My Flatmate's carelessness gives me anxiety


I am currently undergoing ADHD diagnosis. My therapist has told me that I have high probability of ADHD. Meanwhile, I was aware of the symptoms & gathered tools & techniques to suppress the symptoms but currently, my ADHD has been at its peak.

On top of that my flatmate’s carelessness for maintaining the flat & inability to suppress his ego & listen and acknowledge the instructions for maintaining the place, is giving me anxiety & making my thoughts go crazy since last week. I just want to run this place as my home & his carelessness & attitude for not giving a damn makes my thoughts go haywire which I can’t control for days. This is hampering my daily activities & I am find it hard to move on with my life.

Please provide me the tools & techniques to overcome this situation & thinking pattern.

1 Like

Well first of all, welcome to a good place.

I empathize with your situation and the difficulty that it poses for you. Living with someone whose style and manner of maintaining shared living space presents some unique challenges. I don’t know you well enough to suggest specifics . . . But I think if you search through some of Jessica’s videos on this site, you may find something helpful. Others here will surely have some suggestions . . . And I will leave that heavy lifting to them!

Meantime stay connected here where you’ll find much support . . . as well as some ideas that might be relevant and helpful to you.


1 Like

Welcome to the HowToADHD forums @Rishab_Jaiswal !

Anxiety was what led me to finally get assessed for ADHD. I had debilitating anxiety that I had to get counseling for (from three years of problems at work), but since I was going to see a counselor anyway, I asked for the ADHD assessment.

That counselor encouraged me to use mindfulness techniques when I felt the anxiety rising.

  • Just deep slow breathing (or even just closing your eyes focusing on your breathing) can help.

I would recommend that you do this in a space where you can be by yourself.

One breathing technique a lot of people learn to relax is called “box breathing”. This technique is described different ways, but it’s basically always the same. So, here’s the way I first learned it.

  • Sit comfortably. Close your eyes, or look at a fixed point in front of you. Focus on your breathing. Breathe in slowly for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, blow out slowly for 4 seconds, and hold your breath for 4 seconds. Repeat. Do this for a few minutes until you feel more calm.
    (I’ve also heard 5 seconds each;.or one version where the cycle is 1 second for each part, then 2 seconds each, then 3 seconds each, … on up to as long as you’re comfortable doing.)

Another mindfulness technique is called “progressive relaxation” (you can find that, and “box breathing” and other mindfulness techniques online).

At another time, I had a different counselor who taught me a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) “grounding” technique. This one involves the 5 senses. It’s as simple as 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

  • Look around (holding your head mostly still, and moving your eyes) and name 5 things that you see.
  • Close your eyes and listen, and name 4 things that you hear. (Other than your carelessness flatmate, that is!)
  • Reach out with your hand and name 3 things that you can touch.
  • Breathe in through your nose and name 2 things you can smell.
  • Put something (appropriate to taste) to your mouth and name that 1 thing you taste.

@Rishab_Jaiswal you mentioned that the issue with your flatmate has been going on since last week. Why only since last week?

Have you only been flatmates with this person for such a short while?

Has there been some recent change with you, with your flatmate, or both of you?

The founder of HowToADHD, Jessica McCabe, recently released a video about “thought spirals”, also known as “rumination”. In psychological terms, this word means: “obsessive repetition of thoughts or excessively thinking about problems”.

Here’s a link to the video. Jessica talks a little about rumination, her own struggle with it, and some things to help. In the comments, viewers also share things they do to help overcome thought spirals. Handling Rumination/Thought Spirals: Tips on How to Cope With Self-Destructive Thoughts - YouTube

1 Like

Welcome to the community!

I second @j_d_aengus suggestion. Do pranayama every day, preferably in the morning. And anytime you start feeling anxious, try some deep breaths.

If it helps, make a list of what your needs are. So for example, wanting peace and quiet is a need. Wanting him to go away is not a need but a possible way to achieve peace and quiet. If you say to him I need peace and quiet, he may respond more favorably but if you say I need you to go away, he will likely respond negatively. Any way, if you learn to make requests firmly but calmly, eventually you will get through to him. This can be hard and requires practice.

The key point is that you are responsible for your own well being. So if for example, you need peace and quiet, tell him so. If he doesn’t cooperate, walk away. If you are getting anxious, breathe deeply and still walk away if you need to, to maintain your focus and state of mind.

In fact, yoga has many good things to strengthen your “core”! The idea being, if you, the real you, is mentally strong, you can handle external petty annoyances well. There are some online resources, but you may have access to some very good resources locally wherever you are! [Yoga in its true meaning, not what we in the West call yoga, which are really just asanas]

[Edit:] Forgot to add one thing. If your flatmate’s behavior is toxic and you are having a lot of difficulty, have him move or you can move when it is feasible. At least until then you can try some of the suggestions. But a bigger payback will be when you learn to not only tolerate external annoyances but even can laugh at them! Just as you would if a little kid tried the same things! Good luck!

1 Like