ADHD Focus: Can I Help It?
Can I help it if I forget what I came in here for? Yes, I can. I could say to myself, “I’m going to get my glasses, I’m going to get my glasses, I’m going to get my glasses” until I get to the room I was headed for and get them. I could do that, if I remembered that I need to do that at the outset. But even if I did do that, my potential for success is only increased marginally, it certainly isn’t 100%.
And even if I do succeed, this time, it isn’t worth it. The cost to my self esteem is too great. Having to treat myself like a child, having to force myself to behave like a child, to compensate for a uniqueness in my brain function that won’t be cured is too great a price. And I have to add to that the lost brain time that was spent chanting my mantra of the moment when I could have been engaging in random associations of current perceptions with previously gathered data.
I hate it when I do that!
If I get up from my desk, walk out of my office door and down the hall towards the kitchen to get a glass of water and I come back 20 minutes later with the mail, my digital recorder, my dictionary that belongs on my office bookshelf, and my backpack, what of it? And if I put even one of those things where it goes, then I’ve not failed to do something. I may still be thirsty, but my dictionary is put away. My digital recorder is closer to where it belongs and my backpack is where I’ll need it if I’m going to throw my computer into it and go to the café.
And I can try again to go for a glass of water. Who knows what I’ll accomplish on this trip.
And I can try again to go for a glass of water. Who knows what I’ll accomplish on this trip. I might actually get the drink.
But there is frustration, self flagellation …
I feel no success at having put my dictionary away. It wasn’t on my to-do list. The fact that it needed doing and wasn’t on my list just serves to make me feel self conscious of my lack of organizational skills. I’ll mutter about that also as I head back toward the kitchen.
How do I fix this?
I could carry a piece of paper around with me, write down what I’m doing, but there is a certain embarrassment involved in having to write “Going to living room for coffee cup, if that’s where I left it.” Also, if I write that down, I won’t need to look at that piece of paper, I’ll have created a symbolic mnemonic, the remembering will be automatic and won’t require written words. Thus, the note becomes symbolic of wasted resources. And the time it took to write it seems unnecessary also. From this I learn not to bother, rather than learning how to accomplish the focus I need.
The voice of reason
It occurred to me that a recording device that would record my task and replay it repeatedly until I accomplished my task would be a handy thing. It needn’t be incessant. It could have controls to set volume and frequency of repetition, and a big red button that you pushed when you finished your task.
It could have a jack for an ear bud so you wouldn’t annoy people around you, or, for that matter include them in knowing your need for this assistance. The bud could have a mic on it. You would push the “Record” button and say in a conversational tone: “Guess I’ll go check the mail.” Pushing the black button again would end the recording and start the device playing back. It would repeat what you had said every five seconds to five minutes, depending on your settings, and not stop ’til you indicated success. Maybe there could be a digital counter that told you how many successes you’d chocked up today.
I like it!
Okay, I’ve come up with the preliminary idea, and I’ve decided on a name, I call it MODA – for Man Of DistrAction. I’m egotistical enough to want credit for the idea, and that’s who I am, The ADHD Man Of DistrAction, right?
… What was I saying?
Babcock, K. (2012). ADHD Focus: Can I Help It?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 3, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2012/11/adhd-focus-can-i-help-it/