The last time I wrote many blog posts in a row was on a plane, in a time that seems far away where you could shake people’s hands. It seems there’s a certain something about being disconnected from the internet, from the distractions of the world that helps focus.
It’s fitting in a sense given that I’ve come to learn / realize that I have some((okay, many)) ADD traits. At first I really didn’t want to believe it. People had made comments in the past and I’d always brushed it off.
Many of the manifestations of ADD can also be attributed to depression or anxiety. A telling sign that one of the characteristics is allegedly people who have both depression and anxiety.
I think there’s a few reasons why I didn’t want to accept it.
Firstly I didn’t feel like I met the “classical” criteria, especially in childhood. The logic then goes that if I didn’t have it growing up then why would I have it now? Of course, the fact that I developed allergies and migraines later on in life pretty effectively puts that way of thinking in doubt.
Secondly, I thought that this was actually just in response with the notification economy and how we’re always attached to our phones and get pings all the time. The fact that it happens often when outside without a phone does cast doubt on that. I realize it’s still possible that it’s a learned societal behaviour that just bleeds over to things like gardening but, I can remember a time before smart phones and I don’t think it was much different.((Memory being so trustworthy and all))
The third is a knee jerk reaction to over-medicalization. The fear that we “perceive” and attribute all kinds of medical things to “normal” human behaviour. I think there is some truth to it, but only in the sometimes overly pharmaceutical approach to the solutions, the problem is not in the diagnosis themselves. We didn’t know people died of cancer 200 years ago, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. People were diabetic, asthmatic, depressed, on the spectrum, etc. We just didn’t have words for it except general “they aren’t well” / Aren’t normal.
Lastly is my identity, my sense of self. “I” am “not someone” who has ADD. ((picture those quotes as air quotes)) I had this same reaction when I was first told I had anxiety. I rejected it. I didn’t have anxiety, I was just smarter and more aware of all the terrible things happening in the world. I just had a knack for understanding the true meaning of things. If people were as aware as me, they too would be bloody concerned about everything.
The thing is, in retrospect, this has been going on for a long time. I’ve had many times in my life where I wasn’t able to “motivate” myself to do things. That I wasn’t able to just “get it done”. When I do projects outdoors, I rarely finish the project I started and intended on completing, jumping from project to project, randomly getting distracted by another task along the way. The same with trying to accomplish tasks on my personal todo list.
I developed many coping mechanisms for this. Focusing on lists and sets of tasks that I can cut into bite size pieces. Partnering with someone else on a project to get that accountability. Even one of my meds that I’ve felt has really helped my depression is one who’s off label usage is for ADD. Heck I even tried (and failed) to read and implement the book indistractable earlier this year. And promptly got distracted.
After a bit of time, awareness and knowledge of family history I’ve come to the conclusion I have many of those tendencies. I’m reading a book right now (Driven to Distraction) that I’ve heard from many people with adult ADD that has helped them get a better understanding of themselves.
I guess we’ll see how it goes. If you have ADD/ADHD feel free to reach out. I’d love to know what helped you.