I have ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder, or, more properly, “ADHD predominantly inattentive.” It’s technically a subtype of ADHD, hinging on the “predominantly inattentive” aspect. Instead of the hyperactivity and impulsiveness that characterizes the more common ADHD, the main aspects of ADD are inattention, being easily distractible, disorganization, procrastination, and forgetfulness. Throw in a little lethargy for good mix, and you have a fairly potent mess of a person on your hands. (Hello! My name is Marina, and I’m kind of a secret mess.)
For several years, I had a prescription to Adderall. It was a low dosage, but it was a life-changer in so many ways. Sadly, I did not have this prescription while I was in school when I could have really used it, but that’s a story for another day. Adderall doesn’t get me high. It doesn’t make everything rosy. (That’s what sweet, sweet Xanax is for, duh!) It just blows away some of the fog that’s constantly circling my brain. Without it, I am constantly overwhelmed by life’s little demands. I cannot remember people’s names or faces. And whereas many people look at a messy table and think, ugh, what a pain in the ass to clean all that stuff up but here let me take 10 minutes and get it over with, I look at a messy table and think, my god that is an insurmountable task I had better make a list of instructions for myself so that I can follow them in order to clean that table off but oh wait a second should I do the dishes first or wait I will take this child’s sock off the table and oh hey here I am in the boys’ room I should pick up these toys and wait what was I doing hmmm nothing I guess maybe I will just go sit down.
And that’s on a good day when I’m trying to employ the Cognitive Behavioral Coping Skills that are supposed to supplement prescription usage. On a bad day (like most days lately), I just look at the table and think, my god I have no idea how to start that project. And so, things pile up.
I feel bad sometimes. It’s not just that my house is so messy and cluttered, although that’s a big part of why I constantly feel guilty. It’s also that I let it interfere with my parenting. I joke about not doing indoor activities with Milo because I’m lazy or because I don’t like crafts or projects, but the reality of it is that I just cannot get started on things. I get too overwhelmed just thinking about it. I love reading mamamusement and myworldmytrue and seeing how they conduct these great learning projects with their kids. I read, and I get inspired, but then I try to think about what I would need to do something similar, and I immediately get overwhelmed and shut down. I get that I’m supposed to break each project into small tasks to check off one at a time, but I’m so far gone at this point that I’m overwhelmed just by trying to find a pen and piece of paper.
I stopped taking my medication when I got pregnant with Milo. After I gave birth, I nursed him for a year. I should have gone back on it then, but the project of making an appointment and making it into the city with the baby was overwhelming, and I was always going to do it “tomorrow.” And then my doctor retired, and I would have needed to find a new doctor and show them my medical transcripts, etc, and it became even more insurmountable. And then I got pregnant again. And now I’m nursing again, so.
I want to go back to school for my teaching certification. I know that in order for this to happen, I am going to have to go back on medication. And I know that many people scoff at this idea that ADD is a real thing. “You just need to stop daydreaming. You’re just being lazy,” they say. I say the same thing to myself. The reality of it though, to me, is that it’s much more than just daydreaming or being lazy. I feel like I’m at the end of a very long tunnel, trying to peer out the small opening in the other end where I can see small glimpses of people going about their daily lives, just taking care of business like it ain’t no thang. And, god, I want to be like that.
Will someone do me a favor in about 6 months and ask me if I’ve made a doctor’s appointment for myself so I can get back to my life?