Late and Losing My Memory

Rather than apologize for the ADHD-driven poolside slip, I played it cool. No one has time for a loser, right?

I’m in month three of unemployment, and month one of no health insurance, and no ADHD medication. I guess you could say I’m floundering.

For a while things were actually going pretty well. Attending the 12-week support-group sessions (with fellow adults with attention deficit disorder/ADHD) gave me renewed hope. But now, with the severance dried up, I’m clueless about what next.

Lately the stress perhaps has taken away some of my short-term memory. I showed up on deck at the pool the other day, five minutes late for the class I was teaching. The kids were sitting on the edge of the pool twiddling their fingers, while a few parents were gazing upward, glaring at that large wall clock with the digital red numbers.

This time I did not apologize, but rather quickly inhaled and exhaled and swallowed the apology. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better to walk in cool and collected, even if I’ve done a royal screw-up. No one wants to deal with a loser.

At that point, the teaching assistant reminded me that we needed to test the remaining kids and issue them progress reports.

I looked at the kids-six, seven, eight year olds-and although I’ve been teaching them for a month or so, I couldn’t remember a single name. How to fake it? I came close to calling them “hey you,” but decided to swallow my ego and say nothing. (I had lost the class roster and did not want to ask the principal to print out another one.)

The pinnacle of humiliation came when I simply didn’t recognize a little girl who had been in the class before. She looked familiar, but for a minute I didn’t know who she was. “Are you in my class?” I asked. Are these the early signs of dementia?

In all likelihood, they are the signs of job loss anxiety, the symptoms of the ADHD condition spiraling without the Adderall, and, really, the fear that this time I might not be able to pick up the pieces again.

“A Fine for Forgetfulness”