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.