Lucca is a little bit jealous of my loom.
I can’t even start to explain why I love weaving so much without first explaining, as best I can, what it feels like to have an ADD brain. While I think I would still love weaving even if I didn’t have attention deficit disorder, its therapeutic and meditative qualities have been a life changer.
I don’t really know what other people’s brains are like, but mine has about 7-10 actual trains of thought going through it at once, and those trains of thought are speed bumping over other smaller thought distractions which appear and then vanish just as quickly as they arrive. Of those 7-10 actual thought strands, only a few of them are actually clear and followable; it’s like my brain is thinking about more than I could possibly keep up with, so the goal is to try really, really hard to focus on just one or two of those things running through my brain, letting the others reduce to a murmur in the background. The popcorn thoughts appear out of nowhere and can throw me off — “MY IM IS GOING OFF,” “OOH CUTE SHOES,” “SQUIRREL!” — and suddenly I’m like, “Ack, what was I thinking about? The layout of my new apartment and where to put all of my furniture? No, no, no, wrong one, Amelia, don’t follow that train of thought now, that’s for later. You were thinking about how to write this essay about your ADD — oh Christ another blinking IM, better click it!” Keep reading »
For pretty much my whole life, I’ve been a huge slob. We’re talking gigantic piles of clothes on the floor, dirty dishes all over the house, disgusting bathroom, “What is a duster and how do you use it?” levels of slobbery. I have ADD, and I always found it nearly impossible to focus long enough to clean something up, let alone maintain any semblance of organization. A couple years ago, I decided I was tired of my apartment looking like a frat house, so I made a commitment to change my behavior. I read this book, which is amazing and highly recommended. I learned to work with my ADD instead of against it. I consciously created a bunch of new organizing systems and cleaning habits. Today, I feel like an ADD success story. I’m still no neat freak (dusting will never be my thing), but I clean my house pretty much every day, willingly, and – gasp! — I enjoy it. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way that might help you, too:
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When people find out I take Adderall for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), they often want to know what that feels like. What makes my brain different from theirs? I have a really hard time answering that question, because A) I have no idea what goes on in their brain and how it compares to what goes on in mine and B) it’s really, really hard to explain. That’s why I’m so in love with this video by filmmaker Ryan Higa, explaining just some of the ways ADHD manifests itself in his life. Even though I know I have ADHD, I was shocked to discover just how many of these behaviors — like, 98 percent of them — are similar to my own, including things I never even realized were my ADHD at work. So THAT’s why I can memorize a phone number easily but then instantly forget it the second I start dialing! From now on, whenever anyone asks what ADHD feels like I’m sending them this video. [Laughing Squid]
Being in a relationship with someone who has ADD presents some unique challenges. Conversations tend to jump rapidly from one topic to another. Shiny objects might distract them during important moments. And that pile of clothes on the floor? Yeah, that’s never, ever going to get put away. Of course, there are also many benefits to being with someone with ADD: a sense of spontaneity, endless intellectual curiosity, excitement, and creativity. One thing’s for sure: an ADD relationship is never boring. Here are some tips for loving someone with ADD, from someone who has it: Keep reading »
When I first started taking Adderall, it wasn’t prescribed to me — it was my boyfriend’s. It was 2006, and I had a fun but creatively unfulfilling job at a men’s magazine. On the weekends, I was determined to grow a freelance career that, god willing, would allow me to quit. Freelance writing, especially when you’re starting out, involves a lot of pitching, in particular pitching editors who don’t know you. It’s a lot of coming up with ideas, proposing those ideas, and waiting, hoping and praying, that someone, anyone bites and is willing to pay you a decent sum to write it. To be a successful freelancer writer, you have to be extremely motivated and focused.
I had the motivation. But focus was out of my grasp. I felt stuck literally and mentally. And being stuck make me anxious. Keep reading »
This weekend, I made an horrifying discovery. I have a bald spot. It’s small, but it’s at the top of my head, right where, if the hair around it is swirling in a certain direction, it is visible to anyone standing six to 10 feet behind me. The good news about my bald spot is that I don’t think it’s permanent. I think the hair can and will grow back. But the success of that is dependent upon the bad news. See, I am solely responsible for giving myself a bald spot in the first place.
I have a picking problem. Keep reading »