Unhappy April Fool’s Day
I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out why I can’t think of an April Fool’s Day post. I love writing humor, why would this be so hard?
This morning on Twitter one of my wise and wonderful Twitter peeps pointed out the obvious: her ADHD son has been dreading April Fool’s Day for weeks. Aha!
April Fool’s Day with ADHD is no joke.
How can you get creative and have fun with a day that scares the hell out of you? Writer’s block was inevitable.
I’ve long felt like a sourpuss for not enjoying this perennial celebration for pranksters. I also didn’t have a clue about the many valid, logical reasons why I’d shy away from the shenanigans.
I should have clued in last night when I was watching Murdock Mysteries with my friend Elaine (one of the tribe).
I can’t think of anything funny to write for tomorrow, I complained. You got any ideas?
After a moment’s hesitation: “Nope. I hate April Fool’s Day.”
As a child with ADHD, every day was April Fool’s Day. This day epitomizes a world turned upside down. For non-ADHD folks, that might be a fun, stimulating, refreshing break from the daily grind. I spent decades fervently wishing for one day – just one – where it was smooth sailing, with no shocks or jolts to my system.
Even on days that were incident-free, with no strange reactions to what I was saying, no sudden firings from jobs or me ending up at the wrong friend’s house for a sleepover or any of a number of ongoing social faux pas, my days were anxiety-filled, waiting for the next shock to my system. This day typifies a typical non-diagnosed ADHD day for me.
It doesn’t help that I’m also an HSP (highly sensitive person). This is a genetic trait in approximately 15-20% of the population that predisposes us to be more reactive to loud noises, emotional shocks, and a number of other triggers. ADHD can also heighten physical and emotional sensitivities.
In other words, it’s easier to shock us 365 days a year. We don’t need you to do anything special for us today, thank you very much.
Some enjoy that adrenaline-laced jolt received from someone telling you a whopper on April 1st. For me (and others like me), that same incident can trigger an avalanche of undesireable responses:
1 ) confusion (a normal state when you’ve been undiagnosed and / or untreated for ADHD)
2 ) anxiety
3 ) fear
4 ) paralysis (how do I respond to this?)
5 ) helplessness (what do I do? I have no control over this.)
6 ) rush of adrenaline experienced as physical pain, a sick feeling
None of this is pleasant or mirth-producing.
So, if you’re contemplating jumping around from behind me at a conference and yelling “Boo!” – don’t.
But for the rest of you non-April Fool’s Day-averse people, Happy April Fool’s Day.
Kessler, Z. (2014). Unhappy April Fool’s Day. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 29, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2014/04/unhappy-april-fools-day/