Archives for January, 2012
It’s easy to follow the creation of the ADHD mask. It starts when we are young. Our behaviour is questioned, isolated, centred out for ridicule. We learn to hide things, first our pain, then our desires. Finally we suppress our goals. Our pride dies. Not a painless death, but the long drawn out tortured agony of a thousand deaths. Each time we think we have done away with it, we find ourselves feeling a bit of pride in the way we’ve handled something or accomplished some small task. Then we think we’re on the right track, finally making progress, soon to join the ranks of the successful and take our rightful place where we’ve always felt we’ve belonged.
I’m tired today. Actually I was pretty tired yesterday, too. Exhausted is probably the right word. I didn’t sleep well the night before last, and I woke up early again this morning. My brain feels numb. It’s crawling through thoughts like they’re thick porridge, and it crosses my mind, not for the first time, that this might be the speed the so called normal mind thinks at. That thought makes me laugh, until I realize that even if this is the speed they think at, I’m still my usual distracted and scattered self. Now I’m thinking about twenty different things but doing it slowly. Not good. But I said this was a good day, didn’t I? Yes, this is a good day. Yesterday was good too, very good. Yes, two good days. And in fact “yes” is my new favourite word.
I always thought my decision making skills were pretty good. If I was having trouble making a decision I would stop waffling, step back and ask myself which choice would be the hardest to undo if it were wrong. Then I’d choose the other. The result of this is that I have no piercings, no tats, and no baroque plaster statues with clocks embedded in their stomachs. You can’t get un-pierced or un-tattooed, you’ll always have it in your past, even if you let the piercing grow in or get the tattoo removed. And the clock? Just try to return something like that. Okay, I never bought one so I’ve never tried to return one, but I imagine it wouldn’t be easy.
There was a time in my life when Monday meant something. It was the beginning of a cycle of days. It was a sad day sometimes, a happy day other times, but it was always a significant day. Theses days it means little to me. My days seem to run together, and I'm not sure that I like that. You've heard me say that we need structure in our lives, and maybe I shouldn't speak for all of us, but I do believe this to be true. Some of you may disagree, and that's okay, I stand by my conviction, but I don't insist that everyone else must.
Unique or odd? Adventurous or foolish? Quick to forgive, or just too distracted to remember your anger? You decide. You tell me. But before you do, let me tell you what I think. As a child, I never forgot that I was different, but I never felt substandard. I didn’t know I suffered from ADHD, no one did. But my mother, God bless her, made me feel like I was okay. I didn’t have to be like anyone else, it was okay to just be me. No, that’s not quite right, not quite all there was to it. It was absolutely imperative that I be me, that I be just me. I didn’t have to conform, all I had to do to please her was to bring my best to everything I did. It was always enough as far as she was concerned, and never enough as far as I was concerned. I always wanted to try harder. I didn’t always, but I always wanted to.
I often tell people, when age is being discussed, that I’m 70 physically, 53 chronologically, 29 intellectually and 12 emotionally. I've wondered if there was a formula to calculate my virtual age, my ADHD age, and today I decided to create that. What? Why would I call that your ADHD age? Well, let me explain ... First, I’m 53. That’s just the fact. I’ve lived that many years, and while I do agree with people who say you are as young (or as old) as you feel, I have lived through those 53 years and experienced the events that have occurred in that time. They have, to some extent, shaped my life, my character. That’s my actual age, so it is a number that has to be factored in when calculating my ADHD age.
A few days ago a new friend took me by surprise when she asked “So, what’s on your bucket list?” I have one, of course. Actually I have two. One that is easily accomplished, and one that will require more effort to complete. Since then, I've been thinking about that encounter, and what is meant by the term “bucket list.” And I've realized I have a third bucket list. I have an ADHD bucket list, things I want to accomplish either because of my ADHD, or in spite of it.
Or "Why I'm Not Triskaidekaphobic!" It's my birthday today, Friday the 13th, my lucky day. I've always felt different, out of sync with the world, not a fit. I've always been a square peg looking at a bank of round holes. But I've always felt lucky. Tuesdays child is full of grace At one time I would tell people I had actually been born on a Friday 13th, no one ever looked it up, they'd all just say “Really? Wow!” It fit. I was, and am, an unusual entity and it just figured that I might have been born on such a day. In reality, I had been born on a Tuesday. If there is any grace in me it is well hidden. It may come out in some of the photographs I take, but I'm fairly sure it isn't very evident at other times.
I'm not the sort of person that needs to be coddled. I take my medicine when I'm told to. And, though I don't always admit the need, when there's no denying the need, I don't. The sugar, for me, is the curing of whatever the medicine was prescribed to cure. A bitter pill is not so hard to swallow if there is a resultant healing in the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, my ADHD is not curable, at least not yet. My meds are a temporary fix, and only a partial one at that. They help me keep calm-minded, but I must direct my own focus. Being mindful is only part of the plan, I have to be vigilant of what I am mindful of.
What is ADHD? I hear this question rather frequently. My standard response is to say “Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder” and then give a quick description of the three main symptoms: distraction, inattention and hyperactivity. If I’m on my game the sincerity in my delivery makes the questioner realize I’m talking about something beyond the occasional distraction, something more than not noticing your spouse's haircut, and something a bit more excessive than going for a brisk walk. But I’m not always on my game.