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April 19, 2010 / Jenny Ann Fraser

adHd


One of my favourite writers, Julia Cameron says that in order to write, you must first “show up at the page”.

This is what I’m doing today.  Just showing up.  I’ll admit, that the weather, and the fact that my neighbors downstairs who own the thermostat in our building have gone to work and left the heat on making me wish that I could show up at the page outside where spring has finally arrived… but I’ll have to tough it out up here. Maybe some day, they’ll have wi-fi at the park?

I’ve been finished work for over a week now, and what a busy week it has been.  I’ve barely had any time to get my life organized and catch up on my sleep. There always seems to be somewhere I have to be and my head is still swirling with all of the things that I can’t get to.

I have ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.   I’m tempted to say that I have ADH as when we’re talking about me, the H does need to be bold and underlined and I have come to the conclusion after living my life for all of this time, that it doesn’t benefit me to think of myself as having a disorder.  I’m just me and if I’m breathing, it means that I’m working at being a better me. Take it or leave it.

I am incredibly hyperactive.  I have difficulty thinking if I’m not moving.  This makes sitting in a classroom for hours and actually learning anything pretty difficult which is why, despite my supposed above average IQ, I hated school. (Except for music and other creative classes) . However, left on my own, learning is my favourite thing in the entire world… in fact I dedicated my life to it in my early twenties and that was probably the smartest decision I’ve ever made.

I walk everywhere.  I average 10 to 12 kilometers a day even on the coldest winter days.  Walking not only enables me to think optimally, but it allows me to focus when I need to by giving me a constant outlet for my excess energy.  It obviously keeps me fit, and it’s good for the environment, which is one of the things that I am most passionate about. I also must say, that if it weren’t for my compulsive walking, I’m quite sure my Fibromyalgia would cripple me. I prefer not to be crippled and my hyperactive nature makes sitting still impossible regardless of my pain level.  I’m very grateful for that.

Organization is extremely difficult for me.  The hardest thing is keeping a space organized. I often move too quickly from one thing to the next, and picking up or organizing as I go (which seems obvious to so many people) simply doesn’t fall into my consciousness all that often.  Once I’ve made a mess, cleaning up is something I can only describe as trying to put together a puzzle when half of the pieces are blank.  I can easily become overwhelmed by simply figuring out what to do first and so I often do nothing… I’m working on it, but more importantly, I’m accepting that I’m always doing my best in any given moment, (even when I choose to walk away) and that is good enough. I like order, in fact I crave it because lack of order makes it almost impossible to think clearly, but it is a struggle.  Over the years, I’ve seen improvement so I  believe that one day I will have a clean organized life that stays that way. For now, I accept what is and keep trying.

I’ve struggled my entire life because of this, and I would guess that all if not most of what I have struggled with my entire life is a direct result of not my ADHD, but my reaction to my ADHD. If I look at my particular deficits as flaws that determine my worth as a human being, (or allow others to do so) I have no self-esteem.  Thank God those days are over.  I now see myself as a perfectly fine human being  in training. Just like everyone else.  One difference between me and my non-ADHD fellow humans, is that I am keenly aware of my deficits and where I need to improve. We should all be so lucky.

Years ago, I tried every drug on the market,  and finally came to the conclusion (with the help of an excellent therapist, ) that the side-effects, not to mention the largely unknown long-term effects do not even come close to out-weighing the benefits.  These drugs did not cure me, or solve any of the problems in my life.  They just made it impossible to function without them and I don’t for see how becoming addicted to amphetamines will get me anywhere positive. I am not exaggerating, these drugs are addictive.

At this point in my life, I wouldn’t change my ADHD for the world.  While it may be the cause of many of my problems in the past, it is also the cause of many of my strengths.

My insatiable thirst for knowledge, and learning, have given me a broad  skillset, (all of which give me the confidence required to start my new business). My constant search for new challenges forces me to grow. And most of all, my inability to tolerate boredom and repetitiveness may have made life hard, but it has prevented me from wasting my potential in some unsuitable career, and is now what is driving me to push my limits.

There are days, when the lack of balance in my life makes my brain go a little haywire, and times where boredom and monotony do set in and I seem to shut down and turn into a bit of a slug… but who doesn’t struggle sometimes? If everything was easy, I’d have no reason to try hard, and that wouldn’t put me farther ahead. I love my energy and enthusiasm, my humor and creativity, and I have to admit, I love that I’ll never be “Normal”.  I don’t really know what “Normal” is, but it sounds boring. I think I’ll keep being me.

Really, I didn't do this but it makes me laugh.

Really, I didn’t do this, but it makes me laugh.

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7 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. BK / Apr 20 2010 8:10 pm

    As they said, “Everything happened for a reason.” As in your regular walking which made Fibromyalgia not crippling to you. And not only that, all those walking help you to keep fit. About organization, a lot of time it can be challenge to start especially if it it messy everywhere; we wouldn’t know where to start. Perhaps if we change or twist our view a little, getting organize can be like walking; we do not need to know where or how to start walking, we just walk and eventually distance will be covered and destination reached.

    • jennyannfraser / Apr 20 2010 8:29 pm

      What a great way to think about it! Thank you as always.

  2. tobeme / Apr 21 2010 12:53 pm

    You are an amazing and self aware being! Thanks for sharing this information about yourself. The photo is the definition of ironic. Love it.

    • jennyannfraser / Apr 22 2010 8:57 am

      Thank you for reading! Oh, and thank you for getting the photo. I walk past that garage every day and wish I could share it. Glad I got the chance.

  3. Hava / Apr 22 2010 9:39 pm

    For someone who claims to have difficulty with organization, I’ve never noticed a problem. And I know what you mean about the medication, tried taking antidepressants and the headaches & dizziness were even worse than the depression. You’re doing awesome, so keep it up!

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