It’s amazing to me that three hours ago I set myself up at the table with my notebook, something to drink, my laptop, and a few reference books to start writing a blog. I am just now starting to write and by the time I’m done I don’t even know what time it’ll be…
I apologize to anyone who has subscribed to my blog for not giving you anything to read for a year. I have a bad case of procrastination. I’ve thought of topics to write about. I’ve taken pictures to use for a topic. I’ve pulled out the laptop just like I’ve done today on many occasions but then gone blank. After a year I decided enough was enough; today I have made it my only objective to accomplish one thing; write one blog. I wanted to just give you guys SOMETHING so you know I’m still here. One thing that’s been weighing heavy on my mind about my blog is being thorough. I put pressure on myself to give solid information on the topics I choose to avoid backlash from the critics. See, I’m a people pleaser. Everyday I’m challenged to stay true to myself, my family/friends, to do the right thing…but I know in the end it’s impossible to accomplish pleasing everyone. So here I am, writing from the heart and praying it makes sense haha I hope you can humor me from here on out as I make an attempt to try again with my blogging.
The reason my topic is called “Procrastination at it’s worst” is because it’s a big problem for me in all kinds of areas in my life. There are many other things that I have problems with on top of that and until a few months ago I didn’t know why. Have you ever heard of Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? I hadn’t…until I was diagnosed with it. I never thought to consider it because I’m not hyper and I can pay attention to things. Most people recognize A.D.D by thinking of kids bouncing off the wall. My idea of A.D.D. was the commonly used joke “Oh Look, a Squirrel!!”. Clearly I didn’t understand what it really was and neither do the general public. I was very naïve about what it was and questioned if it was actually real. Just like the general public, I thought of it as an excuse parents used for their kids when they misbehaved. Well I’m wrong and hope the general public will open their minds a little as well to see that it is in fact real. I enjoyed this video and admire this young lady’s attempt to reach out to the public: http://youtu.be/rybVzoKOwWA It was this video and a couple other encounters that inspired me to write this blog.
The Story of how I came to my diagnosis
My son started his freshman year in high school this past fall. The last couple of years I remember I would sit with him to express a few expectations. It was a positive talk I’d hoped would motivate him to put in a better effort with his school work. In this discussion I would reiterate to him how important every grade was. I felt this talk was necessary because of all the interaction I’d have with his teachers over missing homework and low grades. I had hoped to say something that would make a difference every time but it hadn’t. This year’s talk had a different message. I expressed that high school is harder. High school had higher expectations like no late homework and grades linked to his GPA which linked to college. I tried to explain there’s a bigger picture to consider. We would create procedures to attempt a routine or some kind of organization to help remind him. Planners, calendars, lists…none of them worked. As usual the same habits presented themselves and it was getting progressively worse each year. He would admit that he had difficulty paying attention in class but my solution was for him to ignore the other kids and try harder. With constant communication with his teachers over missing assignments and failing grades I was feeling defeated. I didn’t know what else to do other than stand next to him nagging him to pay attention in class and finish his work. That of course wasn’t a feasible solution because I work full time. I couldn’t make sense of what was going on with him. He wasn’t showing any emotional problems and talking to him seemed more like a lecture of me talking and him zoning out. There were many times I could see his eyes dilated in a zoned out stare. I’d ask him if he was listening to what I said and repeat what he heard. To my surprise he would repeat exactly what I said. That confused me. He heard me but why wasn’t any of it soaking in; why wasn’t anything changing with his habits? Can you see where I’m going with this?
I decided there was something bigger going on that I needed to seek help from a professional. I made an appointment with a psychotherapist who confirmed my son had ADHD, particularly the inattentive type. Type? What do you mean; there are types? Yes…see, the condition isn’t just A.D.D. anymore. The medical world decided to create one big heading (ADHD) with subtypes. Based on a list of criteria, the DSM-IV (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders) identifies three subtypes of ADHD:
I-ADHD, Combined Type: Both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms; II- ADHD, Predominantly Inattentive Type: Inattention but not hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms; III- ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: Hyperactivity-impulsivity but not inattention symptoms. Most psychologists, psychiatrists, and general practioners diagnose ADHD based on a series of inattention and hyperactivity symptoms. I found this website to be helpful if you’d like to know what those symptoms are: http://www.everydayhealth.com/specialreport/adult-adhd-management/adult-adhd-symptoms-diagnosis.aspx There are many websites out there if you want to Google on your own and wording changes a little in each but basically these are the list of symptoms.
Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention suggest predominantly inattentive type ADHD:
*Often fails to pay close attention to details, or makes careless mistakes in assignments at work and school
*Frequently has difficulty staying on task
*Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
*Often fails to follow through on instructions or to finish school work, chores, or job-related duties
*Has difficulty organizing activities and tasks
*Often avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort
*Frequently loses tools, equipment, or books related to assignments or activities
*Is easily distracted
*Is frequently forgetful
Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity suggest predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD
*Often fidgets and squirms while sitting
*Frequently leaves seat in situations where remaining seated is necessary
*Often experiences feelings of restlessness
*Frequently finds it difficult to engage in leisure activities quietly
*Seems to be on the go, as if driven by a motor
*Blurts out answers before questions are finished
*Finds it difficult to wait for his or her turn
*Frequently interrupts others
Six or more symptoms from each area suggest combined-type ADHD
There is still a lot of research being done about it, especially for Adults. Medical professionals believed for a long time that it only affected children and they would grow out of it but have learned that a lot of people don’t outgrow it. Women in particular don’t always show signs as children either and don’t find out until adulthood which is how I got diagnosed. Because I didn’t understand exactly what ADHD was, I was on a mission to learn more about it so I could help my son. It didn’t take me long to realize I was on a path to figure out what I had been experiencing for so long unknowingly. On our next appointment with the therapist I expressed how I recognized a lot of the same issues and requested an evaluation of my own. The day before my evaluation I decided to write out a list of things that I thought would help because I tend to go blank when put on the spot which doesn’t benefit me at all. Within an hour I had filled up 29 pages of a small 4”x3” notepad. That was refreshing to get all those thoughts out and very beneficial for my therapist in understanding what I had been experiencing. Because I have a hard time expressing my thoughts verbally, writing is very therapeutic for me to get them out effectively. My therapist wrote a letter to my medical doctor that explained he had seen me for a clinical assessment. He diagnosed me with ADHD-combined type listing some of my symptoms and requested they provide a consultation for treatment.
So, there’s my story. It makes complete sense to me why I’ve struggled with consistency in all kinds of things, not just this blog. I had hoped creating this blog would help me but as I’ve learned, people with ADHD can’t always make things happen. “ It’s not a matter of willpower. When you have ADD, it doesn’t matter how much you say to yourself, ‘I really ought to,’ or, ‘I should.’ You can’t make it happen.” Quoted from this article I found to be very insightful: http://www.ivillage.com/adult-add-10-questions-expertly-answered/4-a-446244#ixzz1sz7wfzZq I have experienced mixed emotions about my diagnosis which should probably wait for another blog to explain. Some people may be surprised by my diagnosis because they don’t see my struggles. There are a lot of things I’ve learned to cope with which have helped me get this far in life without failing or depending on others to get by. I am thankful for my pride and need for independence that have fueled me to work harder when I needed to. On the other hand I wonder if my hesitance to ask for help has hurt me in any way had my pride not kept me from sharing my struggles with someone. Details of those struggles should also wait for another blog; I know I can be long winded when I take the time to write. It doesn’t feel worthy of posting if I only have a few sentences that come to mind. Whatever you take from reading this blog, I feel obligated to tell you not to paint a picture of what an ADHD person is like. I know the severity of symptoms vary from person to person so it’s commonly said in the ADHD community “if you’ve met one person with ADHD, you haven’t met them all.” I was diagnosed in March which was only two months ago. In that time I’ve purchased at least 5 books about ADHD and only been able to keep my attention on one of them. I like it so much that I recommend others to read it; the book is called “Is it You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?” by Gina Pera. I’ve also spent some time on a forum for people with ADHD called www.addforums.com. It is a Member-moderated forum for adult sufferers. Topics include general issues, relationships, careers, treatment and management, and co-existing conditions.
For the record, everything I’ve written above took me 2, maybe 3 hours. I don’t know how that compares to other writers but it wasn’t bad for me. In all, the worst part was getting started. Now that I’ve finished writing what I hope is something with organized thought that makes sense to you all, it’s time for me to spend some time with my family. As always, I appreciate comments but prefer positive ones.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” ~ Helen Keller ~