Believe it or not, I’m over forty years old and just recently realized I have ADD/attention deficit disorder. Although my first child was diagnosed with it, I did not see that it came from me, as his personality and type of ADD is much different than mine.
It was only after one of my other children (the one that is a complete mini me) took a complete and highly comprehensive test that I realized I have it. And WOW! I had no clue. It’s not something we talked about when I was a child.
After reading through the doctor’s report, I turned to my husband and told him I have ADD. His response was to laugh, and his eyes widened in disbelief as he asked, “You didn’t know?”
What do I love about my ADD or myself and could never see changing? It’s just who I am, and I could never see myself another way. Most days when I’m awake, I’m always ON–unless sick. The moment I crawl out of bed in the morning, I go to the kitchen and start my daily chores. I’m very task oriented and always feel the need to be doing something. Unfortunately, I get distracted easily, and that means I have many things going at once, and many of them go unfinished at the end of the day.
I’ll compare myself to my husband on some of these things, so you can get an idea. When we painted the porch and railings, he had an orderly way of completing one rail at a time–completely the opposite of me. I randomly threw on the paint wherever I wanted. When I left him to finish my railings so that I could cook, I came back to find that he had missed many of the spots, because he was unaware that I had not finished the back of some of them. Apparently, it’s not efficient to slosh paint in random places and then go back through to find the missing spots. However, the idea of doing it my husband’s way totally creeps me out and is too stuffy. I could never do it.
The same goes for cleaning my house. I go from room to room doing various things. Unfortunately, I leave the dreadful jobs for procrastination. If my husband is helping (which is rare), he gets frustrated because I keep leaving the room. “Finish one room at a time.” (I still shiver just thinking about those words. They make me think of stuffy, rule oriented military school. Did I mention I’ve always had a problem with directions and rules?)
Remember how I’ve stated I’m a panster writer? The thought of sitting down and doing an outline makes me cringe, and I don’t think I’d ever get a single page written if I had to do an outline first. I’ve never liked those things. Too much order. I like the chaos in my head, and I’m fine with it. To actually sit down and try to put my thoughts into a list is just too much. That’s what writing is for!
As a child, I always took an interest in reading and writing and breezed through the related subjects all through my school years. When I later became a paralegal, I took extra classes on proof reading to help me with the large contracts and documents I was continuously typing. I don’t really struggle when it comes to learning the grammatical rules. (Wish it were the same with the math subjects.) My early love for language arts helps me with my writing today, and I consider it a great blessing that I’ve always been fond of words and how to use them.
The biggest blessing of ADD for me is that my brain is continuously going. Before I started writing, it was too much for me, and it was a curse–a big one. How does writing help with that? I now have something to keep my thoughts preoccupied. I don’t have to have a radio on every time I’m in the car. When I try to sleep at night, my brain isn’t flipping channels. All I have to do is lock onto one of my stories, and it’s as if a television screen is inside my head. The plots fall into place. I love to compare what I do to a spider weaving a web. My brain goes into overdrive, and each plot gets thicker and thicker–all while I’m in the shower or cleaning the kitchen!
Being an author is like valium for my brain 🙂
The thing I hate most about my ADD is that I must have complete silence when I’m trying to concentrate on something. Many authors have a radio playing in the background or go to a coffee shop to write, but those are not options for me. I can’t even read–much less write–with distractions around me. I need silence.
Obviously, that can be a problem when I have a house full of children during the summer. I can’t work at my desk, which is located in the upstairs loft (next to my children’s bedrooms and game room). I have to go outside or shut the door to my bedroom and turn on my background noise maker–love that thing!
If I’m trying to write or edit while traveling with the kids in the same car, I sometimes wear my shooting range earmuffs, but that doesn’t always work. Honestly, it’s just a curse trying to read, write, or edit with distractions around. I can’t do it.
I’ve read a few other posts by authors with ADD, and although we share a lot of things, each person is different. What works for some, doesn’t always work for others. If this is something you struggle with, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.