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handbagDo you have a permanent shoulder ache from lugging a bag or briefcase that is filled with ..... well actually I haven't a clue what mine is filled with as it is so long since I emptied it!

No names, no pack drill but the other day a dear friend decided to explore her bag and found 7 pairs of reading glasses. I usually have at least 8 pens in mine, several packs of tissues "just in case" for my regular sneezing fits, a couple of notebooks, a few lipsticks that I never remember to wear, a mini pharmacy, a couple of combs should I remember to look in the mirror before getting out the car ..... and then the financial bits.

There are those who order their money notes in perfect denomination order, all facing the same way carefully filed in the correct slot of the wallet with just enough loose change to pay the petrol pump attendant and car guards that they will encounter that day. Credit and debit cards are filed in their little slots in alphabetic, colour or amount of credit available order waiting to be used only in an emergency. Receipts are neatly folded and filed in a separate pocket and religiously removed from the bag in the evening, tallied up and filed in the correct lever arch file ready for the taxman.

And then there are those of you who are like me. I have a big bag with at least 8 pockets and somehow my credit, debit, medical aid and other bits of plastic play hide and seek. They start off ever so well behaved in my wallet that has a dozen neat slots for all these cards but like me they are easily bored. Is there a tenner in the mini pharmacy pocket or perhaps a fifty in the cellphone pocket? I can hear those coppers jingling in the glasses section says Mrs Visa Card. Am I really in the right bag wonders my library card as she slips of to check her name against my ID document?

Oh the humiliation now when I get to the cashiers till and need to pay. Well we won't go there. Those who are like me know it well. Those who are perfectly organised are gnashing their teeth at the prospect of being behind me. In my haste to escape I shovel the metre long tillslip into my bag, grovel for my keys so I don't have to turn my bag upside down on the boot of my car and slink out of the supermarket.

Is this the same "me" who, way back in 1978 and newly married, wrote an article for Fair Lady magazine, entitled "Write It Down To Save It Up"? The same "me" who balanced the books to the cent month after month for years?

Yip .... the very same. So what went wrong? Well actually I always was and still am untidy, unstructured and pretty undisciplined in many things. My school bag and desk taught my handbag how to behave. Yet I love it when my desk is neat and my handbag is organised.

So why can't I maintain this organisation and why was I so anally retentive about finances that I was driven to write the article?

I have ADHD and for those non-ADDers who have ADHD spouses and kids our actions are incomprehensible and beyond frustrating.

We really do want to be neat, organised and in control and if we manage to find something we are good at we become obsessive in a desperate effort to show the world that we are not useless. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a relatively common co-occurring condition with ADHD.

Because we can't control our own minds we try to control everything around us. 

At last I have learned to love myself and I am lucky that my spouse accepts me as I am.



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