Back To My ADHD Roots

Apparently I’ve been blogging about my ADD / ADHD shenanigans for quite a while.  I was aware that I’d written a good deal about them in my MySpace blog back in the day, but I had forgotten about my Xanga blog…or at least how much I had actually written in it.

Recently, I had a random recall about a comment somebody left on one of my Xanga posts.  At the time, I was writing for a very small audience (a couple cousins and maybe a friend or two).  I never categorized or tagged any of my posts.  More than anything, I was really writing just to clear my head.  Being as lost as I was at the time, I didn’t feel like I was in the best place to reach people and make a difference.

That’s why this comment really stuck out…it was from some random person, whose life I’d actually touched with my words.

Once I remembered the comment, I decided I had to find it.  Now, Xanga was many lives (and many email addresses) ago, so it took a bit of detective work (self-hacking) to uncover it all…but I finally got there.  While I expected a total of maybe three posts, there were actually 180.

As I scrolled through about two years worth of posts, looking for the comment that triggered this quest, it was like reliving it all over again.  I found myself impressed by my own wisdom.  Not to sound cocky (cause I’m not); I mean, I was honestly shocked.

My life has changed a great deal since then…in a lot of ways.  Yet, in a lot of ways, I’m still haunted by many of the same ghosts.  Those two years were life changing for me.  When I started writing, I didn’t know I had ADD / ADHD; I hadn’t yet been diagnosed.  In the early posts, I’m so frustrated, trying to figure out what is wrong with me.  Then in the later posts, once I’ve been diagnosed, you can hear the relief and the, “What now?” of me trying to work it all out.

I laughed…I cried…and then I had to go buy a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger for lunch (because apparently I used to write entire blog posts about them.  Who knew?).

In general, the posts were very enlightening, even to the person who lived the documented experiences.  When I found the post (droid) I was looking for, entitled, “Colored File Folders and the Organization of Life,” I was excited to actually find two comments, instead of just the one.

I have ADHD comment

The internet can be a good thing

I remember, back in the day (2006), reading that comment (or those comments as it turns out) and thinking that I had actually made a difference.  I poured my heart out on a random electronic canvas and my story, as it was received, made others feel less alone and more understood in their own lives, “You have a much more articulate way of explaining how I feel than I do.”  When I started blogging, I never expected to really reach anyone.

In that moment, though, I realized, as the one poster said, “The internet can be a good thing once in a while.”  I’m not sure I fathomed how wide a reach the Internet would allow, but I knew I had just used it to reach at least two people.

For all that I go through and all that I’ve been through, if I can make a difference in one life…then it will have all been worth it.

Friday Find: Mead Cambridge Limited Notebooks

As I mentioned in my earlier post, a lot of ADHD adults struggle with conventional office jobs.  While I have hopes that continued research and understanding will improve these issues, the changes will not happen overnight.

Don’t be discouraged by these challenges.  In my very first post, I discussed some of the positive qualities of ADHDers and I believe these traits can help any ADHDer survive (even excel) in an office environment.  Determination, creativity, intelligence, resilience and courage really can help you conquer just about any situation.  Besides, ADHD or not, it’s your responsibility to do the best with what you’ve got.

There are plenty of solutions out there to help you cope, kind of like accommodations you can implement yourself.  Remember, you’re not the only one out there who thinks like you do. Others have gone before you and you can use their trial and error to light your own way.  I’ve done a ton of research and personal experiments on dealing with ADHD in the workplace (well, and life in general) and I’ve found some shareworthy solutions along the way.  It would be selfish of me not to share these with you guys.

Hence, the Friday Find, a feature I will post regularly (or at least somewhat regularly) where I’ll share some of these solutions (products, ideas, tips, etc.) with you.  With the workplace theme fresh on our minds, I’ll kick off the first Friday Find with some cool planner notebooks that I’ve been using for years.  Without further adieu:

Meeting Notebook

This handy, little guy is great for meetings (or general project planning).  There are sections for the date, the topic, meeting objectives, attendees, notes and action items.  Each action item includes a little line to the left, where I’m guessing you’re supposed to indicate the person it’s been assigned to, and a checkbox to the right, so you can check ’em off as you complete them.

Mead Cambridge Limited Meeting Planner Notebook

Action Planner Business Notebook

This one’s a little more free-form, which I kind of like.  It has the header section, which includes a page section (I’ll be honest, not entirely sure what this field is for, except maybe for some kind of numerical tracking for a notebook that’s handling multiple projects at one time) and date section and several customizable fields, the notes section, for whatever pops into your head during planning (or in a meeting) and then a numbered section, which can be used for all sorts of things from action items to brainstorming topics…and everything in between.

Mead Cambridge Limited Action Planner Business NotebookThere are a lot of other notebooks out there that are similar to these two,  but these two have been my favorites.  You definitely have to find what works for you, though.  That said, I had no idea these existed and I haven’t looked back since I discovered them.  Sure, there are times, when I’m brainstorming or taking notes, that a standard notebook works, but for project management and organization, I will love these forever.  The possibilities are endless, my friends!  Since reviewing their product information for this post, even I’m flooded with new ideas for how to use them.

These kinds of tools simply give you a starting point for organization when approaching a project.  For a lot of us, that’s really all we need.  We have a lot of great ideas; we just need a little help keeping them in order sometimes.

(As a side note, I promise to do my best to post the Friday Finds a little earlier in the day in the future.  Otherwise, I might as well just call them Saturday Solutions instead.)

ADHD in the Workplace Research

The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) is conducting an online (short) survey about ADHD issues in the workplace, so I thought I’d share.  They’re hoping to get 1,000 completed surveys by June, but the more we can submit, the better.  The ADDA will use the results to create an ADHD awareness publicity campaign to help educate the general public and employers about potential ADHD workplace issues and hopefully, potential solutions.  

The survey is geared toward adults with ADHD that are (or have been) employed.  I urge you guys to take a few minutes to complete it.  I promise it won’t take long.  This is important stuff.  The more completed surveys, the better the data.  You can read a little more about the survey in this ADHD Coaches Organization Circle or jump right to the survey here.

While accommodations for those with ADD / ADHD do exist, those waters are quite murky to try and navigate.  The stigma of ADHD can complicate things in the workplace, too.  Should you disclose your diagnosis to your employer or not?  If so, when is the appropriate time?

There are no black and white answers to these questions.  Each person (and each situation) deserves individual consideration.  Still, these are questions I’ve certainly asked myself.  And I’ve often been intimidated by the wealth of information that I’ve uncovered.

These are conversations we need to be having.  Research shows (see the infographic below) that workplace issues are more common for us ADHDers than they are for our non-ADHD counterparts.  This article on the UMASS study shows that a significantly higher percentage of adults with ADHD have a work history tainted by behavioral issues, boredom, firings, hostility and disciplinary actions.  Perhaps we can curb some of these issues through education, awareness, open communication and more easily attained accommodations…when needed.

That was my hope in completing the survey and it is my appeal to you guys to do the same.  Look, guys, all I’m saying is, an ADHD diagnosis is not an excuse to settle or give up.  An ADHD diagnosis is an explanation of differences, differences that are not fully understood at this point.  It is our responsibility to help others understand whenever we can.  There is always hope in understanding.

ADHD Issues in the Workplace GetNutMegged




This is Why We (ADHDers) Can’t Have Nice Things

The Nice Thing I Shouldn't Be Able to Have

The Nice Thing I Shouldn’t Be Able to Have

I hate commuting.  I absolutely loathe it (Duh, most ADHDers – scratch that, people – do).  I’ve spent two hours, round-trip, driving (very slowly, mind you) in the car for more than five years.  Like a lot of people with ADHD, I have trouble sleeping and…thus, trouble waking up.  Traffic in this area (as in all areas, I imagine) has been getting increasingly worse.  Every time I think I’ve found a shorter/faster route to work, it seems the rest of the world finds it, too…the very next week.

Anyway, I find myself in a panic more often than not, trying to get to work on time.  This morning was no exception.  I was five minutes away, about to turn right…one more turn and I would’ve made it there without a hitch.

…but not today.

The truck in front of me had to turn, too.  There were some cars coming through the intersection to the left of us, but I thought he had time to turn before they came through.  I guess I didn’t really pay attention to whether he actually turned or not.  I just pushed the gas to go…and I ran smack into the back of him.

We had just been stopped, so I wasn’t going very fast.  Still, it sounded pretty bad.  Paralyzed, I just kind of sat there for a minute, not sure what to do, shaking…and trying really hard not to burst into tears.  The other driver (We’ll call him, “Bob,” so I don’t have to keep calling him, “the other driver.”) got out of his truck and I thought, “Oh, I should probably do that, too.”

We bent down to look at the damage and I was surprised (and quite relieved) to see that it was minimal.  The truck’s trailer hitch caught most of the impact.  Well, that and my car (which still wasn’t that bad).

Thankfully, the other guy…ahem…BOB…was super nice.  It wasn’t Bob’s truck, so he said he needed to call the owner to see what they wanted to do.  Otherwise, he would’ve just let me go.  Fair enough, I thought.  I mean, I figured we should at least exchange information.  Anyway, I’m guessing the guy on the other end of the phone was pretty nice, too, because he was okay with just exchanging information.

At that point, we’re still holding up the turning lane and my flashers are all a rage, calling attention to the “crime scene.”  Bob suggested that we pull out of the way, so we could exchange info without calling attention to the accident…and to hopefully keep the cops at bay.  I was grateful for his wisdom in my time of panic…and quite thankful for his thoughtfulness.

We pulled down the street a little bit and then off on a dirt road (not as sketchy as it sounds).  I rummaged through my book bag for a black pen, but kept pulling up stupid pens with childish-colored (green, red, orange) ink.  Then I went for paper, but could only find the notepad where I scribble blog ideas.  I finally found a black pen and a blank page in my ADHD scribble pad.

I stared at the blank page for a minute not knowing what info to include.  I wrote my name and phone number and then reached confidently for my handy, little car insurance/registration wallet-folder thingy that I always keep in my glove box.  Alas, it wasn’t there.  Where was it?  I rifled through the random papers in the glove box, thinking maybe there was another copy floating around in there, but nothing.  I panicked more and then spotted Bob exiting the truck.

I climbed out of my car ashamed about my misplaced insurance, but hopeful that Bob would just need my name and number.  As soon as I got out of the car, I saw the cops go by and was, again, quite thankful that Bob had moved us out of the way.  Bob said, “I did the same thing about a year ago and the cops gave me a $95 ticket, so this is way better,” and handed me the scratch paper he had written the relevant info on.  My eyes were immediately drawn to the infamous insurance info.  Sigh.  I was like, “So, you need the insurance information?” I felt guilty, like I was trying to pull one over on him or that that’s what he would think I was doing.

Bob and I walked back to my car and I opened the door, “I don’t know where it is.  I always keep it in my glove box, but it’s not there.  I’ve only had this car for a few months, so I don’t know…” I spouted off excuses as I halfheartedly looked through the glove box again and glanced around the backseat of the car.  God knows if something’s not where it’s supposed to be in my life, there’s no telling where it might have ended up.

It occurs to me that I can pull up my insurance info from my phone using the app.  I’m thinking I might be in the clear, but I’m also panicking because I tend to forget the password for that log in on a regular basis.  Yup…can’t log in.  At this point, I want to throw up, for so many reasons: for being an idiot and rear-ending Bob, for being an idiot and not having my insurance, for being an idiot and not remembering my password and for basically just wasting the poor guy’s time.

To further solidify my childish, idiotic ways, I tried calling my dad to see if he had a copy of the insurance anywhere.  But seriously, guys, why would he?  And he didn’t.  My dad did mention being able to pull it off the website.  To which, I had to explain that I had already tried, but that I would try again.

Amazingly, that time I was successful!  I was able to pull the info off and write it down.  Whew!  I don’t suck completely!  I apologized profusely for wasting Bob’s time and said, “Thank you,” like fifty million times.  I’m sure that poor guy was just ready to see this punk kid pull away, so he could get on with his day.

As I turned around to finish my trek to work, I began shaking and fighting back tears again.  “This is why you can’t have nice things,” I thought to myself.  You know, just in case the countless other mishaps of my past weren’t quite making the point.

Side note, no pun intended earlier when I said, “…one more turn and I would’ve made it there without a hitch.”  Oh, the irony.

Could have been worse.

Could have been worse.


…And You Just Know This Month’s ADHD Meds Are Actually Sugar Pills

This Month's ADHD Meds Are Actually Sugar Pills GetNutMeggedBecause, guys, how many of you haven’t had those months when you know your ADHD meds have been switched out with sugar pills?  It’s like, no matter what you do, you feel just as ADD / ADHD as ever.  It scares you a little bit because everything is slipping all at once.  It’s just like the “good ole days,” except they weren’t really all that good.

That’s the kind of month I’ve been having.  Seriously, it seems like every single time I look, my zipper is down.  I’ve stared at a gas pump angrily clicking my remote car key, waiting for the damn pump to automatically pump itself.  For the first time in many years, I spent an entire day hyper focusing (like nobody’s business) on an intense project at work only to accidentally close out of the program and then realize that I hadn’t saved all day.  I have so many bruises from bumping into things that you’d think I was getting attacked on a regular basis.

And that’s just the stuff I’m remembering off the top of my head.  You guys get it…I know you do.  We all have those times when our old ADHD tricks come back full force.  It’s crazy how quickly everything seems to fall apart and how quickly I become overwhelmed…and, even more so, how quickly I start second guessing everything I do.

That’s the thing of it.  An ADD / ADHD diagnosis rarely feels like an excuse to those of us who actually have it.  Sure, it’s an explanation for some of the struggles we might have faced in school, work, relationships, life in general, but it doesn’t excuse us as the person who has committed all these “sins.”  Even after a diagnosis, a lot of ADHDers continue to struggle with self trust and forgiveness.  No matter what anybody calls it, we still blame ourselves for the “mistakes we’ve made.”

In those moments, like now, when our (my) meds seem to fail and life seems to crash down on us (me), it really can be scary.  For whatever ground we might have gained, it could just as easily slip away.  Or so it feels anyway.

Try not to hate on yourself in these moments (or in any, really).  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, everybody has bad days…even those “normal” folk.  The fact that you can tell when the meds aren’t working is a sign that they do actually work from time to time or at least a sign that you do actually work from time to time.  If you didn’t, you wouldn’t notice a difference.  So, hang in there.  Try not to beat yourself up.  Wait it out.  Pretty soon you’ll be back to your old self, remembering to zip your pants up and all.