It’s 6:43 in the morning and my children are on Christmas break. My husband is sleeping and I have been working since 5AM. Today has been a particularly non-linear day for me so far and it got me thinking about how my brain works and how it has helped me in my career.
This past year, I’ve shifted away from personal blog stories and turned towards more searchable content in an attempt to help the greater mass. For over a decade, this blog was treated as my diary, but now it is being treated more as a resource.
So, I stopped talking about me and, instead, I write more about crockpots and rice cookers these days. Sometimes that makes me sad. Other times, I recognize that it’s better this way.
However, today I realized that it was important to tell my story because I feel like what is happening inside of me is something that people would want to hear. Young mothers who might be confused or perhaps even scared about what the future holds for their kids. And so, I want to step back into the light and tell my story one more time.
Presenting With Adult ADD
A decade ago, I started to see a neurologist for migraines. They became so unbearable that I knew I needed to get placed on daily medications. In order to begin any sort of medication, you must first rule out any physical issues with your brain. And so, I went through the wringer.
Full-blown tests – one after the other. Machine after machine. I wore silly things on my head that looked like they came out of the set of Ghostbusters so that they could measure brain waves. I wore goggles so that they could watch where my attention went as images passed in front of me. They gave me memory tests, logic tests. I even did an MRI.
It took two days. I didn’t understand any of it, but I wanted medication and so I agreed to whatever they said and if you asked me what any of it was called… I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
But at the end of it all, my neurologist told me that I “presented as someone who had adult ADD” and asked if “that made sense” to me?
Is The Sky Blue?
Of course, it did. So much in fact that I felt like I was in one of those movies – where your whole life passes you by and you are whirling through space and you see every moment in your entire history zap right through in a matter of seconds. But this go around, all the puzzle pieces fit.
“Yes. Yes, it does.”
The words cleared up a lot of things for me, in fact. As we spoke more about it, my doctor ran down a list of “probablys”.
- You probably had a hard time in school.
- You probably had a hard time focusing on one thing at a time.
- Your mind probably ran a mile a minute.
- You probably had trouble staying on task.
- You probably were very forgetful.
Um… yes. All of that and more. Back in the 80s, there just wasn’t enough education around this information and so, we dealt with what we had. Right? But today, I still am who I am – so what does this all mean?
I Am So Thankful For My Mind Today
As an entrepreneur and business owner, I cannot just clock into work and do what I have to do and go home. I have to pave my road every single day of my life. That means that I have to have the drive, the energy, and the ability to do so.
This morning, I caught myself working on about 4 tasks at once and realized that I was able to do that because of how my adult ADD mind is wired. It isn’t a flaw.
The way society sets up ADD to us is that it’s a bad thing because school is so rigid and it’s hard to keep children so settled – which makes it hard to manage. Yes. I understand this.
But we need to look beyond school because life isn’t school. The ADD mind can do MORE at once. It can jump from one task to the next, complete it, come back, think of something new they have to finish – write that down, jump back to the original task, make a call, start a new project, revert back to the original task, take another call, continue with task…. this is my LIFE. This is not overwhelming. This just IS.
I can have 10 tabs open at once if you know what I mean. And I’m not even breaking a sweat. That’s adult ADD. That doesn’t sound like any commercial I’ve heard before.
And I KNOW it’s crazy as I’m doing it every single day. The amount of work that I put in at once – is overwhelming and at times, unfair to my body. It’s maddening. I push myself to the limits and sometimes I fail that test because I push too hard. But I am capable and so I try to do as much as I can at the same time – day in and day out.
That is what it feels like to live with this disorder in the business world. It is possible to thrive but people like me need to find balance.
What About The Forgetfulness?
Yes, I have the worst memory on the planet. That isn’t a joke. Just last night, someone was telling me about a place we went out to dinner a few years back and I actually couldn’t remember being together. My brain can only handle so much.
With adult ADD, you need to learn how to become extremely organized. I have planners, and calendars, and alert systems. When I was in high school, I used to write notes on my HAND regarding really important things. I looked like a crazy person. Pen all over my arms sometimes because it was the only way I would remember – but that was before phones.
Even as a child, I recognized that my brain couldn’t remember and so I used my body to help me. You must teach your children to get organized at an early age. This is a critical task for you to take on immediately. If they become list makers, they can take on the world.
You have to teach organization in order to thrive in chaos.
We are fire. There is no other way to put it. People who think the way we do are constantly on fire.
We are on the go. We are always thinking. We are thinking on top of thinking and it’s not because I want to, believe it. It is just because this is who I am.
When I first got placed on medication for my migraines, I will never forget those first few days. My mind went completely silent and I slowed down in ways I never thought possible. My husband found me crying in the bedroom.
He didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was sobbing. He asked me WHAT HAPPENED? He thought I was hurt. And I guess I was in some way.
I turned to him and I said, “So, this is what normal people feel like. So quiet.”
Of course, he couldn’t understand what I meant because he would never know what it truly feels like to be me. But I understood and your children do, too.
I went from chaos – which is something I’ve known my whole entire life to just being able to sit on the couch. I felt like I was stuck in mud. And I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not?
While I was adjusting to the medication, I didn’t know if I should pray to remain silent or to go back to who I was. I was truly conflicted. If I kept my brain quiet, I would live a simple life. I knew that. I would vibrate at a much slower pace and I would just blend in with the crowd and I would just exist. What would be wrong with that? That’s what I kept asking myself.
Or, if I prayed for the medication side effects to go away, I would go back to being ME – who I really am. And that person could do anything she wanted because she had the energy to do it. But that came at a cost. Chaos. So, which was better? I didn’t know. I was so scared.
It didn’t matter – the medication eventually wore off and I reverted back to my ten-tab state of mind and so, here we are. 14 years of providing for my family on an Internet-based business created out of thin air. All because I kept enough tabs open in my brain to do so.
Tea Vs iPad
You have to be kind to your children right now because they are different. I was talking to a girlfriend of mine and we were chatting about winding down at night. I said that I love to put on Netflix and grab my iPad and play a game while I watch a movie with my husband.
She looked at me and said that sounded exhausting! That two screens going on at once sounded like too much media to be downtime. Instead, what she likes to do is get a hot cup of tea and sit by her front window and just stare outside and look at the stars.
I told her that I’d rather DIE than do that. Like, the THOUGHT of me staring at the freaking sky is worse than anything I could ever imagine. I would implode if anyone ever asked me to just sit somewhere and look at stars for an extended period of time. I am not wired that way. My body would combust.
We are different. Just like you are from your child.
While it may make sense for you – as a parent – to want to sit down and do something simple, like look at a fireplace with the kids… this could feel impossible for someone with ten tabs open. We need more stimulation than that.
So, when I am watching a movie and playing a game on my iPad… I am actually very, very relaxed. VERY relaxed. I am focusing all of my attention on something fun and I am not thinking about work.
I am playing a silly game that is just for me and I am doing something that is enjoyable. It is still a challenge (the game) and I have my attention on two things at once which I am completely following at 100% because I can. And it is the perfect way to wind down… for ME.
Does your teen do this? Understand they might need MORE than just TV and maybe it’s ok. It’s not to hurt you. It’s to fill them whole. They have too much noise to fill. We have too much space to fill at once. Too many tabs.
I’m Not A Doctor
I’m not a doctor. I don’t have any sort of degree. I am not a specialist. I am just a mom who has been dealing with his – on her own – her entire life.
And I know that we hear so many things about ADD all the time and please continue to do your research because it’s important to stay on top of it, use the resources that are provided, and do the best that you can for your child while they are still young.
But the point of this post is to tell you that, as an adult, there are some benefits to adult ADD. I can get hyper-focused. I can jump from one task to the next and always find my way back with ease. I feel like I am pretty creative and intuitive – all associated with adult ADD.
And while, yes, there are negatives associated with this disorder – I just don’t want to focus on them today. I am trying to spread a little goodness because the world needs it. So, I hope this post makes you understand what could be in your near future if you just give your little one some time to grow into his mind.