On Wednesday I told you of my wife’s recent passing, my personal loss. I received condolences here and by email, thank you.
And while dwelling on it isn’t very pleasant for me, I need to share it with you in order to blog about my ADHD without having to censor myself. Modifying my personal anecdotes that illustrate ADHD-related information by leaving out my current and past marital status is possible, but it isn’t my style.
The following is an example of an anecdote that I could not have told adequately without having told you about my wife’s passing:
Executive function gone awol
I’ve been aware for some time that my wife was the greater half of our “couple dynamic executive function.” But I’m just now finding out the staggering extent to which I relied on her to play that role.
My desire to write this blog was to talk about life as a person with ADHD. That included the views of being a man with ADHD, a biker with ADHD, a songwriter and poet with ADHD, an uncle, nephew, brother & son with ADHD. And a husband with ADHD. I had also hoped to bring a mixed marriage point of view (ADHDer / non-ADHDer) to my blog. And I had hoped to be able to bring you both perspectives by providing, on occasion, the views of my wife.
That won’t be happening
This is not an easy topic for me to address, but I’d feel dishonest if I kept it to myself. My wife and I had been married for 27 years when she passed away in July of this year, 2011.
How much does our ADHD affect our everyday lives. We’re going to talk lots about ADHD at work, but today let’s talk about play, specifically hobbies and romance.
Let’s start with hobbies
I create stained glass art, when I’m not boating. Or biking … hiking, uh – fishing, playing guitar & singing, reading, taking pictures … hmm. Maybe I have too many hobbies?
The problem with hobbies, as I’ve come to see it, is that I perceive the challenge of learning as the activity itself. That is to say that the learning is what attracts me, the line between acquiring the skill and putting it to use is blurred. Once the skill is mastered, once I cross that unseen line, I feel a sense of accomplishment and lose the drive to participate in the activity. It no longer has that “new experience” feeling.
I helped a friend move a few weeks ago. It was good timing, I needed to take my mind off some problems I’ve been dealing with lately and she needed the help. This friend has ADHD, as does her son.
Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can
At one point my friend asked if I could figure out how to lift and hang a giant wreath on an existing nail, some 14 feet up. I looked at the wall and my mind started clicking and whirring (it doesn’t really do that, I have to make the clicking and whirring noises myself, and I don’t do that very often any more because of the looks I get).
We are, however, more frequently associated with multi-tasking. Why? Because we attempt it so often. And by ‘attempt,’ I mean we often find ourselves doing many things when we intended to be focused on one thing.
I’ve been studying ADHD extensively and I’ve been blogging about it for some time. And now I’m blogging about it here at Psych Central. I was diagnosed one year ago, but knew the diagnosis was coming for a while.
And I’m happy about this diagnosis
Yes, I went through the “Stages of Grief” and I’ve come out the other side pretty much intact. Yes, I know that any one of those stages could reoccur and that several of them could come back to collectively bite me on the frontal lobe. But for now, I’m comfortable with my self and with my diagnosis.
Don’t get mad, get even!
Anger was the worst stage for me. And anger at the wasted years of not knowing the why’s and wherefore’s of my life with ADHD topped the list. I don’t know if I’d be farther ahead at this point if I’d had an early diagnosis, but I’m damned sure I’d have cut myself more slack, apologized less and had fewer regrets. And maybe I’d have worked harder on the underlying causes of my disappointments in life instead of repeatedly running up against the same invisible walls.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects people without distinction to their race, gender, or educational background. So while we’ve been delighted to have women blog about their battles with ADHD on Psych Central (namely ADHD From A to Zoe), we’re pleased to welcome Kelly Babcock to the Psych Central blogging family.
He will be blogging here to talk about his battles with attention deficit disorder, and what’s worked for him in combating and living with ADHD every day. Kelly spent 50 years knowing he was different, but not knowing why. Growing up with a supportive and encouraging family he managed to find a way to fit in, well aware that love and luck played the biggest parts in any success he enjoyed prior to his diagnosis.
It wasn’t until a chance encounter with another person with ADHD that he realized, from her speaking openly about her own diagnosis and ADHD in general, what made him different.
You can learn more about Kelly here. Please give him a warm Psych Central welcome!