Some of you know that I wrote another blog before this one, Tao Of Taylor, written under my other name, Taylor McKinlay.
You may not know, however, of a third blog out there. A blog that speaks to my love of poetry. ADD-Verse is a blog that invites people with ADHD to submit their poetry so that I can selfishly hoard it all in a collection. Of course I share it, and I also cherish every submission.
The rules of the blog are that you can write about anything, the poem must be a minimum of one word long and it must be written using letters found in books like dictionaries or encyclopedias … in short, just about anything goes.
Did I say you had to have ADHD to submit a poem? If I did, I’m sorry, you don’t have to. You might be writing about a loved one who has ADHD. I guess the long and short of it is that if you can connect your poem to ADHD in any way, I’ll present it to the world. Oh, I do need a name and a copyright year.
Here in the great white north, Canada, we associate ourselves with winter. It doesn’t last as long as some might think when they think of Canada. Along the higher populated southern border we get about three months of really cold weather, usually.
Where I live in Southwestern Ontario, it’s usually three months. This year it’s been a very mild winter. The bay I live by has yet to freeze. It probably won’t, even if it does turn cold enough. It’s what my ancestors would have called an open winter. I’ve seen the grass of my lawn more than I’ve seen it covered with snow.
But Friday last brought flurries, fed by evaporation from Georgian Bay, that fell with a steady building progress and blanketed my little town quite completely.
We have a love/hate relationship with labels, don’t we? Often we’re happy to have a name for our troubles. But we do hate being grouped and judged by poorly understood criteria.
And as labels go, ADHD is pretty ineffectual. It misses the mark. It tries to be a catchall, yet only covers some of our many symptoms, and it does that poorly at best.
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder? Really?
I don’t have an attention deficit, I have an attention Control deficit. And, while I am hyperactive, not all of us are. Do we really need to include that in the name?
If we are going to try to explain this disorder by its name, we have to try to include all the other potential symptoms.
Today, I have to confess that I’ve been suffering from a bit of hero worship lately.
Max and Millie (not their real names) can be seen in my town on the local sled hill, or skating, or they can be found chasing each other on main street in playful hide and seek fashion. Or they can be in hiding at home, spending a Saturday morning dueling on their game console or having tickle fights.
Meet Max & Millie
Max is six years old. Millie, his mother, is the object of my hero worship.
As a child growing up, I was not diagnosed. In fact, we had no idea what ADHD was. We’d never heard of it. I’ve told you before that I was not encouraged to think of myself as normal, but I was also not allowed to think of myself as abnormal or subnormal.
I know now that my mind fits neatly on the Autism spectrum. So does Max’ mind. He has Asperger Syndrome.
… beyond my control, there will not be a regular blog post today. Ill health has descended on my home and has become the main topic of conversation. Yes, I’m alone, but you all know already that I talk to myself, right?
Anyway, influenza has commenced to influence the weather inside my head. A warm front interspersed with frequent chills has taken over creating a vast fog bank rolling around between my ears.
Frequent foghorns can be heard, though I suspect only by me, and there is a flurry of hankies falling in the laundry hamper area.
Wednesday afternoon I came home feeling a little under the weather. My lungs felt like they had steel wool in them and my eyes were kind of itchy. I have a bit of lung damage though, and it’s winter, there isn’t enough moisture in the indoor air, my eyes always feel a little itchy in the winter.
I was probably fine. I hit the couch with a good book and drank tea for the evening.
I woke up on Thursday feeling much better, ’til I coughed. The steel wool was gone. It had been replaced by a handful of rusty nails.
No problem, I just wouldn’t cough. I headed out the door and climbed into my truck.
It wouldn’t start …
I’m always on time! Well, almost always. I worry about being late, so I make every effort to be punctual. I get distracted like every other ADHDer, I lose focus and wander. But my anxiety always brings me back.
Punctuality is the hallmark of good manners
So my anxiety is the cure for my potential tardiness, that’s a dichotomy of sorts.
The fact that we can hyper-focus on some things and completely lose focus at other times is also an ADHD dichotomy. We’ve all heard “He can’t have ADHD, he sits in front of the TV/computer/game console for hours!” Well, yeah, he does, but he also forgets his school books/briefcase/car keys/phone/computer …
Hyper-focus vs. Hypo-focus
This isn’t as huge a contradiction as it might appear on the surface, things that excite us and grab our attention are the very things that keep us from thinking about the little things that may have a big impact on us.
Here’s an example, I love to drive, I particularly enjoy driving in challenging conditions. I wasn’t always smart enough to refrain from going out on the roads when they should be left alone, I’m older and wiser now. But if I’m caught out there, I’m always up to the challenge.
A retired teacher from Manitoba once told me that when parents asked for her thoughts on ADHD medication for their child, she always told them their child would be medicated, the only choice was whether it was by the doctor or by the child themselves.
All she had was experience, this wasn’t a policy of her school or the board that she worked for as far as I know, but it sounds right.
Do what comes naturally
In my adolescent years I found alcohol. And I found pot. And I found risky behaviour. And I used them all.
My psychologist is letting me go … in a good way. A couple of sessions ago I said to her: “I’m getting better, aren’t I?”
She replied with a statement that I’m sure is in the textbook entitled Therapy 101: “What makes you say that?”
Ha! I was ready for her! “Because you’re laughing more in my sessions!” I said.
Apparently she was ready for me too. “That’s because you’re laughing more in your sessions.” she replied.
Damn! I wasn’t ready to be better
I’m not in therapy just for the fun of it. I signed myself up for this when I thought I was suffering with clinical depression. A psychiatrist I’ve talked with told me once that people who show up with their own diagnosis are always wrong. I’m batting 500, I guessed my ADHD and was right, but my diagnosis of depression was way wrong.
There are things I can count on my brain for. Thinking of inappropriate things to say is one of those things. Doing the thing I already figured out is not the next step in a sequence of tasks … I do that too. Skipping steps, well, that’s just another way of saying the same thing, isn’t it. But it looks different sometimes, so I’m leaving it in.
I was doing some wiring in a friend’s kitchen yesterday and I started thinking about hardwired activities. Yes, I did pull a box apart without throwing the breaker, no I didn’t get a shock, nor did I put anyone else at risk.
And yes, I did go to the panel and throw the breaker before I tore the actual circuit apart.