Can ADD Adults Sit Still and Relax?

I always think I should be productive. Pack tomorrow's lunch, lay out the clothes, look at the planner.
ADHD & the City | posted by Jane D.
Jane D.

After my two-week experiment of going off attention-deficit medication, I've gone back to Adderall after noticing, with much discouragement, that without it I am like a wild mustang running around in circles. I can't afford to make mistakes at work, because I can't get canned in these economically tough times.

The boyfriend had a talk with me the other day, the nice guy suddenly transformed into a ball of frustration. "I'm concerned that you can't seem to sit still," he says, referring to the flurry of emails I forward to him, events, places to go, things to see, things to do. "Why can't we just do nothing sometimes?"

I have no good answer. I want to control myself, but I'm like a child in a candy store. I want it ALL.

I am semi-amazed that he hasn't dumped me yet. He is so kind that I have the itch to come out of the closet and talk about the ADD diagnosis. The other day we chatted about one of his obsessive-compulsive friends who takes meds. I wanted to jump in and say, "Oh really? I do too." But I nodded and slipped into silence instead.

Every day is a battle. Last night (once again) I turn on the damn Internet and get sucked into surfing, or what Dr. Ned Hallowell aptly calls screensucking. In the meantime, I am constantly thinking I should be doing something else, something constructive like packing tomorrow's lunch, laying out the clothes, looking at the planner.

And it was a day mottled with failures—overdue library books and the $4 fine, signing up for an event that I needed to back out on because I have little concept of multitasking and time management—“the future,” as a fellow ADD compatriot says, "does not exist."

ADD or maybe just my technophobic-character offers laughs too. On Tuesday, I stood on the endless queue to vote. Once I get through the mosh pit of fellow voters, I am faced with the booth, and instructions to one side. I'm a voting virgin. I pull and yank on what I think is the lever, but no can do. I peek out of the curtain and the young woman shows me once, but somehow I still can't get in.

Another minute passes and I stick my head out again, now faced with an impatient line of people. I motion her in the same way I do to a girlfriend when I want her to give me her two cents on how I look in such and such outfit. She laughs, smiles; she's patient. "It's okay, you've not done this before," she says. I yank the lever and feel empowered.

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