Monday, September 3, 2012

ADHD and the Task at Hand -- Look there's a Chicken

My boss says I have more drive than three people put together. He also tells people I’m meaner than a snake, and he means it as a compliment. I tend to work circles around my colleagues not because I’m better but because that is how I am wired.

If you can get an ADHD person into a job that requires a lot of activity, diversity in challenges, or keyed into something that gets their blood pumping, then you will have found yourself a most valuable employee…assuming they have learned to complete tasks. I remember as a child my mom was relentless in redirecting me to the task from which I had strayed. Kristy, go finish the dishes. Kristy, did you finish the dishes? Kristy, did you put away the dishes? She would call my name and ask about some aspect to the chore, and I’d go back through the house to complete the task. She must have the patience of Job because my parents believed in child labor they called “chores.”

You might wonder what could possibly distract an ADHD person from the task at hand. Well, let me tell you…a person, an animal, a commercial, a tv show, a gnat, an idea. Yes, an idea. While putting the dishes in the dishwasher, I might be reminded of the time when I had to wash dishes by hand, put them in the drain, dry them and put them away. Washing the dishes reminds me of the time when I had plugged the sink and left the kitchen, and the sink overflowed. The overflowing sink reminds me of the leaky toilet in the hall that is constantly running, and I remember that I bought the necessary part to fix it. So, I go out to the car, retrieve the part, head to the bathroom and begin fixing the toilet…after about 30 minutes, I stand up and realize I left the water running in the kitchen. My intentions were never to cause harm or more damage…far from it, but there I stand in a kitchen with an inch of water. Now where’s my mop?

Okay, let’s try one more. This time you try. You are folding the laundry, and if you are ADHD, what happens next? Come on. You have to try. Put yourself into the shoes of the ADHD.

For me, I fold my laundry while I watch television. I love NCIS. I investigate insurance fraud for a living, so I love investigation. It helps to feed my curiosity. I enjoy putting the pieces of the puzzle together, plus, I tend to be tenacious and will wart someone until they just give up. Do you see how seamlessly I took you from folding clothes to putting together a puzzle? And this isn't just one time a day. It's every moment of every day.  Well, knowing that people who are ADHD are active and are movers and shakers, you can expect there will be actions to follow. If I had a puzzle, I’d be looking for one right now, but that requires more attention than I have at this very moment. I’d say that’s one of the perks of being ADHD, but my mother and husband would disagree…HEAVILY.

I want you to understand I’m writing about this stuff not for you to get to know me, but that maybe you’ll better understand that ADHD person in your life that drives you crazy. So when you feel like taking your big girl panties off and strangling us with them, maybe something I’ve said will pop into your mind and help give some perspective and maybe a little grace -- please and thank you.

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