[Dis]organizational Anxiety

Mags - June 20, 2017

Yesterday, I spent an hour looking for my husband’s debit card. A card he had not lost as he always keeps it in the same place in his wallet (which he puts in the same place in the house). I had taken his debit card because I lost mine the week before. So, in total, I spent about 4 hours in the last week searching for debit cards that I had lost. Oh, and did I tell you that my debit card was a replacement for the one that I had lost about 2 months earlier. I wish this story was an exaggeration of my disorganization, but well…(you can’t see me but I’m hanging my head).

“Why can’t you just put things away?” I have been asked so many times by the tidy people in my life. The implication is always that I just don’t care enough to keep things organized. However, I care deeply about being organized and have suffered quite a bit from my disorganization. As someone with executive functioning issues (a close cousin to Attention Deficit Disorder) my brain has trouble with spatial organization. It is not a choice any more than not being able to calm down is a choice for an anxiety sufferer.

Those of us that have trouble organizing our things and our time often struggle mightily in a culture that prizes efficiency. We are always out of step and trying to catch up. It takes enormous energy to try and figure out what other adults are doing to pay their taxes on time, submit their kids’ school forms (the first time they are requested) and to keep a house running smoothly. We Disorganized Sisters often fail at these basic tasks which, as you can imagine, creates a lot of anxiety—one thing I never seem to lose.

I am constantly berating myself about my failure to organize, and breaking promises to myself to finally “get it together.” But I have decided that from now on, I am going to focus on talking to myself more kindly about my challenges. Instead of saying that I will “never” be able to organize, I am going to say “not yet but I am still working on it.” I am also looking at the strengths the chronically disorganized among us offer: we may not see the little picture so well, but we often see the big picture perfectly. I am going to embrace my creativity and my ability to make intellectual connections to tackle my challenges.

Anybody else struggle with (dis) organizational anxiety?  Do you have any advice for me?

5 thoughts on “[Dis]organizational Anxiety

  1. Yes I do very much. I have been working on it with my therapist .Thanks for sharing sometimes I feel I am in this alone.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. It does feel lonely to struggle with organization issues. The beauty is that we are not alone. Please let me know how you are working on this issue and if you have any good ideas!

      1. I am tying to down size which is very overwhelming to me. I am breaking it down to one closet drawer etc and only concentrate on that it seems to help.

  2. I understand. I once took a wonderful course on organizing and the teacher (a former disorganized person) always said to break it down to as small a corner, a drawer, etc. as possible.

  3. I do. I’ve been having a lot of luck recently with a few organizing blogs that have given me a lot of ideas. I even ordered a book that has tons of checklists and labels (made by a woman who has ADHD). The blogs are Do it on a Dime and Clutterbug. I highly recommend!

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