I get these e-mails from this “natural health” doctor, and he had this chart of what to look for to see if one has ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) or its cousin, ADD (attention deficit disorder without hyperactivity, “which is more common in grown-ups”).
Time to self-diagnose:
*Trouble concentrating, especially when reading
That can happen, especially when I’m thinking of something else I want/need to do.
*Being easily distracted
Definitely true. Sometimes, I’m working on one thing, and the next thing is more interesting. Then I have to peel back to get back to task #1. Although sometimes, at work, task #2 pops up and it’s more important than task #1. Then task #3 might become the priority.
*Disorganization and procrastination
Disorganization has ALWAYS been true. My mother in particular dubbed me the “Absent-Minded Professor”, a description my sisters gleefully seized upon.
Now, I have systems. My bike lock key, when I’ve locked my bike, is always in the same slot in my backpack; ditto the bus pass. My glasses go on the same part of the dresser so I can find them in the dark.
When the routine is altered, I forget. I don’t ride my bike one day because the weather is miserable. I will; take my bike lock out of my backpack, because it’s terribly heavy to carry for no purpose. I ride my bike to work the next day, and only halfway there, when it’s too late, I realize I have no bike lock. (I end up sneaking it up to my office via the freight elevator, because the security folks get REALLY nasty if I take it up the passenger elevator.)
I used to procrastinate over things I hate. But I’m better; I tend to do them first, just to get them over with, on the theory that fretting about them took up too much psychic energy.
*Addictive behavior (e.g., drugs, drinking, gambling, overeating, excessive shopping)
Drugs, no. I remember my father giving me a sleeping pill – I was 25 at the time, and I felt SO good that I KNEW I should avoid THAT.
Drinking, maybe for a brief period in my 20s.
Gambling, no. I’m bored by gambling, and particularly hate casinos. I might buy a lottery ticket when the pot is high enough that an office pool is formed.
Overeating, for sure, especially when I’m feeling melancholy.
Shopping, when I first got credit cards, I spent too much. Largely curbed, and now I hate it when I can’t pay off my bills in the current month. (The root canal, not covered by my insurance, is going to take two or three months.)
Definitely true. I should do yoga.
*Anxiety, depression, mood swings
Anxiety and mood swings, not so much.
Depression, can be inexplicably subject to that.
*Impulsive and risky behavior, including reckless driving
Actually, I’m usually quite risk averse. It’s not that I can’t be impulsive; I’ve had whole romantic relationships based on that in the past.
Actually, no. I’m rather wonderful.
*Inability to finish projects, lacking motivation
This has long been true. You know how complicated projects need intermediate goals? DEFINITELY true, because if I have a big project, I’ll often attack it with great enthusiasm, but lose passion for it; it even says that is true of me in an extensive horoscope I got in the late 1970s. Blogging is great because it’s 365 discrete (but not always discreet) pieces. But writing a book? Can’t imagine.
*Forgetfulness, chronic lateness
I used to forget a lot. That’s why I need the systems. And I’ve long tended to be late, though so does my wife; the difference is that she fails to recognize it. But I HATE being late to an airport or train station, and desire to be early, if I’m in control of the situation.
Here’s a classic morning at home recently. My daughter is upstairs, wants a particular outfit. It’s in the dryer in the basement, so I go downstairs to the first floor, but realize I need to go to the bathroom, and I do, reading something; I use up the last of the toilet paper. Then I start going back upstairs before I remember that I need to go down to the basement. Now I need to take a shower quickly at the point the daughter needs to go to the bathroom. “Go downstairs,” I say. So she does, but, of course, there’s no toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom, because I used the last of it, so I have to go bring some downstairs before I shower.
Now is that ADHD, or is that just morning?
*Being short-tempered, inability to tolerate frustration
I used to be quite short-tempered, especially in my 20s. I figure it was a reaction to not being able to fully express my anger in my childhood. I get frustrated much less than I used to.
At some point soon, I’ll write about preventing adult ADHD.