Part of #ExplainAdultADHD. A campaign to reduce the ignorance, misinformation, and stigma against adults with ADHD.
We All Have ADD Sometimes. It’s Not A Thing.
“I was up late last night not sleeping. Thinking about how to to describe ADHD to someone who doesn’t understand it or doubts it. The Stigma that comes with it.
How do I respond to the all too often minimizing statement? “ We all are ADD. I have that too. What you experience is normal for everyone”
Ok then: take a bad day. You’re off day.
You misplaced your keys, glasses, phone and you are panicking, running around and turning the place upside down to find them because you are in a rush.
There is stress of not finding them and getting upset that they are not in the spot where they are supposed to be. You find them .
Why the hell were they in the pocket of a jacket you hardly ever wear, buried in the bottom of the hamper??
But now you are behind.
You run to the car and you might be late for work. You get to the car and realize you forgot your coffee, lunch and your work ID. You run back up and grab them. You trip up the stairs.
Get in, grab the stuff, lock the door and start to the car again. Then it strikes you that you may have left the stove on. You run back up and check it. Now you are really late.
You get to the car and realize you forgot your coffee upstairs again.
You have no time, you have to go. You get to work late. You are now late for a meeting. Log on and apologize and make up some excuse that traffic was extra bad, trying to save face.
You have the meeting but miss some important points that were said. You start asking questions that were already answered. You feel embarrassed that you missed that discussion somehow because you were distracted by other thoughts.
You do you best to cover it up with a joke. Usually with self -deprecating humour. (Nothing like beating them to the punch to take their power away over you, am I right?)
After the meeting is done, you are unsure what to do. Your notes are all over the place and disorganized. You start to forget what was discussed and now have more questions than you did before the meeting.
There is stress on how to get your answers without sounding incompetent. Who do you talk too to get the answers? What kind of excuse can you make that doesn’t make you sound stupid? You start to brainstorm.
You move on to other work. You send out emails that needed to be done days ago. You get them out and that feels good.
Later that day, you get a response from the recipient stating you sent them off to the wrong person. You make another joke or excuse as to why that happened but you don’t know, because you were SURE you sent them to the right person. You start to second guess all of your actions.
You get a call that you are late to join another meeting. You don’t know what it is because you forgot to set an alert or put the meeting in a schedule.
Now you have to play catch up and pretend you are prepared for it. You scramble. As you do that, you miss more important information being discussed again and now you have to figure out what needs to be done later. More panic.
You ask the same embarrassing questions as before. Again your notes are disorganized. You are unclear what needs to be done on your end after the meeting.
You devise yet another excuse as to why you are unclear and try not to come across as dumb.
You start to feel insecure that your co-workers are thinking you are incompetent. You carry this worry through the rest of the day. You look bad.
The rest of the day is playing catch-up and putting out fires.
You come home exhausted still stressed and feeling embarrassed about the whole day. You carry that with you.
You tell yourself it’s a new day tomorrow and you will get off to a better start next time. Not to worry.
You then proceed to put your keys, glasses, and phone in a spot where you won’t remember tomorrow.
This was a bad day. An off day.
How do you know this?
Because this is out of the norm for you. You usually preform better.
You know it’s a bad day because you have good days to compare it to. You know what good days look like because you have far more of them than bad days.
Imagine that your bad day is everyday.
Because of that, you think that a bad day is normal.
You wonder why you can’t get it together like other people.
How did they figure out the secret that you don’t know? Why are they all lapping you in the race with a smile while you feel burned out?
We have nothing to compare a bad day to. It’s just another day. After day, after day.
When someone says we are all ADD sometimes, it insults me. Yes we all have bad days, but how severe is the bad day and how often is it happening?
Seriously. How often?
If this happened a couple a times a week, that would be considered a pretty crappy week at work for most people.
How would you feel if this was 5 days a week? Throw in weekends too.
Is it negatively impacting your life everywhere? Is this happening to you at work and home?
Paying bills? Doing your taxes? Setting up a dental appointment that you kept forgetting about making for YEARS? Forgetting to go to it?
Running two cars into the ground because you kept meaning to check the oil but never got to it?
Zoning out while your wife is trying to talk to you? Her feeling you don’t care about her because of it.
Over burdening her with all the details and responsibilities in daily life? Unable to plan or organize a simple birthday? Not being able to process the passage of time?
Not keeping in contact with important people and relationships you have?
Because like all the other things in your life, if they are out of sight they are out of mind. Not being present for your son?
Are the people you work with moving up the ladder in the workplace while you still struggle in the same position?
Are they becoming more skilled everyday because they have the space and energy and focus to learn new skills instead of putting out constant fires?
Do they have a better understanding about your position than you do?
Can they focus and organize their day so they set themselves up for success in the future?
What is that like?
We with ADHD have built in many compensations to cover up the condition, whether we know we have it or not.
This confuses the onlooker.
But to dismiss this as just an excuse so we have a free pass to be irresponsible or lazy, without bothering to learn about the condition at all, is at the height of ignorance.
You don’t know what you’re talking about. We don’t CHOOSE ours lives to be a dumpster fire at times.
And dealing with the emotional baggage that comes with a lifetime living like this is another book.
But hey, maybe you’re right. I’ll just drink another cup of coffee and man up. ;)”
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2 thoughts on “We All Have ADD Sometimes. It’s Not A Thing. Explain Adult ADHD”
Wow, as someone with a very similar headspace, this is really powerful- amazing writing. Thank you.
Thanks, Grant did a good conveying what it’s like with ADHD. Maybe consider doing your own post? First name if you’re in the ADHD closet, full name if you’re out of it. What Is The Most Important Thing You Want Non ADHD People To Know About Your ADHD?