Monday, September 7, 2009

My personal ADHD Diagnostic Criteria

There are diagnostic criteria for ADHD, and hopefully the new diagnostic manual coming out soon will actually have one for Adult ADHD, which would be rad. (It's pretty weird being diagnosed with a psychiatric condition that there's technically no definition for!) the meantime, here's my personal definition, the one that I have either lived with, or currently live with on a daily basis:
  • Getting up to leave, just 10 minutes into play readings/events that I myself organized because uh...I don't know...just needed to leave, and NOW!
  • Constantly finding myself with a totally full plate of amazing ideas that have morphed into a mountain of obligations and having no idea how it got so out of hand.
  • Days filled with "OH SHIT" the best ideas ever...that make me want to run from the office and go off on a tangent of "doing something" (although I stifle the urge physically...if not always mentally).
  • Drawing sewing patterns in the middle of paralegal training classes/grad school classes.
  • Bringing magazines to read in class so that I can trick myself into sitting instead of leaving.
  • Having to work REALLY HARD to pay attention in conversations (even ones that interest me) because I get so excited about things when people are talking that it makes my thoughts branch out like a tree in spring.
  • Complete inability to use calendars because I can't remember to look at them in the first place, lol.
  • Realizing that the surfaces of my life are covered in post-its.
  • Having piles of reminder notes congregating that I forgot I ever wrote.
  • Working so hard to be on time and only succeeding about 80% of the time. (That's up from 0% in my earlier stages of existence)
  • Fighting not to either seek or create chaos in relationships. (Have made GREAT strides on this one...)
  • Having to work through obnoxious anxiety about completing seemingly innocuous tasks that have become nausea inducing. (One day at a time on that one.)
  • Reminding myself not to go right off the histrionic deep end when telling stories because not everyone understands why a re-telling must be so dramatic.
  • Remembering not to swear like a pirate (mmm...yeah probably not ADHD-related, lol).
  • Working to access logic instead of have huge reactions to things when they upset me...because two minutes later I will feel badly that I flew off the handle. (Props to the elementary school counselor who helped me with this one those many years ago.)
  • Piles of unfinished sewing projects that thankfully are smaller now thanks to the moderating effects of medication!
  • Worrying obsessively that I have offended someone with one of my harmless but possibly annoying eccentricities.
  • Having amazing radar for exactly the wrong people to date.
  • Constantly re-aiming my focus on the hoops I need to jump through sometimes instead of the tangents I'd rather hyperfocus on.
  • Coming up with some pretty damned GOOD ideas from time to time!
  • Transmitting boundless enthusiasm for my projects to other people, and making them want to join me in making them happen!
  • Wandering around the room when I'm trying to work but instead am trying to remember what it was that I was trying to do in the first place. Sometimes resembles the pacing of a feral zoo cat.
  • Masterfully finding all kinds of interesting political and historical tidbits to read on the internet instead of reading boring shit for school.
  • Getting REALLY annoyed with overheads lights and certain kinds of noises to the point where my boyfriend has learned to just grab the remote and turn the TV off when I start making my special "HOLY SHIT TURN THAT OFF" hand flapping motion because I'm too upset to articulate myself.
  • Having to give physical demonstrations of explanations because sometimes it's just easier than trying to give it words.
  • Reminding myself to empower my powers of diplomacy and tact (which I DO possess) and use proper "business speak" in certain company instead of swearing like a pirate (again with the swearing like a pirate, hmmmm) and using phrases like "fuckit, quit talking about it, fly by the seat of your pants and see what happens".
  • Learning to let my love of risk-taking benefit me in business, and using it to show other people how to benefit too!
Turning all of this into a productive, creative me is an endless act of alchemy :) But it's never boring!

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