Like many people with attention deficit disorder, I have developed an aversion to change.
by Frank South
I’ve hitch-hiked across the country not knowing whether I was going to sleep that night on a rock hill outside of Wendover, Utah, or in a vagrant’s cell in Vernal. (I’ve done both, and the cell is more comfortable, plus you get free pancakes and eggs for breakfast.)
In my twenties, I moved from Missouri to California, to New York, then back to California, all the while changing jobs, life goals, and girlfriends constantly. I've been married and divorced twice. It didn’t seem an unusual or stressful way to live at the time; instead, it seemed like the best way to keep things interesting.
ADHD is all change all the time. I dealt with it by embracing and surfing the chaos. Only now do I appreciate how stone scared I really was.
I finally settled down in L.A. with my third (and real-deal) wife, Margaret. For fifteen years I wrote and produced TV in one city. Even with success in my grasp, I still manage to make it feel like our whole family is hitching across Utah not knowing where we are going to be come nightfall. An easily distracted hypomanic drunk isn’t the best guy to be driving the bus.
We made one more move - to Hawaii (the most remote land mass on earth - a fact I find deeply comforting). I got sober and, a short time later, I start going to a therapist here, Dr. G. Dr. G started by seeing my son. Pretty soon he was seeing the whole family. I don’t just go in for the quick med visits; something in my relationship with him helps me to really work at therapy. I haven’t trusted anyone enough to do that in a very long time.
Dr. G reads my writing as I work on things – especially on Pay Attention, my ADHD show. We talk deeply, and laugh too. Once I was shocked to find myself more honest and unguarded with him than I’d ever been with anyone in my life besides Margaret.
This seven-year relationship, this dance of minds, became an integral part of my life. I was finally able to calm down enough to actually see the world around me. I was able to be present enough to actually see the people in my life.
I did not want this dance to end. But my therapist was closing shop and taking a big teaching position. So I had to react like a grownup and accept the change, which outwardly I did. As you may have read in the previous post, inwardly I threw a monster tantrum. It was just fear, but fear makes me angry. Especially fear of the chaos.
Inevitably the first appointment with the new doc came. New office, same-old forms to fill out. We shake hands, sit. He puts a pad and pen on his crossed leg. Dr. G never used a pad. And this new doc is way young. I decide to be super careful here. But then he asks an interesting question, and my answer surprises me. All right, maybe I’ll take another step. Maybe this can be okay - if I can just get him to stop with the note pad.