Saturday, September 1, 2012

Adult ADHD and Organized Chaos

What do you get when you fill a room full of ADHD-ers? Organized chaos…like herding cats.

What do you get when you have two ADHD-ers working in a small office? Yes, I worked for my daddy from high school through college in his insurance agency. It’s called insanity.

I would walk into daddy’s office, and he would have stacks of papers all over his desk. If I had to find something on my own, I’d never find it. If daddy were there, he could go directly to the pile it was in and retrieve the needed document. Stacks lined the perimeter of his desk and credenza. There was no rhyme or reason, but he knew why they were in each stack. He was also known to jump on his desk and crow like a rooster -- can't believe I ever thought he was normal. I was sooooo naive.

As a child, when my mom would tell me to clean my room, I thought it was clean if I had pushed everything against the wall. Just like momma couldn’t work for daddy in long stretches, I drove her crazy with my cleaning skills or LACK of cleaning skills. Our definition of "organization" may be a bit different than the norm. As I've matured, I've realized that being organized is an asset to my way of life. It helps me to maintain and to survive. It is something that can be learned.

When I was in the first grade at Calvary, I was in the office at least 3 times a week after PE getting "monkey blood" and a band aid on my knee. All of my friends would swing so high and then jump off. It looked like such great fun. What I didn't realize is that my perception of distance was different than theirs. They'd actually wait till they were coming down to jump. I was jumping off at the pinnacle of the swing! I had no clue! NO CLUE!

What does this have to do with ADHD? Lack of spatial relations. Basically, I have none…it’s really quite nominal. When people get into the car with me, I find that they grip the door handle or start muttering something like a prayer. Sometimes it's more like a whimper. For the record, I haven't lost one yet. The reason is because I don’t always appreciate the distance or lack of distance between my vehicle and the other vehicle. So if I tailgate you, it’s not because I’m driving aggressively it’s because I REALLY don’t realize how close I am to refueling.

For years I took medication. From seventh grade when I was diagnosed through my freshmen year in college. My freshmen year in college I took the medicine periodically as I was learning coping skills and compensating skills. People who are diagnosed with ADHD tend to be bright individuals, it’s just sometimes it’s difficult to tell because we move from one subject to the next without taking a breath. If you live with an ADHD person, all I can tell you is to apply the KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Sweetie. Keep things to a minimum. The more stuff there is the more it will drive you crazy not them. Choose your battles. If they are constantly losing a particular item help them to establish a routine as to where they put that item. I perform best in a routine. Doesn’t mean I can’t roll with the flow and adjust – I do have children after all. What it means is that I function at highest capacity if there is a schedule that is predictable.

I started back on medication after baby #2. There was just so much more to juggle and balance, and I wasn't doing any of it well. If you have a child who needs glasses, would you get them glasses or make them struggle? If your child was a diabetic, would you give them insalin? Exactly. Fortunately, my doctor went to school with me at Calvary. As a matter of fact, we were cheerleaders together, and she was my base. When I asked for medication to help me with the ADHD, she didn't hesitate and didn't ask any questions. She was probably wondering what took me so long to ask!

Another thing about the organized chaos is if an ADHD person has learned compensatory skills, we can often work circles around everyone else especially if we have learned to FINISH what we've started. I know I can be exhausting whether it's by my physical activity or by my rattling like a rock in a tin can. I know I wear people out from time to time. I know I can frustrate the most sanest of people. But as my computer analyst told another analyst that started working with me, she said, “This is just Kristy. Hang on for the ride. You can ask questions later.” Something the ADHD person can learn is to watch people's responses to what he or she is doing and modify accordingly.
ADHD is not who I am. It describes part of who I am. I am thankful for those who love me as I am cluttered and all. Well, I guess I better go work on some of my stacks.

1 comment:

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