ADHD and I have spent the last 35 years occasionally almost completely doing things together. For a lot of those years it worked for me. I was like a lovely ethereal being that would leave a trail of half unloaded dishwashers, towels on the floor, and amazing unfinished arts and crafts projects. As I got older, it became less lovely. When you add a husband, a house, two kids, 3 dogs, and a job as a teacher, the scope of what needs to get done can paralyze you. So you do nothing.
Or you do nothing until you absolutely utterly, fucking have to, and you only do the things that have possible disastrous consequences if not done. If I don’t clean the kitchen, I have a pissed off husband. That’s cool. If I don’t go to work, I get fired. Not cool. It is also more likely that the thing will get done if there are people on the outside world who will be disappointed/judgmental/angry if I don’t do it. I have to dig deep, but I can find a fuck to give about that. There isn’t one fuck to be found when dealing with cleaning, cooking, laundry, and other household duties. Trust me, I’ve being looking for that fuck for as long as I can remember.
Here are the things that I utterly, fucking have to do Monday – Friday:
– Get out of bed, shower, get dressed, and go to work. Unless I am deep in the muddy waters of a depression, I’m pretty good at this. I have cute dresses and I live close to work.
– Have complete, awesome, entertaining, and life enriching lesson plans for my classes. I give a fuck about teaching. I give a fuck about my students. I give a fuck about not disappointing my colleagues. I give a fuck about being judged by my administration. I give a fuck that parents believe in me. There is also the anxiety issue. Have you ever given a presentation? How about a 90 minute presentation. A lot of preparation and puke inducing anxiety goes into that, doesn’t it? Now imagine doing it three times a day, five days a week. And your audience doesn’t have to adhere to normal societal rules of etiquette. The consequences of not giving a fuck are immediate and really stressful and usually involve projectiles.
– Go home. Sit and look at my phone, computer, or TV for about an hour to calm my brain. Sometimes just staring off into space works. By this part of the day, I am in sensory overload. My sons fully understand the concept of using their “inside voices.”
– Get working on those lesson plans for the next day.
– Go the fuck to bed.
Here are the things that I also should have done, but didn’t:
– Double check that son #2 had done his homework because he is a lying little shit about it most days.
– Clean stuff.
– Make dinner. Don’t worry, everyone eats well-balanced meals that are lovingly brought to the door by a nice delivery man or prepared by a slightly grumpy husband.
– Quality family time. What does that even look like? Are we supposed to play Uno or do a puzzle?
– Tuck each of my boys in and we take turns reading a book. Something like Huck Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird.
– Grade my student’s work from the day. I never do this daily. Ever. And as soon as a kid complains that they did not get their essay back in a timely manner, I will start.
AND THEN THEY GAVE ME ADDERALL!!
I had dreamed of this day. My lifetime of being called lazy was going to be over. I would be so efficient. I wouldn’t waste time looking for things I had lost or getting off track. I was going to be super mom! I got goose bumps thinking about the possibility that I would want to spend hours scrubbing the bathrooms. I was going to check off everything on my to-do list at the end of each day with a shit-eating grin on my face and a glass of Chardonnay in my hand. Maybe I’ll take up knitting. I’ve never had the attention span for that before. Maybe I’ll stop discouraging my children from doing any activity that required me take them somewhere at a scheduled time on a weekly basis. That short stint as a soccer mom just about ended me.
But of course there is no magic pill. I love how I feel on Adderall. I’m unstoppable and think I’m super brilliant. This shit is speed! I can’t believe they give this to kids. I can’t believe the kids in my classes aren’t more fucking cheerful because they are all taking it.
It makes my mind slow down, my thoughts get in line, and I can focus. I can really focus. Like, really, really focus. Like, really, really focus on staying up all night and reading everything there is on Zelda Fitzgerald, or painting my nails 12 times in a row. The closest I got to a cleaning binge was spending hours on-line looking at all the sites that taught you how to organize your closet.
The problem is that you can’t choose what you are going to focus on. The problem is that you feel like you don’t need sleep or food. The problem is that they are incredibly addictive. The problem is that I like to think of “Take As Prescribed” as more of a guideline. The problem is that when you run out early and have to wait a week to get your next prescription, it will trigger one hell of a depression. The not eating or sleeping will totally dump you in the same hole if the withdrawals don’t.
I did the responsible thing and told my doctor during last month’s visit that Adderall and I can no longer see each other. It is an abusive relationship.
He said, “No problem, there are lots of non-stimulant alternatives that we can look at.”
I interrupted him, “Now hold on there, where is the fire? What’s the hurry? I say we wait until next month before we stop the Adderall completely. Am I right? Break ups can be hard, especially when you don’t have a supply of amphetamines handy.”
“Ok,” he said. “Next month.”
But for today I am going to take my Adderall and grade papers. All day long. This is because report cards are due tomorrow and I have about 20 hours of grading to do that I should have been doing in reasonable chunks over the last 4 weeks. I fucking have to do it. I have built myself a little grading nook that involves two TV trays and an ottoman. I have my coffee and my purple pen (red pens are so brutal). I’m all ready to go and then……..I wrote this post instead.
But now I have said all that I want to say and this pile of papers are within easy reach and OMG, I DON’T WANNA DO IT!!!!!
OK, I’m digging deep to find the fuck to give about wanting to start this. I got this. But I will probably have to check the blog every 25-30 minutes, so feel free to leave a comment and say hi.