My ADHD Part IV

The day was coming to an end just like many others before it. I was finally home from work, my school work completed- mostly, kids in bed, and it was time to escape into the digital abyss that is the internet. Little did I know that I was about to fall deeper into that abyss than ever before.

I re-read for one last time the essay paper I had been working on, and shut down the word processing program. As the antiquated machine in front of me strained to repack my essay, I sat whispering to it some words of encouragement. Come on you little $%$# you can do it!

The melodious sound of the dial tone brought a smile to my face, and I clicked to connect. The computer dialed, and I could hear the… ringing?… as my computer tried to become one with the rest of the world. It failed. I felt sorry for the poor thing and wondered if its self-esteem suffered every time it got rejected. It dialed again, using a different number, and again it failed. Don’t take it personally you stinking piece of…. I thought. Another attempt, and it found success! We were on-line. Good job little buddy!

I surfed over to Google, well, more kind of doggie paddled over to Google, and began my quest for answers. I had recently met someone who mentioned that they knew of someone who was treating somebody with some kind of a “natural” remedy for ADHD. So, out of curiosity, I searched “treating ADHD naturally”. You may remember, I didn’t want anyone finding out about me having ADHD, and the thought of not needing to see a doctor, or fill a prescription appealed to me. A natural remedy might allow me to keep my secret a secret.

My little bundle of transistors struggled under the heavy work load of bringing the found information to the screen but, somehow, managed to place each little bit needed in its proper position. Once the first page was loaded, I began reading, hoping for some good information. I was a little disappointed, however. The content was poorly written, full of fallacious arguments, and was more conspiratorial than informational. Undaunted, I went back and ran another search.

More or less the same results. Lots of conspiracy, mixed here and there with some anecdotal proof, sprinkled ever so lightly with…science? Hmmm. There has to be something credible somewhere. Come on you son of a box spring, find me something good! I went back to the results page and pulled up the next website…

Midnight came and went, and my frustratingly slow excuse of a file cabinet kept pulling up whatever I asked it to. Soon after that, however, my rear end began going numb from sitting for so long, and I had to give up. I was bugged and glad at the same time that the computer had outlasted me for once. Nice work little pal! You warded off your trip to the dump yet again.

I walked into the kitchen, well, stepped over to the kitchen, okay, so I looked into the kitchen- the condo was small- and announced to my wife that I had been unable to find what I was looking for.

She thinks the conversation that followed was boring, so I’ll sum it up.

I had been hoping to find a remedy that worked for everybody…
Didn’t.

Learned about conspiracies that most conspiracy freaks didn’t know about.

Wondered why “natural” remedies have no known side effects. Not that I want side effects, but if there was a product that was so perfectly targeted to treat ADHD that it left no trace… how could that same product also cure my sickle-cell anemia, cancer, marriage problems, emotional instability, heart disease, and clear my complexion? Again, with no side effects. I didn’t get it. Or believe it.

Okay, I’m feeling guilty for exaggerating, it was really quite often that the mischief-making little R2 unit out lasted me.

So, really, many of the claims were so over the top that I had a hard time believing anything on the websites. I also have a hard time believing anecdotal stories as proof of anything. I don’t doubt that many folks have had success using many of the products, or methods I read about that night, and subsequent nights since, but!… I wasn’t playing a game. I needed to know exactly what I was getting myself into. Just ’cause Angela Soandso, from Green Acres, USA said she had luck with a concoction of ringworm, holy water, and pumpkin sprouts…Ringworm and holy water of course! But the pumpkin sprouts?!

Gasp!

Okay, so now I’m mad. This thought just came to me. What if that little good fer nuthin’ useless chunk of R2D2 who, eventually, met a proper and fitting death, was just finding the wackiest stuff just to throw me off?! GRRRR!

I’ll be right back…

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My ADHD Part III

One of the things I was afraid of, after finding out about the ADHD, was the stigma attached to it. I wanted to avoid it at all costs and keep the secret to myself. There was one scenario, however, that I was most worried about: the line at the pharmacy. I had worked out this dialog a thousand times in my head trying to avoid the inevitable. It always ended the same way. Disastrously!

Oh, hey neighbor!
What’s that you say?
Why am I in line at the pharmacy?
Well, um, er, cough, I uuhh… did you see that article in the paper this morning?!
Can you believe that?
Crazy huh?! Who knew a cow could even do that?
How they got that cow to confess I’ll never know.
My! Those rutabagas in your cart do look delicious!

What?
You say someone is calling my name?
Oh yeah. Haha. I forgot where I was. Too bad we gotta cut it short. See ya later.
Oh, you have something to pick up too eh.
Wonderful, and be sure to come right up to the counter with me ‘cause the conversation we are having is soo riveting, and I want you to know what I am picking up and why.

Oh, what did you say Miss Pharmacy Technician?
Yes, I know this is a controlled substance.
Yes, I have my ID right here.
Yes, this medication is for me, and I take it every day for the ADHD that I have.
Thank you.

Well, yes neighbor, I do have ADHD, and I think you should talk just a little louder.

Oh, wait! I do believe Miss Pharmacy Technician is calling your name.
Well, even people who don’t like Star Wars could have ADHD.
No, it’s not just a childhood disease.
If he had it as a kid, he still has it.
Um, yeah he still has it.
Still has it, and technician gal is still waiting.
So, considering he went to MIT, labeling him as stupid was probably stupid right? Haha yeah, I think so too.
Well, I’m done growing now, so I doubt that this medication is going to stunt my growth at all.
Oh yes! I was really hoping that you would tell all the other neighbors about my “condition”. The blind leading the blind is always a good scenario.
Yes, I’m looking forward to the awkward conversations with them too.
Okay, see ya.
Excuse me crowd of people gathered ‘round to listen in on my private conversation with the neighbor I was most hoping to avoid. I’m going home now. Thank you.

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Idle Police

As if I needed more proof that ADHD exists- here’s more. I started this post months ago, and have been meaning to get back to it ever since. I keep getting distracted. This post, in fact, is a distraction from finishing my next ADHD post. Please validate me!

Is it just me, or do you get nervous whenever a stranger approaches you in your car?  I can tolerate actually bumping into people all day long in a crowded shop at the mall, or in line at the grocery store, but have one of those same strangers walk up to me while I’m in my car, and I’m on edge. This is my latest “car approacher” episode.

It was lunch time, and I had just pulled my truck into a parking space at Wendy’s when, after reaching for my calculator to figure gas mileage, I see this guy on the sidewalk in front of me with one hand pointing at the truck, and with the other making a slashing motion in front of his neck… you know… the universal sign for “kill it”. I assumed he meant my truck engine.

I took a quick inventory of my options:
1. Leave it running in case I needed to make a quick get away from this guy, or…
2. Turn it off.

I opted to leave it on, and began sizing up this stranger. He was wearing sandles, had long grayish hair, was walking, looked like a hippy, didn’t, however, look threatening, but was becoming irritated, which could make him threatening. Enough, at least I thought, for me to keep the engine on. Although, it became very clear quickly that all he was worried about was the green house gas emissions I was producing.

All this happened within a few seconds, and I was surprised at how bugged the guy was getting at me for not killing the engine. Finally, he walked over to my side of the truck and made a motion for me to roll down my window. I gave him my angry eyes expression, scary! and he heard the doors lock. That prompted him to take a step or two back, and I hoped he would just be on his way. My hopes were dashed only seconds later, however, as he made his way to the passenger window, which I reluctantly rolled down half way for him.

At this point, it may help if I gave a little bit of insight on my mood at the time.  Just moments before I pulled into the parking lot an interview had just come to an end on the radio.  The reporter doing the interview asked an EPA spokeswoman about the presidents promise that he would not be raising taxes on small business owners, but that the new green legislation would undoubtedly raise taxes on all americans.  The response was classic! 

Blah, blah, blah. Focus group phrases. Blah, blah, blah. Focus group words delivered in a condescending tone. Blah, blah, blah, president something or other. Blah, blah, more “just words”, blah, blah, blah, finally stop talking. 

The reporter, as unimpressed by the answer as I was, asked the question exactly as she had before, and the EPA gal was forced to admit that yes “costs” would go up.  I found it interesting that she couldn’t bring herself to say taxes.

The entire exchange made me mad. The arrogance of the EPA gal was astonishing! The lack of foresight by this administration astounding! And on top of that, where in the constitution does it mention the EPA?! Do we really have to listen to these guys?!?! Giving “agencies”, such as the EPA policing powers is socialism, aka communism is it not!? Correct me if I’m wrong. (I’m not, but if you beg to differ…this is America, at least for now.)

Back to this guy standing next to my truck, who offers this delightful little gem of insincerity: “Ya wanna know a way you could save some gas money?”

“Not really.” I said, surprised and glad at the amount of hostility my own voice made. Had I thought of it, the engine would have been revved up a bit during the entire episode. Oh well.

“Oh, usually people say yes to that,” was his response. While he tried to come up with another disingenuous tip, he looked away to gather his thoughts. At this point I knew where he was going and I took the opportunity to close the window. I was in no mood for a lecture from this guy! As he turned to look at me again, apparently unaware of the closing window, his nose nearly got stuck. His look of surprise was delightful. I shouldn’t have laughed. He gave me a look of exasperation, tried to talk through the window for a second, and then was off to self righteously harass someone else.

Please understand that I am all for conserving stuff. I try not to waste water, gas, electricity, sugar, sleep, time, money, or a good crisis. I’m all about turning off the light when leaving a room, and recycle as much as possible. I feel good doing it, and in most cases it is the fiscally wise thing to do.

We are the care takers of this earth and we should be good stewards. My parents taught me that. I am trying to teach my kids the same respect for mother earth that I have. It is a beautiful place!

Hmm… Thanks for listening. I feel better now.

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My ADHD Story- Part II

The night my wife sat me down in front of our computer to take that ADHD test proved to be an awakening of sorts. As I lived my life the following few weeks, I began paying attention to all the little things that the test mentioned were symptoms. What I struggled with the most was, figuring out which parts of my personality were mine, and which parts of it were the ADHD. I liked myself the way I was, and wasn’t sure I wanted, or really needed to change. Of course, I recognized that there were things I would like to do better, like keep focused on a project until finished- specifically papers I had to write for school. Or, like getting organized, or better time management, or staying awake through church, a long meeting, or conversation with my wife. But there were other things that I wondered about. Teasing is one of the symptoms, as is spontaneity, and I wondered where the line was between being fun loving and ADHD.

One morning, shortly after taking the test, I had a concrete job across town somewhere and was trying to get myself out the door. I was running a little late, as usual, and was in a hurry- and getting a little stressed. I had carried the tools out to the truck, and gone back inside to grab my wallet, but the walk from the truck to the door proved to be too long, and I had forgotten what it was I was returning for. As I reentered the condo, I put my keys on the… somewhere, while I tried to remember what I had returned for. While pondering, I thought of something else I wanted to take to the job with me, so I carried that out.

My wife, in the mean time, had a number of things she wanted me to do that day, and upon my reentering, began reminding me of them. My stress level began rising. I still couldn’t remember what I had originally returned for, but knew it was important. The people I was doing the job for were waiting for me, as was an employee. On top of that the things she was reminding me of were not at all things I was looking forward to doing. One of them did, however, require a credit card, which was in my wallet. I grabbed it quick, feeling relieved that she had reminded me of my main purpose for returning. I gave her a kiss, and headed out the door.

As I sat in the truck I reached to turn it on, but the keys were not in the ignition. Great! I searched the cab, my pockets, my memory… gone. Back inside I went. Stress level, again, on the rise. Knowing this would be yet another incident she could use as proof of ADHD existence, I was hesitant to mention to her why I had returned. It was pretty obvious, however, after just a few seconds that I was looking for something, and she had to go and ask. I tried to not act annoyed, but was unconvincing… she could tell. Most likely the scowl on my face combined with the nasty tone in my voice gave it away.

“I’m sorry.” She said. “I’m not trying to hurt your feelings, I just want to help.”

“I know.” I muttered, still searching.

“Dane,” she spoke so calmly and sincerely, I had to stop and look at her, “what are you looking for?”

At this point I began feeling like a heel for treating her poorly just because I had forgotten where I had put my own keys. It wasn’t her fault they were misplaced, and it was unfair of me to be short with her. It was just my assumption that she would be thinking about ADHD and keeping track of every incident that could be used as proof. I was the one doing that, and was irritated that I was living yet another example. I didn’t want to have ADHD!

“I can’t find my keys.” I finally replied. “I just had them a minute ago, but I have no idea where I put them.” The search began. I felt relieved about the help, but irritated that I needed it. It took a few minutes, but the keys were finally located, on the bed, right where I had put them. I don’t remember if I apologized to her for being short with her that day, so I’ll take this opportunity to do so. Sorry, honey. I love you, and thanks.

This was just one of many incidents that happened shortly after taking the test, and one of many that helped me come to the realization that, like it or not, I had to face the truth. The next few posts will explore that adventure.

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My ADD/ADHD Story

It was around eleven by the time I got home from school that night. As I opened the door to our two-bedroom condo my wife was sitting on the sofa with our second child in her arms.

“I have something to show you,” she said as she stood to put the baby in his crib. She seemed a little apprehensive, not so much that I was alarmed, but it was obvious she was worried about my reaction to what she had to show me. As she stood, the book she had been reading fell to the floor, and it was then that I had a pretty good idea of what was to come. A few weeks earlier her sister had given her a book about ADHD, and she had hinted a number of times that I ought to read it. She would read little excerpts from it to me occasionally and ask my opinion. Or suggest that so and so had such and such a characteristic, and on occasion even suggest that such and such a characteristic sounded like me. I would just humor her and agree, or act offended, depending on how close to home she was hitting.

When she emerged from the kids’ bedroom she walked over to the computer and turned it on. While she waited for it to boot, she began explaining that the author of the book had a website, and that she had been on it- and actually taken a test on my behalf. She explained that the author had categorized ADHD into six different subcategories, and that according to the test I fell into the “inattentive” category. I was skeptical. I had taken on-line tests before and… really? I doubted its accuracy, and… who was she to be taking a test for me anyway!?

We were using dial-up internet at the time- so it took a while for everything to load, which was okay because it provided her plenty of time to explain herself and reassure me that she was not trying to offend me in anyway. She knew this could be a sensitive issue for me, and she was very careful with how she worded everything. I think she had been thinking for weeks about how to have this conversation and the test provided for her the opportunity, that is to say, emotionally unattached proof.

Turns out that, as we sat in front of the computer screen my skepticism began to shrink. The test seemed legit, it was fairly extensive, and it needed to be down loaded from the authors’ web site- which was professional and well done. He claimed to be an expert on ADHD, and I had no proof to say otherwise, so… Here we go!

Although, I resisted admitting yes to some of the characteristics, it didn’t take her long before she could think of example after example for each question I wanted to answer no to. “Do you frequently misplace things?” for example, is one that I wanted to deny emphatically, but she had way too many instances to refer to, and soon, it was time for me to just face the hard cold facts, although mostly perfect in every way… I was flawed.

The idea took some getting used to. People thought it was funny and endearing when I would lose my wallet or keys. And people like getting teased… even when they say they don’t- right? Everyone gets distracted sometimes don’t they?
Then there was another set of questions to deal with. What will my family think? What will her family think? Is this something I should be ashamed of? What causes ADHD, and what are the treatment options? Why have I lived this much of my life without knowing? (I was in my late twenties at the time) I knew kids in school who had ADHD, was I one of them?! So, now what?

It was a late night for us by the time we made it into bed. We had fun going through the test a few more times, thinking of loved ones who matched the characteristics of this or that sub-category, and me coming to the realization that getting some help may improve my chances of actually finishing school, and being more efficient at work. I was especially glad for my sweetheart of a wife, who was very careful with me, and was able to help me come to the realization of my “condition” in a loving and caring way. Thanks honey!!

To be continued…

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My Top Ten- or so- Reasons ADHD is Awesome!

A number of years ago my sister-in-law gave my wife a book about ADHD, hmm- coincidence… and upon finishing the blasted thing, she came to the conclusion that I fell into one of the five…or are there six…typical ADHD categories. I’m “inattentive”- thank you very much. I was mildly offended for a week or two, which prompted me to begin my quest to disprove her silly notion. I’ll sum up the following six months by just saying that I am indeed an ADHD survivor! Since beginning my treatments (a little pill in the morning) my life has been remarkably different, and mostly for the best. I don’t lose my car keys anymore. I’m much quieter in public settings. I don’t doze off when speaking to my sweetheart for more than thirty seconds. I don’t look for excuses to go do something else…anything other than what I am doing. The list could go on for days, and maybe sometime I’ll fill you in on some of the other things, but that is not the purpose of this post.
Since beginning my “treatment” there have been a few occasions here and there where, for various reasons, we have been unable to fill the prescription. This past week has been one of those times and, although I would rather be “on something”- here are the top ten reasons this week has been a fun walk down memory lane.

1. It’s fun to be obnoxious!
2. The creative juices flow freely.
3. Daydreaming is far more productive.
4. No energy is wasted doing anything efficiently.
5. Being forgetful is… hold that thought… it’s coming back… endearing?
6. Spontaneity is my favorite pastime again.
7. Consequences are a nebulous futuristic impossibility.
8. Everyone likes being teased, despite what they say.

This is where I got distracted by something shiny over there…

9. Social norms are for simpletons and fun suckers!
10. The ability to sit and be asleep in seconds is truly a gift.
11. Complete chaos is a form of organization- right?

I was going to put them all in order, but that would have required some amount of organizational ability. Which reminded me that I needed to add (haha get it- add is spelled a.d.d… hahaha hmmm) another item to my list, hence my list grew to be My Top Ten or so Reasons That…you know.

Here is where I have a smile on my face for actually starting and finishing a task by myself! Yay me!!

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More to Come!

It has been a while- but more coming soon!

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