adults with add

Colored File Folders and the Organization of Life

Face of forgivenessBelow is the “famous” blog post that resulted in two comments that made me decide I could change the world (or at least the lives of one or two people) through blogging.

When I originally posted it, I was in the early stages of my ADD / ADHD diagnosis, just starting to understand that all was not lost in my life and coming to terms with the fact that there was a legitimate reason for the persistent challenges I’d been facing.  (Not sure whether I had quite admitted my OCD hoarding tendencies to myself yet or not, though.)

After a lifetime of failures (or what I interpreted as such) and the resulting self-hatred, I was finally looking at myself in a new light.  I was beginning to forgive myself for my perceived inadequacies and trying desperately to love myself again.  More importantly, for the first time in a long time, I was finding hope.

“So kids, I spent the day sleeping.  Woke up around 6:30 PM and
debated on whether or not to take my Adderall.  I thought about
just going back to bed, but I had an inkling to be productive.  I
can’t very well just “hang out” with my house as it is, so that was
pretty much out of the question.  And since it’s Saturday,
tromping out into the world didn’t seem like the best idea for my
sanity.  A thoughtful trip to Starbucks would be more frustrating
than successful as the place turns into a party zone on the
weekends.  No offense to any weekend Starbuckers; I understand
it’s a coffee shop and it’s meant for conversing amongst friends.
I do it too.  Just, when I’m alone, and trying to clear my head, I
find it quite difficult to concentrate between the screaming machines
and the dozens of conversations going on at once…not to mention the
spaztic musical selections that somehow manage to find their way to the
speakers of the joint from time to time.  So, when I AM alone, I
choose to avoid the place on the weekends, at least as night

SO…I did decide to take my Adderall around 7:00 and decided I would
try to address the house.  Every room in the house has clearly
been traumatized by the whirlwind that is my life.  I’ve brought
everything down from the attic.  I guess I finally realized that
this place is more than a transitional residence.  Although, as I
write that, I don’t even believe it myself.  Perhaps I’ve realized
that even in transition, I must be whole.  I need to know what I
own.  I need to see where I’ve been.  I need to throw a bunch
of crap out…and give a bunch away.  There are piles of this and
piles of that scattered across all existing floorspace.  Multiple
trashbags, housing pieces of my life, have found their way into every
room as well.  Despite the chaotic look of things, it truly does
represent progress.  Trashbags and piles prove that I’ve actually
gone through stuff, so that’s definitely a step in the right direction.

I stumbled upon a lot in the process.  I found a lot of things I
had forgotten I own.  I took a few trips into the past, said
goodbye to a few old friends.  I’ve seen the struggles of my life
come alive.  I’ve faced the countless incompletes and put some of
them to rest and some of them to finish.

Many times I’ve been here, among the crap that is my life, trying
desperately to climb out of it…to understand it…to let it go.
I’ve held onto so many things as reminders of what once was, what
could’ve been, and what never was.  Other things I held onto with
the hope that one day I would get to them, to read them, to finish
them, to become whole.  These things represent my infamous “to-do”
list that never seems to get done.

This time is different, though.  I see all of this now with an
understanding of the places I have been, the person I was, the person I
am today.  Looking back over my life, I used to see two separate
lives-the early years when I was happy and the later years when I
yearned to be.  There was a defining moment that separated these
lives.  I placed an immense amount of power on that moment, and,
thus, regretted it deeply.  The more I learn about myself now and
the more I truly remember who I was before, the more the separation

Timing was unlucky.  Life was rough, I couldn’t concentrate.
It made sense.  I blamed myself; I blamed the situation.  I
could not fix it; believe me I tried.  The same day over and
over…I could not move forward.

And now I see…  Taking the importance away from that moment
empowers me.  It’s not all that it was cracked up to be.  I
will never say it didn’t hurt, terribly, but it did not define me; it
does not define me.

I am more than the moments of my life.  I am more than the
incomplete projects and the unfinished business.  I am who I have
always been; I never actually turned my back on myself.

It’s odd finding the strength to forgive myself after so long.
It’s scary taking my life back and knowing that where I go next is
totally in my hands.  As odd and scary as it is, it makes me feel
alive; it gives me hope.

Sure, I take longer than most people to do things, but I care about things more than most people do.

During my excavation, I came across an empty journal.

Most of my journals are at least scribbled in on the first page, even
if that’s as far as I got.  Over the course of my life, I’ve tried
to “start over” several times.  And each time I start over, I feel
the need to start a new journal.  I don’t want the scribblings of
the past to haunt my present or hold me back from my future.

This particular journal; however, is still blank.

People have given me plenty of journals throughout the years, and
always with the best intentions.  Sometimes, as with all gifts, a
journal I receive is not my style at all.  If a journal is not my
style, it won’t inspire me and I won’t write in it; it won’t feel
comfortable to me.  I don’t like things that do not feel like me;
they do not fit.  As I weeded through the library of journals I
have collected through the years, I realized I had received several of
them as gifts.  Most times I cannot justify spending even $10 on a
journal, even though I feel that writing is a necessity for my
survival.  I tend to end up with a pile of half-written-in
spiral-bound notebooks, as is the case to this day.

There is one journal I bought because it had several sections, each one
a different color to suit your mood.  I had written in two
sections-the blue section of sadness (tear) which had several entries
and the green section of inspiration, which had only one entry
regarding my intentions to write comically on my webpage, which I never
actually did.

There’s a second one that I bought, a simple black one with the word
“journal” imprinted across the front in a classic font; it’s a soft
journal and the one that I feel most attached to, although it is not
the most written in.

The journal that I found, actually separate from the rest of them, is
one that I bought at a dollar store.  It grabbed me though, more
than most.  It’s simple as well and reminds me of something I
would find at Junkman’s Daughter in Athens, something I would buy in
attempt to talk myself out of a depression or to focus on the better
aspects of life.

It is a white, hardback, with black letters on the front reading, “Some
are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust
upon them.  -William Shakespeare”

I don’t much care for the pages inside as they are marked with dotted
lines and some flowery doodle in the corners.  I remember
purchasing the journal thinking that I had been great once upon a time,
that I had been born great, and that I hoped to be great again,
thinking that maybe this journal or at least the quote adorning it’s
jacket cover might inspire me to achieve that greatness.

For years, I idealized my younger self and hated my present self for giving her up.

I realize now that if greatness once resided within me, it must still
reside there.  I am the same person I was the day that I was born;
therefore, if I was born great, I must still be so.

Nothing beautiful may bloom in a garden of hatred, but in the face of forgiveness, beautiful things will surely blossom.”

Posted January 29, 2006 at 1:52AM

Guys, it’s kind of amazing what you can do with just a little hope.

(Update: I added the picture at the top because I couldn’t handle a picture-less post.)

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.

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.