As in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mixed inattentive and impulsive.
Let me back up. Christine Northrup, MD points out that midlife is a time to shed baggage, to evaluate what and who you need to take with you on the remainder of your journey in this world. Between Orion’s crossing five years ago, the upheaval around Hubby’s mom’s (unnecessarily) protracted passage, and an assortment of other issues, I knew the time had come to sort that out. I couldn’t do it by myself, so enter the Wise Woman.
One of the big issues: a pervasive feeling of failure or never being able to get my act together, both internally with concentration issues and externally with chronic organization problems, inability to wrap up projects, following through on the best of intentions and brightest ideas.
After yet another session expressing frustration over all of this, Wise Woman suggested a book: Women with ADHD by Sari Solden.
Ok. Bought the book. The eerie feeling of someone following me with a camera came over me. Problems spacing out, but labeled daydreaming? Yep. Wandering around the classroom in elementary school? Yep. Social awkwardness? Anxiety? Feeling hyper alert? Yep, yep, yep. Problems planning big projects and following through because I get overwhelmed? Heck to the yep.
That was before the sections on pervasive problems with cleaning and organizing.
The tasks ahead: get my days structured so I can be productive and work on psychic damage inflicted by the grownups who could not comprehend why someone as smart as I am couldn’t get it together and save the world singlehandedly. If shaming, labeling, and calling someone “a waste of intelligence” worked, I would have three Nobel Prizes by now. In light of accepting the ADHD, I am prouder than ever of my MS in psych.
Medication is off the table. I have a long history of side effects with anything vaguely mood altering, so it’s not an option. I’m upping fish oil, DHA, and probiotics. And one or two small cups of coffee. That balances things out so I can concentrate. Most of the time.
However, the grownups were working on the best available information, even with accounting for the unnecessarily hurtful remarks. ADD/HD didn’t come on the scene as a diagnosis until the late ’70’s when I was getting ready to go to college. Even when I was in graduate school in the mid-’80’s, it was still believed that kids would grow out of it, and that boys were more prone to it.
Not so much. For some reason, boys are more likely to act out. Girls are more likely to internalize it with anxiety and concentration problems. The impulsivity in my case has more to do with not following no stinking directions, bad planning, and (as much as it kills me to admit it) making poor choices with portion sizes.
Still, there has been so much good from the ADHD. Really. It’s enabled me to create, to ask questions. It’s forced me to do it differently, but that’s ok. If I have to take five minute breaks every half- hour, I do it. I am much more productive that way. If I need to walk, I do so. It’s allowed me to step outside the boundaries. Scary, for me and my loved ones sometimes, but worth it.
And remember, you are not the only one who travels along the highway to SQUIRREL!