ADHD doesn't affect us all the time. It only affects us right now. Here in the present is the only time that awareness of ADHD matters.
If that sounds like a lie, well, I guess it might be. But the truth lies very close to it.
The first truth, in order of happening, is this: That the past is the past. It has happened. It is over. There is no way you can undo it.
And the second truth is this: Now is the time you can change. The present is the only time you have some moderate sway over. This is the only time you can act on decisions. Yes, the things you do will have a visible effect on the future, but the random stuff that happens will have the bigger effect, the final say.
If you have ADHD you know that we have issues with time perception and time management. And If you read my blog with any sort of regularity you know that I often talk about that.
And the truth is, that I'm not running out of discussion about ADHD and time ... but I am getting low on clever blog post titles.
Today's post is about being busy. And that's what's happening in my world. I'm having a busy June, A busy Spring and a busy 2015.
There are anomalies in the fabric of time. They are caused by the influence of mass. Time literally warps around planets and stars and black holes.
But there are other anomalies in the fabric of time that happen in the life of someone with ADHD.
I heard this quote today, “The days drag by, but the years rush past.” And I thought, “How true.”
I get up in the morning on some days and I think I might go mad watching the clock slowly make its way just to the end of the next minute.
You commit to a task. It's in the future. You think “I've got lots of time.” and you file that thought away.
And that thought, “I've got lots of time,” is the thought you think every time you think about the task you've committed to. You don't think about the date the task needs to be done by, and you don't think about today's date, and you certainly don't think about calculating the difference between these two undetermined dates.
Then one day, you realize that the thought “I've got lots of time.” isn't actually the date of the deadline. So you look up that date and ... if you're lucky, it isn't yesterday or last week, it's just the day after tomorrow. THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW?!??
Well, it's that time of the year again. Your boss, your neighbours, your co-workers and the members of your social groups are receiving their income tax refunds.
And you're wondering where your receipts are.
And you're wondering what year you last filed your taxes.
And you're wondering how many more years you can get away with not filing. Because it seems like no matter how good your intentions, it's easier to procrastinate, easier to pretend that it's autumn and no one is thinking about taxes, yours or anyone else's.
I think we can agree that addiction is not a good thing, yes? Good. So it nearly goes without saying that we do not want to invest in a treatment that increases the risk of addiction.
And one of the more, shall we say, “popular” groups of addictive substances is stimulants.
And as luck would have it, stimulants are what are used to treat ADHD.
ADHD is so multifaceted that absolutely nothing about this disorder is simple. Thus diagnosis is complicated by the convolutions of the manifestation of the symptom combinations.
That, was a fancy way of saying ADHD is never the same in any two people with the disorder, so diagnosis can be difficult.
And what makes it worse is that trying to explain the disorder in simple terms often gives the wrong impression of what is happening.
For example, take this statement from the CDC's explanation of one of the DSM's criteria for ADHD: “Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.”
ADHD is all about time. Or more correctly, it's about how we have no sense of time passing. We are poor at judging how much time something will take when we plan. We make bad decisions about how many things we can squeeze in to a specific amount of time.
And of course we forget things that we need to do. That means we often find that we haven't got enough time left for everything that needs our attention and everything that we wanted to do.
I've said that I believe ADHD can be described as a dichotomy model. And sometimes I just get frustrated by how obvious that is ... and how difficult it is to explain.
One example is reading. I'm not talking about how well or poorly I read. I don't have dyslexia, a learning disability that is somewhat more common among those of us with ADHD than among the general population. But I am talking about focusing on reading.
When I was four years old I was desperate to learn to read. So much so that when my grandmother decided to teach me (she was a retired school teacher), I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
Actually, I thought I was finally going to get my hands on some of the secrets that the grownups had, the magic of reading being one that had made me jealous of them for nearly my entire life ... up to that point.
I have a problem. I can't say no. When someone asks me to do something, I feel like I'm letting the world down if I say no.
And I've given this some thought, of course. I think that ADHD might be partially to blame here. Between procrastination and distraction, I've let a lot of people down.
Between those two hounds of ADHD hell, I've disappointed parents, grandparents, siblings, girlfriends, my wife, in laws, nieces and nephews, and pets. If I'd had children I'm sure they'd have made the list as well.