I saw a post this morning about how ADHD makes it difficult (or impossible) to form habits, and it resonated, so I decided to blog about it regarding my relationships and how the mental load of keeping up with routines associated with keeping up relationships takes up space in my brain.
Hopefully, this link works for context.
I do not form habits; I create routines, and I HAVE to have them because I’m also autistic. For example, my morning routine is:
- Wake up at 9 AM.
- Take my morning meds.
- Do dental hygiene.
- Go downstairs and give Howl his meds and treat.
If something interrupts that routine, I typically forget to take my meds, but I remember Howl’s. (Howl is one of my beloved cats.)
As I’ve been unmasking over the past couple of years and transitioning from being a stay-at-home household manager to a small business owner and gig worker, I have noticed that my tendency to simplify my life when I’m stressed has become increasingly frequent. Because I cannot often autopilot (habit), I am using a lot of my physical/mental capacity to ensure that what needs doing gets done. And I must consistently triage what gets done due to the unpredictability of my health. I do not have the spoons/mental/physical energy to maintain a home and yard, self-care, care for the kitties, and work (marketing, documentation, accounting, creating, etc.). And somehow maintain social relationships (romantic or platonic). I’m also an introvert, so my social life has always consisted of fewer relationships but deeper ones. I am a quality-over-quantity person.
Because I value my intimate social relationships so much, I will continue to prioritize them in my life; however, they must be limited to only a handful of people. It’s vital to me to nourish and deeply engage in those relationships, which must also be fulfilling in return. I need an overall balance to the dynamic. Thankfully I have close friends who meet this need, and I am grateful. I may add a partner or two, but that’s not a priority for the foreseeable future. (That’s a post for another time.)
My friends understand that because I need my routines, we must work out a schedule to spend time together (in addition to the random times we reach out). Thankfully most of my friends are also neurodivergent and experience similar needs. I only wished two of them lived closer.
And none of that diminishes how much I appreciate my friendships in general. I know many wonderful people and am thankful for them as well.
I don’t have the resources to keep up with everyone and not feel as if I’m neglecting myself or my closest relationships.