Man Overboard: The ADHD Cruise Ship Manifesto
Due to the sometimes overwhelming presence of ADHD in my family’s life, I read a lot of books, blogs, and articles about the subject, always looking for some new insight or piece of information I can learn from. But really, I’m hoping to identify with other people’s stories of everyday struggles and small victories with […]
Due to the sometimes overwhelming presence of ADHD in my family’s life, I read a lot of books, blogs, and articles about the subject, always looking for some new insight or piece of information I can learn from. But really, I’m hoping to identify with other people’s stories of everyday struggles and small victories with ADHD.
The trouble is, each individual’s experience with ADHD – whether as the parent, spouse, or friend, or the one who’s actually trying in vain to nail their brain down to one spot – is just so… individual.
I was reading a very entertaining piece about not fitting in with the non-ADHD world that mentioned how great it would be to be on an all-ADHD cruise where everybody would accept abrupt changes of subject and being interrupted in conversations. The idea being, I think, is that ADHDers would understand and be more tolerant of each other.
I wouldn’t last a minute on that boat. I deal with my own ADHD in a more desperate and well, fascist-like manner. I sit in the cave in my head and desperately hold onto each wiggling, slippery thought and errant, stammering word. I don’t want to lose them before I examine and devour them, or put them in little labeled cages for later. And yes, a second later I forget what wall of the cave I put the cage or the label falls off when I knock it over looking for another cage from last week.
But the point is, I don’t enjoy chaos. It is my everyday world, and I’ve found ways to use it creatively, but in an existence of constant flashing lights, ringing bells and bumper cars I crave peace and whatever sliver of order and understanding I can find, and when I find it, I give it everything I’ve got.
So, when I’m writing or reading and someone interrupts me, I tend to jump out of my skin. When I’m interrupted when I’m talking I go blank and immediately search for my train of thought that has immediately zoomed off for parts unknown, never to be heard from again. I’ve long ago stopped grieving for these orphan trains, but I still feel a twinge every time a fully formed gorgeous thought turns into empty track. My two ADHD kids don’t act this way themselves and think I’m skittish, which goes with my generally eccentric home persona. My non-ADHD over-achiever wife is more understanding, but that’s probably due in part to being married to me for 25 years.
The ADHD community is filled with individuals who have much in common and much to share with each other. But maybe due to the fact that ADHD directly affects the way we see and interpret the world around us and the world inside our heads, I think our experiences and how we live with them are amazingly diverse. This, in the end, is a very good thing.
Just don’t put me on that boat.
Updated on June 3, 2021