...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Monday, June 17, 2013

House Full of AD(H)D

Over the last couple of months, J is slowly coming to the realization that he too, may have AD(H)D. Minor, like I have it, but there nonetheless. It has been entertaining to watch him comprehend what a world with AD(H)D is like. I was diagnosed with it as a child, and raising Xavier, I always saw our common ground when it comes to how we correlate with the world surrounding us. However, J, having always been under the impression that it was anxiety issues alone, didn't put two and two together until his new doctor asked him if he might think he has AD(H)D. Since then he has been reading books upon books, trying to determine if AD(H)D was the case all along. And it seems that it might be the case.

I'm actually thrilled with this new turn of events. This means that I can stop blaming myself in the dark corner of my mind, for being the sole parental unit responsible for screwing up Xavier with my genes. It looks like we are equally at fault, yay!

What has been the most entertaining has been watching J read these books about how AD(H)D can show itself, and his realizations on how it affects him. He'll tell me over dinner how, after reading the latest chapter, he learned this awesome new coping skill. It's called a schedule. And you write EVERYTHING down that you need to do, but only choose five things a day to focus on. Otherwise you would get overwhelmed.

Yeah, it's called a calendar. And everyone who knows me knows that if it's not written in my calendar, it doesn't exist. And I call it a busy day if there are three or more things I have to do in one 24 hour period. Even if it's just going to the pharmacy.

Then he mentioned how he learned that AD(H)D people procrastinate, because time doesn't work the same for them as it does for regular people. For example, if you know you have a deadline a week away, the average person will put that time to good use and parcel out time to work on said project a little bit at a time. But if you had AD(H)D, oh no!!!! That is NOT what we do. We physically can't, because that gives us too much time to focus. Instead, we wait until the last moment, panic, and begin what is called hyper focusing. It will be all that we can think of for that short period of time. It causes anxiety, which actually drives us to focus, and complete said project.

I did that all the time in high school, when I would have an eight page essay due. I still do it today with my blog. I lack the focus to sit down in a scheduled fashion and write a blog. Hell, I forget half the crap I want to blog about. Instead, when I have inspiration, I sit down and blog three to ten blogs in one sitting, then schedule them out so you are not inundated.

Another point J read, was that there are only four times we folks with AD(H)D can actually focus:

  • When something is new and catches our attention (like my Pintrest/Twitter spree I do once every few months).
  • something is of personal interest (reading for me. J finds that if I am into a good book, he literally has to stand in front of me, waving his arms like those guys at the airport who wave planes in, and shout my name three times.)
  • something is challenging
  • or you have an important deadline and time is running out

This explains my sporadic blog sprees. My blog is most definitely a personal interest, but like any blogger, sometimes it becomes more like work than fun, trying to find interesting things to post about while smacking my head against the monitor, trying to jump start my sarcasm. So you can thank my AD(H)D for acting like a moron and leaving you all to wait for when inspiration jumps me and smacks me down to the ground.

The latest nugget of information J dropped in my lap was that people who have AD(H)D do not "see" clutter. It doesn't register. He wandered upstairs while I was sitting in my recliner and surfing the web, despite the fact that our kitchen sink resembles a high rise in NYC, our bedroom looks like a tornado blew through it, and our dirty laundry pile resembles the leaning tower of Pisa.

Yup, I'd say that statement of clutter is quite accurate.

I'm actually very excited to know that J deals with AD(H)D. For one thing, he has always thought that he had an anxiety issue, or was suffering depression. But now that he is finding all these puzzle pieces that fit together, he seems to recognize what is actually the culprit. With that, he seems to be more relieved and less stressed because there is a VALID reason for why he feels the way he does. And there are tools that can help him.

Also, now that he is recognizing the symptoms, it's like we're suddenly talking the same language. Well, most of the time. We still suffer the XX/XY chromosome language disconnect. But in terms of why we do what we do, it seems that we aren't so different after all. And that makes it easier to  give one another support when we forget things, or act as we do. And as J learns new tools to help him, we can offer these tools to Xavier when he starts middle school and faces tougher deadlines. Having three of us in the family think the same way will help understand and acknowledge upcoming issues.

Lastly, I am just so happy that I am not the sole parental unit who gave poor Xavier the ADHD gene. J can no longer blame me when Xavier is off his meds and running around like a loon. I now can look over at my husband and smile beatifically, then stick my tongue out at him. Ha!

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