I’ve always known that my mind worked quite a bit differently than most. But although I had labeled myself as ADHD and actually twice tried medications to help control it, I didn’t feeling understand its ramifications until just recently.
An initial intake visit with a new therapist opened the door to a discussion of both ADD and ADHD. I was sharing some of the problems in daily and personal life and he brought up the topic. While I’m waiting for an official diagnosis next week, the reading I’ve done and several online tests I’ve taken leave no shadow of a doubt that I have ADHD.
One of the books that I’ve been reading is “The ADHD Advantage” by Dale Archer, MD. It has shed a lot of light on the topic and has helped me to examine the characteristics that those of us with the condition exhibit.
The following is a list of traits and a short description of how I perceive it’s played out in my life:
1.) Difficulty Focusing or Staying on Task – This has been a struggle for me, especially in my adult years. I’ll start a task and before you know it, my thoughts lead me into other areas and I totally lose focus on the task at hand. This is one of the reasons reading the book on ADHD has been a chore.
2.) Inattention to Details – This one hasn’t been as big of an issue for me. Although when I have lost focus (see above), some of the details I should be paying attention to are tossed to the side.
3.) Trouble listening – I attribute at least a part of this to the fact I have a moderate hearing loss. I can’t always decipher what’s being said and quickly lose interest. This has been exacerbated during the current pandemic when others are wearing masks. I also tend to focus on what I’m going to respond with and miss the total content of what the other person is saying.
4.) Avoidance of tasks you don’t find interesting – This is a big one for me. This explains why housekeeping has always been such a chore for me. I don’t enjoy cleaning; I therefore keep putting it off, only making things worse. And during those times when I actually do get started, it doesn’t take much to get me off-task.
5.) Frequently losing things – This is an area I seem to have improved in over time. Although to look at things on the surface would lead you to believe I’d frequently lose things, I ordinarily don’t lose them for long. In other words, I know the general area of their location.
6.) Being easily distracted by external stimuli – Indeed, this is so characteristic of me in daily life. As I’m typing this, my phone is sending notification that I’ve received two text messages. And it’s difficult to focus on the words I’m using to try to express myself. This leads back to characteristic #1, which is losing focus or staying on task. (As a third notification rings on my phone, I’m actually going to stop here and come back shortly.)
7.) Forgetfulness – To my credit, this is one area I don’t tend to have many problems with. I’m good at keeping appointments and remembering what people have shared. So on this list of characteristics, I would have to say I don’t have much of an issue with this one.
Above all else, I’ve learned that ADHD can be displayed in many different ways. And there are several parts of the spectrum that may demonstrate themselves more than others. But I have begun the journey of a better understanding of ADHD and have started learning some techniques to deal with it. Above all else, I’ve learned I’m far from alone.