Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Impulse control...

...I love how life presents me with perfect illustrations to demonstrate the realities of my ADHD life to a reading audience.'s like boyfriend and I finally had our first "fight". Really, it wasn't a fight, but it WAS something that needed to be aired out, it WAS a big deal, it WAS resolved peacefully and to both of our satisfaction...and even without getting into details faaar too personal, it presents a scenario worth discussing.

When people hear the words "impulse control" it conjures a lot of images, none of them good, and only some of them relevant to each ADHDer, especially adult ADHDers. I'm not going to say that all adult ADHDers are the perfect image of impulse control at all times...but we're not all jumping off of roofs either. And the thing is...that whether or not we were diagnosed as adults, we have all had so many times in our lives where people have told us that we shouldn't act out in certain ways, that we are likely to have learned at least some skills for reining it in and are aware that we CAN work do do it. Otherwise we'd all be running around with underwear on our heads...I know I would ;)

That doesn't mean it's always easy. I've written many times before that I'm actually damned good at "reining it in". It just takes a damned lot of energy! Last night, late night, it appeared I had no ability to rein it in...I was tired but my brain wouldn't shut off, STUFF just kept popping into my head. Boyfriend was exhausted and I kept wiggling around the house, jumping, repeating myself, chatting in bed and the fun only continued as he fell asleep and I lay there giggling at my random thoughts...haaaa...good times...

So the other day he says something to me that to make a long story short, I was not thrilled with. At the time, however, we were trying to pack up his gear because he was in the middle of playing a gig and was suddenly about to vomit. You just don't ask for clarification when someone is trying not to puke on themselves in public. He was violently ill all night and then yesterday morning was nearly ready for a hospital was bad. I was still pissed but went over and got him some water and juice and painkillers and...voila...he perked up and took a nice nap.

The whole time...I'm thinking about what I want to say...but keeping myself from saying it because it just wasn't going to be nice or productive to dump that load on a person who was THAT sick.

And when something is tugging at my brain like that, it's no easy trick to keep it clammed up. That cat was trying to destroy the bag.

I should get a GOLD medal for impulse control for that...

Once he'd had a full day's napping and was able to process English language again...I let the cat out. And I'd had so many hours of reining it in that I was able to be reaaaaally measured and articulate about it...I had to actually get all that damned articulation out of the way to really get to the emotion, lol. But since my first foray into the joys and powers of psychotherapy at age 9 to deal with impulse control issues, haha...I have had a TON of practice. And that's really my message here...we ADHDers all have different abilities and personalities, but it IS possible to learn strategies for dealing with life, for managing impulses...for prioritizing the needs of others in the short term so that you can do what you need to help them and THEN have the conversation that needs to be had.

After all of that self-control I guess it's really no wonder that I spent the evening bouncing off the walls, giggling, chatting, wiggling, and otherwise flowing with my impulses...geez louise, it felt like lightning shooting through my mind and body!


  1. "After all of that self-control I guess it's really no wonder that I spent the evening bouncing off the walls..." Well, ADHD is a lot like like the conservation of matter: it can't be created or destroyed has to go somewhere. You hold it in for a long's now ready to come out. The corollary is the conservation of chaos: you never actually clean up your just move it from one location to another.

  2. Thank you for letting us into your life -- to allow non-ADHD people a glimpse at a day in the life and to remind the ADHDers that they are not alone.

  3. You are welcome ;) Thanks for reading!

  4. "Well, ADHD is a lot like like the conservation of matter: it can't be created or destroyed has to go somewhere." HAAAAAA...yup. It's so true. Takes me back to being a kid in school...and wanting to leave...and getting this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach because I just couldn't stand it...ADHD produced anxiety anyone? Ha....