Coping with My ADHD in Quarantine

I’ve spent my whole life coping with the fact that I have ADHD. It impacts how I work, how I think, how I talk to people. It’s a difficult thing to live with, but all through high-school and college I’ve made it work, building a daily routine and living space that worked for me.

I struggled with time management when left on my own, so I created a jam-packed schedule to keep me busy. I get easily distracted by noise and visual clutter, so I set up my dorm to give me a space to think. I set up my whole life in a way that let me manage it.

Now, with online classes that are primarily asynchronous and the clutter and noise of my family home, all of that has been turned upside down. I find myself struggling to focus on anything, even the simplest of tasks now nearly impossible.

I know that I’m not the only one dealing with these problems. For many people struggling with mental health, the loss of routine and normalcy is causing more stress and making it harder to function. According to a study done by ADDitude, individuals with ADHD are dealing with worsened anxiety while going through the quarantine.

You might be seeing a lot of posts right now about how to stay motivated and productive in this crisis, recommending organizational systems to keep you focused.

I don’t say any of this to complain, or to bash the 'studyspo' enthusiasts; if you’re proud of your bullet journal or your daily schedule and want to share it, there’s nothing wrong with that! I’m saying it so that if you’re struggling with your new situation, if a good day for you just means getting out of bed, it’s okay. You’re not alone.

Just like self-care doesn’t always look like face masks and scented candles, keeping organized in unusual circumstances doesn’t always have to look like a color-coded calendar – especially if you’re dealing with a learning disability.

I realized that a lot of what I’ve been struggling with has been making my productivity fit into something that resembles a “normal routine,” and when it didn’t work out that way, I just frustrated myself even further.

If you need to do your homework at 3 a.m. with the television on in order to pay attention to it, then do that. If a calendar doesn’t work for you and you need to write notes on your hand to remember deadlines, then do that. Learning disorders come with unique needs - let yourself be accommodating to those needs.

I’m still working my way through it and if I claimed to have figured this all out myself, I would be lying. But what I can say with confidence is that, even if it looks entirely dysfunctional to the people around you, you need to do what works for you.