I posted this over 3 years ago. Andreas recently commented upon it, and I re-read it. It had been so long, it was almost like reading someone else's words, and I decided it wasn't too bad! I've cleaned up some typos, and I'm reposting it - because I want to! LOL!
5 / 18 August 2004
Marbles in My Pocket
I was asked by an acquaintance what Adult ADD was like. This was my response.
I've been ADD all my life. But I didn't "know" it until I was in my 50's! I thought it was some kind of character defect, and I struggled against it for decades.
But I'm now kind of resigned to it - or, more likely, accustomed to it. I admit I function best in a *slightly* cluttered environment. If something isn't "in my face" I forget it's around or needs to be done. That's why I have to keep a calendar on the computer and have it pop-up the minute I turn on my computer every morning. That way I know exactly what I need to do. If I put away my current projects, I may not get back to them until they are past due because I won't think of them. So my desk will always be messy. Problem is, the "slightly cluttered" environment "gets away from me" and the entire house quickly becomes a total wreck.
I'm the original "pack rat" - I see "something shiny" in the living room, pick it up and trek toward the kitchen to put it away. On the way, I notice "something shiny" in the dining area, put down the first object and pick up the second object and trek toward the bedroom to put it away. I stop by my office to check e-mail, and put the object down. After checking e-mail and playing a couple of computer games, I get up and go out to the kitchen to make lunch. There I see "something shiny," pick it up and take it with me toward the workshop. On the way, I walk through the family room, and notice one of the GKs left a game out. I put down the current object, start putting away the game, notice the rug needs to be vacuumed, get out the vacuum, notice the floor in the hall needs sweeping, put down the vacuum and go to get the broom. On the way to the broom I notice the game in the family room and get it picked up - but it doesn't fit on the shelf, so I "jam" it in one way or another, and head to the laundry room - I don't know why, I just go there. I turn around a few times wondering why I went there, and start back through the family room. Notice the vacuum is out, and hook it up, turn it on and start vacuuming. Notice that there are a few marbles and a chess piece on the floor, and turn off the vacuum to pick them up. Can't find the box and board for the chess set, so I drop the chess piece in "a" drawer (I'll probably never find it again when it's needed - only when I happen to open the drawer and notice it). Put the marbles in my pocket. It is now noon, we usually eat lunch at 11:15 or 11:30, and the poor Ol' Curmudgeon plaintively asks me about it. I fix lunch and we eat about 12:30 - not bad, only an hour late - and look around. The living room is not straightened, the family room is a mess, the kitchen is a mess, my office has something in it that belongs in the bedroom, and I've accomplished nada beyond vacuuming a 20 square inch area of the family room and preparing lunch. I have marbles in my pocket and I don't know why! This is my ADD. Someone else may have a different experience.
My dear Ol' Curmudgeon is very good about reminding me to do things. He long ago gave up ever expecting a "neat-nik" kind of house. The kids think I'm a "space biscuit" (light and flakey). Long ago they told me, "Mom, we'll never know if you develop Alzheimer's - you've been spacey all your life!" This is true! I have very little short-term memory and have *never,* not even as a child, been able to remember names (nouns) or descriptors (adjectives, adverbs). Found out, after several botched "memory courses" that this is probably genetic and has to do with wheter you have access to a particular area of your brain - apparently mine has been in hiding all my life!
I am an "organizational hobbiest." As my dear Ol' Curmudgeon will say, "It's another vain attempt at organization by the Space Biscuit!" The DKs just giggle and nod. They all know. And it *is* amusing. Thank goodness both the Ol' Curmudgeon, the DKs and the DGKs all have a sense of humor about it! They don't get mad (usually). Just a little exasperated and impatient from time to time, but they quickly get over it, and whatever set them off becomes the latest in a string of "my flake, the Mom" (or "my flake, the Wife") stories to use to regale friends and relatives.
So we ADD'rs have to make decisions and try to stick to them! We stumble and get side-tracked, but over time, we try to get to where we can handle things better and better. I don't ever expect to be perfect! It doesn't happen to anyone! But I can be a success at nearly anything I put my mind and determination to. I've managed to (in order):
get a BSN (nursing)
have 2 kids
get a masters
have a third kid
move three times
go through a divorce
go through bankruptcy
*Convert to Eastern Orthodoxy* - best decision I **ever** made!
move several more times
teach in a university
marry off 2 kids
get a PhD
assistant direct choir
marry off the third kid
manage a complex computer-based Operating Room support system
start and run my own business
Enjoy the 10 grandchildren (now 11)
enjoy my husband
I still struggle, at well past 60, to deal with my ADD, but I can look back and see that I compensated for it, and I know I will be able to continue compensating for it. It will always be with me, like someone with diabetes will always have that with them, but just as diabetes can be managed, so ADD can be managed. I just have to work a little harder at it than some other people do. But I'm really blessed by God. I have a husband who adores me - and I adore him right back - I have 3 wonderful children and 11 marvelous grandkids (my reward for not strangling the 3 kids when they were teens!). I'm respected in my career.
Well, That's what Adult ADD is for me. I have marbles in my pocket and I don't know why!
PS - Andreas commented that the marbles were his (LOL) so I told him he needed to come get them! Of course, that assumes I can figure out where I might have put them then I took them out of my pocket . . .