This is from Robin, who is a psychologist,an ADHD expert, and an ADDer. She tells it like it is. And offers some of her tips.
“Isn’t it something how we can miss ADHD for so long in someone? I think I told you I had been working at Prima for at least a couple years when I was doing a feedback with an 8 year-old girl and the light went off in my head… I stopped taking Adderall just before surgery and I was having a lot of trouble focusing even with it because of so much happening and I couldn’t be active. My experience is that I have about four software programs working in my head at all times (a minimum of four, let’s say). So I can be watching tv, glancing at Kindle or laptop, and thinking about 1) stuff I need to do, 2) Kent, 3) what is my pain level and when do I have to take the next Motrin, and 4) planets and tides (unrelated to whatever tv show is on). None of this is efficient and there’s never an ‘end’. Multi-tasking is a myth in my opinion. Anything left undone is a constant subroutine running in the background, taking up energy. I have to put things away out of sight or they annoy me. Whoever said you can’t think more than one thought at a time doesn’t have ADHD. I can assure them it is possible. However, compelling things (like a psychotherapy client in front of me) are no trouble at all typically. There’s the visual and auditory stimuli coming at me and all those subroutine systems help cause I can listen on a couple of levels. So long as I take care of me – bathroom breaks, eating, not in pain, etc. – I am totally ‘there’. I tell my ADHD clients to use the HALT principle just like in AA.
I need variety and change and stimulation, so I use an aromatherapy diffuser, music, and ambiance of all sorts to engage my monkey mind enough to keep it happy. I’m rigid about scheduling and I’ve learned most of all that I generally expect too much of myself and that people are glad to take every ounce of energy and expertise I have so I have to watch it. It was when I gave myself a break for not being enough that the joy and passion of work came back.
Does any of this fit with your experience personally or with other people with ADHD? The thing about it is – we only know how our own brain seems to work unless we really study cognition and other people and so forth. I just berated myself for being lazy and impulsive for many years – why couldn’t I study, file papers, etc. It sucked. Now I’m really pretty organized and never find a pile of post-medicine paper I’ve stuffed in a box because I was always rigid about housekeeping. Out of sight, out of mind… “
Yep, that’s ADHD.