Some time ago a friend was giving me a ride. We were driving down the freeway while I recounted something that happened that day. All of a sudden I saw his hand in front of my face, snapping his fingers at me, startled, I said, “what, what?” thinking something was wrong. He was trying to snap me back; I had turned my head to look out the window and stopped mid-story, lost in thought. While maybe funny, these types of situations were becoming common in my life so I went to see my doctor in fear that I was exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s; a disease prevalent in my family.
My doctor assured me it was not early onset of Alzheimer’s, but diagnosed me with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). While some people would shy away from making such a public admission, I wear my ADD on my sleeve for two reasons: One- If what I have to deal with on a daily basis, and how I work through and around it, can help another person, then great! Two- (and more importantly) it helps people understand me and how I function, not always an easy task. (Funny how when I told my close friends about my diagnosis, they ALL responded with a version of,“Duh, I could’ve told you that.”)
The diagnosis was as if a veil was lifted. My restlessness; my inability to focus for longer than 20 minutes at-a-time; my life-long insomnia; my need for instant-gratification (shopping addict, anyone?); my mindless hair twirling and mid-conversation trips to other worlds; my proclivity to tripping and falling (down and up flights of stairs); and even my lead-footed driving were all explained as symptoms.
“YES!” I thought, “I’m not crazy or even an air-head, I just can’t pay attention.” As it is my inclination to want to fix problems, I went in search of a solution. My doctor talked about medication but warned me that they may affect my appetite and I may lose weight (oh, the horror!). That whole “weight loss warning” was a deterrent (yeah, right!) and I am against medication, so I said no thanks
So what’s a girl in need to do but turn to her friend Google (he has all the answers). I found that my Mom was on to something when she responded, “Mira, relax y dejame quieta! ” to my intense childhood need to do and have everything NOW. As well as whenever I needed attention because I had yet another brilliant thought occupying space in my brain that required sharing, the reason I write. In short, I need to relax my mind (my body relaxes just fine, in fact a little too well); something as foreign to me as algorithms (no clue what algorithms are, but they sound extremely difficult)
That was written a few years ago, not long after the initial diagnosis. There are times, much like the past few days when the hair twirling feels more out of control than usual; my head feels like it’s about to explode, which results in anxiety because I cannot think, and it all serves to wear me the fuck out to a level of exhaustion equal to spending a weekend moving!
It’s days like that when I feel like throwing a shoe at the next person I hear casually say that they probably have ADD too because they can’t concentrate. If you only knew, people. If you only knew!