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Well Being

Therapist with ADHD explains how she 'learned to clean as a messy person'

ADHD therapy

Some people are neat freaks and some people aren't. Most of us prefer a clean and tidy space, but not all of us are able to maintain one. Not only do people go through various stages of life that make keeping house trickier than other times, but some people have neurological, psychological, and emotional realities that make it harder than it is for others.

The problem is, a messy house is often a source of judgment and shame.

Licensed therapist and TikToker Kc Davis is turning that notion on its head with videos that explain how her own ADHD impacts her messiness and how she's learned "to clean as a messy person."

Davis shared a video showing her doing "a full reset" of her space while explaining the various reasons why some people don't have the executive function capabilities to "clean as they go." From ADHD to physical disabilities to having experienced abuse surrounding cleaning, some people find it impossible to keep things neat and tidy. For people who don't struggle with executive dysfunction, this video may not make sense, but for those who do, it's extremely validating.


"I don't often go into specifics about why my house is messy that day because at the end of the day it doesn't matter," she said. "It's not about me proving to some internet stranger that my house is messy for an acceptable reason. It's about getting a message of compassion and hope out there to anyone that struggles. Regardless of your level of functioning, you deserve kindness."

Her caption may be the most validating of all:

"Mess is morally neutral and shame is the enemy of functioning."

@domesticblisters

Mess is morally neutral and shame is the enemy of functioning. #strugglecare #findyourway #selfcompassion #cleantok

That video was viewed more than a million times.

In another video, which has been viewed more than 9 million times, Davis explained how she changed how she viewed cleaning.

"For the longest time, I thought what I needed was for someone to teach me how to not be messy," she said, "but every attempt at a ritual or routine that was aimed at making me not messy failed, and I thought I had failed.

"What I needed was not someone who was going to try to turn me from a messy person to a neat person, but someone to teach me how to clean as a messy person. Someone to give me the freedom to just live my day the way I wanted to live it without thinking about things and the tools to create a routine at the end of the night to reset the space to functional without feeling overwhelmed or exhausted."

As she's explaining this, she's "resetting" her kitchen space with the help of a 15-minute timer. Even just calling it "resetting" is a helpful mind-shift for people who feel overwhelmed by the idea of "cleaning."

@domesticblisters

The key to a functional home does NOT include changing who you are. #strugglecare #messy #LoveMeMode #cleantok


"The key to a functional home does NOT include changing who you are," she wrote in the caption. That permission to live as a messy person with tools to stay functional is huge, judging from the comments. While some naturally neat folks were mortified by the mess in her video, those who related to it felt seen and heard. Those are the people she's trying to reach.

Thanks, Kc Davis, for giving a voice to those with executive dysfunction and for helping everyone be more compassionate and understanding of one another.

See more of Kc Davis's videos on TikTok.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


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