I am 39 years old, a mother of two adolescent children, and have recently found out I have ADD. I didn’t always have ADD but now I do, it’s just another thing life can throw at you in your thirties.
As a child I was hyper vigilant with my school work. All projects and home work were always completed, partly because my mother was a teacher, but also because I hated the idea I had of not turning in an assignment. I graduated High School with honors, and went on to attend a four year University. I graduated with Dean’s list and a Bachelor of Science in Business Logistics. I went on to be successful in corporate America. I am not telling you all this to toot my own horn, but I am telling you so you realize that I HAD been on task. I HAD been organized. I HAD been able to complete requirements.
But now I can’t, and I haven’t been able to for about 5 – 7 years. Every year it is progressively worse. I stopped doing things I enjoyed because the fun was gone. I no longer had the capability to sit through reading a book, or undertaking an organization project (those who know me know I LOVE to organize shit), or doing the crafts I use to do. Cooking had been something I enjoyed in college, but now I don’t because I screw up every recipe, losing my place, forgetting about the food and burning it. I once made banana bread and forgot to put in flour – a key ingredient. Hell, I had to set up most of our bills on auto-pay because I just forgot to pay them. Poof! Gone.
I walk into rooms all day forgetting why I’m there. The other day I forgot to pick my kids up at a school activity I have driven the last three years, embarrassing my child but also inconveniencing the other children I was to bring home. I just spaced it.
It’s not just my memory, and no I don’t have Alzheimer’s. There’s more. It is my impulse control.
I have always been one to interrupt others, it’s annoying and I apologize. I grew up in a home where it was hard to get a word in and in order to be heard you often had to interrupt. I use to be better at holding my tongue, but no more. Now there is no waiting. I have to say what I need to because I will probably forget it if I don’t. I can’t keep my mouth shut. This year I decided I would hike a mountain, alone, because why not?! I hadn’t done exercise in years so I did try to ramp up my abilities but the skills and endurance I needed was not adequately acquired in my two months of training.
I knew I had to look into why I was doing what I was doing. Why was I getting lured into the proverbial rabbit hole every time I started something. I am so easily distracted these days that I allow ten times my normal time to complete a task. For example, It has taken me three days to write one 600 word post for my blog. Three days! This use to take me two hours.
So I made an appointment with a psychologist to have some testing done. I needed answers.
I was handed enough paperwork to make the giant oak tree in my yard weep. I spent days coloring in Sometimes, Often, Never. My husband filled out a bunch of questions too, and he made sure I wouldn’t snoop at his answers. I promised I wouldn’t. I handed all these in last week and awaited for the big test, the in office one that required two hours to complete.
I sat at a computer, actually a lap top, and was instructed to hit the buzzer button (think Jeopardy) when the black box on the screen was in the top section of the white square on the screen. The computer then flashed between the box being on the top and on the bottom in a random pattern. After about 10 minutes I was toast, sadly there were five more minutes. I ended with having missed four on the test. I thought I did good.
The next test was even worse. It too was fifteen minutes long and used the Jeopardy button, but now it was auditory. Yeah, my own family can tell you this is not my strong suit. So there I sat trying to determine if the buzz was the low tone or the high tone and hit the button. I failed miserably and knew it, 16 missed.
The feedback I got was an average woman of my age who does not have ADD misses ZERO on the first test and FOUR on the second. So yeah way to be an overachiever! I missed Four and Sixteen! YAY!
I am not surprised by the results at all considering how bad I have gotten.
Do you suffer from ADD? If you made it all the way to the end of this without skipping lines (like I always do) or leaving the room for something and remembering what for you probably don’t. If not…well SQUIRREL.
* all information is a personal story and offers no diagnosis or recommendation of any medical or psychological protocols. As always if you have any question about your own health please contact your physician.