5 Reasons The Isolator Is This Week’s ADHD Friday Find

ADHD and The Isolator - Hugo Gernsback

This week’s Friday Find – The Isolator – is pretty old school (1925).  As mentioned on Laughing Squid, The Isolator deafens the user, fills itself with oxygen and offers only a tiny slit through which the user can see.  This entire contraption…built to help isolate people from external noises, so they could focus easier.

And while I doubt you can find The Isolator available for purchase, I still think it’s worth sharing with you guys…for a few reasons:

1. I discovered The Isolator on Distractify this morning, which totally fits the ADD / ADHD, distracting nature of this blog.  (Also, it successfully distracted me as I had to find out more about this crazy focus-inducing helmet.)

2. …and it’s Friday (getting close to Saturday again) and I don’t have a Friday Find yet…so it just makes sense.

3. The Isolator looks pretty ridiculous and you guys can appreciate such things.

4. The fact that someone (Hugo Gernsback) back in 1925 felt the need to create The Isolator proves that people have been struggling with ADHD-type distractibility for a long time.

5. It also proves, like I mentioned in my first post, that these same ADHDers (or otherwise generally distractible folk) are pretty damn resourceful and are constantly trying to come up with creative solutions to the issues that plague them.

“Outside noises being eliminated, the worker can concentrate with ease upon the subject at hand.” –> Can you imagine being handed The Isolator as an accommodation at work?  Can you say…claustrophobic!

Quick shout out to A Great Disorder (blog).  While I referenced Laughing Squid’s article for a lot of this, they credited A Great Disorder with a lot of it.

ADHD Simulation – Listening With Distractions

A while back I shared the PBS site that simulates the challenge of reading as an ADHDer.  If you haven’t given it a whirl, I recommend you do.  The experience might give you some insight into why I have a million books (and love them all quite dearly, mind you), but haven’t been able to finish hardly any of them.

Below is the link to another ADHD simulation, again – courtesy of PBS.  This one tests your ability to focus on auditory cues while burdened with distractions.  Honestly, my Adderall should be working (unless it’s sugar pills again…which, you know, it could be) and I gave it a solid effort. After making it through the first two instructions without losing focus, I was just about to pat myself on the back…then I lost all hope.

Granted, it’s probably like a double-whammy, actually having ADHD and then partaking in a simulator that makes you feel like you have ADHD, so my chances of actually making it through were probably slim anyway.

The thing is, people with ADD / ADHD are usually hypersensitive to extraneous noises (and actually most extraneous factors in general), so we literally hear more than most people.  Yeah, I know, here I am over here complaining about having super powers…  I mean, super hearing can be a good thing, but it can also be super distracting.

When I can, I use a white noise machine or headphones to help drown out distracting noises.  Some people prefer earplugs, but I have small ears and it’s hard to find a pair that fits.  Also, I think they’re kinda gross and they usually hurt me after a while.

This is one of those symptoms that can be alleviated in the workplace by a simple accommodation like providing the employee a small office instead of a cube or giving them the ability to telecommute.  In school, some students are given their own quiet room to take their tests in or they’re allowed to go to the library during individual study time.

There are solutions out there.  It’s just a matter of figuring out what works for you.  Which, I’ll admit, can be quite daunting.  But!  Don’t give up, guys.  Remember that when you ARE in an environment that suits your brain style, you tend to excel (aka kick butt).  Be patient and creative…and you’ll get there.

If you can listen and pay attention just fine?  Well, good for you…must be nice.  Just kidding (mostly)!  Make sure your volume’s turned up (put your headphones on for the best experience) and click below to get an idea what it’s like to have a party in your head while trying to pay attention.

ADHD listening experience

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.

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?