ADHD Man of Distraction A blog about ADHD from a male perspective. 2017-10-20T10:30:02Z Kelly Babcock <![CDATA[It’s About Life]]> 2017-10-20T00:08:07Z 2017-10-20T10:30:02Z Kelly

Not just my life …

Every two or three days I post here about ADHD. It’s a pretty regular thing. I haven’t missed publishing three posts a week in almost six years now.

That’s a lot of words, a lot of titles, a lot of headings, and a lot of images.

And sometimes I write a post and when I give it a title, it turns out I’ve used that title before.

And I’m well aware that there are a lot of things I’ve said more than once. And I’ve maybe not even said some of those things in different words. I know I’ve told people many times that. “We start from here. We move forward.”

Sounds familiar

And for some of my readers, it may seem sometimes that I’m repeating myself. And I suppose I am. But there’s a really good reason for that.

I’m not writing a blog about ADHD. I’m writing a blog about life with ADHD.

Even when I’m not …

Even when I’m not writing about my life specifically, even when I’m writing about research or statistics, even when I’m writing about someone else, someone with ADHD or someone with insight, I’m still writing about life with ADHD.

Because ADHD in a petri dish does not exist. ADHD occurs in only one place. ADHD occurs in the lives of people who’s brains developed in such a way as to leave them with these insidious symptoms that wreck those lives. OUR LIVES!

And there’s the point

Somewhere out there is someone, some one person, that on this day, whatever day it might be, needs to hear me rant or rave about life. There is someone out there who needs to hear me say that people who tell you ADHD does not exist are idiots.

There’s someone who needs to hear me say that life with ADHD sucks but it’s still life and like all lives there is gold in the rivers that you can pan out of an ADHD life but they have got to know that before they’ll try.

There is someone who needs to hear me say that misplacing keys for the tenth time in an hour is okay because they are still a valid human being.

There’s someone who needs to know that they will solve the problems that others can’t, even if they can’t find their socks.

There’s someone who needs to know that even when they forget their child’s appointment, they are still the right person to be in that child’s life, ’cause that child may have inherited a need for their coping skills.

So here it is …

Yes. Here’s my blog post for today. It’s blog post number 956.

It’s here to help anyone who can get some help from it. It’s here to help me get things out there.

It’s here to be read by whoever finds it when they’re searching for help with ADHD.

Here’s my blog post for today … it’s about life. Maybe your life. I hope you get something from it, but if you don’t, I’ve got 955 others for you to choose from.

Kelly Babcock <![CDATA[The Harder Alternative]]> 2017-10-18T14:46:50Z 2017-10-18T13:55:57Z emergency sign

A sign of hard times

It’s hard having ADHD. I mean, I think it’s hard. I can’t really say that not having it would be easier since I’ve never not had ADHD.

I assume it’s hard because I know that ADHD is a collection of conflicting paradoxical issues that won’t let up.

Conflicts like the fact that we can focus on things to the exclusion of all else, but we can’t really choose what to focus on.

And …

We often end up in the emergency room because we are more likely to be involved in accidents, but the people who look after us there are more likely to be our own people.

Maybe that’s why we’re so comfortable there, except we’re not, we hate waiting in lines and waiting rooms. Well, maybe that’s why the staff there is usually understanding of our situations?

And speaking of hard …

We also have trouble with certain parts of life that have been mandated as necessary. Income tax comes to mind, all too damned frequently.

And let’s be fair, none of us has any problem with income tax that the rest of the population doesn’t also share. If it could be done without having to focus on forms and find receipts and things like that … I know, I just shuddered too. Sorry I brought that up.

Then you have your appointment

Wait, what appointment? Oh, all of them. Yeah, we make appointments when we can’t find our calendar and then we forget to put them on the calendar when we find it. Or we book them when there’s too many other things going on.

Or we forget to check our calendars and forget to go to them. Or we remember to put them in our calendars, remember they’re coming up, remember to be ready for them, but convince ourselves that we can do a couple more loads of laundry and bake a pie in the time before that appointment.

But as I said …

I’ve never lived without ADHD, so what living free of this stuff is like I can’t say.

Which is to say, if I want to put it bluntly, that my choices are quite plainly, to live with ADHD, or to not live. There is no living without it.

So when you hear …

Yes, when you hear that old saying, “It’s better than the alternative.” well, that’s absolutely true.

And while I don’t love ADHD, I do love life. I love my life. And I wouldn’t trade it for any other.

And I sure as hell wouldn’t trade it for not living. Life with ADHD is hard, but no life is definitely the harder alternative.

Kelly Babcock <![CDATA[I Hate Being Sick]]> 2017-10-16T11:45:06Z 2017-10-16T11:45:06Z health care

Health Care for the distracted …

There are some things that are universal. Whether you have ADHD or not, very few people like being sick.

I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve been under the weather and felt like I appreciated the excuse to take a break, but I’ve never really enjoyed being ill.

And I confess that being sick makes me appreciate things like slippers, sweaters, blankets, soup, and other things of comfort, but that’s not the same as enjoying being sick.

Additionally …

There have been times when I’ve had colds that were accompanied by head congestion and that has altered my auditory perception of the sound of my own voice. It’s made it sound deeper.

And that, the coupled with the raspiness has caused my voice to sound sexier inside my head. And whenever I’ve had to perform while under the weather, I’ve always gotten a lot of mileage out of that condition when I’m chatting with the audience between songs.

But in general?

Yeah, no. There’s nothing nice about being sick that could make up for being sick. I think everyone can agree that feeling like you are not at your best is not the best. Not even close.

But there is a difference between people with ADHD and people without ADHD when they’re sick. At least for the hyperactive ones among us. When I’m sick, I hate, Hate, HATE, HATE being unable to do stuff.

It seriously drives me crazy.

The oddity that is us

When someone with ADHD tells you they can’t do something because of their ADHD, they aren’t usually saying they can’t do something, they’re saying they can’t do “nothing,”

“I can’t stand in lineups.” “I go crazy in traffic jams.” “I hate waiting rooms.” These are all examples of doing nothing.

When I’m sick and can’t do stuff, it’s like I’m being punished in the worst way possible.

And another thing …

Many of us were diagnosed later in life. So we’ve spent a lot of our lives trying to convince ourselves, or having others try to convince us that there’s nothing wrong.

So for many of us, living in denial of being, shall we say, “out of sorts?” is something we’ve gotten used to.

And even when we’re obviously ill, it’s often the easiest thing for us to at least convince ourselves that it’s not as bad as it seems, not as bad as it actually is.

Small favors

Thank goodness my ADHD is the combined subtype. I may be bedridden when I’m sick, but in my daydreaming mind I can be in a thousand places doing a thousand things all before lunch time.

And additionally, there’s my computer. I live a large part of my life online anymore, and no one can tell I’m sick there unless I let them know.

But still, when I’m sick, there is one more ADHD problem that is a bit of a game changer.

And that would be?

As I recover, I’m likely to be up and about, doing things, long before my body has had enough time to heal.

Worse yet, because I’ve been restrained for a while, I’m like a loaded spring, ready to leap as soon as the release is tripped. And that can’t be good for me either.

It’s really not much wonder we make horrible patients.

I’ve made a lot of progress in my life with a lot of aspects of my ADHD, and even though I’m a better sick person than I used to be, I still, really, really,  really don’t like being sick.

Kelly Babcock <![CDATA[You Have To Be Sneaky With ADHD]]> 2017-10-13T14:45:28Z 2017-10-13T14:45:28Z sneaky

It’s in my nature …

When I was a child, and continuing into my youth, I found that being sneaky was a great way to keep my mind occupied.

I studied the world around me in minute detail, I found that a lot of information could be gleaned from subtle hints.

And then I used that information.

I could tell little things. While lying in bed I could tell which way a car was passing our house by the sound it made. I could tell, even through the wall between our rooms, if my brother was asleep by his breathing. That was easier if he was snoring.

I could tell by the weight and tempo of footsteps on the stairway whether or not my father or my mother was going down stairs to start the day.

I could tell by the light through my tiny window and the sound of the wind, what kind of day it was out.

And the sneaky part?

If it was a Saturday morning and my mother was already up, I’d wait until my brother got up before I did. If you got up first, my mom usually had a bunch of chores for you to do. They were things she needed done, she wasn’t punishing anyone for getting up early.

And in truth, I didn’t mind doing things for her. Sometimes I’d get up just to be the one that got to interact with her in the morning when she was at her most joyful, though she was joyous throughout the day.

So why?

I guess it was mostly brotherly competition. I liked knowing I was manipulating his life in some small way.

The worst example of this was one time he and I were playing in his room. I remember that we were sitting on the floor and playing with some kind of toy or toys, don’t remember what they were, but we were having fun.

And then?

Ha! Well, my mother called my name. But more than that, she called it in that questioning tone she had that told me she was looking for someone to do some task, take out the compost, go get potatoes from the root cellar, something like that.

My brother and I looked at each other and went silent. My mother called my name again, and still we did not respond.

What did I hope to gain?

I can’t say that I knew what good not responding would do me, but my brother was going along with it.

Then she stopped calling my name and changed to calling his name. We were less than a year apart in age and pretty much interchangeable when it came to doing chores.

And my innocent brother?

He smiled at me, realizing I had given him the means of avoiding whatever errand mom wanted us for. I looked at him and thought … mom needs something done, and my brother really shouldn’t be so trusting of me.

So the second time mom called his name, I smiled back at him and, in a perfect imitation of his voice (they weren’t that different to begin with), I replied to my mother, “Yes?”

My brother was on the hook for whatever it was. Man, if looks could wound I’d have bled to death from the daggers he stared at me.

And my punishment?

My brother never really trusted me again.


Oh, and I didn’t have to do whatever the chore was.

Oh, and I got all the toys to play with while he was gone.

Oh, and I learned I had a very great super power, I was sneaky, and I vowed never again to use my power for evil … now I only use it for slightly bad stuff, but nothing evil.

I promise.

Kelly Babcock <![CDATA[Wheel Fell Off]]> 2017-10-13T03:23:18Z 2017-10-11T14:14:55Z wheel

It happens sometimes …

There are times when I feel like my life is clicking along. Like it’s rolling on rails and I can just watch it run.

When that happens I get scared. Well, I used to get scared.

I knew, I still know, that when I get complacent, I get cocky. And I start doing more and more stuff.

Then I start committing resources to multiple tasks.

And that’s when it happens

Yep. That’s when the wheels fall off. That’s when it all goes to hell in a hand cart. That’s when it all goes pear-shaped. That’s when … well, you get the picture.

And it is never pretty. Especially from my vantage point.

Fear …

It’s enough to make you fear when things are going well. Or at least it used to be enough to make me fear that.

But things are different now. Different for me.

I got smart

Ha. I did. And no, I didn’t start sabotaging my life so that it would never go smoothly so that it couldn’t then run amok and be devastated.

I noticed the weather.

Yep, the weather

I first started noticing how people often complain about the weather. After a while I discovered that some of them complain about the weather even when it was good.

“Nice day, eh?” “Yes, but how long will it last? Not long I bet. And yesterday was horrible, wasn’t it?”

All true

Then I started thinking, yes, all that is true, but why waste a good day worrying about that? And wait, what makes a bad day?

Okay, truth is that a day of snow and slush is maybe not a good day to go camping, but it’s a great day to read a book by the fireplace.

How does this relate?

If what makes a good day good, weather wise, is how it compares to a bad day, then obviously when you have a good day it should be enjoyed.

And when you do have a bad day, you should spend it remembering the good days that have passed, looking forward to more good days, and figuring out what this day is good for.

And when the wheels fall off

When the wheels fall off of my ADHD day, what do I do? I recognize that the wheels haven’t fallen off really, but maybe the bearings need to be lubricated or even replaced.

That is to say that when I have a day that overwhelms me, I try to remember that there are days that go smoothly, and I try to figure out how to put the wheels back on this day and save what I can of it.

And when I have good days?

I don’t spend them waiting for things to go bad. I enjoy them for what they have to offer and for as long as they offer that … and longer.

I know things will go wrong, but if I spend the good times worrying about that, then they’ve already gone wrong.

And if I’m already stressed when things go wrong, I’ll not be able to deal with them as quickly and as easily if I haven’t been worrying and stressing over that.

So now I have good days and better days. On a good day, the wheels fall off. On a better day I don’t think about the good days.

Kelly Babcock <![CDATA[The Rest Is Gravy]]> 2017-10-09T15:36:03Z 2017-10-09T15:36:03Z deep fried turkey

Who needs gravy?

Have you heard about this? This weekend, this long weekend, October 6th to 9th, is the Canadian Thanksgiving.

It happens earlier than American Thanksgiving because winter also happens earlier and the American date is too late in the year for us to be able to count on the weather.

So the holiday progression, for those keeping score, is Canadian Thanksgiving, Halloween, American Thanks giving, and then Christmas.

But when it comes to thanksgiving celebrations, other than the dates being different, the concept of the day is roughly the same. Cook too much, over eat, pass out in a food coma, then worry about what to do with the leftovers.

And …

… if you have ADHD, like any other holiday, there will be stress added to that mix.

But I’ve learned to deal with it, negate it, subjugate the resultant negativity. And I’m here to tell you how!

It’s the same as …

You know how I’m always saying that what has happened before can’t be changed? Doesn’t matter? Is in the past and we just move on from here? Yeah, you’ve heard me say “We start from here and move on,” right?

Well, the trick to dealing with holiday stress is realizing that very thing … in advance. If we assume that what is going to happen is going to happen, and we accept it, we immediately reduce the stress that worrying about it causes.

Without stress

That’s right, without stress our symptoms aren’t as prevalent. And without prevalent symptoms, our ADHD (which is, let’s face it, manifested as a collection of symptoms) is reduced in its affects on our lives.

So just as ADHD causing stress causes ADHD which causes more stress, which causes … well, you get it, just as that is the case, reducing stress causes less symptoms which reduces stress further, etc.

Self fulfilling

That’s right. As much as having ADHD causes stress to be more present in your life, reducing stress causes ADHD to be less prevalent in your life.

So reducing stress reduces stress further, increasing it increases it more. Wait. that sounds too simple, I mean if you add stress, you actually multiply it, but if you reduce it, you actually divide it, or multiply the amount by which it is reduced when you subtract it.

So yesterday …

Yesterday at our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner preparations, there were seemingly thousands of things to take care of. And while I knew they wouldn’t all get done, I knew that that would be okay.

Why? Because the meal was symbolic of what we were thankful for. It wasn’t really what we were celebrating.

And yes …

Yes, in the end, I forgot to make gravy. And I missed a few other opportunities to take care of some things. But they either have been forgotten or someone else pitched in and did them.

And I’m pretty sure the gravy would have been too much anyway, what with the deep fried turkey, the garlic mashed potatoes, the brussels sprouts with bacon, the carrots and parsnips, the stuffing cooked in foil on the BBQ, the peas, the roasted beets, and the home made coleslaw.

And then there was desserts of all kinds as well.

So, ruined?

In fact, the only one who mentioned the lack of gravy was me.

And in truth, it really wasn’t needed.

So when you think you’ve screwed up, remember this. We start from here, and that means from after the meal when it’s over, and we move on.

Everything that was needed to get us here has been done, gotten, gather, fulfilled. The rest would just have been … yeah, gravy.

Kelly Babcock <![CDATA[Numb And Number]]> 2017-10-06T17:14:14Z 2017-10-06T13:53:11Z I'm the number one

Maybe even the nummiest

I can think of any number of times I was oblivious to the obvious. It happens quite frequently.

And there’s a sick feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when that occurs.

It’s kind of like watching an accident about to happen and being unable to do anything about it.

Suddenly, people are looking at me like I have a third eye.

And I wish I had a third eye, ’cause then I might have seen whatever it is that I must be missing that’s making them look at me that way.


The other day, I was working away and was writing something about being numb. I don’t remember what it was I was writing, someone asked me about it later.

And the thing they asked me was if I was aware that I had used the word “number” to indicate a “more numb: condition.

No, no I was not …

Some years ago I was in a walk-a-thon to raise money to help fight cancer. The concept was a relay, we were on a team, one of us was always walking. The teams had names. I don’t remember ours …

But I do remember a team who had a big banner that said something about “Heart & Sole …”

Pretty clever?

Too clever, I guess. I didn’t get it. I was amazed that no one had noticed that they had spelled “soul” wrong. I almost went up to their encampment and told them of their mistake.

I was this close …

Why didn’t I?

Probably the same reason I didn’t get the pun on the word “sole.” I have ADHD.

I noticed it when I was walking. We walked a circuit around the different teams encampments, and when I got back to my teams spot, I had already forgotten. Each time I walked by, I thought about it, but I was busy walking.

And when did I clue in?

Ha. I didn’t. Well, I didn’t clue in then. Nor did I figure it out for a few weeks.

I even told some people about it, and they seemed confused by what I was saying. I assumed they were confused by how anyone could make the mistake they had made.

Turns out …

Yep. They were confused by me not getting it.

Now in fairness, I assumed that sole meant fish. It took me a few weeks to realize they were talking shoe sole, as in walking shoe sole …

The delay switch

Yes, the switch on the light bulb in my mind was on extreme delay that day … er, those weeks.

I’m often in a state of mental numbness, but at that time I seemed to be number. That is, I was more numb.

Ah hell, I was the numbest.

Kelly Babcock <![CDATA[Video Games Cause ADHD]]> 2017-10-04T14:54:33Z 2017-10-04T14:05:22Z external focus

Keep your eye on the prize

Did I get your attention?

Good. Now that I have it … “Don’t Be So Foolish!”

Saying video games cause ADHD is like saying blindness causes macular degeneration.

No, I’m not suggesting that ADHD causes video games, let’s not be foolish. There’s a connection, but it isn’t a cause and effect type of thing.

It’s much more subtle

Just like everyone else, everything we do in day to day life is impacted by our brain. We do things our own way. Everyone does that.

My brain is constantly looking over its metaphorical shoulder, glancing here and there, keeping an eye on my world.


It’s not that I can’t focus, it’s actually more like I can’t let my guard down. And yet …

It isn’t so much that I’m being cautious. It’s more like I’m afraid I might miss something more exciting.

Don’t get me wrong …

There have been lots of times when my constantly keeping my eyes open has saved my bacon. I’ve been rescued by my constant scanning of the horizon on many occasions.

And I’m sure that the wildlife channel shows would discuss this ability in glowing terms of how wonderfully adaptable nature is and how this particular trait is the perfect survival tool for the explorer of new frontiers.

But frack that noise!

I love to be able to focus on things, to exclude all the static of the constant input from all corners. I want to be able to just rest my weary mind, let it just absorb input from one source.

Oddly enough, reading works for me. It doesn’t work so well for others of my kind, but then, I’m a writer, that may have something to do with this ability to focus on a book.

But those games …

I cannot deny that there is an attraction to letting my brain get caught up in a single stimulating thing like a video game. The simpler it is the better. The more familiar I become with it the more addictive.

I lost hours in the past to a character based PC video game called Beasts. And Hover from Windows95 owes me a great deal of time back.

What is the attraction?

I dunno. Well, I guess I kind of know. It’s the addiction thing. No, wait, that’s not true either. That’s like saying ADHD causes addictions and that relationship is also way more subtle.

Let’s try this for an explanation. When I was drinking way too much every day of my life, the attraction was that the number I made my mind, the less the noise of the world could intrude.

Closing my eyes

It was like the more I drank, the less I saw, the fewer the things that distracted me, the calmer my mind was.

With video games it’s the same, but different. The more I play, the easier it is to forget the rest of the world, the less noise there is to distract me, the calmer my mind is.

Sound familiar?

The thing is, we with ADHD are addicted, for want of a better word, to focus. Our bodies, however, just can’t produce focus. so we have to get it externally.

And being sucked in, deep in to a video game is one of the things that kind of does that for us.

It’s like a mental health break, like a walk in the woods, like a trip to the brain spa.

In fact, it’s very much like insulin for a diabetic, we can’t create adequate amounts of it for ourselves, and external sources make us feel better. The only difference is, we can survive without focus, we just can’t thrive without it.

Kelly Babcock <![CDATA[20 Minutes I’ll Never Get Back]]> 2017-10-03T14:46:55Z 2017-10-03T14:46:55Z clock with missing minutes

My kind of clock, apparently

What can be done in 20 minutes? Lots of things I imagine. Well, actually, I know.

I can do a sink full of dishes in 20 minutes or less. I can often write 500 words in twenty minutes if I’m on a roll and working on some big project.

I can cut the front lawn in 20 minutes or less. The back lawn is also a 20 minute or less task. The two of them together are usually done in under half an hour.

I’ve been known to write a song in 20 minutes. Not every song I’ve written was that fast, but a few have been.

What’s the point?

Yes. The point. There’s always a point here, isn’t there.

Well, the point is that I can also accomplish absolutely nothing in 20 minutes. Like this morning …

What happened?

Ha, like the saying goes, “You had one job to do, and you …”

So, I had about 23 minutes to make a lunch for the other half of the household who was getting ready for work. One lunch, and a cup of coffee to go was all that was needed.

And then?

Well, I was getting up from the breakfast table and as I was pushing my chair back, I picked up my phone to clip it onto my holder. I’ve gotten into the habit of carrying it with me ’cause it counts my steps.

But as I picked it up, I noticed something on the Facebook that seemed to need my input. So instead of getting up, I wrote a quick reply.

I swear that was all!

Okay, I may have nibbled on a bit of leftover bacon from someone else’s plate, but then I got up and started to assemble the aforementioned lunch.

I heard footsteps on the stairway and glanced at my watch. The more than adequate 20 minutes … GONE!

I know not where

I swear that there was no place for them to have gone. I cannot tell you what I did during those twenty minutes.

It’s like there was a knock at the door and a magician walked in and said, “Wanna see a trick? I can make a chunk of time disappear and erase your memory of it, including all memory of me and the door and you answering it …” and I said, “Sure, do it! That’ll be amazing!”

There is no record

There’s nothing on the Facebook other than the trivial little response I made to a post about sore feet.

There’s nothing. There’s …. like …. nothing. At all.

And, we’re back!

And there I stood, at the counter, scrambling to get one container of lunch food sealed and into a lunch bag while I made a cup of coffee to go in the old (environmentally responsible with reusable/refillable K-cup filters) Keurig coffee maker

… in three minutes.

And it wouldn’t be such a bad thing, nope. I mean, I’m used to this happening, I know it’s my ADHD. And I know it’s going to happen again, but man … think of all the things I could have done if I could just have those missing twenty minutes back, those twenty and all the other twenty minute chunks that have disappeared.

Man, I might have saved the world … or at least found a cure for ADHD.

Kelly Babcock <![CDATA[You Are Here]]> 2017-09-29T14:55:24Z 2017-09-29T14:50:55Z Milky Way Galaxy

Well, you’re somewhere in there …

Have you ever seen that poster that shows a picture of the our galaxy with an arrow pointed to an insignificant looking spot in the middle of what seems like a billion stars?

And the legend at the info end of that arrow reads, “You Are Here!”

And it’s funny. I mean, we look around us today at all we’ve done and all we’re capable of, and the billions of us that comprise humanity are all crammed into this little tiny space that would be obliterated by the point of that arrow if it really existed in the scale it is depicted on that poster.

And yet …

As isolated as all of humanity looks in that image, it gives a fairly accurate image of how those of us with ADHD can feel.

We’re like a single planet, orbiting our home with the rest of our family, and crowded into a neighborhood with billions of other planet people orbiting their homes for as far as the eye can see and even farther.

Feeling crowded!

Yes. And yet, no. Feeling mobbed, yet isolated.

Feeling … alone in a crowded room.


We feel like we aren’t understood. And we feel like we don’t understand others.

And we feel like we maybe don’t even understand ourselves, at least not well enough to be able to explain ourselves to others.

And we struggle

We try to rectify the misunderstandings. At least, we try to understand others and ourselves.

I personally spent years of my life, determined to figure out what it was I was missing.

Not all the info

But yeah, I didn’t have all the information I needed for that task.

And the big piece of information that was missing, still is missing.

And that piece is?

I will never understand how neurotypical minds work, because I don’t have one.

Oh sure, I can accept that they don’t get distracted easily, but I don’t know how that works or what it’s like.

But back to the big picture

Ah yes, the galaxy picture. You Are Here! And there is a little hint in there that may help you out. It helps me out all the time.

And that hint is pretty blatant. It’s this: “You really and truly are right here.”

We start from here

And yes, here is where we start from.

Every day when you wake up, it’s a new start, the first day of the rest of your life as they say. I know that sounds a little trite, but like many trite things, it’s also true.

And like many things that are true but ignored, it can actually be helpful if you acknowledge it and accept it, and use it to its fullest advantage.

Stop wasting your time trying to understand the others, it can’t be done. Just accept that this is life and it’s here for living. Now live it.