As I mentioned in my last post, I have been diagnosed with ADHD.
I grew up in a time when ADD and ADHD were something boys had. I was raised with the belief that most of those boys were just being boys, and were being medicated so their parents could deal with them.
I never imagined that there was, quite literally, a method to my madness.
I have a hard time conversing with someone and keeping my eyes on them. Not because I’m being shady, but because after a glance, a face gets boring. No offense to anyone I may talk with. Unless you want me scrutinizing every single pore, and mentally cataloguing every inch, please do not get offended if I don’t stare a hole into your head.
I can focus on something if it is something I enjoy doing. Writing? I can go into what’s known as “Hyperfocus”, in which I shut out everything and everyone except what I am doing. No, I’m not doing it right now. But I have to admit, I have to make a conscious effort to not slip into a “zone”.
I have issues with noise, especially in my small house. Background noise zooms right to the front of my brain, and it’s all my brain can focus on. It is very hard for me to carry on a conversation when there are other people having other conversations. If I seem to focus on another person, it’s not anything against you. It’s just how I am. My medication is helping with that, but it is still an issue. If I’m talking on the phone, and someone else starts talking to me, it throws me off and rattles me.
I have been reading up on ADHD, and a lot of the things I considered to be stupid quirks that annoyed me and annoyed anyone around me are symptoms of ADHD. If we’re talking about baseball and I suddenly mention something random? Yeah. It’ll probably bug you. Don’t worry, it bugs me too. I try very hard to not be ‘random’, but it really is hard. Have some patience with me.
Don’t ask me about any of the five million projects I have started. No, my novel is not edited. No, I have not made any new jewelry. No, I have not finished knitting that blanket. My anthology of writings has not been put together. It bothers me more than it does you, trust me. I will eventually get to them, when I have evened myself out and restored some semblance of normalcy to my life.
I really think that the lack of sleep and the post-partum depression did a lot to exacerbate the ADHD, because before, it wasn’t really interfering with my life. Everything I have read says that people with ADHD should get adequate sleep, since constant lack of sleep can leave even a non-ADHDer foggy and confused. Many people with ADHD/ADD also have a second condition, called a ‘co-morbid’. These co-morbids can be anything from personality disorders, sensory issues, depression, bipolar, Asperger’s and other Autism Spectrum Disorders, and ADHD/ADD are hereditary. If you have a parent or sibling with ADHD/ADD, your chances of having it are higher than average.
You don’t ‘catch’ ADHD/ADD. It is something that is usually a lifelong disorder, though when people are diagnosed varies greatly. Most diagnoses happen in children/teens, but more and more adults, and women, are being diagnosed with ADHD/ADD.
ADD/ADHD manifest differently in women than men. Men/boys tend to have external hyperactivity, the hallmark of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis. Meanwhile, in girls, the hyperactivity can be internal, and girls with ADHD/ADD are usually dismissed as being lazy, a daydreamer, a procrastinator, sloppy, flighty…while more and more girls are being diagnosed, three boys will be diagnosed for every girl diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.
There are many things about me that I do not remember being such a problem. And I’m sorry, but it is a problem for me. It interferes with my life, my sanity. I forget things other people would have no trouble remembering. There’s no trouble with my memory, I just didn’t focus enough on the task/thing to commit it to memory.
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot teach an ADD/ADHDer to just ‘pay attention’. I can focus on your face and nod my head while you’re talking all you want me to, but if I have not had my medication, chances are I’m having an internal dialogue and probably not listening to a word you say. Again, it’s nothing against you. It’s really not you. It really is me. And I am learning. I am trying to learn effective ways of coping with this so it does not affect my life. My medication turns down the frenzy in my head so that I can free up brain resources to delegate the task of being attentive, or getting something done.
I’m still learning. But in the next few days, I will be posting resources for people with ADD/ADHD, or even for the people who know someone with ADD/ADHD. I found a wonderful forum that is very informative…and that forum also let me know that I’m not alone…
…and I most certainly am NOT crazy.