One of the things that surprised me about ADHD was that along with all the usual traits like impulsivity, being easily distracted, and so on, a lot of us are hypersensitive.
Our physical sensitivities include more childhood colds, allergies, ear aches and asthma, which can also carry on into adulthood. As a child, I often woke up screaming in pain with yet another ear infection.
Even though my sister and I both spent our summer days in the pool, I was the one who got the ear infections. This makes sense to me now; I’m also the one who’s adopted and blessed with ADHD.
In August, 2006, I received my ADHD diagnosis. Since then, I’ve experienced mind-boggling changes in every area of my life. Okay, almost every area; I’m still short.
The one, singular change that stands out above all has been the key to the greatest happiness and peace of mind I’ve ever felt.
I’m sure, like me, you’ve had days where at the end of it all you asked yourself, “What the heck have I accomplished?” Or “Where did the time go?” (said while staring at the clock with five minutes to go in your work day and noticing the pile of work on your desk for the first time).
Sadly, these thoughts tend to be followed by pummelling self-incrimination, making matters worse. Good news! I’m working on a self-help book to help you redefine your relationship with one of the deadliest ADHD sins: procrastination.
I’d like to offer my ADHD from A to Zoë readers an exclusive sneak-preview of my upcoming bestseller-in-progress (that’s motivational phraseology; a little something us self-help book-writers like to use).
ADHD can take your breath away. Literally.
One of the most surprising and confusing things I learned after my ADHD diagnosis was that kids with ADD have more colds, respiratory infections, ear infections, asthma and allergies. (Apparently quite a few of us are allergic to homework too, but that’s purely anecdotal).
All these physical maladies seem kind of weird for a psychiatric condition, don’t you think? But don’t get me started…
In researching the ADHD – asthma connection, I discovered that the research was inconsistent. Until recently, that is: new studies, including several large ones in the USA, seem to confirm a significant connection between ADHD and asthma.
A Norwegian study published in August 2011 concludes that adults with ADHD are more than twice as likely to suffer from asthma.
Being diagnosed with ADHD late in life meant I had a lot of catching up to do. While other kids were learning social skills in public school, I was busy perfecting my one-liners and trying not to freak out from mind-numbing boredom while standing in the hall for my aforementioned one-liners (perfect though they may have been).
I’ve always considered myself a late bloomer. Little did I know that ADHD was at the root of it. Recently, I tried on my ill-fitting big-girl pants as I set out to buy my very first house that didn’t come with miniature horses and big-boobed Barbies.
I was rifling through one of the piles in my office when I found a royalty check from my first book (Adoption Reunions). The check’s date was February, 2010. I found it July, 2012.
It’s amazing how much money I’ve lost over the undiagnosed years. How much? Don’t ask me. First, I’d die of boredom looking for the documents to figure it out; second, I’d die of boredom doing calculations; third, if I were good at keeping track of things, I wouldn’t have lost so much money in the first place.
I’m not alone
Being less-than-fastidious money managers is common to those of us with ADHD. Why couldn’t my talent in precision fall in the money realm? (Who needs to see a one-pixel distance anyway? Or pick the lint off a stranger’s shoulder?)
I’m reading a book and I’m saying, out loud, “Oh my God!” “Yes!” “Amazing!” And no, it’s not Fifty Shades of Grey that I’m reading. I’m having that orgasmic response to re-reading Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” I mentioned her book in my last post.
There’s lots of inspiration there for a woman who was diagnosed late in life with ADHD. Perhaps you too might find her tips helpful and motivating.
This weekend, I attended an art show in the countryside. A number of local artists from seasoned professionals to those at the beginning stages of their careers participated in the weekend’s juried show. I wandered through the room, enjoying the many styles of painting.
Each artist was given four panels upon which to display their work. I watched as one patron approached my friend Elaine’s artwork. As he came round a corner, Elaine’s art caught his attention. “Wow,” he said.
I woke up miserable this morning. You’d think that Ken’s electric guitar playing would have made me snap.
It didn’t. He’s such an amazing guitarist, I don’t mind when he practices. I’ve even made requests: Hey, Ken. Can you play “Hey Joe” for me next time you practice? (he does a killer cover of the Hendrix classic).
Ken knows I’m working upstairs, and he’s respectful, keeping his volume low. This works for me, an HSP who likes to work in near-silence.
He’s so dedicated to his craft, he’s an inspiration and a gift. This morning, he gave me another gift: perspective.