and although it makes me (and my family) a lot happier that I'm not over-stressed I have a hard time finding the drive to get up and do things when they aren't an immediate problem.
The Positives of Being Off-Meds
There have been a few positives, though. I'm more flexible off meds. I can roll with the punches and am happy to quickly change direction to do another task if it takes precedence. I'm more likely to play with my kids, and I'm able to think more creatively. I also take more time to really soak in information when I'm interested in a topic. My speech is smoother, and I find myself not mixing my words as much. There are MANY ADHDers who have jobs that require their ADHD in order to actually do their jobs, but as a Stay at Home Mom, it's tough to manage my own time and really accomplish things.
Take Care of Yourself
If you find yourself in a situation where you're off meds for a while, don't panic. Things will be okay. Give yourself a little slack. Try to set up a few systems to help you manage the basics, and be forgiving toward yourself.