I spent the weekend in a foreign country. Okay, not a foreign country, but it seemed like it at times. I spent the weekend in Quebec.
I’ve been in la belle province before, but usually surrounded by people who speak English fluently, as their first language. I usually only have communication problems when I try to order coffee in donut shops on the road. And I must admit that most of my trouble at that time involves me trying to pass myself off as bilingual … and the staff of the donut shop not falling for it.
This weekend past I was surrounded by my friend’s family members, and many of them spoke English as a second language, and some of them spoke English as poorly as I spoke French.
It’s been five years since I was diagnosed with ADHD. I am now 55 years old. So technically, I’ve had ADHD for five years.
But realistically, if one assumes that ADHD is heritable, I’ve had ADHD all my life.
From the time of my birth, when development was still ongoing, right up to the point in my life when symptoms, had they been known and understood, could have been observed, I had ADHD.
With apologies to Douglas Adams, a towel is a great thing to have, but you need more than just that.
I’ve relocated to my old haunt up north of my home where sometimes I work for a friend who is a better contractor than I. I call him “the boss.”
The boss had a job he wanted to get done, and up here in Canada, autumn is coming on. The job in question is an outdoor one. We’re replacing the roof on a park model camper trailer.
What is overwhelmed? Overwhelmed is when something that needs attention is so intimidating that it stops you from being able to attend to it.
Sometimes what overwhelms us is not an individual task but the prioritization of several tasks.
I’m there now. And it isn’t fun.
So you want to know how to keep from being distracted, eh? Well, there’s only one sure way. Avoid distractions.
Sorry, that sounds pretty simplistic, doesn’t it? And yet, it’s the truth.
I’m a non-practising alcoholic. I’ve been sober for over 30 years now. And the simple truth of my sobriety is that I don’t drink. I still think about it, still long to have that drink. “Just one,” I tell myself, “surely wouldn’t hurt.”
Am I too late? I hope not. I don’t like being late. I especially don’t like being too late. It’s too troubling and causes too much anxiety.
I get too late from being too easily distracted. Too often I forget to check the time.
Then I try to make up lost time by going too fast. That means too many things get forgotten, too many tasks get missed. Eventually it all becomes too much and I too get forgotten in the melee.
Prescription stimulants are the things that help many of us focus.
Why do they help us focus? Well, it seems that they actually make the part of our brain that functions in a … shall we say “scattered” way, work better. That means that the part of our brain that should focus our thoughts is unable to do that well, allowing our brains to wander from this to that. Stimulants seem to stimulate focus.
There also seems to be, in the ADHD brain, an increased speed of thought that isn’t regulated. When our focus is more easily controlled, that rapid firing of our brains is either also controlled, or since we are better able to focus, not relevant. The speed of our thinking doesn’t matter.
There are reputedly lots of people in the entertainment industry with ADHD.
Why is that? Good question, let’s discuss that.
Let’s consider the high of performing. Taking chances provides a buzz that is addictive to us. And one of our go-to self medications is adventure/adrenaline.
And the instant gratification of success on stage is, well, pretty instant … and pretty gratifying.
I’ve written about routine and structure before. I’ve blatantly stated: “Structure good, routine bad!”
And I’ve explained it. Structure allows some freedom within it’s confines, providing more of a guide to life. Routine allows no freedoms, providing instead a regimen that allows no room for creativity or variety.
But even structure can be somewhat stultifying. If structure provides a guide, for instance, to let you know what needs to be done, once you start taking care of those things you perceive a schedule or routine.
Once that routine is perceived, you’re going to do one of two things. You will comply, or you will defy.
We are unique. We are unusual. We are people with ADHD.
Some people say we’re no more creative then others. Well, we may not be more creative, but if we aren’t, we are more likely to let our creativity flow unchecked. I call that a plus, though it does often preclude us doing other things we should be doing.
We also have drawbacks common to ourselves. We are more likely to miss appointments then those without ADHD. We are more susceptible to unwanted pregnancy and more likely to visit the emergency room.