If you knew me through work you would never guess that the organised, focused social worker who can remember details about every child she has ever worked with and keep on top of even the most complex of cases struggles with executive dysfunction. Unless that is, you are my manager who is always chasing my out of date expenses or the woman from finance who is always emailing me about missing expense receipts.
The truth is, that while I do not struggle with social work or most aspects of my writing career, I do struggle with everything else. My expenses are always out of date. I have yet to take a gas metre reading on a property that I moved into eight months ago. I forget to buy essentials and often forget to eat. I have over 100 messages waiting to be read on my phone (don’t mention the emails) and I keep forgetting to book a dentist appointment for a filling that was recommended almost two years ago.
One of the things that frustrates me is that if I could afford certain things, my executive dysfunction would be less of a problem but executive dysfunction is expensive so I can’t afford the things that would help. Despite having a job that should provide me with a comfortable income I am always broke. Of course, it doesn’t help that being physically disabled is also expensive.
Some examples of expenses that arise from my disabilities:
-Lunch. I often buy things to make a packed lunch but forget to take it with me and then I have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on sandwiches.
-Taxis for when it’s just too painful to walk.
-Essentials bought at higher cost because I forgot to buy them in advance and have to pay extra to buy them at expensive corner shops.
-Pre-prepared food. My condition fluctuates so if I had better executive functioning I would be able to pre-prepare my own food for when I can’t chop or peel. Instead I have to buy pre-chopped or peeled food.
I am determined that this year is going to be better. I bought a book to do my budgeting (nothing motivates me like nice stationary and lists) and I am going to try to save money so that I can buy things that would help me and hire people to support me. I might also get around to the benefits application that I’ve been meaning to do forever.
I’ve started off quite well. My food budget for the month is £100 for a big shop (cupboard food, frozen food etc and pain killers) and then £15 per week for fresh food. I was recently told that I need to lower my cholesterol so I really need to prioritise eating fresh fruits and vegetables and foods that are known to help with cholesterol (yes, I am a millennial who is prioritising avocado in my budget). I split this between two shops. Ocado offered £20 off if I spent £80 and Tesco had a good offer on for quorn products so I spent £60 at Ocado and £40 at Tesco (if it’s under £40 you have to pay an extra charge). I didn’t meal plan so I may end up eating strange combinations of food by the end of the month!
Perhaps the only good money saving thing about executive dysfunction is that I often forget to do the food shopping and then forget to stop at the corner shop and end up eating every single thing in my flat before I remember to go shopping so food rarely wastes.
Four days into the new year… I hope I can keep this up!