26 thoughts on “Shiiiiiiiiiiiine-y Things: Making Decisions – ADHD Style!

  • May 19, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Don’t hop in a 1972 Plymouth Valiant and drive from Iowa to Montana with your best friend and her mom’s credit card.
    Don’t go into a moshpit with casts on both your arms.
    Don’t change your major your junior year in order to avoid taking Statistics class.
    Don’t let on to the president of H.R. that you think she’s an idiot. Really, don’t do that!

    • May 19, 2011 at 10:43 pm

      LOL! Maria, you are a riot!! Thanks for contributing your…er…wisdom to this post!!
      Here’s another one for you:
      Don’t legally change your name after your first book comes out and you’ve already built your cred in the writing world (duh). NOT a snazzy career move! lol

  • May 19, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Oh wait, I forgot one: Don’t take out a ton of student loans because you’re convinced that Reagan is going to start a nuclear war and annihilate the planet.

    • May 19, 2011 at 10:43 pm

      Maria, don’t worry: the rapture is coming…right? hee hee hee

  • May 20, 2011 at 7:20 am

    I’m really glad to have discovered your blog for the first time today!

    Wow, I never even thought that my marriage to someone I had known only 5 weeks (only two weeks of which we were in the same location) was a symptom of my ADD. Luckily, in my case it worked out. Well, so far, anyway. We just celebrated 40 years since the day we met, 40th wedding anniversary is soon.

    • May 20, 2011 at 7:38 am

      Hi Kathi.
      I’m glad you discovered my blog too; thanks for dropping by and for commenting, I really appreciate it.

      As for marrying someone you’ve only known for a few weeks, that’s not actually a symptom of ADHD, the symptom would be impulsivity, or perhaps a need to stimulate the brain through novelty, through something new, or a risky new adventure. Another trademark ADHD symptom that may be involved in making the decision to marry someone you haven’t known long would be an impaired ability to incorporate past experiences in making current decisions (impaired memory), etc. For more information, I’d highly recommend Dr. Russell A. Barkley’s book, Taking Charge of Adult ADHD. Dr. Barkley discusses ADHD traits, symptoms and lives better than anyone I’ve read so far. His insights are invaluable in understanding how ADHD manifests in (and messes up) our lives.

      As for me, I enjoy focusing on humour to present my ADHD life, its trials and tribulations. That means putting a face or an action on the symptom, as I’m trying to do with this post. It never fails to astonish me, when I write this way, how many people share stories of their own or say that they see themselves in these tales! It’s comforting to me, and I’m sure others are also comforted. It’s great to know you’re not the only one!

  • May 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Hello Zoe! I just discovered you yesterday and am thrilled! I am 40 and was diagnosed with ADHD in March after several years of suspecting. I have recently been bombarding my Facebook friends with posts about ADHD, from information to humor,and finally decided I’ll start my own blog so people won’t unfriend me! I HAVE to share my crazy stories, jokes, and just express what’s going on in my head or I’ll explode! I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll let anyone read it :)but I wrote my first post last night and it felt so good to just write and write and write and let my sense of humor out to play. I totally relate to your sense of humor and all the things you say. Your Diagnostic Quiz for Women is the bomb! I so “get” this article- I often buy clothes based on their brightness factor, which I’ve finally learned to tone down, and I recently decided that I am going to do my best to be MY kooky, creative, open and genuine self and know that no matter how many people think I’m strange, I am pretty darned cool and more fun than they will ever be. Thankfully my husband is also ADHD and we get a charge out of each other when I’m not wanting to wring his neck :).

    “As for me, I enjoy focusing on humour to present my ADHD life, its trials and tribulations. That means putting a face or an action on the symptom, as I’m trying to do with this post. It never fails to astonish me, when I write this way, how many people share stories of their own or say that they see themselves in these tales! It’s comforting to me, and I’m sure others are also comforted. It’s great to know you’re not the only one!” That’s exactly the goal I have for my blog, if anyone gets to see it. I love reading people’s tales of living with ADHD, I find it VERY comforting and it would feel so good to me to know someone who read something I wrote was comforted. Also, I want the non-ADHD world to gain more understanding of us and those who don’t know they are ADHD to start recognizing themselves so they can start to make some sense of their lives. One of my pet peeves is how clinically most information about ADHD is presented, and how you have to make a point to search for ADULT ADHD to find more relevant info. Putting a face or action on the symptom, as you said, is so very valuable! I can’t relate to “impulsive, hyperactive, distractable” but when you ask, “Do you have friends? Do you work? Lose your shopping list in the car once you get to the grocery store? Find Martha Stewart incomprehensible?” I see myself. I love that you have the ability to organize your thoughts and make your posts rather educational. I write “stream of consciousness” and fairly rambling, which feels really good to me but I don’t know what readers will think. I am NOT a “writer”, though I can write until my fingers fall off. I’ll test it out on someone soon, I’m sure, because I won’t be able to stand it : ). I am so happy you’re writing this blog, thank you!

    • May 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Hi Pam!
      Thank YOU for your comment (which, btw, PROVED that you are, indeed, a writer!).

      I’m so excited you’ll be adding your thoughts to the excellent array of ADHD blogs out there. What are you going to call it? If you need someone to read a post or two before going “live,” I’d be honoured! You could send them to me at: zoe@zoekessler.com

      Welcome to the tribe, and thanks for sharing your story!
      (I just did 5 hours of gardening, am exhausted, and my hands are swollen from fighting weeds – I WON – today…)
      Take care!

  • May 23, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I’d love to journal or blog again … maybe it would keep me from hijakcing Zoe’s most excellant posts, which I adore, but sometimes I’m afraid to comment because I don’t know when to shut up. Case in point, I started answering the questions from your last? entry … but my OCD won’t let me pick and choose which to answer I have to answer them all. My ADHD keeps letting me forget what I’m doing, and my general lack of time won’t let me finish all at once. So I’ve saved them on Office and I keep going back to them. I feel a need to finish it, its just happening 1 or 2 questions at a time.

    My other issue is that while I’d love input from some that may share some of the same challenges in day to day life, I don’t want most of my family or friends or anyone at work to see it. So I guess I’d have to come up with a good pseudonym. But then is it worth it? See I get all this going in my head and it just gets too hard and I give up and come here and hijack a post. Now once again I must apologize to our lovely hostess.

    • May 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      My goodness! NO apologies, please! Your comments, input, insights, dilemmas, wisdom – whatever! – are ALL welcome here, no matter how long or short you’d like to make them. I’m so happy that we relate to each other and can share our experiences and challenges openly. Your comments always help me, and by extension, others too I’m sure.

      Thank you once again for dropping by….If you feel like it, by all means, please DO send in your thoughts on the ADHD Diagnostic Quiz for Women (I”m thinking that’s the post you’re referring to, correct me if I’m wrong!). I’d love to hear your reflections. Just send in a few answers, the ones that you feel are the most insightful or which gave you the most “Aha!” feeling, if you’re more comfortable with that.

      Take care!
      P.S. – and thank you for your kind words about my blog, that means a lot to me.

  • May 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Oy… I can’t tell you how many times I have invited someone to join me or do something with me or share something with me even when I had already decided that I wanted to do it alone, or had a sorted guest-list!
    My wedding is a prime example! I didn’t want bridesmaids or any thing as I had already asked my son to be my best man and that was enough for me. The next thing I know I’ve asked my sisters to be bridesmaids and my best friend to be my matron-of-honour! As I was speaking the words I was kicking myself because it wasn’t what I wanted, but I so liked to hear the pleasure in their voices…
    And giving things away to people because they happen to admire it or I think of it whilst they’re in my house and I’m talking to them…

    • May 23, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      Oh, so true! Your stories really struck a chord with me. Just THIS MORNING I nearly gave away something to a friend who was over. Fortunately, I didn’t have a chance to act on my impulse, because before too long, I decided it wasn’t a good decision. Yikes!

  • May 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Wow, I really identify with this post! I’m prone to “Make people happy/make people like me”. I always offer to do things I don’t actually want to do or don’t have the capacity to do. I’m getting better about saying no, hallelujah!

  • May 27, 2011 at 4:53 am

    My lovely daughter told me last week that although I sometimes drive her nuts she loves that I continue to be who I am and that she’s proud to be my daughter. She tells me I am brave and tough.

    • May 27, 2011 at 6:30 am

      Angie, that’s lovely. Thanks for sharing!

  • May 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    “Trying to make others like me”???

    Like that’s a defect…it’s EVERYONE ELSE’S fault they don’t like me…even though I’ve been doing that most of my life…:/

  • May 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I am getting so much from your articles, you have no idea. These explain so much to me about my wonderful ADHD man. I thank you, again, for helping me to understand him more and so I can be more forgiving about things I see now he has little or no control over. And thank you to your followers and their comments. We non-ADHDers need ALL of your thoughts. Please don’t stop giving them!

    • May 29, 2011 at 8:06 pm

      The dialogue between people with ADHD, depression, or WHATEVER challenges they have and those who DON’T experience them is so important for everyone. After all, the bottom line is respect, compassion and kindness, for everyone, isn’t it?

      I think this can only be achieved through understanding and letting go of our own egos and frailties, whenever possible. For me, this means following as closely as humanly possible, The Four Agreements (a wonderful book by Don Miguel Ruiz, I highly recommend it and have a feeling you’ll enjoy it immensely).

      Thank you for participating in this important and socially revolutionary dialogue! May we humans continue to evolve into more loving and caring creatures!

  • November 10, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Woah. This is pretty much me…maybe I’m ADHD…

  • August 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    This may sound silly but every time I go to get dressed I can’t decide what to wear. This is almost debilitating when I have to go somewhere. I can put on anywhere from 10 to 20 different clothes before I decide.

    I haven’t read much about ADHD or ADD but I am 69 and feel I do have ADD. That wasn’t even mentioned when I was a kid. I can’t concentrate on anything. I’m off in my own little world.

    • August 30, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      Julie, that doesn’t sound silly at all!

      I’m sure lots of folks (besides me) can relate very strongly to what you’re describing.
      I think you’ll be fascinated as you find yourself in the literature on ADHD, if indeed you’re one of us.
      Welcome to the tribe!

      One reputable online diagnostic tool you might want to try (and the one that my own doctor uses as part of his diagnosis), is the Jasper/Goldberg Adult ADD Questionnaire. The test is free and confidential.

      Good luck on your test! (if you decide to take it).

      And don’t be upset, but my score of 102 is pretty unbeatable! As my ADD friend quipped, I did very well on my test, ha ha!

      Take care, and thanks for your comment.


  • August 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Zoe and thanks for replying. I took the test and scored ~80~ Wow!! I’m actually seeing a psychiatrist for anxiety and depression. We’ve seem to have found a couple meds that are helping with that but all those questions on that test were me. I’m actually not surprised. I wish I had known this earlier in my life. I have an appt. with the Dr. tomorrow and will mention it again to her. I think she wanted to work on one thing at a time. My husband was in the room when I was taking the test and he agreed with all my answers so that was helpful. Thanks so much for the link.


    • August 30, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Julie.

      I’m so glad the questionnaire was helpful. (Nice score, by the way!)

      You might be interested to know that many women who were diagnosed later in life with ADHD were either diagnosed with depression earlier in life in error, and were treated for it, but continued to feel that something wasn’t quite right. That something? You got it – underlying ADHD. I would suggest that living with undiagnosed and untreated ADHD can cause so many challenges over a lifetime, that we often become depressed in response to feeling overwhelmed, or even like failures as we try our best only to be thwarted time after time. Who wouldn’t get depressed? You might want to discuss this aspect also with your doc. To be clear, while it is common wisdom to treat one thing at a time, and makes perfect sense, if ADHD is present, perhaps treating that first might be the most efficacious route (unless you are suicidal; then, the psychiatrists I’ve spoken with would agree that of course that it is essential to address that immediately). I’ve heard from women that once their ADHD was treated, finally, their lives improved and as you can imagine, the depression also was lessened or alleviated (and, as I mentioned, may never have been bona fide clinical depression in the first place). Sometimes women have BOTH ADHD and depression, and therefore both must be treated. Whichever route you choose, don’t leave out the ADHD component if you receive a diagnosis.

      Of course I have no idea what your situation is, nor am I a doctor, psychiatrist, or mental health professional; however, I have researched this extensively; I’ve lived with ADHD my whole life, and have heard from hundreds of other women and spoken with many professionals in the field, enough to be confident about passing along this information to you, whether or not it fits your situation.

      As for anxiety, I found that (not surprisingly) in the years leading up to my ADHD diagnosis (at age 47ish), I had become increasingly anxious. Again, it was not an anxiety disorder; it was a perfectly understandable response to the circumstances of my life: I had lost my full-time job; my dad had passed away; I couldn’t focus enough to work; I was about to lose my apartment because I couldn’t afford my rent. Who wouldn’t be anxious? Of course, once I received my ADHD diagnosis and treatment, my anxiety was tremendously alleviated.

      Again, I offer this as food for thought and discussion with your doctor and support team (if you are also in therapy, etc.)

      Once again, I wish you all the best on this journey! I know it’s natural to regret not having learned sooner, most of us do; but the sooner you can move past regrets, anger, and all the natural feelings that may understandably arise, and focus on this moment forward – you will be amazed at how much better you feel. The way I see it is, I may not know how many years I have left, but I want those years to be the best they can be, and I can’t afford to harbour anger at not having been diagnosed earlier, nor can I spend any energy dwelling on what might have been (although I could easily slip into both those things! I’m vigilant not to.)

      I am focusing on what can be! I’m rootin’ for ya!


  • August 30, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I have an appt. with the Dr. tomorrow. I sent her the link so she can tell me what she thinks too. My anxiety has gradually gotten worse the older I get so am glad you caught it early. It has almost paralyzed me. My depression is on and off again. I thought it was more SADD as we live in the Pacific Northwest, USA and have a lot of cloudy, drizzling days. But it didn’t get better this summer and it seemed the Wellbutrin I was on wasn’t working so I went off it. Bad mistake. I am now on a different anxiety med and back on the Wellbutrin and now am doing almost 100% better. Oh yeah, I’m also in a cognitive group therapy group. This is tough changing our thoughts but feel it’s already helping so am very hopeful.\

    (A note on the Wellbutrin, I have RLS and unfortunately can not take most of anti depression medication.)
    I too have had this all my life. I would get into trouble constantly for not paying attention in school. All those parent/teacher conferences were about that. I would just day dream and be off in another world.

    I have not researched the medications for ADD/ADHD yet so am not sure how this would affect or change what I am on now.

    Another aspic of my depression is a health problem that has no cure and not much to relieve the pain. That is what drove me to the psychiatrist in the first place.

    Thanks again Zoe. I appreciate the support. I can’t make that e the same as you. LOL

    • August 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      You might be glad to know that some people take Wellbutrin to treat their ADHD – it seems to be good for both depression and ADHD in some. We’re all different, but if it works for you and you’re feeling better, that’s great.

      I know you’ll get to the bottom this – you’re on the right track.


  • August 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    It’s working for the depression and the 50 mg. of Lamotrigine for the anxiety but not with my concentration and decision making. Probably more but I can’t think right now. I am doing better but want to be on top of all this. Mwah



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