What’s ADD like?

A lot of people have this plague of a disease. Yes, it’s a plague. I speak from experience. I’m on Omegas and Neurovance just so that I remember to make my parents coffee or what tasks to do at work. If I make a mistake, I don’t even remember doing it. Yes, I know it sounds like dementia–trust me, it’s not. My brain has a great memory, but, as my father would say, an even better forgettory. So, what’s it like inside my head? Well, let’s begin with my morning.

When I wake up if I do not have a set routine, I forget to take my medication, brush my teeth and, yes, often put on deoderant. It’s really embarrassing let me tell you. If I am away from home I have to sometimes set alarms, otherwise I’ll forget to do something. It sometimes feel like I’m navigating through a maze in my own head.

Please don’t think that because you forget something once in a while you have ADD, you probably don’t. With life being as rushed as it is for everybody, forgetting something here and there is inevitable. What I’m talking about is sitting in a meeting watching the speaker’s mouth move, but you’re far away. You have to keep bringing yourself back to what the meeting is and in the process of doing that you find yourself down a rabbithole in your thoughts.

If you’re like me, then you feel the need to assert control over your situation in order so you know what to do and when. Unfortunately, we never have control over our situations. In my case, I recommend a notebook or diary. Someone actually recommended this to me and it saved my life. Now all my thoughts are organized on paper and I get so much more done.

Multi-tasking

Don’t even try. Unless you have a list, having multiple thoughts or ideas running through your head all at once is a recipe for chaos. Doing things step by step I find works best for me. “Go to the kitchen. Get the sugar. Bring it here.” This is something my mother had to do with me when I was little because I would get there and forget what I was doing there. It’s really annoying now that I’m older. If you’re a parent and your child is doing something similar try that with them. It worked (and still works) for me.

School

Now here is where you see it the clearest. When I was in school we were very well structured. We had specific ways of doing certain things and since I was little this was ingrained in us. So for me the structure was bliss. Then came the silly mistakes. I felt like I was stupid all the time. A lot of kids with ADD feel this way and often a teacher can look at a child and call him lazy or undisciplined when in reality we can’t remember. I’d skip out words while working. I still do. Editing is my best friend when I write because I get to go back and say, “I missed that one. Whoops.” Although, I’d rather someone else do it most of the time.

My Math teacher almost throttled me when he found out I had dropped Mathematics. At the time I had 10 subjects and couldn’t drop any, so Math was something I just kept failing. I had three major study subjects as well as many others that took up so much of my time. I would work until 6/7 at night doing homework. Now I know that’s normal, but it was not normal for most of the kids in my school. I failed Math so often because of silly mistakes that it caused me to believe I was stupid and would always be. When you have ADD you tend to miss the finer details. You see the big picture, but forget to check the little details. This is where you will find the majority of your mistakes. This happens to me regularly. My mind will catch a thought and run with it and I can’t seem to focus on anything else. I become obsessive over it to the detriment of my other tasks.

How do I live with ADD?

The doctors will tell you all sorts of things. Take meds. With kids they’ll say let them learn through play. Make lists. Set reminders. This is all wonderful advice and it works, it really does. It’s just that not everyone is the same. The only time I can truly focus is with music or when I’m completely alone. I did my school work through most of high school with music. It helped block out the other kids and helped me tune into what I was doing and not what they were doing.

Routines are another thing that ADD sufferers need. Routine helps us go into a kind of auto-pilot mode. We don’t need to remember because it’s habit. It takes two weeks to form a habit. Just two weeks and once you’re in that routine, you will see everything will become so much easier to remember. The only trouble is if you’re taken out of that routine you may spiral and panic forgetting what you’re supposed to do. This is where lists (notebooks, sticky notes on the fridge, really whatever works for you) or alarms come in. You can arrange these to keep you in sync with your established routine. Having everything organized also helps so that you can think clearly and see everything you need instead of having to try and remember where you put it.

This works for me. I try to keep my living space and working area as clear as possible. This rule even extends to my closet. If there is too much in my closet or draws I can’t handle it. If I buy new clothes, I must throw out old ones. It’s a little compulsion, but also it works in my favour as I tend not to lose things or forget where I’ve put something.

I have not included any research in this blog. Everything I’ve said is from my own life experiences as someone with ADD. If you have any experiences you want to share. Start a feed or type something in the chat forum. 🙂 I’d love to hear from you guys.

God bless and have a lovely week.