I remember having things to do, things I hated.
And I could not explain what I hated about them.
I remember people asking me why I didn’t just do the thing.
I could not explain it, I could not make words to describe how impossible it was for me to start to do the thing, could not explain how it was that I could not actually find a starting point.
I’ve been anesthetized …
I’ve experienced waking up from surgery and feeling like I’d just been lying on an operating table and things had gone fuzzy and crackly and very much like I was surrounded by pink, buzzing electrical static that just now was fading away.
When I contemplate the things that need doing that I have trouble with, I feel like that anesthetic is being administered again. I’m awake, I’m conscious, but surrounding the thing that needs doing is that same pink crackling static haze.
What leads up to that?
I remember in school I would often get assignments that would cause this. The problem was usually one of not having paid attention, not understanding the requirements, and not wanting to ask the teacher, who had clearly just explained the whole thing to the class while I was building a rocket in my head, to explain it again, just for me.
I felt like I was trapped. On the one hand, I was about to fail my teacher and my family one more time, on the other I would have to ask my teacher to re-instruct me and thereby let said teacher know that they were not able to hold my attention under normal conditions.
It wasn’t their fault, quite obviously, but they clearly wanted to get through to me and had let them down again.
I would resolve to figure it out on my own. And then I would quickly find that I had no clue as to where to begin.
Having already resolved myself to not insulting my teacher I would decide to just put it off and watch others to see what was being done.
Yeah, watching others for clues and information would involve focus, which I was still unaware of lacking, and it would involve … well, watching others, which I constantly did anyway, always curious as to what was going on around me.
So I would start to watch and then I would soon start to day dream and then I would pack up my stuff with everyone else and head home at the end of the day, none the wiser, and already a day behind on a project I didn’t understand.
Days would pass, the deadline would close in, it became easier to allow my mind to skitter away from the problem rather than dwell on itin that electrified state of static, and eventually the project would be due the next day.
I would resolve myself to defiantly saying I had not bothered to do it and accept the failing grade stoically as if it was the burden I must bear for having no time for such foolish things.
You wonder where ADHD procrastination comes from? Like many of our symptoms, it is rooted in inattention and empathy.