At the end of August I broke up with ADHD. I looked right at it and announced that I wanted to see other people, that we had lost the spark and were just going through the motions together.
Then I spent the next 5 months downloading mostly awful kindle books and eating chocolate on the couch. I dug out my stretchy pants and totally ignored all of my own advice about exercise.
I ignored all of ADHD’s calls– and it called me A LOT. I drowned my creative urges with a laser-like hyperfocus that would have been admirable had it resulted in anything tangible.
So ADHD and I weren’t friends, but that’s not my personal normal.
Usually I’m agreeably tolerant of my scattered brain; it’s been my modus operandi for a lifetime. Regular avoidance of taking myself too seriously goes a long way. Documenting how a bad 80s song turned into a metaphor for my time-wasting problem– also fun.
Consciously looking for the good in the insanity, even when that insanity involves your 19 year old self leaving a bad day at work (Food Lion) to join the Air Force.
Only to end up in the Navy for two weeks.
By the way– typically brained people–that level of effort is exhausting.
Spending the vast majority of the day knowing that life spins out of your control and that the people around you perceive your distractions as personal failures can make cheerfulness hard to maintain.
C’mon people– you didn’t expect really expect mood consistency Anyone with a chronic mental or physical condition gets fed up with having to deal sometimes. We wallow, then we dust off. Except for the ones that don’t.
Coping skills? I could write a book. Procrastination is even a coping mechanism, if you consider how waiting until the very last minute pushes my brain into hyper-focus. And hyper-focus is when shit gets done.
My imagination? My ability to see pathways and layers that y’all “normal” folk miss on your way to being, like, ON TIME for things? Looking sideways and squinty-eyed at a project idea and coming up with a plan?
Love that part.
Controlling impulsive decisions, like tattoos of cartoon devils remains the single greatest medication achievement. But medication hasn’t touched the executive function problems. Struggling both with starting–and finishing– most everything?
Harder to love.
I can appreciate what hyper-focus looks like to the outside world. Especially for those people that assume that ADHD is rooted mostly in focus, or lack thereof.
“Look! She’s been reading for 5 straight hours! That takes FOCUS.” She just doesn’t want to do her homework.”
Bah. ADHD isn’t just about having, or not having, the ability to focus. The focus thing is secondary. The primary issue is one of executive function: defined as neurocognitive processes that maintain an appropriate problem-solving set to attain a later goal.
But hyper-focus is a topic all of its own.