It happened at a job interview. I found myself feeling clueless about eye contact: how much was too much? I was trying to pay attention to what the interviewer was saying, and ended up worrying that I was staring like an expressionless sociopath so I looked away – just when she asked me a question. I’d been vacillating between trying for a neutral expression, hoping to look attentive and reflective, and occasional smiles, which I was sure were apropos of nothing, ill-timed, and making me look even more nuts. I couldn’t help it. I had no idea whose face I was using, or how it got there, but it wasn’t mine.
Surprisingly, I got the job.
Nearly a decade has passed, and there have been few comparably cringe-worthy incidents.
Until now, that is.
Did you miss my introduction or Part I of guest blogger Shawn Ladd’s adventures? Read them here:
After the second SPECT scan, I had a long chat with Dr. Christine Kraus about how to read the qEEG results and what my specific readings could mean (Dr. Kraus only looks at the qEEGs, to avoid any possibility of bias.) The electrical activity in my brain is characteristic of a person who has ADD, who is prone to anxiety, and who may have a mood disorder. Cool. And there are several options that could help, which she’ll report to the psychiatrist for integrating into treatment options. Also cool. Then back to the hotel for my first drink in a week (I took the “no alcohol before testing” admonition very seriously), which turned into several, and one more sunset pee.
As promised in yesterday’s blog post, I’d like to introduce guest blogger Shawn Ladd, who is gracious enough to share his experiences at the Amen Clinics in Costa Mesa, CA. Thanks, Shawn!
I recently spent three days at the Amen Clinic in Costa Mesa, CA for further assessment and diagnosis of my ADD. I had a huge personal breakthrough when I was diagnosed with ADD (primarily inattentive) five years ago, but I’d noticed I was still struggling to initiate and follow through on projects, and was prone to bouts of depression.
Dr. Daniel Amen, known to millions of devoted PBS viewers for his specials during pledge weeks, is a prominent ADHD expert, psychiatrist, and best-selling author. What made him especially credible with me was his open and touching description of ADD in his own life and family, and his framework for distinguishing among seven distinct types of ADD. The Amen Clinics offer a multidisciplinary approach, but are unique in their use of SPECT scans (Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography) that map blood flow into various parts of the brain responsible for particular cognitive and physical functions, and identify patterns that correlate with psychiatric and neurological conditions.
Some Amen Clinics also offer a quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG), a procedure that yields a similar map of the brain, but using electrical signals rather than blood flow. Curious to see if different methods led to different conclusions, I opted for both.
Before you get all judgy and shout at me, this post is not about sex. I’ll put that out there right now because believe it or not, I alluded to a Beatles song once in a post title and a reader got his nose out of joint because my post had nothing to do with the Beatles or with the song and he thought I was misrepresenting myself, trying to lure readers into my blog. Can you Imagine that? I just thought I was using a clever play-on-words.
Ok. I wasn’t just using a clever play-on-words. To be honest, the post was at the beginning of my blogging career and I might have been a tad anxious to attract readers, but jeepers. I did think it was clever. It taught me a lesson, and I’ve never done that again. But that’s why I thought I should announce immediately that this post isn’t about sex. So, if you’re looking for an ADHD romp through the haystack kind of tale, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
I was going to search for a few hyperlinks for you (I really am all about giving value to my blog readers) but then I thought the better of it and decided I didn’t want to be spammed by sex stuff in perpetuity. This is a new laptop (double entendre not intended) it’s clean, and I don’t want to dirty it up.
Besides, I’m not feeling well.
I just realized why social media can be so draining. I’ve been kidding myself that the only harm of spending too much time online is that it’s a colossal time waster and gateway to procrastination and avoidance. I just realized the deeper harm lurking beneath the surface.
The whole Facebook experience is an emotional minefield and I didn’t even know it.
Every time I login and there’s no personal message I die a little. If a cherished post isn’t liked or even noticed it’s a letdown. If others hijack a comment stream I feel steamrollered. If 92 people in a private group have responded to a comment I’m overwhelmed and completely incapable of joining the fray even if I want to. Then I feel irrelevant and disengaged. I think, Why am I even a member of this group if I’m not contributing?
Last Monday I had the pleasure of speaking with author Melissa Orlov about her latest book, The Couple’s Guide to Thriving with ADHD, co-authored with Nancie Kohlenberger. If you missed the webinar, here’s a truncated version of our conversation. To hear our conversation in its entirety, check out Psych Central’s Youtube Channel.
Zoë: You talk a lot in your book about changing yourself rather than your partner. Do you find that partners without ADHD think that it’s all the ADHD… Do you get that push back or grief from non-ADHD partners?
Melissa: I do. And it’s funny, you know, when people go in for therapy inevitably they go in and say, “Please fix my partner.” [she laughs] I mean, everybody does it.
The downside is when you have the label of ADHD the non-ADHD partners sometimes – often – feel quite justified when they say, “Hey, please fix my partner” because they sort of feel that’s what needs to happen. And what they don’t realize is that it’s really always both partners. …And when they start to work in tandem they really start to make progress. It’s wonderful.
Yesterday we covered the first three of seven dirty little ADHD secrets.
Draw near. Shhhhh… remember, I’m not supposed to be sharing these.
Let’s keep this between you and me, ok?
Don’t worry, we don’t believe it either. Until we’re diagnosed, that is. You might be astonished to learn how many clinicians see ADHD teens or young adults in their office lamenting how dumb they are. Yet when an IQ test is administered they test, for example, in the 92nd percentile or higher (that is, they outperform 92% of the population).
Even if confronted with evidence of higher-than-average smarts, it’s unlikely we’ll lord it over you; we’ve had decades to feel inadequate, and no level of IQ will save us from feeling like a dufus at a party. Intelligence comes in many forms, and especially if we’re late-diagnosed, we’ll have a long way to go before we catch up on emotional, social, or many other kinds of intelligences.
Coaching is said to be one of the most beneficial non-pharmaceutical approaches to treating ADHD. While I know of countless ADHD coaches, I can’t think of one person I know who has one.
I am therefore offering myself up as a guinea pig.
I’m not quite sure what I expect from coaching (which, when I think about it, is probably an indication that I need one). I’m thinking it will be something along the lines of paying someone to nag me, not unlike when my mom used to yell at me to “pick up my room,” but without the yelling.
Some of you have expressed an interest in my progress (or lack thereof) and I’ve promised updates. Here’s the latest.
I’ve noticed a few physical changes, especially in sleep and energy levels.
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
- Maya Angelou
Before I knew about ADHD, I often felt like a failure. Instead of summiting the mountain, I was more likely to fly into it (flying without an air traffic controller will do that to you).
After my diagnosis, I understood that I was working with a different brain and a highly sensitive nervous system. I also realized that the popularized notions of success were set by the dominant culture, in other words, by non-ADHD brains.
I needed to find my own definition of success and ways to achieve it; otherwise, I’d be doomed to perpetually slam into mountains.