01/05/10 ~ Gratitude – Attention Deficit Disorder

Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (AADD) affects a lot of people (you like that scientific analysis there). Some more than others of course, point being it’s a real affliction that creates real difficulties.

I was born at a time that people like me weren’t diagnosed, we were given a hearty breakfast and shoved out the door to go out do what we were going to do until it was time to eat dinner. I can remember times that I would spend hours, (measured in Kid Time of course) exploring the back yard of the house we lived in in Bowling Green, KY. There were so many treasures to seek out and discover.

Later, I remember spending time in the woods behind our house in Indiana. I would flit from one thing to the next, discovering this tidbit of nature or that. Those were magical times. All that discovery, the first hand experiences, seeing things happen with my own two eyes, very cool.

With the many good times I had, there were some not so good times as well. School was one of those not so good times. The classes were boring, under challenged, and in my worldly mind, useless. Period changes in the hall, and lunch, now those were the times of school that I thrived. The quest to be accepted by the “in crowd” was far more challenging than anything the teachers could provide me.

As I aged, not necessarily matured, AADD became the bane of my existence. I couldn’t focus on the task at hand, had difficulty in completing jobs, and generally had to force myself to get to end of job on damn near everything. Thank God I found the creative side that had always been bubbling under the surface. My parents both suffered from severe blue collar mentality and took dim views on the creative side of normal people, and since I was their child, I was by God NORMAL. It was better for my folks that drunks and addicts be creative, hippies too for that matter. But not in our family, just wouldn’t happen.

It took time to learn to bring the AADD into perspective and use it as a benefit rather than a determent. I learned through repeated trial that I had to accomplish things differently than what was prescribed. I had to break down tasks in my head into smaller more manageable chunks, because looking at the whole of a task just overwhelmed me to no end and would lock me up tighter than a drum head. I have used this internal breakdown to my advantage over the years, with what I consider great success. The way I make mental connections does not always lead to flawless execution, but it always gets me there.

Creatively, AADD is a true pain in the ass. It irks me to no end how many of my fellow writers say they are going to sit down and write x pages for x days to get their first drafts out. I start with a premise and by the time I get to the end of the outline I have completely changed what the original idea was. Frustrating as hell.

What’s the point, this is a post about gratitude, those things I am grateful for. The point is this, the flitting from idea to idea, the ever running commentary in my own head, and the insatiable drive to create, uses the snippets, the quick connections, and provides great freedom. The pieces fall into place eventually, and the outcome normal surprises me. For me there is no other way to be. I was blessed, some would say cursed, with what I call a dogs attention span. I can be deep in the middle of a post like this and all of a sudden some random mental shiny thing will pop up and off I go to chase that.

So if you suffer from short attention span, an appearance or feeling of disinterest, and often can’t complete the day to day tasks, think about a breakdown. Keep the end of task in mind but focus on the single chunk at hand for as long as you can and give yourself the benefit of going back to something when the fancy strikes you. There are more unfinished “things” in my life than I can count, but I’ll get back to them one by one during the course of my days.

I am grateful for my “disorder”, and can’t think of any other way to be.

Robert E


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