Lindsay Hilsenbeck

USA ph: 1-510-669-1152

John's Story


John's Full Case Study

Case Study - John's Story...

John had never married and lived alone. He had stopped dating ten years before we met. He said there had been no point looking for a relationship because if a women saw how he lived he was pretty sure she would not want to continue dating him - so why bother. He used to vow he would get organized and clean his apartment almost weekly but never did. Instead he would turn on the TV when he got home and hyper-focus on it when he was there.

At the weekend he would go out visiting people to avoid being at home, or watch TV all day. His home was so cluttered he had trouble navigating through some rooms and he was profoundly depressed. It had been years since anyone had been inside his apartment and he dreaded someone calling unexpectedly…if they did he didn't answer the door…when he was at home he felt ashamed, overwhelmed and depressed.

Externally John was able to keep up the appearances of being pretty together. He'd found a laundry that would wash, fold and dry-clean his clothes so he was clean and well dressed. He had a good steady job. He knew how to do his job with his eyes closed. It didn't tax him at all (or use a lot of his innate skills and talents) but he felt safe if a little bored in the predictability of it.

He was able to get to work on time after much trial and error and he was super diligent about not taking time off. Even when he was ill he would go to work partly because he hated to stay home. A very wise man; he would listen with compassion to his younger work colleagues and even became a mentor/advisor of sorts. He could be charming and funny. He was well liked by his fellow workers.





The crunch came for John when the landlord needed to inspect the apartment. A notice was delivered asking John to make an appointment for the inspection. John ignored it - twice. Finally the landlord came knocking and eventually entered the apartment when John was at work. John then received a letter saying he had to vacate the apartment with one month's notice. It was the catalyst he needed to change. Enter me…

John phoned and we talked for a long time about his situation. We met a few days later and he showed me the apartment - John was ready to make some radical changes.

Working with a professional organizer allowed John to pare back what he didn't need and pack what he did. With someone at his side he was able to stay focused and on target. With guidance he could work on one small pile at a time without spinning out, being overwhelmed and "shutting down". And with a step-by-step plan of attack the job of sorting and packing went well.

Goodwill got the things he didn't need and the trash was recycled. I negotiated with the landlord to gain an extension on John's one month notice. Explaining that it would take some time to sort and pack up the apartment and John was working with a PO as quickly as was possible. He got an extension…which gave us some time to discuss where he wanted to move to and look at his options.











It was a stressful time. ADHD symptoms can become more frequent and/or severe during times of stress and fatigue. I coached John on his eating and sleeping habits - and he began to exercise in the mornings to burn off some of his 'jittery' energy and focus better. We designed some interim 'rituals' to help him keep balanced during this time and he started using his cellphone alarm to act as a reminder during the day so he took his meds on time etc.

We discussed where he wanted to live, and why, so he could target his search for a new home more accurately, rather than taking the first apartment he looked at. And as we talked about his budget and financial situation it became obvious to me that he could afford to buy his own apartment rather than rent. John agreed. And with the help of a fabulous realtor John found a great apartment with a mortgage comparable to what he had been paying in rent…the Gods were smiling!

John and I coached for quite some time after his move. During this time we designed strategies to help him to keep his clutter at bay and better use his physical space. He (in his own words) was never perfectly neat and tidy, always a bit messy, but not unduly so. He was able to pay his bills on time and radically reduced the amount of time he spent looking for lost items.

He cut back on watching the TV so much and was able to have friends and family visit and even sleep over. He stopped trying to be perfect and accepted his ADHD tendencies, compensating for them when necessary. And focused on honing his positive skills and talents (he turned out to be a great cook!).







He became healthier physically, as a result of his regular exercise regime and joined a gym. And he gradually nixed his negative 'self talk' which had been feeding his depression all his life. As his confidence and self worth built he began taking more risks. He finally began dating again. He was, and still is a good, kind, honest, and funny man with an above average IQ and a mind that whirls with all sorts of interesting and novel ideas….he is still cute looking too.

Now, five years on, John is happily married. A smart lady recognized a diamond in the rough and has buffed him up beautifully!!… His apartment has nearly doubled in value since he bought it. And recently he retired from his job with a full pension. He and his lovely wife are busily building a new house in the country and are planning to travel once she retires too. One very happy ending…


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