Published on ADDitudeMag.com

Were You Saying Something?

If my mind goes wandering during our conversation, don't take it personally -- that's the ADHD staring blankly into space, not me.

by Bill Mehlman


It's like the line about the guy who gets a courtesy call from his bank, telling him that he's considerably overdrawn: "What! How can I be overdrawn? I still have checks!"

I must take issue with the impression, one that I've heard expressed far too many times, that ADHD is a "memory problem." This totally ignores the mechanism of ADHD.

It's not that we have trouble remembering. I can remember things just fine. What I have trouble doing is listening effectively. If someone's telling me a story about a mutual friend, and I get home, and my wife asks me if I've heard about what Cyril did. Well, if I say "no" it's not true, but if I say "yes" it's equally misleading.

If she'd asked me if someone told me about Cyril's latest contretemps, the answer, unequivocally, would be "yes." But if I drift off, trying to remember when high tide will occur tomorrow, and trying to remember if I have any more frozen bait, and if I remembered to cancel my appointments for tomorrow afternoon — well, I was there, but I sure as hell didn't hear about Cyril. And it's a good bet that I was thinking about the Yankees when I checked the tide tables yesterday, so there's no way I'll remember that info either.

Can't remember it if I never heard it. A downright vicious circle.

But as the other famous graduate of my high school, a Mr. Joel, once wrote:

And so it goes, and so it goes,
And you're the only one who knows.


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Source: Were You Saying Something?