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Day-to-Day with ADD, or What Did She Do Now?

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“Would you clean up your room please?” “You really should wear shoes, the pavement is going to hot,” she warns lovingly. “Don’t eat all the cookies.” “Where were you last night?” “Could you lower that music please?”

“What time did you say they were picking you up, 3:30? Well, it’s 3:30 right now, you know.” “I work and come home and then work on the house and take care of the baby, you could at least do the dishes—it’s only fair, really.”

These are regular and loving comments from my thirty-year-old daughter’s lips. My daughter is married and has two children. One is my two-year-old grandson, super baby … the other is me, her fifty-five-year old mother.

My answer to the dishes—I didn’t see them. The clothes—I didn’t realize they were in piles all over the floor of my bedroom. The fact that it was 3:30 p.m. and I had to run out of the house practically half-dressed because I was so late, well I have no conception of time. I was diagnosed a year ago with adult ADD and I lament almost daily at how absolutely annoying I know I am to her and her husband. She loves me unconditionally. We have a wonderful relationship … but this … this.

I leave water bottles filled with water all about the house. I forget that I have all ready taken one bottle out of the fridge. Don’t ever talk to me about anything having to do with numbers because my eyes glaze over, and my brain feels as if it is twisting into a knot inside my head. Staring out a window, I am thinking, how long will I stare out of this window. I have wrecked many cars. Some belonged to friends, one was my daughter’s car. The other belonged to my son-in-law.

I put soap on my hands and forget to put on the water. When I read, I don’t just read, oh no, I read two or three books at once. When my written lists failed me, I began writing things on my bathroom mirror with lip-stick so that every morning while washing my face, or brushing my teeth, I could look at that days “things to do.” I looked at that mirror every day, and didn’t see what was written, I just didn’t see it, so I forgot everything.

Jumping from task to task and never finishing one because I walk from one room to another, and have forgotten, in the blink of an eye, what it is I am doing in the room where I end up.

There is no cure for ADD, and it does not begin in adulthood. It starts when you are a child. As I then began to look back on my childhood many behaviors started to become clear to me.

I never paid attention in class; I was constantly laughing and talking in the back of the class. I still have my report cards from elementary school, through to high school.  Each report card, at the bottom saved for teacher’s comments, mine said, “Debra does not pay attention in class. She is constantly giggling and talking with others.” Being extremely socially shy, I never liked playing outdoor recess games, I would rather play by myself on the swings. I either slept all day or didn’t sleep at all.  I was, and still am, extremely sensitive emotionally.

At the age of eleven I experimented with alcohol from the bar my parents had built downstairs in our home.

As I got older, going to college at sixteen, I began experimenting with marijuana, until at my wedding in 1976, I was well on my way into the coke scene. Such is life with ADD.

My first diagnosis at fourteen was depression with severe anxiety. From there, somewhere down the line of many psychiatrists, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, which mimics some of the same symptoms as ADD. Now, thirty years later doctor’s and medicine hit the target—Attention Deficit Disorder.

My illness does have its ups and downs, pardon the pun. The good, for me, is that I am very creative. I write, paint, and draw. Easy, for I cannot concentrate for too long a period of time anyway, though meds help tremendously. I am taking Ritalin now for the last six months.
ADD is an inherited disease, bingo, my father. I, as my mother used to say, am my father’s daughter. He was also an artist, an alcoholic, exhibited inappropriate behavior. In the forties and fifties no one ever heard of ADD, even as at the same time it was growing like in children everywhere. Certainly you didn’t go to a psychiatrist in his day that was a shanda, a shameful thing … and it meant you were “crazy.” Not until the sixties did it become “cool” to go to a psych. Leave it to me to be the first one on my block to do “cool.”

Scientists do not know yet what causes it. Really the only thing that they DO know is that it is an inherited disease, and onset cannot begin in adulthood       
These are some of the symptoms of Adult ADD:  

  • Lack of organizational skills. While this is very annoying for me, it is tremendously annoying for anyone who lives with us. Besides the clothing mountains, the bathroom is strewn with, hair clips, mascara, lip-stick, lotions, various books and magazines, and perfumes … many … perfumes. 
  • Inability to stay focused on one task at a time. Easily distracted … not a good thing while driving. Prone to reckless driving, accidents and speeding. 
  • Trouble with relationships of all kinds. That one more child in the house, no matter your age. 
  • Chronic inability to manage time. Usually late. 
  • Constantly interrupting others while they are speaking. 
  • Awful listening skills. 
  • Inability to prioritize. 
  • Procrastination. Starting, and sticking with a project is like the proverbial “pulling teeth.”

It certainly is not the end of the world. There are good doctors and good medicine with which to treat.

ADD (Ritilin, Adderall, etc.), that do work, and work rather quickly. I have resigned myself to the fact.

AH, and before I forget, forgetfulness is on the symptom list, as is being prone to substance abuse.

I have resigned myself to the fact that this is a disease, it is not my fault, and i try my hardest to be the best that I can be for myself, and in doing so, maybe ease the strain on my loved ones.
Many adults realize they have ADD when their children are diagnosed with it.  

Of course, if you feel that you have ADD, never diagnose yourself. Go to your family physician or check up with any health professional.

I know, in my own way I make light of this. I wouldn’t if I did not have the disease.

And I would cry if I could not laugh.


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