This is what Adult ADD looks like

Maybe you missed it. The little subhead up there near the title of my blog. Under the headline, “Lynn’s Addiction,” it says: “Therapy for an ADD mother of 4.” When I started this blog, I really didn’t have a platform. I didn’t want to write only about parenting. Or only about my marriage. Or only about moving from the suburbs to the city. I started my blog out of pure selfishness. Wait, isn’t that an oxymoron? Can selfishness be pure? (Yes, this is what ADD looks like.)

Anyway, I started the blog for my own pleasure. For therapy, as I say in that subhead. It was a way to challenge myself to write more and to finally try and reach a larger audience. I mean, my mom and dad are a great audience, but they aren’t exactly impartial. So, I started writing about things that happened to me throughout the week, or about the way I felt about a particular situation, or about my perspective on the latest news story.

The point is, I give myself the freedom to write about anything. It works for me. It works for me because of my self-diagnosed ADD. There are several symptoms that mark an adult with ADD. Like many disorders, I have some symptoms but certainly not all of them. For instance, I don’t get easily flustered or irritable. I am not a poor listener; and I do not tend to act recklessly. I do, however, underestimate the time it will take to complete a project, tend to crave excitement and sometimes blurt out things that may be inappropriate.

Let’s take that last one, for example.

I stop by a colleague’s office. We’ll call her June. June has recently sent an e-mail to all employees that the front office manager has gone home sick. Furthermore, she mentions that she had heard said front office manager in the bathroom “puking.” A few minutes after I receive the e-mail, I need to ask June a question.

After I receive my answer I say, “By the way, I could have done without the mention of Ruth’s (not her real name either) vomiting. June laughs and tells me I wasn’t the only one who commented on her descriptive e-mail. Apparently, since June had to listen to the actual “puking,” she felt like the rest of us should be drawn into her reality.

June has a temporary employee working in her office. Anna heard the whole thing, too. In fact, Anna tells me that when she hears someone get sick, it makes her want to throw up. This is where a person without ADD would say,  “Well, I hope you two don’t have to endure any more sounds of vomiting,” and then walk away.

The person with ADD, however, does not walk away. The person with ADD walks right into the middle of June’s office and proceeds to tell June and Anna the story of her cousin. The story goes something like this:

Several years ago, my cousin went to an Indy 500 party with my brothers and me. He drank so much he started to throw up. One of my brothers drove him back to our house while my friends and I stayed a bit longer. When we got home, we checked on my cousin to make sure he was okay. He was sound asleep in the guest bedroom. But being the caring older cousin, I sat on the edge of his bed and started to rub his back. Big mistake. My cousin woke from his slumber, sat up, leaned over the side of the bed and proceeded to vomit again. One of my friends being a sympathetic barfer (like Anna, hence the reason I even thought about this stupid story), turned quickly at the sound of my cousin getting sick and threw up in her hands. I jumped from the bed to grab the wastebasket for my cousin and was on my way to find a towel for my friend when my brother’s fraternity brother walked in to the scene. He took one look around, and proceeded to announce that he had thrown up between a girl’s breasts once.

I stop. I stop because that is the end of the story. And because I am getting that feeling that people with ADD get when they realize their mouths are like a runaway freight train filled with useless cargo.

My face turns red. My knees feel weak. And my mind starts to race as I ask myself:  Why, why, why did I tell that story? It wasn’t even funny. In fact, it was ridiculously juvenile. Not to mention TOTALLY inappropriate for a work setting. I could see it in June’s face. Sure, she chuckled, but it was nothing more than a courtesy laugh. Behind that sweet face, I’m sure she was thinking: “What the hell is this woman talking about and why is this story taking 85 hours to tell?” And Anna. Anna must have wondered what kind of drugs I had taken that morning.Why else would a perfectly normal looking human being (I realize that is up for debate) tell such a story?

Somehow I end up at my desk. I’m not sure how I got there because I can’t remember walking to my office amidst the reruns of of the scene in June’s office that dominate my mind. I can’t stand thinking of the fool I have made of myself with the cousin/friend/brother’s fraternity brother barfing story. Because I am so embarrassed, I do not want to see June or Anna the rest of the day. I avoid going near June’s office and when she comes to my office, I barely turn to address her. Eventually, the shame of my impulsivity starts to fade and the mature, competent woman reemerges.

This is what Adult ADD looks like. The symptoms aren’t always negative. In fact many characteristics of ADD are quite positive: traits such as creativity, flexibility, visionary-minded, energetic, passionate, resourcefulness and adventurous.

Thankfully when the negative symptoms get the best of me, I have people in my life who are gracious and loving. People like June and Anna, who accept me despite the random, silly and sometimes inappropriate things I say. Especially when it involves stories about fraternity boys barfing between a girl’s breasts.

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Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “This is what Adult ADD looks like

  1. Fabulous writing. Great insight. Keep it rolling.

    • lynnhouse

      Thanks, my friend. I wish I could keep it rolling a bit more but I’m doing the best I can right now.

  2. Great. Now I’m going to have dreams about fraternity boys puking into a girl’s breasts. Been there with the runaway mouth though. Maybe that’s why we get along.

  3. Peter Woods

    Wow, reading this is like looking into a mirror. I too have self-diagnosed myself with ADD. Not ADHD because I’m not so sure about the hyper part (though that’s probably up for debate), but the attention deficit part? Look, a bike! Anyway, I agree the traits work both for and against us, depending on the situation or setting. If I had $1 for every time I said something first, then wondered why, I’d be able to buy…well, a lot. I love how you’re able to work through life’s challenges through writing. Your candor is refreshing, your wit is evident and your quirks (whatever they may be) makes you normal. Now, where was I?

    • lynnhouse

      Peter,
      Thanks for writing. It’s always good to hear that someone can relate…except I’m sorry it was about this ADD business. Sometimes it’s a big pain in the arse.

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