In January I visited a psychiatrist for the first time. I went to see him for depression, something I’ve struggled with most of my life. After about ten minutes of listening to me babble at him, he folded his arms and sat back in his chair.
“Has anyone ever asked you about ADD?” he said.
“No,” I answered.
I was in there for depression, after all. How could someone in the grips of a severe depression have ADD? Isn’t that sort of like an oxymoron? He ran me through a series of questions, some of which were embarrassing. Was I forgetful? Did I lose things? (who, me?) Did I interrupt people often? Finish their sentences? Was I fidgety? Did I have a hard time finishing projects? (If you’re referring to those plastic totes in the storage building full of miscellaneous sewing and craft projects – I’m just saving those for when I have time to finish them) Did I procrastinate? (I’ve always said – If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done) Was I consistently late for appointments? (don’t worry Doc, I’ll pay you for the full hour)
We progressed to a written questionnaire. More of the same types of questions. I dutifully completed it and handed it over.
“Well, no surprises here,” he said as he looked it over. Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?
Okay, so maybe I space out a little when someone’s talking to me. I’m always careful to nod and smile at regular intervals. And maybe I get a bit restless as I’m waiting for the opportunity to inject my profound comment into a conversation. Don’t we all think everyone really must hear what we have to say? I’ll admit that I sometimes drive past the exit I was supposed to take because I’m daydreaming. Isn’t that what GPS is for? And losing things? Please. I can’t help it if my car keys grow legs and walk away! And I’m sure I had a perfectly good reason for leaving my mug of coffee in the linen closet or on the bookcase. Besides, it’s fun for the kids. I can send them on a scavenger hunt. I recently told a friend that every day for me is like a “Where’s Waldo?” picture. As far as being impatient when I’m waiting for my turn in line goes — no one was hurt, it was a one time incident, and ultimately no charges were filed. Let it go! I’ll also admit being guilty of blurting out what’s on my mind before thinking about it. For the record, everyone at that party thought that lady bore a striking resemblance to Tammy Faye Bakker. I was just the only one brave enough to tell her. Back away from the mascara, sister.
I am now taking Ritalin (because I am five years old) three times a day, when I remember to take it. I know. I walk every day for exercise, as I’ve been doing for almost two years. Exercise actually helps me clear my mind when everything is swirling around in there like a hurricane.
There are several good things that accompany ADD that no one really mentions. People with ADD tend to be creative, generous, compassionate, brilliant (I might have stretched that one) , curious, sensitive, hyperfocusing creatures. We also tend to have somewhat offbeat senses of humor. I wouldn’t know anything about that.
Do I have a point? I can’t remember. Anyway, I am a mom with ADHD. And depression. And Figromyalgia. Whatever. I’m sure I’m not alone here, which is why I’m even talking about it. I always thought I was just a disorganized, distracted, hyper, misunderstood, big-mouthed Yankee girl. I’ve always compared my mind to a faulty CD player. It skips from track to track without warning. All of my friends and family have found this to be amusing. Oddly, no one who knows me was the least bit surprised. Why didn’t anyone tell me? It’s not like I’d remember who said it anyway.
Did I mention I have ADD?