Was surfing around the website for ADDitude magazine and came across this page that listed 50 (or so) Great Things about ADD. I laughed out loud at least three times at things that were so definitely me.
That’s what my counselor likes to tell me, though he’s usually referring to Courtney when he mentions it. I had a day yesterday where my own ADHD came shining through and made life a bit of a struggle. In my case it was with my impulsivity. In the past I tended to be a lot less careful with my spending habits. If I saw something I wanted really badly and I had the money to buy it on hand, I did. Sometimes neglecting a bill or other obligation I might have had. I tend to get really excited about various video games, anime videos, collectibles, and gadgets and the more excited I am about something the harder it becomes to resist the impulse to snatch it up as soon as I see it. In the past I’ve rationalized this to myself with thoughts such as “Well, I can go with just eating Macaroni and Cheese for a couple of days.”
Can’t do that anymore because I have a family now. I’m not just affecting myself when I get impulsive and reminding myself of that usually keeps me in check. Recently I mentioned on here that Neverwinter Nights has gone gold. This game has been in development for over five years and I’ve been following it pretty closely the whole time. It’s easy to say that I’ve not been this excited about a particular video game in a long, long time. It’s supposed to hit store shelves sometime next week, but there was a rumor floating around yesterday that some Best Buy stores had gotten it in early.
Oooooooooo! The thought of getting a game that I and my buddies have been waiting five years for before anyone else suddenly flooded my head. How much fun would I have annoying my buddy Bill who had pre-ordered his copy on-line and probably wouldn’t see it until the end of next week if I could call him up and tell him how I was sharpening up my vorpal sword for a session in NWN. More so than the pure joy harassing a good friend, though, was the overwhelming desire to play this game I’ve dreamed about for five years. I wanted this game, badly. Those of you who are not gamers are thinking to yourselves, “Sheesh, get a life buddy! It’s just a GAME!” To which all I can say is: Everyone has their passions that they do stupid things for.
I stayed late at work and started calling stores. Best Buy in Dearborn, Best Buy in Westland, Best Buy in Novi, Best Buy in Ann Arbor. All the stores I could think of within a reasonable driving distance between work and home. Just this act of calling around raised my pulse and quickened my breath as my excitement continued to grow. The Novi store said they showed they had 18 of them in stock, but no one could locate where they were in the store. That was all I needed. I left work and started home heading straight to the Dearborn BB to stop and check it out. Half the clerks I spoke to had never even heard of the game so there was a chance they overlooked it on the display rack. I stopped at the Dearborn Best Buy, Dearborn CompUSA, Dearborn GameStop (which turned out to only sell console games), Stopped at the Westland Best Buy and the Westland Software Etc. All I could find was some promo boxes on display in the BB stores that you could take up front to pay $10 and pre-order the game. I finally concluded it was those boxes the Novi store was registering in their computer, not the actual game itself.
No one had it and weren’t likely to until Monday or Tuesday at the absolute earliest. It was crazy wishful thinking on my part to even bother calling the stores, let alone drive to them on the way home. It took me an hour and a half to get home from work as I went from place to place chasing a dream. And it is, after all, just a video game. I had settled down by the time I made it home and was able to reflect on how it’s been a long time since I last got that nuts about something. It’s a good thing no one had it because if the first couple of stores I stopped at actually did have it, I probably would’ve bought it even though I can’t really afford to at the moment. We’re getting Courtney ready to go to camp next week and as such money is tight, the game would’ve pushed us into the red. Usually when I slip into my gotta-have-it-now mode I can talk my way out of buying it before I get to the checkout line by reminding myself of my obligations. That wouldn’t have worked this time, it’s been too long a period of anticipation. It’s my ADHD shining through big time. To the point where it almost blinds me. Even now, the phone is within easy reach. That little voice is going “You never know, they could have it in stock today…”
I’ve mentioned here before that I’m an adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and I’ve since received a couple of emails from folks on the topic. Anne managed to dig up an online version of an article I got originally from my counselor written by a woman named Stephanie Brush about what life is like as an adult with ADHD.
Though I worry she’s going to go nuts living in the same house with two people that have ADHD. Mornings, for example, can be a frustraiting thing for Anne when it comes to dealing with Courtney and myself. I’m not sue if it’s related to ADHD or not, but I’m not a morning person and neither is Court. I specifically get up an hour and 15 minutes before I’m due to leave just so I can zone out for five minutes here or there while I’m getting ready. We survive the morning process while our brains are waking up by following a routine we’ve devised for ourselves. My daily routine is something along the lines of this: Get up, shut off the alarm, use the toilet, take a shower, get dressed, decide what to have for breakfast (if anything), take Concerta pill, eat breakfast, watch the news for a half-hour or so to see what’s going and and make note of any traffic and weather issues, clip pager and work ID badge to belt, grab lunch and a diet soda on my way out the door, pat myself down at doorway with the mantra “keys, wallet, ID, pager, comb” even though I don’t carry a comb anymore, and then leave for work. Several times throughout that routine, in the shower or sitting on the couch for example, I will appear to zone out for a few minutes, but what I’m really doing is trying to get the brain running at full speed.
I try not to vary too much from that routine because when I do I end up running behind schedule and the extra stress from trying to hurry causes me to either a) be late to work or b) forget something like my ID or pager or lunch. Courtney goes through a similar morning routine, but she doesn’t get up as early before her time to leave as I do so she doesn’t have the time to space out occasionally or to take her time getting started. When she does, Anne gets frustrated with her. Courtney also, like me, doesn’t tend to vary her routine so there are times when she does something she doesn’t have to. For example, usually she dashes into the bathroom long enough to grab her hair care products to take back to her room or the living room so she can work on her hair while I’m in the shower. This morning, however, I was out of my shower before she had a chance to grab her hair stuff so she waited until I left the bathroom then proceeded to gather her supplies and take them into the living room. Anne couldn’t understand why Courtney didn’t just stay in the bathroom to work on her hair seeing as I no longer needed it. I understood why, but only because I’ve done the same thing. Another thing my daughter and I have in common is a tendancy to forget details when we get rushed. The hair care supplies are, again, a good example. She starts to rush and next thing you know the hair care supplies never make it back to the bathroom. Instead they’re on the coffee table in the living room or sprawled on her desk or, and this one really annoys Anne, left laying on Courtney’s bedroom floor.
All of these factors add up to give other people who don’t have ADHD the impression that we’re lazy, thoughtless, unmotivated, or just don’t care. That can lead to hurt feelings on both sides. I can recall a number of occassions where my mother was deeply hurt by what she saw as my complete indifference, if not outright hostility, towards her wishes that I get my act together. What she didn’t realize was that I was just as deeply hurt that she didn’t understand that I did care and was trying, but just couldn’t manage to pull it off. Any attempts to tell her how I really felt were dismissed because my “actions didn’t show it”, which hurt even more.
Of course, the difference is that I didn’t know then what I know now. The fact that Courtney and I have ADHD doesn’t give us an excuse for not doing what needs to be done. At the same time, we do require a little more understanding from those around us as to why we sometimes stuggle with day to day life.