Thursday, September 26, 2013

MY ADD: One of Those Days


 -discussing further examples of what life with A.D.D. /A.D.H.D. is like for me.  my goal with this is to help those without it to better understand it, and for those with it to have something to relate to.


As I noted in my first blog post, I was diagnosed borderline ADD and ADHD.  I have symptoms of both, more severe than some people, more mild than others.  I like to think of it as a happy medium.  Mostly I've learned to cope with it and recognize those moments where I need to buckle down and focus.  Mostly.  There is one thing I still struggle with it.  I call it "One of those days."

One of Those Days
This day does not start like most.  Right off the starting block it's off.  
For example: Today I slept through 2 snoozes on my alarm.  Meaning I hit snooze twice without remembering.  Some people might say that's normal.  Not for me.  I might sleep through the alarm, but if I'm awake enough to move my arm and find the snooze button, I will remember it. That's how I am.  Usually.
Even getting dressed is difficult.  The issue is focus.  I'm not distracted, but I can't focus to save my life.  Breakfast?  no.  I'd stand in front of the fridge and stare, spaced out uncontrollably.  I know this much, so having already recognized what kind of day I'm having, I skip straight to the OJ.  two glasses of OJ down, I pour a bowl of soup for lunch.  Today I make it to work with minimal issues (I never seem to have any issues when driving, asside from the occasional missed exit).  I'm working on a task at the office, and I can't finish a thought.  I find myself staring at my computer screen.  It's like I'm shut down.  It's taking me 5 min to complete something that would usually take 30 seconds.  The rest of the day will be like this.
The worst part is I will remember virtually nothing.  I don't remember my drive to work.  I don't remember the calls I've taken today.  When I am in school and it's "one of those days" I know I will remember next to nothing I hear and I write down as much as possible, asking the teacher about it the next day, explaining why if I have to.  This is one of those times I can't be afraid to ask for help.  This is one of those times I can't be afraid to tell someone I have ADD. 
     Let me pursue the school scenario a little further.  One day in high school (College Algebra was the class) I had a teacher trying to explain an equation of some sort to me (to this day I don't remember what) and I just wasn't getting it.  I couldn't even repeat what she has just said back to her.  She was rude, unfortunately, and asked me in front of the class if I had some kind of learning disability.  I said no, that I was just having a rough time getting my head around this task.  Another student blurted out "Don't lie, Andrew.  You know you have ADD."  Imagine my embarassment.  Imagine my anger.  My response was a prompt F-bomb ("F-you, insert fake name here, mind your own business") which immediately got me sent out of the classroom.  If the teacher had known and made an effort to be empathetic, we both would have had an easier time of it.  Neither of us handled it very well.  So don't be afraid to tell your teacher, your boss, or your friends that you have "Those days" because that can really save you when it happens.
     OK, enough about that.  I digress.  Let's wrap this up.  My ADD is not just about distraction, being goofy or socially awkward, or having a difficult time relating and seeing things the same way as others.  Sometimes it produces moments where the ability to focus is completely lost.  No distraction, and not boredom, but a complete lack of processing in the brain.  It's like spacing out, except I'm not thinking about something else, i just stop being able to continue the task at hand.  It's like when you die in a video game.  You can usually pick up where you left off, but there is a moment where you're not in the game.  Today there have been and will continue to be moments where my character is absent from the game.

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