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.
I was called out on a job yesterday. A small metal shed had acquired a snow load that was beyond its ability to withstand. It had begun to collapse.
The things inside, yard maintenance tools, some of them expensive, were still safe from being crushed, but the walls had started to fold under the weight of the roof. Those things really aren’t meant for the climate in my area, they will survive most winters, but this one isn’t most winters.
True it isn’t beyond our norm, but it is on the heavy side of normal when it comes to snowfall. People who usually shovel out their driveways have been contacting me to take care of the job because it’s overwhelming them.
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.
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.
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.
Do you have ADHD? I have ADHD. I feel for you, I truly do. “It’s not easy being green.” has nothing on how “not easy” it is to have yourself scattered at high speed down the road of life.
And worse than that, while those of us with ADHD share your pain, we don’t share your ADHD anymore than you share ours, any one of ours.
Yes I have some of your symptoms, probably lots of them. But I don’t have all of them.
Last month, December of 2013, I came up with this idea of not engaging in plans for the holidays. In fact, I didn’t do much of anything for the holidays. One present was purchased as a mutual gift from my partner and I to my partner and I. We like it, we think we have good taste, it really worked out well.
But beyond that, it looked like I did nothing vis a vis the holiday melee. The truth is far from that, but it takes a bit of examination to make that statement and back it up.
It’s 2014. Time to look forward, ahead to the new year, to new challenges and hopefully new solutions. Onward and upward, right?
I know we aren’t great at looking to the future. We don’t have much of a handle on planning ahead. Sad really, because many of us are great at what is often called “outside the box thinking.”
I think it has more to do with the sheer speed, breadth and depth of our thoughts. I liken it to having greater bandwidth.
If we could bring that to bear on a planning level, play “what if?” and apply random associations while looking into the future … but we don’t look into the future much.