ADDitude Magazine had users submit answers to the prompt, “You Know You Have ADD When…” and then published 24 of the responses. The byline promised that I should “prepare to laugh.” Instead, I felt pretty disappointed reading the list because the responses seemed stereotypical to me.
“Any shopping trip involves three attempts. First, you leave your shopping list behind. Then, when you go back to get it, you put down your wallet and arrive with your list, but not bag. Usually, but not always, the third time is the charm.”
We get it. People diagnosed with ADHD are forgetful, disorganized, and lose things a lot.
While I recognize that these extreme experiences of being forgetful and disorganized are true to many people diagnosed with ADD, it isn’t always the defining characteristic of the disorder. It frustrates me when ADD is illustrated this way because my ADD (and I’m sure many other peoples!) was missed due to the fact that it couldn’t be put in such a nice, over the top, ADD box. While I was forgetful, disorganized, and lost things more than most people, it was never extreme. Instead, my “extreme” symptoms were being easily over-stimulated and overwhelmed, missing details constantly, feeling antsy, having difficulty with word recall, and being unable to detach from tasks. I just thought there was something wrong with me until someone suggested to me that I could have ADD. That’s when I met with a doctor who confirmed the diagnosis for me and learned that ADD covers a number of less known symptoms.
So, instead, I have composed my own personal list of “You Know You Have ADD When…” which reflects my own experiences with some of the more subtle qualities of how ADD can affect a person’s life. Enjoy!
You Know You Have ADD When….
1. You write an email and check it over three times for mistakes because you know you have a tendency to miss things. You don’t find any mistakes and send the email out. You pull it up a week later and immediately see five spelling mistakes.
2. You have a “count” for every time you leave the house. One is your wallet, two your phone, three your keys. If there are any distractions when you are leaving or your routine changes, you always forget one of them.
3. You’ve been reminded multiple times to lock the door. You always mean to lock the door but somehow the door never gets locked!
5. You get impressed watching a friend put a three course meal on the table. Forget doing it yourself! Too many things to keep track of.
6. You get headaches if there is too much stimulation (people, noise, sounds) and need to take “alone time” frequently to recover.
7. When you wash the dishes you do so carefully. Your partner still comes in and nicely points out chunks of food you missed on the plates. Eventually, he stops letting you do the dishes.
8. These terms have loosely been used to refer to you: ditzy, loosy-goosy, in outer space, in la la land etc…
9. You get on the computer to write an email, but end up spending hours on facebook, pinterest, cracked…you name it. You keep telling yourself you should get off these websites to write the email. You never write the email.
10. Every two weeks you have something new you are passionate about. The people close to you are amused because they have seen so many of your phases come and go.
11. You have goals. Really. You do. It’s just somehow there are too many interesting, fun, shiny distractions between you and your goals. So, you never quite reach them.
12. You have to speak immediately when you have a thought because you know if you don’t, you won’t remember what you had to say.
13. Sometimes, talking takes too much energy.
14.You congratulate yourself if you stick with a hobby for more then a week.
15. Getting out of bed takes anywhere from 15 minutes to four hours and is so. so. hard.
16. Getting yourself back in bed in the evening can take even longer. Internet!
17. Forget routine. Literally forget it. You’ve tried 5 million systems to help you stay on track. They all work for about two days and then you lose it. Routine is just boring….plus it involves resisting impulses. And who does that?
18. You cringe when you hear people criticizing others for losing things and “not having their shit together” You know that it’s really hard for some people (you!) and that’s ok!
19. Ice scream. Eatings lots and lots of ice scream. Oh. And cookies. Yum. Impulses.
20. You don’t look for things when you lose them. You accept losing things as a part of life and figure “when it shows up, it will show up.”
21. Someone asks you the name of the street you work on. You can’t remember it.
22. You walk in the grocery store and put everything in the cart that appeals you. You get home and remember maybe you shouldn’t have done that.
23. “Life is always an adventure!” is something you say to your partner when you’ve gotten lost for the fifth time, forgotten to pay a bill, or backed the car into a pole.
24. You feel frustrated when you tell people you have ADD and they say, “I never would have guessed!” Ok. Just because you don’t have piles of bills and papers around your house and and don’t lose things constantly, does NOT mean you don’t have ADD.