My life long story with ADD

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      hewart
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      I wanted to share some of my life long issues with ADD. Having grown up during the 50’s and 60’s not much was known about ADHD or ADD. It was a struggle to make average grades and to hear that common phrase of “You just need to try harder” everyday in class. I did not get a firm diagnosis until my late 50’s. Just recently I discovered why so many things were just hard for me. Dyslexia was always something that people had where they mixed up letters in words. To me, that was just an issue with writing and I always thought I wrote just fine. Besides, my issues were with recalling names, dates or road signs. I blamed all that on ADD. I managed to become a computer analysis and programmer. Before that happened, my issues in a class room were just trying to recall information for tests. I would either fail or get low grades. No one could understand why I was so stupid. I had to lookup Dyslexia a few days ago because I had an employee that was entering bad info into one of my programs and I wanted to be sure I understood the correct meaning for Dyslexia. As I went through page after page of what that was, it became painfully obvious that I was reading about me. It described the fatigue I got after reading for as little as 15 minutes. I could read, but it was a challenge to get through a page. Then I remembered the problems I had with reading as a child. I wasn’t getting things mixed up, I just had to slow down to understand what I read. My brain needed more time to sort out the meaning of the words. So much time that I just tired myself out and had to stop. Misspelled words are also an issue. However, I always used a spell checker and never gave it a thought. Pronouncing odd or long words. When talking with my wife it became a joke when I mispronounced words. No harm done. Just another symptom. Then, a little note at the end that explained that Dyslexia is linked to ADD. I almost fell out of my chair. All of this explained my childhood issues and is now shedding light on my adult life.

      So, what to do? First, understand that your brain will multi process all the time. People with ADD will do this at an accelerated pace. At least it is for me. Here is an example, listening to music while working. I have even written computer code while watching TV. I could be deep in thought and grab the remote to mute the commercials while going directly back to my program without missing a beat. To be productive, you need to give those parts of your brain that want attention, something to do, so that you can work. That might mean playing music while you work. If you don’t, it will drive you crazy hashing out parts of old tunes over and over until it becomes distracting. All of your senses are at work and will be poking you in the head just to let you know that it’s cold or your back hurts or it’s too dark in the room. Prepare for that when you can and don’t give your brain a reason to keep poking you in the head.

      Ok, so now what ? Learn to hyper focus. If you are doing something you enjoy, all your little people living in your head will shut up. Yes, that’s right, I have little people living in my head that all want to help. They rarely know how to help but that does not stop them from trying. If nothing else, they are my collective creativity. They rarely make sense but they get great ideas. The biggest problem is that they can be very distractive. Thus the reason for my ADD. They can make me laugh out loud when no one is around or irritate me by trying to read every sign and license tag while I am driving. They are all a part of who I am. By humanizing them, I can cope with the distractions, you can too.

      Sorry for the long story. If you are suffering with ADD, don’t forget to read up on Dyslexia. And don’t wait until you are 67 years old to do it. Understanding what is causing your problems is the first step to finding a solution.

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