Monday, December 16, 2013

ADD in the grown adult

A couple of years ago, in my mid-thirties, I was diagnosed with ADD. Obviously, I managed to get through a graduate degree without a diagnosis, much less treatment. But there it was.

What was I to do about it now? Was it responsible for the fact that I took so long to get through school? Was it responsible for me flunking out of college on my first attempt? (Does it even matter what/who is responsible?) 

The fact of the matter is, my ADD is mild enough (and I'm bright enough) that I got through school without a diagnosis or treatment. That's not to say that all ADD can go untreated, but mine could.

Upon reading about it, I recognized myself. I find it nearly impossible to focus on things that I have no interest in. My mother used to get unbelievably frustrated with me when it came to arithmetic. I hated memorizing my arithmetic tables, and in order to get me to "pay attention" she would say "Just imagine they all have dollar signs in front of them!" Needless to say, that didn't help. I'm not sure I ever actually learned my arithmetic tables. What helped was when we finally got to MATHS (you know: algebra, geometry, trig, pre-calculus) and there was some creativity involved, so it was interesting.

I've always been more interested in a subject if there's creativity involved. No one ever found a way to make history appeal to me. At least, not the parts of history that one can write a test about. I love reading about how all the timelines interconnect (military history, art history, music history, religious history, etc), but I can never remember the exact dates. I love the personal stories, but I hate the memorizing of exactly when things happened and to whom. And did I mention dates? Forget about it. 

Music theory (like maths) always appealed to me because it was like a puzzle to decode. I had to figure it out, not just memorize things.

I still find myself with the same dilemmas in real life as I had in school. The things I enjoy doing (cooking, decorating) are the things that involve some creativity. And those things I can do for HOURS on end without getting bored or restless or losing my train of thought. In high school, I'd spend 8 hours on a Saturday sitting at the piano working on my latest musical composition. And now I can spend hours upon hours spinning wool into yarn. The things I hate (cleaning, paying bills) are things that are always the same every time. I know I need to do them, but they are difficult for me to focus on for any length of time and I need to take regular breaks from them or I turn into a brain-dead grumpy monster. 

What's your experience? Can you relate to my attention-span problems? Or are you one of those people who actually can do the monotonous tasks until they are finished without taking regular breaks?

No comments:

Post a Comment