Health & Nutrition

Carved in Sand

A memoir explores memory in midlife.

Rows of books about ADHD and anxiety
Rows of books

by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin
HarperCollins; $24.95
Purchase Carved in Sand

When Cathryn Jakobson Ramin hit her forties, she found that she couldn’t remember movie titles or hold a thought long enough to jot it down. Her quest to find out what was happening — and, more important, how the brain works — is chronicled in her provocative book, Carved in Sand.

We tag along as she consults medical and psychological experts — ADHD guru Ned Hallowell suggests she may have attention deficit trait, not ADHD — and tries a range of interventions, including biofeedback, meditation, sleep remedies, vitamins, and brain exercises.

The advice she’s given is often contradictory. At times, this made her story a little confusing, but also realistic — that’s the way it happens in the real world.

Ramin’s exploration makes it clear that there is no such thing as adult onset ADHD. Women often say to me, “I have all these problems, I have ADHD.” Sometimes that’s the case and the ADHD went undiagnosed. But we often end up looking for other causes.

It’s also important to note that the answers Ramin eventually finds fit her unique situation; they’re not general solutions.

This book isn’t a self-help manual, but, if you have ADHD and find yourself getting foggier as you enter midlife, it presents an instructive look at factors that may be compounding your symptoms.