There are days where the confusion in my head makes it hard to make the simplest of decisions. Going to the grocery store for milk can turn into a two hour ordeal. A trip to the mall can feel like an electrical circuit that exploded. There’s too much stimulus and not enough brain function to focus in on making choices.
Then there are times of my being hyper-focused, where I plunge forward accomplishing tasks. Focus, determination, unyielding pursuit with dedication, can be a good thing, and it can also be a bad thing. Going in and out of being hyper-focused is common sailing for me. Anyone with ADHD can relate to that. It is one of the curses of ADHD and sometimes a benefit.
Being hyper-focused can produce immeasurable amounts of productivity with relentless focus—focus that latches on like a bulldog. Sometimes the bulldog listens when I tell the dog to let go, and sometimes it would take a shovel upside the head to get the bull dog to “drop-it.” It is productivity with a price, because you can lose hours and or days while in a whirlwind of activity; productive activity, yes, but nonetheless, a whirlwind of lost time. I can get caught in a whirlwind and completely forget very important tasks. Tasks like picking up my child from school. Answering the phone to shouts of, “Mom, where are you?!”
Being hyper-focused feels better than being in a fog, which is often the alternative to being hyper-focused. It is like the sister-cruise of ADHD sufferers. On one side of being hyper-focused, the benefit is getting so much done that Superman couldn’t keep up. On the other side, the fog can be paralyzing, with hours or days of circuits that don’t seem to connect, trapped in a maze without an exit. While in a fog at times it can be almost impossible to focus on anything at all. But once that fog is lifted it is like a plane souring into the air.
Breaking free from being hyper-focused can be more like a crash landing—a crash landing that requires picking up the smashed pieces from the wreckage. Those smashed pieces can be the people you love that you have unknowingly hurt or other responsibilities that were supposed to be accomplished, but never were while you were caught in the whirlwind.
Yes, it is difficult living with ADHD but the hero in this scenario is my husband. An understanding spouse can make living with ADHD much easier; even though it makes life more challenging for him. “I’ll just be a minute” can turn into thirty and impulsive decisions can cause timeless hours of damage control. (For instance, I once purchased something online with an evergreen clause that took months of getting out of.) He runs into cabinets that I have left open, trips over shoes that I forgot about, and guides me through turning on the television over and over. He understands me, and accepts me, whether in a whirlwind or in a confused fog.
If you live with ADHD, be patient with yourself. If you live with someone who has ADHD, be patient with them, and strive to understand their world. It’s a difficult one.