Keeping the Hopeful “Yet” in ADD.

(Awareness, Acceptance, Action)

When I saw my doctor the other day asking about ADD, her first reaction was one of disbelief and skepticism. That’s normal. Is ADD over diagnosed and over medicated? You bet. I see it in schools even – a high energy kid is labled a problem and teachers push parents to doctors offices all the time. When she asked if I had ADD as a kid, I told her they didn’t diagnose it then – I was just an avid talker and class clown.

I’m coming around to acceptance and have chosen to take right action and let my feelings follow later.

I want to thank everyone who has left comments or sent emails to me this week. I was truly afraid this was going to simply be a self indugent rant – and I found out, I’m in good company. I had no idea so many other adults deal with this. We joke about having ADD moments – but we hide the pain it can cause. So thank you for writing, and thank you for sharing. That was very encouraging.

– Day three and I am still alive, still not speeding, able to sleep, and I had a small impulse issue yesterday with another blogger – but it turned out well. We had a great converstation and I learned a lot about liturgical and high church worship.

I found an online survey very similar to the test Dillon’s doctor gave me. All of these questions were preceded with Do you have a lifetime struggle with (even if you can control it today) – issues.

If this is a new thing, or recent, or seasonal, it’s not ADD. More than likely it is depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, or signs of an addiction of some kind. ADD is almost always diagnosed after ruling all of those out. Two years in counseling and three in group – pretty much ruled out everything else.

While I do have my addictions – praise junkie being one – I’m not chemically addicted to substances. Mine are more relationally based and I’m in treatment for those through a 12 step program.

ADD people aren’t lazy or stupid. True ADD’s have very high IQ’s. We think much more quickly than other people and more quickly than our mouths can keep up with. We are the right brained full blown technicolor 3 dimensional dreamers and thinkers of the world. We are the explorers, and inventors. We do a lot, we just seem to truly accomplish very little unless we find coping mechanisms.

I went to an E-Women’s Conference last year and scanned the book tables. Lisa Welchel has written more books than I have time to read – she’s home school mother of at least three high energy kids, a pastor’s wife and a national speaker – She even developed something called Mom Time Ministries and has her own business of sorts. I looked at that table, her skinny blonde body, and truly thought to myself – if that woman’s laundry is complete and her house clean, I may just hate her.

I don’t hate her by the way – she seems really nice – and gave a great talk about – over achieving and approval seeking. Okay – Lisa – you won me over. She’s multi-talented and very real.

I have dreams and for me, this ADD thing is really getting in the way. Multiple conversations overwhelm me and I cannot follow them. I would love nothing more than to speak and teach women about the Word of God. I get to in small groups and I love it. I love talking about God’s power and will in our lives. I love reaching out with the Gospel. I love watching thier eyes light up.

I even like the whole stand up comic thing – if I could remember my jokes, I’d like it even better.

I’m good at thosse things. I’ve rocked the mic enough times to know there is talent and potential there. And that’s my problem, I have a lifetime of “talent and potential” opportunites that I don’t seem to cross over into very well.

Until now.

My impulsive side is what caused me to join the Christian Comedy Association (CCA) three years ago at the insistance of a friend. I’m not actively rostered now as I’m not “sale ready” if you will. I don’t have a set long enough to open for anyone and I can’t travel. But I am on the boards, I’ve made new friends, and I am learning, writing humor and telling stories.My joining was impulsive and unplanned – and I’m glad I did it.

My impulsive side also led to – when CCA went Facebook – I was there – and yes I have truly conversed in one fashion or another with almost everyone on my facebook page. Where I found the courage to do that, I’ll never know. But I am learning to ask if I can learn from someone else. Sometimes they let me, sometimes they don’t – and I’m okay with that.

That’s where the social butterfly comes in. Some of them – I know on a deeper level. For some of them, I’m a hostess when they are in town, or I participate in classes with them (led by them). These are men and women I get to learn from – even if I don’t run with them. Yet.

Vikki Wells taught me how to add “yet” to my vocabulary last year. We were in the green room at E-Women talking about how I can teach a class of 30 or so, and really relate to those women and I love it, but cannot fathom speaking in front of 3,000 and being able to relate or keep my place, I just don’t know how. Vikki looked at me and said “yet”, you don’t know how “yet” but that will change.

She had no clue who I was – keep in mind this gal was speaking to her DRIVER! I was a runner for the weekend – a Chauffeur if you will – errand girl – gopher – water fetcher – a woman trying to discern between helpful and helicopter hovering (and over shot that runway a lot) – and Vikki spoke the word YET over me. So now I remember it – YET – is a word of hope and expectancy.

Keep “yet” in mind when it comes to ADD – there is hope even if the diagnosis comes late in life – Do not look back and wish for what was. It is a waste of time – look forward and be expectant of your own personal “yet.” For some people medication is not needed – some adults learn to surround themselves with super people who keep them organized – and they learn other mechinisms for getting by.

Maybe you are like me, I need the meds and denied having this even though I would joke about it to excuse impulsive behavior. Maybe you’ve thought or joked about it, but never really stepped out to do something about it – yet.

Maybe you are the mom who always runs late, loses field trip forms,etc, and get’s picked last for committees because people think you are a ditz. Maybe – like me – you try to get by being a cutsie, funny, social butterfly, but long to be taken seriously and get angry when you aren’t. I tend to hear a lot of “When I first met you , I thought you were a total flake, I had no idea there was so much depth.” adn stuff like that. It used to hurt me feelings, now I just say “yeah, I know.”

I have had leadership positions at school, church and NPO’s – it is possible, though I survived some of those postions by hyphenating anal-retentive and by controlling everything myself, simply because it was too hard to juggle people and me or communicate schedules. I use the excuse “I do my best work at 2 am.” when really I’m overwhelmed and don’t want anyone to know.

The following questions are not a diagnosis tool – but rather a thought tool. They could also be attributed to other issues, so be sure to speak to a doctor and cover all the bases.

So… do you have a lifetime issue with:

1. Getting distracted easily?
2. Having difficulty concentrating on one thing at a time?
3. Being disorganized?
4. Having a hard time focusing or paying attention during conversations, listening to others, or while reading?
5. Forgetting things like appointments or obligations?
6. Having trouble following directions that have multiple steps?
7. Having difficulty starting and finishing projects?
8. Procrastinating
9.Trouble prioritizing information?
10. Getting impatient easily?
11. Feeling restless and antsy?
12. Losing track of time and have trouble with time management?
13. Misplacing or have difficulty finding things at home or at work?
14. Acting before thinking through consequences?
15. Speaking or blurting out before thinking about the impact your words will have on others?
16. Tending to have lots of racing thoughts?
17. Getting bored easily?
18. Tending to make careless mistakes when you have to work on a tedious or difficult project?
19 Taking frequent risks.

There were 20 questions on my original survey – and I answered yes to 17. The “magic number” was 10.

As I said this is simply a tool – and not a diagnostic. If you answered yes to most of these, talk to your doctor and check out CHADD and find out more.

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