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“ADHD Is Real — and We’re Not Stupid or Lazy”

Hey, I have ADHD, I’m kinda crazy, but I’m no slacker — I’m working here.

It’s last week — no, the week before, and it had been building since the week before that, and I have a therapist appointment the next day which is good timing because thick dark water is swirling around me getting higher, darker, and thicker by the minute. It’s right up under my chin, licking at my lips, slipping up and up and I can’t get away from it. It’s inside and out — sucking me down — my own personal Drowning Pool of certain failure. But that’s okay, it is because I’m doing well with the new shrink, and I see him tomorrow. Wait…no, I missed it — the appointment was yesterday.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the ads popping up announcing simple and/or instant attention deficit disorder cures. This kinda gets on my nerves after a while. Do these people really think we haven’t educated ourselves on what’s actually going on in our ADHD brains, chemically, and that we know that there’s no cure — there’s work, acceptance, knowledge, medicine, love and faith, but no cure for ADHD. We don’t want to cure who we are, for god’s sake. We want to be able to handle it better. Maybe try to see the humor in it.

Then, there are the articles arguing that ADHD doesn’t exist at all. That attention deficit disorder was made up to trick parents to drug their spoiled kids or as a way for sneaky teens and adults to cop speed scrips. These folks are out there telling us that we’re making this stuff up — that we’re hiding behind med-happy pharmaceutical companies and complicit doctors because we don’t have the will to enforce old-fashioned hard work values on our kids or ourselves. They’re saying we call our kids or ourselves ADHD because we’re undisciplined, unmotivated, or just plain lazy.

This really gets on my nerves. Okay, yeah, it pisses me the hell off. I mean, I don’t know how it is for you, but oh yeah, sure — I’m just scrambling with everything I’ve got not to be sucked under this wet foaming mass of raging indecision, self-loathing, shameful fear, guilt, and at least a week of residual elevated stammering if I ever even get out of this idiotic mess — because I’m lazy.

When my brain goes down here — and it’s sneaky, slippery quick — my life, which, objectively, is just fine, disintegrates into a foul soup of problems I’ll never be able to solve because I can’t sort any of them out. The soup swirls around making it impossible to figure out which problem I should try to fix because I can’t figure which one is the important one and if it is, I’m sure I’m not the one to fix it, and if I try anyway, I’ll be ignoring the one problem I can fix, but I can’t do anything if I keep hyperventilating and yelling at people to shut up so I can think. That kind of behavior puts a little stress on the family unit. So I try to do less of that. And crying? That gives everybody, including me, the heebie-jeebies. I don’t do that anymore.

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I’m working hard here — giving it everything I’ve got — but what the hell do I do? Which do I choose? Is it my looming work deadline, or my dad’s health, or the pile of undone laundry growing by the washing machine? There’s Coco’s school problems (she’s transitioning out of SPED and needs support), or Harry’s school problems, or the dirty kitchen (including the floor), or Margaret’s company problems, which goes to cash flow which goes back to work deadline. But what about Margaret’s mother’s health? And speaking of cash flow — where’s ours? I’m behind on proofing the galleys for my mother’s book, but the dirty kitchen floor is nothing compared to the filth hiding in the living room carpet which I can’t fix because of the stupid broken overpriced freaking French vacuum cleaner, which I’d take in except for the Pontiac’s cooling system. And besides, we’re moving and I’m getting fat because I never exercise even though I promise myself I will tomorrow morning. Moving? We can’t move, I can’t move, it’s too big, but I better move — I better get off the island quick before everybody finally sees what an immense incompetent putz I really am. Hey, I’m kinda crazy, okay, but I’m no slacker — I’m working here.

So here’s the truth.

1. People with ADHD are not stupid. So keep your snake-oil.
2. ADHD is real and people who have ADHD are not lazy, spoiled or weak-willed. So shut up with that stuff. It’s ignorant and insulting.

I made it out of that particular panic pool without embarrassing myself — too much, anyway. (My daughter did see me sort of bonking my forehead on my desk when she came home from school, but she just said, “You okay?” I said, “Yeah” between bonks, and she went to the kitchen, with its just-cleaned floor, and got herself a snack.) I got it together enough to solve another problem that day. I rescheduled with my therapist, and tomorrow we’ll do some work on this, and maybe have a few laughs.

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