Thursday, August 12, 2010

Parallel Universes

Some really magical things happen sometimes in the ADHD brain. Yes...I have an example.

For a week, I have been looking for my flip-flops. I only own one pair, and our home is not very large...this should not be a big mystery, and yet, swearing has occurred on a few occasions. And he mystery has plagued me.

Simultaneously, I have been fully aware that my flip-flops were in fact on the front porch with dog poo stuck to the bottom of them...which is why they were not in the house!

That means that at least a dozen times in the past week, I have walked around the house looking for them, swearing about them, yearning for them...and have then put on other shoes and walked out the door, passing the flip-flops on the porch, even looking at them as I walk by and thinking "dang, I wonder if I'll ever get that poop off of them". And: zero dots have connected in my brain. It's like having two parallel universes exist side-by-side in my brain! It's magic!

I used to call these moments "stupidest smart girl in the world" moments...followed by the big bang where suddenly it all comes together. Two days ago I walked past them on the porch and thought "oh man, I really need to figure out how to get the poop off of those buggers..." kept walking and then suddenly thought ", my flip-flops". Sonny had even discovered them and actually tried to get the poop off of them during their absence. and then put them back..however, I did not realize this without him telling me because I was just so excited to see them that I didn't even notice the poop was gone.

It's times like these when I feel compelled to point out that I'm a person with a Masters' Degree and who generally has jobs that require a high degree of responsibility. I am able to function in academia, in daily life, and in relation to my employment...JUST FINE with a bit of extra effort. and I put that effort in, big time This is one of the points I try to drive home through writing this blog. "Having ADHD" doesn't have to mean you don't have a productive life, it just means you need to be attentive to the quirks and the curves of your non-linear thinking, and address those quirks in realistic ways...and be prepared to work your ass off. If I have to leave a garbage can in the doorway to remind me to take garbage out...fine. If I have to organize everything on my desk in folders that are labeled in a particular way, in effect organizing my very brain on my desktop...then that's what I do! If I have to set up my morning the night before, in a series of visual cues so that I can more effectively get through my day...then allllright.

But dang, I can't believe I couldn't find my flip-flops right in front of my face like that! Really, it's a perfect example of why I need to organize myself the way I do at work, and when working on projects that actually affect other people :)


  1. i just wanted to say thank you (thank you - THANK YOU!) for sharing your experience here. I've been struggling w/the Life-SUCK that is ADD for YEARS (undiagnosed), and was recently diagnosed but things have gone especially topsy turvy the last month or so. I was given some meds to try, but ran out, & my psych doc and her office decided not to see me anymore b/c i'm seeing someone from a different office for my talk therapy. SO i'm struggling extra right now -- and am trying to drag myself out of the consequences of some of my more craptastic ADD non-coping skills. Suffice it to say, my practical and working life is a mess, and i am having GREAT difficulty w/the medical establishment (trying to find a shrink to prescribe or a GP knowledgable enough about these kind of meds is - apparently - damn near impossible in this small town). anyway, i'll skip the rest of the details of all my angsty b.s., but i just wanted you to know what a comfort your blog has been for me these last few days. i really respect you for being ballsy enough to report on your experiences living with this particular kinda mind -- in a public venue. As well, i appreciate the honesty, humor, and zesty spirit (yah, i know you're not a spice, just roll w/me here) that pervades your page. it has helped me to feel a tiny bit less like i'm doomed to ride this super-highway of loser-dom straight to hell (jeez, do i sound a little dramatic?), and has been a good reminder regarding the fact that, whatever the circumstances of this screwy brain of mine, i do still have choices to make and can't give up on myself or the work that needs to be done to beat this beast back into submission. it's been helpful to read about some of your strategies and successes... anywho - please keep up the fantastic writing - you are a seriously rad lady.

  2. Thanks for this post 18C. When I read it I thought "we are not alone"... not in the alien sense, but in the third person sense that there are other people out there like me! And I really needed your advice to "be prepared to work your ass off" to live a productive life with ADHD.

    I recently was talked into hosting my own birthday party. I spent a nightmarish two days (including taking a day off work) obsessively making sure that everything was gonna go off without an embarrassing hitch. By the time the party time arrived I was already exhausted. The biggest surprise was friends would compliment me on my organisational skills!!! If only they knew the amount of mental energy and, lets say it here: "STRESS!!!" that went into the preparation which a non ADHDer would have done in a third of the time.

    We certainly feel every bump in the road.

    I know if I don't organise upfront my life would spiral out of control. I have learned that to survive I have to focus 95% of my mental energy on maybe 50% of my life.. the most critical parts.That leaves about 5% of my attention for the other 50% where I can stuff up without creating a big deal. I have a list on my fridge door of the three most important priorities in my life that require 95% of my attention:
    1. Keep my job...(and get to work on time!)
    2. Spend time with your loved ones and nurture your friendships.
    3. Look after my health

    So I'll have to accept that I will occasionally forget where I left my 'flip flops' but at least I know it won't bring my world crashing down around me.

    Thanks again so much for sharing your good nature and humour <:o)


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  4. Nope, not on holiday just a) juggling three kids, husband, jobs, dogs, cats and other miscellaneous insanity and b) enjoying the weekend despite/because of the chaos :D Sorry for the delay, and thank you for your comment.

    You reminded me of a quote I read somewhere about people not realizing how hard some others work to appear "normal". Right?! I feel that way all the time...especially when people do crazy things like accuse me of being "organized". I AM organized, but the WORK it takes to get there...sheesh! Good for you for pulling off a great party....

  5. Oh, and Anonymous, thank you so much for your post as well, it genuinely touched me, so thank you.

    Also, just for the record, I AM in fact, a spice...

  6. Anonymous: I also wish you well in your search for a reliable doc. I don't know the particulars of your situation but I really feel for you--having those pieces of your support system in place is comforting and stabilizing and I'm sorry you're on the topsy side of turvy with that issue in your frustrating as it may be, remember that this too...shall indeed pass...!

  7. Ohoh, also, Andante: I like your visual priority list. That's a great strategy for the ADHD mind, for reinforcing the things most important!