Hello again. Yes yes, I know it has been a spell since I last wrote. (this was started months ago and after my post yesterday, I feel like I can’t waste time not writing – you never know what the day brings so you had better do the things you want to do right now – don’t wait or waste time procrastinating.) Don’t judge me. What can I say, the world was broken and is just now picking up the pieces. Oh wait, maybe that’s me.
I wanted to reach out in the hopes that what I’m about to share with y’all might resonate and that you might share some of your own experiences and how you managed them.
Since I had been seeing my counselor for several years, we’ve spoke about a great many things in the hopes that I might find some tools to better manage my shit. For the past little while, say a couple years or so, we’ve talked about ADHD and the likelihood that I have it.
At first I railed against the very idea of it, the notion that I could “HAVE” this thing that has caused so much trouble. The very notion of it floored me. But then it all made sense. I can very clearly remember so many times in my life when something occurred that was directly related to this “part of me” that screwed everything up. At least that was how I viewed it. I kept telling myself that my mind sabotages me. It all made sense to me. I would later share this with my wife.
I remember my mother first taking me to see the school nurse and then the doctor when I was 9 or 10 (in the 70’s – yes, I’m old – deal) asking about my erratic, kind of scattered behavior. I was restless and not able to focus. All she was told was that I had “excess energy” and was “hyperactive” and that I would be best served running it off or playing with my friends. What was not widely known at that time, much less treated, was that these were only a few symptoms of a much larger part of anyone’s life who experiences ADHD.
For me it started out with “excess energy” in my younger years. Then as I got older and the necessity for remembering things was definitely key in moving forward in school with your peers as well as actually, y’know, learning stuff became more and more difficult, I just chalked it up to the indelibly etched, nay, seared words of one of my classmates – “He used to be smart.” and that I just was no longer smart. I had an excuse to not understand shit in the same way as everyone else. To say the least that had a major impact on my development. Those lovely <sarcasm> words of encouragement occurred in the 6th grade and would live in the back of mind for years afterwards, always reminding me I “Used to be Smart!” To that (now) I say FUCK THAT! I am smart. I can’t always articulate myself in a meaningful way and I get frustrated easily and rage-quit games, but I am smart, of that I have no doubt. Not that I will ever be a scientist, engineer, doctor or lawyer. But I create art and beauty with words and paint and pencil and spirit. I am definitely a creative personality. I prefer to create from within rather than without. Oh, and while I am on my soapbox – FUCK YOU to the people that don’t think Creatives have a place in this world. That they don’t contribute to the larger picture of society. We contribute just as much as anyone to the whole. But I digress…
I can distinctly remember the beginning of my freshman year in high-school when I would start to study, reading the material assigned and couldn’t remember anything I had just read. Literally. Just. Read! Now, I was a teenager and I didn’t really focus on that all that much to begin with, I was too busy being active and distracted and not focusing. Or so that’s what I allowed myself to think. After-all, I was just a kid. Some might think this normal teenage behavior, and for some it is/was. However for me, it was multiplied. Despite all of my squirrel-brain I had wanted to make a better showing over the next four years academically than I had in middle-school, which was really damaging to me in hind sight. My middle-school years, not trying to do better academically. 😉
I chalked up my lack of grasping things to anything other than some sort of thing that I had buzzing around in my head. I just accepted it. Moved on. After high-school I took jobs that were more labor intensive and less mind intensive because the latter was a real challenge for me.
Fast forward a few years (okay, a few decades) – and as I am studying to get licensed to sell insurance, all those same challenges I had as a kid came back – not remembering what I had just read. Losing focus easily. Having to read out loud to remember as well as writing questions and answers down so as to help reinforce the subject matter would stick long enough for me to pass these tests.
They were super difficult…but I did pass them and I am now (going on three years) a licensed insurance Producer (salesperson). This was a huge accomplishment and I am super proud of that feat. But the longer I am in this job the more I realize that my focus shifts on what I would really like to do for a living. Having said that, I do what I have to do so that I can do what I want. Until I can complete my first novel and turn a profit that allows me to write full-time, I will sell insurance.
At heart I AM a creative! I enjoy the process of creation and although it may take me longer to produce something as a neurotypical (NT) person might, it is still a worth while pursuit. I enjoy the creative process and given enough time can often find a creative way to tackle any obstacle.
But all of what you have just read was not all about getting to know me a little better than you maybe already did, but rather to ask for some help. Along with the “can’t remember shit” aspect of my as yet undiagnosed ADHD, I struggle with many of the following symptoms:
- Lack of focus
- Trouble staying on topic
- Daydream a lot
These symptoms were taken from any number of websites that discuss topic. There were other symptoms listed on various websites that I related to on a lesser degree but these were the big ones that I struggle with most days.
As I have got older, I also have experienced an increase in:
- Anxiety (dog parks and socializing our dog triggers my anxiety so much that I can’t allow myself to relax while I am there and my dog picks up on this)
- Depression (I have had thoughts of suicide, to the point I had to take medication for it until I was past the worst of those thoughts)
It got to a point that I can remember saying to my wife the words that I said as a kid to myself, “I sabotage myself”, not really knowing what that meant aside from my mind would often not allow me to play in the reindeer games. Maybe that was an excuse for not holding myself to some standard of getting something done or not taking on certain responsibilities or what have you. Maybe it was a mechanism I employed that allowed me not to push myself. After all, if I didn’t pursue anything, I couldn’t not achieve it and not fail (that’s a crap-ton of negatives) Maybe it could better said as “if I didn’t try something, I couldn’t fail at something.” Make sense? I hope so. First off, that’s a load of horse-shit of the first order. Some might say a cop-out. I realize that now. Just because something is tough, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth chasing!
So yes, I still have my struggles; my thoughts dance around and my focus flitters this way and that. It just means it takes me a little longer to get something done. Big whoop. As long as I get it done. That is what matters.
More recently my wife has provided some information she found online for me to look into for people that either have been diagnosed or feel they have ADHD. Of what I’ve read so far, it seems to address many of the same things I experience every day of my life. I am excited to learn more. To this end, if you have any resources, you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you.
I think this post has got away from me and want to end it before I lose focus again.
Peace be with you!
More to come…