Some title, eh? And I hear this in different ways. There’s the old dismissive standard: “ADHD is just an excuse for ! (fill in the blank)” And then there’s: “Every time you do that, you blame your ADHD!” And one of my all time favorites: “Instead of talking about your ADHD, why don’t you do something about it?”
It’s nice that there is so much help out there, isn’t it? And the great thing is that any one of these remarks immediately makes me retreat into myself, disengage from the person who says them, and re-establish my relationship with the cracks I’d thought I had patched in my shattered self esteem.
I seem to have a problem that would almost be the opposite of ADHD, except, it’s not. My ADHD mind is usually a whirl of thoughts and ideas. It’s a rare occasion when I am unable to come up with an idea for … well, for anything.
In fact, standard operating procedure for me is to have too many ideas and to little patience on the part of whoever is listening to my ideas. That’s life in the fast lane for this brain … most of the time.
On Wednesday I began a discussion on ADHD stimulant medication delivery systems. Not the nice man from the drug store who drives around town, but rather the way in which the stimulant is delivered to your system.
In that post, I discussed the old method of trying to remember to take multiple small doses through out the day. It worked, when you succeeded.
It isn’t over until it’s over. And part of having ADHD is having a very skewed concept of time. “When is it over?” one might well ask. And I’d have to answer with a very firm “I don’t know!!?!” accompanied by a very resolute shrug of my shoulders.
The question is not about the life expectancy of someone with ADHD, but rather the life expectancy of the symptoms. When will I no longer be distracted from important things? When will I be able to engage in conversations without worrying about saying the wrong thing, talking too long, talking too loud? When will my symptoms stop being a problem?
What I see, in myself and others, is the idea that if we work hard enough, we’ll get better. But when I think about that, it isn’t true.
Everything I’ve been doing seems stopgap, like if I force myself to make notes about all my appointments, I’ll eventually do that automatically, without having to push. And I can make it a habit, but once I get comfortable with the idea that it is a habit, I’ll relax … and I’ll slip up.
I talk about lists a lot, don’t I? And yet, I’ve almost completely given up on them. But not quite. I still have a note pad in my back pocket, and lists do show up on some of the pages.
I keep the note pad, ostensibly, to jot down ideas for blog posts, articles, plot twists and literary devices, but that actually sounds like a kind of list in itself, doesn’t it?
I have a friend who has a small white board on her fridge. Everything is written on it, well, everything she might forget. Items she needs from the grocery store, appointments, bills that need to be paid, library book due dates, a whole lot of stuff is there.
You know I’m going to forget Valentines Day, right? And your birthday, if there’s no reminders all over the place. Anniversaries? Yeah, I’ve gotten really good at the Hail Mary play. You know, where I come up with something really great at the last minute and save my sorry self from the dog house?
I don’t think I can say that people with ADHD are better lovers because they forget special occasions. Or can I? The fact that we are placed in this situation so often in our lives has possibly made us very good at coming up with romantic plans on short notice. Will we count that as number five? Lets wait and see if we need to.
We all know about Distraction. I can’t even discuss ADHD without wandering off topic, thank you very much. It takes me away from so many tasks that I then discover I’ve left undone, only when I’m trying to concentrate on something else and am distracted back to them. Man, that’s disheartening.
We also know that we can be forgetful, or is it absentminded, or is it just another form of distraction. You know what I’m talking about. We’ll make an appointment, one we probably should have made weeks earlier, and then, satisfied with ourselves at this accomplishment, we’ll simply neglect to put it on the calendar. “How could we forget it?”, we’ll ask ourselves, “It’s such a big thing.”
But in our minds, the “big” thing is done, we made the appointment! We’re all like: “Who rocks? We do!”
And hyperactivity is also a big part of who many of us are. As I aged, I tended to climb trees less, and internalized my hyperactivity more. I bounce in my chair, drum my fingers, tap my pen, and flip from screen to screen on my phone. I don’t go at warp speed, well, not as much anymore. But my hyper never went away, it just went underground.
It seems like there’s a lot of talk about the past, when it comes to ADHD. Not the past history of ADHD, it doesn’t really have one, at least not one that’s very well documented.
No, I’m talking about our past history, the lives lived, thus far, of those of us with ADHD.
The talk usually centers around mistakes and accidents, and rarely around achievements and abilities.
You say you want someone to do a job for you? Tell me about the job.
You say the work is such that you’ll need to explain it to them and then leave them to do the best they can? You need someone with ADHD.
You say you don’t care when they do it, so long as it gets done on time? You don’t care if they can work nights and sleep days, or sit and think about it for the first three quarters of the allotted time and then burst into action when it’s almost too late? You need someone with ADHD.
Before my diagnosis, I was easily distracted. Now, I’m … easily distracted. Before my diagnosis I would sometimes say inappropriate things. I still do that.
Before my diagnosis I would get bored with long, drawn out, mind numbing presentations and slip off into my own world. I would spend long periods of time staring out the window and living in my head. I would misunderstand people who were speaking to me in my native tongue, English. I would falter and fumble when I was in social situations where I wasn’t sure of myself.