adult ADD

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.

 

ADHD Simulation – Reading with Distractions

I’ve been “gifted” all my life.  I’ve also been overcompensating for my learning issues for as long as I can remember.  The two don’t seem to go together, do they?  But, for many, they do.

It’s really hard being in gifted classes with the smartest people in school, knowing that you’re smart, but somehow feeling that you just don’t belong.  I would get stupidly excited for summer reading books.  I really, really, really wanted to learn.  I have this unbelievable thirst for knowledge.  It sounds so lame, but it’s really the truth.  The problem is, I could never quench it.  My brain wouldn’t allow me to actually focus or absorb much at all.

I would dive into those summer reading books with such enthusiasm…but ask me how many I actually finished.  Maybe five…and that’s being generous.

Then, in college, I realized how slowly I actually read.  I was studying for a psychology test and  there was this passage (I don’t remember the numbers), “Remedial readers trail in at … words a minute.”  I timed myself and I was so much slower than the remedial reader.  There was a part of me, in that moment, that realized that I might actually be screwed (aka there might actually be an underlying issue).

Years later, I stumbled upon a video on PBS that did a pretty accurate job of simulating what happens in an ADD / ADHD brain when it tries to read.  I shared it with a few friends and they were shocked.  It’s all I’ve ever known, so it was comforting, instead of shocking, to know that other people were going through it, too.  Not that I want anyone else to have to struggle just because I do, but there’s comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

Anyway, I’ve looked for the video for years since.  I’m not 100% convinced that this is the original video I found, but it definitely delivers the same effect.  Feel free to give it a whirl…it stresses me out just to look at it.  It looks too much like the way the inside of my brain feels.

ADHD Reading Experience

…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.

That’s Just How ADHD Bloggers Roll(ercoaster)

ADHD Bloggers Get NutMegged

Sorry for the recent silence, guys.  I’m trying not to fall victim to the all-or-nothing tendencies that are so common with us ADHDers.  God knows it’s hard for us to find balance in our lives…and there’s a lot of other stuff going on (personally and professionally) right now that’s currently sucking up my energy.

I want to post frequently, but I don’t want to post just to post.  The content needs to have some value.  I don’t want to just spam you guys, you know?

Still, even if I can’t compose an epic post, because of whatever it is I’m struggling with at the moment, I guess that’s kind of what I’m supposed to be sharing, too.  While I try to take the positive approach to my own ADHD (and other) issues, it’s not all sunshine and roses.  It would be silly of me to pretend that it is.  Honestly, it would be condescending of me to even think that I could convince you that life with ADHD is always awesome.  Nobody’s life is awesome all the time.

You know better than that; I don’t take you guys for fools.  A lot of you are living the ADHD life, too, so you totally get it.  If I pranced around here all the time only talking about the benefits of having ADHD, I would probably lose my credit as an ADHDer.  There are good days and there are bad days.  (Good/bad weeks, good/bad months, good/bad years…you get the picture.)  And I won’t pretend otherwise.

I have plenty of content ideas, but I just haven’t had the energy to put a post together lately.  Life is all about priorities, though.  You need to do what makes you happy and you need to spend time on the things you value most.  We all have limited time – both on a daily basis and in the grand scheme of things.  You (I) have to be smart about how you (I) spend that time and energy.

Thing is…this blog (and all you guys reading it) are a priority.  It makes me happy to know that people are getting something from my posts.  Be it a good laugh, the ability to relate and know you’re not alone, some kind of inspiration…whatever it is that you get from my blog, I owe it to you to not drop the ball on this.

Hell, I owe it to myself.

After all, my whole life I’ve just wanted to make a difference.  If this is that chance, I better not screw it up.

So, yeah, adding pressure to a situation?  “…always encourages an ADHDer to stick to something,” said no person with ADHD ever.

Oh well…here goes nothing.  Who’s with me?