ADHD| E is for Entropy

ENTROPYE is for Entropy!

Yess, that’s right. What’s entropy?

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines it as “a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder.”  There’s another fancy scientific definition that has to do with thermodynamics, chaos, and states of matter. We won’t go there. You would get totally bored reading about it, and I couldn’t stand to write about it because I hate being bored, too.

Entropy in the Days of Our Lives

Despite my efforts to stave off entropy with virtual light sabers, sometimes our home life seems to be in a wrackful state of entropy. (I made that word up just this second- wrackful. Don’t you love it?) Anyhow, both my husband and daughter have ADD, and  you already know I have ADHD, too.

EntropyIt takes every gram of my energy to transition out of the house in the morning. Usually either my daughter or I have forgotten something, whether it be the hairbrush, cell phone, homework, my wallet, or her history binder. When she and I come home after school, the homework cannons get fired up, and I pour myself into corralling her into starting her daily assignments and projects. When my husband comes home, I will give my husband a shopping list, and he’ll forget to take it out of his pocket.  Or I’ll write a giant to-do list for myself to complete that evening, and I’ll forget to look at it, or get distracted by a fascinating phenomenon I’m reading about on the internet or hyperfocus on another project. And then, bam! It’s 10:30 PM, I remember about the to-do list, papers cover the dining table, M.’s started 2 different art project on one corner, and in the other corner, I’ve placed Kevin’s items from a drawer I cleaned out.

By Friday, entropy reigns. There are little piles here and there, projects in little file folders about, and CDs piled up in a corner. On the weekend, the evidence of entropy has taken over like a spider web of blackberry bushes, and we spend a few hours starting and stopping new extreme organization or clean-up projects.

Before I had my daughter, I overcompensated for my then-undiagnosed ADHD by having an ultra-clean, pristinely organized home. I still prefer things spic and span, and keep my classroom clean and desk clear and organized. I’ve heard it’s common for women with ADHD to go undiagnosed until they have children, juggle a career, being a wife, etc.

The Solution

I used to beat myself up I felt like I couldn’t keep up with day-to-day “grown-up” tasks that neurotypical folks completed without effort.   Blah mundane tasks like sorting data in an Excel spreadsheet, folding and putting away laundry, or taxes take me about 5,000 times longer than the average bear. Some activities I can complete super fast, like reading emails, skimming articles, whipping up a batch of paleo brownies, or doing my hair.

Chaos Theory by James GleickEntropy

Chaos Theory

Perhaps our family’s weekly fall into entropy is rather a fine example of chaos theory, which Margaret Rouse states “refers to an apparent lack of order in a system that nevertheless obeys particular laws or rules.”

James Gleick, author of Chaos: Making a New ScienceEntropy, said that chaos theory is “a revolution not of technology, like the laser revolution or the computer revolution, but a revolution of ideas. This revolution began with a set of ideas having to do with disorder in nature…”

Are we in the midst of a revolution in our house? Whether it’s entropy, chaos theory, or a revolution, I know that I just have to do the work that’s in front of me, stay in the present, and do the best I can with the time that I have available.

Is your house an example of Rockwellian bliss, entropy, chaos theory or a war zone? 

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