Guest Blogs

How I Survived a New England Family Vacation

In many ways I feel like having ADHD is like being a child-adult; my tendency and the temptation is to sit in a sandbox and make mud pies.

The family vacation in lobster and clam land went okay. The father, stepmother, the sister and I drove off to Newport, Rhode Island on Saturday morning.

I had suggested the getaway, and the sister ended up doing most of the legwork and the planning. She had compiled a list of places to go and things to do, and I get the feeling that she resents that I am the undisciplined, unorganized participant who merely suggests the idea. We have a love-hate relationship, each one seemingly wanting to prove that our problems are more serious than the other’s. She’s the one with the physical problems, but I am the one with the mental disorder.

Sunday morning, before I’d taken the fix of Adderall and Lexapro, I woke up my zany self. My conversation was such a patchwork quilt that she looked at me and burst into laughter. I yawned like a lazy cat under the sun and began babbling off ideas and musings. Here are a few silly examples. “How do we know that men are insane? Mental disorder, MENtal, get it?” Haha. I lay on the bed spreading my limbs out on the mattress like a leaf on the water. I felt five years old again and wonderful. “Do you act like this is front of everybody?” the sister asked. “Yes, no, maybe,” I giggled.

In many ways I feel like having ADHD is like being a child-adult; my tendency and the temptation is to sit in a sandbox and make mud pies rather than change diapers and pay the bills. I will come up with sudden romantic and offbeat ideas.

Like Saturday night, I thought of raiding the vending machine and planting potato chips, chocolates and other vending-machine cuisine before the father and stepmother’s door. I wanted it to be a surprise, but after the thrill of the idea there was no follow through. It fizzled like a lot of other things.

It also bothers me that the father and stepmother haven’t acknowledged my disorder, treating me as if I were some “character” rather than someone intelligent who is suffering from something. Rather, the sister gets much of the attention with her physical health issues. Now I must sound like a major brat.

The wonderful and terrible thing is that I am resilient, and I have not given up on the belief that I will turn my life’s lemons into lemonade. Before leaving for Newport, I called one of the leaders of the guinea pig group again and asked her about this 12-week ADHD group that would start in the fall. The group focuses on practical ways to tackle everyday challenges, and I want to get better. I am gung-ho about it, but now the only thing is follow through.

Monday came and it was back to the city again, back to reality.