Guest Blogs

“The ADHD Meet Up Went Swimmingly Well”

Although we’re all strangers, it feels really nice to be with people like me where I can do the emotional striptease without feeling dirty.

The ADHD meet up meeting went swimmingly well. This time the pow wow was at Gregory’s, a long-key Starbucks-look alike near Union Square, rather than Cosi where the music literally drowns out all thoughts. We had two repeats and three new people, including a really strange man who was fixated on the idea that I am a part-time swim instructor.

One of the repeats is Kevin, a cute Catholic Irish man, who said the best thing about his life in recent years was coming to terms with his ADHD and who he is, and being totally unashamed. He takes a Deepak Chopra way of tackling the ADHD, and says that life is not bad since he adopted the motto, “Instead of going home to the pub I go home to the tub.”

He takes short walks after work and has divided the house into zones, the laundry zone, the cooking zone, the bed zone, the clothes zone. Actually, it’s a brilliant idea, even though his apartment probably looks like Romper Room. Tonight we just tossed ideas, sorrows, challenges, jokes into the middle of the coffee table as if it were a toy box.

Kevin gave us the time challenge of keeping the conversations streamlined, no more lingering conversations and scattered thoughts. I fished out the Speedo watch and we parceled out five minutes for each person. On your mark, get set, go. I kept staring at the watch, staring at the speaker, but sure enough the whole timer thing was working like a charm otherwise it would be the never ending meeting.

Ideas galore tonight. There was this guy Vlad, the raw food eater, who said he thought that the vending machine cuisine might be contributing to ADHD. There was Cullen, a shy mousy man who said that he found lists helpful, even though I itched to scream, “It doesn’t work!” How many times have I walked into a store to buy another notebook and start making another pointless list.

Quai, this cute girl, took out a dog-eared mini planner she said that she had every thing in this one notebook, which amazed me given it was practically the size of an iPhone. It had pockets for business cards, coupons, it had an address section, it helped her to see things on a daily basis. I wondered where she’d gotten the calendar from. I wanted one.

This got me to thinking an activity might be creating calendars together. I’ve learned to kind of be flexible with the meetings given that people with ADHD tend to forget things, yours truly definitely included. As one of the members swiftly pointed out I put the wrong address down for the coffee shop. They all said they forgot to bring that one thing they didn’t want to do that we were going to do together, so we ended up with the round robin.

Gregory’s staffers waltzed over and said they were closing down, at 8 p.m. “They certainly keep us on track,” someone joked. I threw the mess of papers, half-drunken Coke bottle, pens, articles, etc., into my three bags, (bag lady I am) and took the emails from the members and said thanks and good night. I walked into the humid night bumping into the usual Friday night crowd. In the blocks between Murray Hill and Chelsea there are young couples everywhere, wearing flashy clothes, stiletto heels, they are off to parties. I felt a little sad that somehow my weekends seem attached to either swimming, ADHD, and the struggle of just trying to clean things up. But everyone is dealt a different set of cards, right?