During those first one to one and a half minutes of waking up (and no, that is not an exaggeration of time), I’m processing everything around me that I possibly can- the level of light streaming through the single crack in my thermal curtains; the warmth of the house; I’m wondering if I completely missed my husband’s brief appearance at home between the gym and work (which happens for about an hour between 830 and 930 during this half of the summer) and what I will make for dinner; I’m contemplating my work load for the day (I work from home); I’m considering some new information I picked up from a historical fiction novel I am currently reading; I’m going over the “insights” I reviewed last night in my mind while I think of new ways to boost those numbers this morning before the day gets too crazy; I’m looking around for a missing sock (I’m sure I actually wore two to bed).
I go like this all day, from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep. There isn’t anything I can do about it. I process so much at once that my husband jokingly likes to shout “Squirrel!” at random when I verbalize a thought process. The downside to so much process at once is that, often times, I feel overwhelmed and under-capable. I’m sure that isn’t even a word and some poor English teacher somewhere is already having a conniption. Squirrel.
Welcome to my Kaleidoscope Brain. Also known as my ADHD.
A lot of people look at an ADD/ADHD diagnosis as this devastating blow. I know when my daughter, and later my son, were diagnosed with ADD/ADHD (respectively) I felt a sense of sadness for them. I knew the battles they were going to face, although at the time I myself hadn’t been formally diagnosed.
My daughter’s ADD is totally different than my son’s. My daughter’s is beautifully managed by medication. Without it, she gets a wandering brain and finds herself lost in Bethany Land where the boys all speak in song and look remarkably like One Direction, and the girls float around on clouds wearing flowers in their hair singing joyfully. With or without it, she is a social butterfly with people to see and boys to crush on.
My son’s ADHD makes him quiet, unsure of himself, socially awkward, afraid of the alphabet, super sensitive to other’s feelings, and terrified of anything new. He has a difficult time retaining new information unless it captivates him or he goes looking for it. But he processes things that most seven year olds aren’t even aware of, and he has an unmatched attention to detail (unmatched in our home at least).
If I had to relate more to one or the other’s type of ADD/ADHD, it would be my son. I’m a smart person, but have difficulty retaining information without relying on repetition to memorize. When I first became Editor-in-Chief of Many Kind Regards, I spent hours handwriting step by step directions on how to upload and publish new content from start to finish, and then spent more hours practicing it- over and over and over. Our other staff members basically walked into the job and took an entire 20 minutes to learn all three or four different programs involved in publishing a single piece of content. To borrow a phrase from my daughter, I was “super jelly” of them.
In addition to having issues retaining new information, I tend to be socially awkward. Well, I feel socially awkward. Especially in groups of women my age. I could be super successful and beautiful and filthy rich and I’d still feel awkward. It isn’t because I’m judging myself or because I think these women are better than me- although I admit that at times I do feel out of my league. It’s because I’m always worried about weird things- like that someone will say something and expect a witty comeback (I’m quite hilarious) and I’ll say something totally inappropriate. For example. A few days ago I made a comment on Facebook complete with an emoticon (it had like a half frowny face thing) to our founder, Erin (who recently suffered a stroke) and- before I could stop myself I was typing out a reply about how the emoticon had just suffered a stroke, so they should get along well (you’d have to have seen the entire status). In my mind it was hella-hilarious. But when I saw it on the screen I was half horrified. (The other half, for the record, was laughing my bum off). So I deleted the entire thing and instead wrote “Is it too soon to make a stroke joke?” I just never know if the words that are about to come out are going to be as well received by public ears as they are by the several personalities in my brain.
Also like my son, I am super observant. I have a tendency to notice things no one else does. All of my senses get in on this, so I see and notice and hear things that no one hears- like the gentleman walking about twenty feet behind us grocery shopping the other day who kept mumbling “These white @-- mother %*&#ers best get on up outta my way.” (He was shocked when I turned around, smiled at him, and replied, “I’m sorry sir. But my white @-- is only taking up this side of one aisle. If you’d rather not share an aisle with me or merely shudder at having to walk alongside my white children for the two seconds it might take you to pass us, there’s an entire new aisle over there!”) I’m simply super observant.
That said- being so very aware of all the little, seemingly hidden things, I tend to miss things that are right out in the open. I can tell you exactly how my husband’s day went at work based on whether he calls me on his way home or not (even if I totally miss the call) because I’ve spent a decade paying attention to every little detail about him. I can pretty much tell you how my children are going to respond to everything. I have a pretty firm idea of how my friends will react to most things. Because I pay serious attention to the writing of things like scripts, and because I’m way observant- I always know what’s about to happen in the shows Mike and I like to watch. But ask me where my glasses are? Oh. Actually, where are my glasses? Stand by…
Like my daughter, I’m kind of a social butterfly. But, like a social media butterfly. Being so busy with working from home and having three kids doesn’t leave me time for a social life, per se, but it leaves all kinds of time for social media (especially given that my job right now is so heavily influenced by social media). Unlike her, I don’t believe all people should speak in song. Although that would be really cool and probably result in some very interesting conversations.
Could you imagine how a conversation about dinner with your pre-teen daughter would go?
“Do you want to build a taco?
Come on let’s cook some beans.
We never eat rice any more
The shells fell on the floor
That’s what the five second rule means!”
Look, I sat down to write a piece on having ADHD and working from home, and I got totally derailed when Frozen met Taco Tuesday... Squirrel. Oh hey, here’s my glasses. They were right between my computer and my coffee cup.
Which is empty.
”Hang in there Joan.”
Many Kind Regards,
Find yourself getting sidetracked and struggling with ADD like Katie? Read Rebecca's organization list to help keep track of your life