Living and Writing with ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder

I’ve been working on this blog for a week or two now. I wanted it to be a visual expression of my writing style.
I’m pretty happy with the result. I look at this layout and can see it’s ME.

Then came the difficult part: actually posting on it.

You see, the problem has a name…Procrastination.
It’s not totally my fault, and I hate doing it. But I have ADD—Attention Deficit Disorder.

You may find out more about it here: http://psychcentral.com/addquiz.htm. (The quiz is practically describing me).

Basically, it’s very difficult to focus because  my mind is constantly shifting from one random thing to another. I daydream all the time—so much it’s difficult to actually dream, since I have trouble turning off my brain to sleep. I know most authors procrastinate, but it’s not a matter of choice when you have ADD. You procrastinate without noticing, or without wanting to.

I want to write. I feel creative. I have so many thoughts popping up on my mind at the same time it makes me dizzy sometimes… So I go check my emails, my book reports on Amazon, my twitter, my Facebook page…anything. All the time thinking of the amazing things I’m going to write next.
Then I finally open my word document or my dashboard to write and…I cannot focus. I keep thinking of my emails, my book reports on Amazon, etc.

My mind is always in a different place, never where it should be. It can be maddening and happens all the time.

I’ve been living like this my entire life. I don’t like taking medication because I usually have all the side effects and little (if any) of the benefits. So I try to control it on my own.

It’s been more than three decades, and I like to think I’m better each day. But far from perfect; it takes a lot of daily effort and it can be overwhelming sometimes.

The great thing is that now there’s a name for it. When I was growing up I was just distracted, lazy and a little crazy, perhaps. Now it’s easier to explain, at least.

My grandmother—may God bless her soul—was just like me, so I believe she had ADD too. I can only imagine how difficult it was for her growing up like that in the thirties.

My daughter is the same —even more, actually. Imagine our house—two absent-minded living together. It leads to some funny situations, but also to a lot of stress sometimes. We say “how many times have I told you…” countless times during the day. And it’s absolutely useless, because when you have ADD, you may hear the same thing thousands of times and think it’s brand new information.

And that’s when you understand what they said. When people are talking, no matter how interested I am, it’s usual for me to realize I’m miles away. My mind drifts. I can see their mouths moving, but I have no idea what is being said. Or the words that I do listen don’t make any sense.

It’s embarrassing to ask someone to repeat something, right? How about doing that five, six, ten times, and still don’t understand what the hell is she/he saying? It’s beyond frustrating.

It used to drive me crazy, to make me angry with myself.

But I learned to give me a break. I’m what I am, and I’m not sorry for it anymore. Life’s been a lot easier since then.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m still trying to improve. But I realized that I shouldn’t  punish myself when I fail on focusing. It’s beyond me sometimes. Instead of being angry when I fail, I try to reward myself when I succeed.

I’m overjoyed to remember little things. To focus and read, watch or write for more than half hour. To have a full conversation (more than ten minutes is a triumph) with someone. To really listen to a person for a while without interrupting or trying to finish his or her sentences.

I proudly give myself a tap on the back when I go to the kitchen and remember what I was supposed to do there. When I open Google and remember what I was going to search. When I don’t have to stop mid-sentence because I have no clue about what I was going to say.

It’s easy to look stupid and live angry with yourself when you have ADD. I did that for many years. Now I understand the disorder  as a mixed blessing—it makes me creative, it makes me the way I am, and it makes me work harder than most to keep me on track. It makes me stronger.

So if you’re in the same boat, try to be happy for the small victories. Try to laugh at your failures.

Things are going to work out. Even if it takes longer than expected.

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.
– Don Marquis

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6 responses to “Living and Writing with ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder

  1. Blimey, Renata, I can relate. The ten minutes listening without interrupting someone or finishing his sentence. Yep, that’s me. And the mind drifting. When I write, I close all windows except Word and my online dictionary, to keep me from peeking, but I take breaks in which I check all the links you mentioned. 🙂 I don’t day dream because I have ADHD, I’m restless and have to get up all the time. I can’t sit still for longer. Going to the cinema is always a challenge.

    • I’m noticing that the older I get, the less I can stay put longer in one activity. I can’t watch long movies anymore, for example. I love Gone with the wind, and miss watching Scarlet and Rhett, what I used to do at least once a year, but can’t face the idea now! It’s a four hour sitting still thing! Too much for now.

      Thanks for commenting!

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