I was sitting in the car the other day and I decided that I should start a series telling about the fun adventures I have with my friend ADHD and the ever-present tag~along OCD. I’ve always known that I have ADHD, but it has always been difficult for me to imagine how “normal” people’s brains work.
How they can have a full thought in their heads (and not 345 at the same time, all competing for attention), and finish tasks they set out to do the same day and not in 6 separate installments, 3 weeks apart. And when you throw OCD in with ADHD, it’s really just a party in my head!
Anyways, maybe I can paint a little picture to explain things a bit….and then maybe peeps who know me in real life, will say “Ahhhhhh, that explains things!”
So ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. So basically, those are pretty opposite behaviors. I even designed a mug with the perfect explanation of my daily life (You can get one for yourself in my store). I don’t think I need to explain OCD, but here’s how ADHD is in my life:
I get an idea and want to act on it immediately….even if it’s not really realistic. It is very exciting and I will be able to work really hard for a short time towards this new idea. Until…..
(I get) Easily Distracted~
I can be in the middle of something and then, SQUIRELL!!….just like Doug the dog on the movie UP. In fact, that’s something hubby teases me about when I entirely change the subject mid~sentence back to something we were talking about 30 minutes prior. I tend to be super easily distracted when I have other (boring) things to do, like chores or finishing one of the 63 projects I already started that have already lost their shiny new~ness.
Yes, I do get tired and need to rest, but I still need to move my body almost constantly, or be fidgeting with something (FYI, that’s where I got the idea to call this blog Not So Idle Hands). Even while I watch t.v., I will usually have something in my lap to work on like the laptop, a craft, or something to munch on.
I cannot organize my life, no matter how hard I try! Yes, I know we all feel that way….but it’s honestly impossible for me to be at all organized. Ever. I make lists for everything (no, really….everything), but with the chaos going on in my thoughts, I still manage to forget things. I can look at my calendar and then completely forget my appts 2 minutes later when more thoughts come racing into my mind and kick the old ones out. I can’t stay on task long enough to keep my house organized since I get distracted easily (see above).
Ok, I know this one sounds weird since I said I’m hyper….but lemme explain. I have SO much chaos in my own brain already and so many thoughts crashing around up there, that when I’m in a loud or overwhelming situation, where I have to pay attention to a lot of things at once, it gets to be too much. And then Mr. & Mrs. Migraine come for a visit. Large tasks also overwhelm me because I never know where to start. My own brain already provides so much stimulation, that I can’t always handle more and oh yeah, I frequently talk to myself too….so I don’t need to go elsewhere for stimulating conversation :)
I know, it sounds like I always have so much going on, how can I possibly get bored (And I really do, like right now I have a long list of things I should be doing instead of making fun of myself on my blog)? Well, my noggin thrives on “new” and exciting stimulation, so the “old” projects I started last week just isn’t fun to me anymore, so I get bored till I find a shiny new thing to make. That’s the only reason I’ve been able to keep this blog going for so long, because I can write about any random things that pop into my head and it doesn’t get boring.
This isn’t always a negative thing per se….this part of it comes out when I get really excited about a new idea of project or even just somethings I really enjoy doing. So I get to take advantage of the extra work I get done when I get super focused on something.
Finally, we get to the good side~effects of ADHD. Yep, peeps who are on my side of the “crazy brain syndrome” (that’s what I call it), tend to be more creative and are more able to “think outside the box.” I mean, with all those thoughts in our heads, how can we not? Seriously, I would love to invite you all inside my little world and see all the fun things my brain is endlessly helping me think up. It’s really fun. I also find that I’m able to think up creative solutions to problems that pop up daily in our home. There are tons of successful people who have done well with ADD/ADHD. Richard Branson is a big motivator for me….Michael Phelps, Jim Carrey, Thomas Edison, and Justin Timbelake are just a few who have been able to use their ADD/ADHD creativity well.
It’s said that peeps with ADD ADHD tend to be able to understand things a little easier because our minds are constantly thinking. We seriously can’t stop. But the ability to think creatively seems to help out in scholastic endeavors as well as the crafty ones. I remember that even though I was always in trouble at school for wiggling and messing around (there are teacher notes about this on every single one of my report cards), I was always able to understand things I was taught and mostly got straight A’s. Sometimes my grades were lower because I couldn’t focus long enough to do homework. Not to mention, I almost always completed larger assignments the night before they were due.
My creative brain helps me think of fun and interesting thinks to do with/for my kiddos. I LoVe this about ADHD! Since I’m always seeking out stimulation myself, I can think like a kiddo might and come up with games and activities that are fun for my girlies. The creative part also helps me to make chore time or boring stuff more entertaining or interesting for my not-so-wee ones.
Since I have ADHD, I am able to understand others who have different ways of thinking. This is especially helpful with our youngest who also has ADHD. I can relate to her challenges and help her be more successful in her endeavors. I can come up with creative ways to help her learn things and accomplish her goals. She has, and will always have many more challenges than most, but I am thankful for the way my brain works because it helps me to be able to help her.
So, I know it seems like this list is heavy on the cons, and lighter on the pros…..but I actually have come to like my ADHD. Yes, it can make life frustrating sometimes (like, how I’ve needed to get up and move around exactly 23 times while writing this), but I think that the good outweighs the bad. I mean, I really love the way I think. It’s really fun! I love the interesting ideas that are always flying at me and how I can usually figure things out when presented with problems. I love that burning desire to explore new and exciting things and the thrill I get when I come up with a fantastic solution to something.
I do have to work very hard each day to try to keep myself on track. I have lists all over the house and on all my electronic devices (thank you Evernote!), I make out daily schedules for myself, and even set reminder alarms on my phone for appointments and other places I need to be. I add a little humor to my posts about ADHD because it helps me to look on the lighter side of things sometimes….especially those really frustrating days when I can’t seem to get out of my own way.
If you want to read a really good and informative book about ADD/ADHD, try this one. It explains in a lot more details why some brains process and think this way and how to help yourself manage it and why it’s super awesome (I added that last part).
Yep, it is pretty sad to me that my home will never be completely clean and organized and that I will forever feel like I’m behind on all of my chores. But, we have fun here, we create here, and we love here…..and those are the things that I hope my kiddos always remember about me. I know I will occasionally promise things that I will fail to follow through on, but I hope that’s just a tiny part of what they remember when they talk about their childhood…..and their super awesome ADHD/OCD mom.
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