ADD? Me?

I went to the doctor today.

Two weeks ago, I got fired because I made a mistake. It was a very small mistake; I skipped one step in my processes. A very important step that basically ruined the next day for everyone in the company. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had made similar, less awful mistakes every month or two since then, I may have been spared. But unfortunately for me, I made too many mistakes and this was it. I don’t blame them.

I had asked my doctor during my last appointment about my memory. It’s really hard for me to describe my terrible memory in terms of my job, because this appointment was January. I hadn’t made the big ones that led to my meeting with HR in March yet. The best I had, at the time, was the stories from my friends. I used this one as an example:

A friend of mine has talked about this class we had together. She talks about these specific things, like the time I showed her how to fold and rip paper to make a makeshift staple. But I don’t remember her at all.

My doctor said that it was probably not an issue. People store things differently in their brains, and maybe if they kept describing things, I’d find that one thing that unlocks the memory. Sounds logical to me.

But then Bad Times Friday happened. I kept asking myself WHY. This isn’t who I wanted to be, this careless and forgetful person. My best explanation was that the night before, my parents had to put their dog down. They texted me and I knew about this about an hour or two before I skipped the important step. And sure, it’s possible that this “helped.” I forgot another important step a couple months earlier, when my dad texted about the dog having seizures. That didn’t explain any of the other times, and let’s be honest, it didn’t excuse any of it.

What I did, while I was fighting back the tears and panic and guilt before I got fired, was send a message to my doctor. This time I had examples of the real problem I was having. They got my message (I read it on my phone in the park with my friend and her cute little 3 year old on the most beautiful day we have had so far this year) and they called (while I was playing with my friends’ guinea pig at her house) and we made an appointment, for today.

So he asked me questions. I told him about how I always feel tired, how I never do the stuff I want to do, about how stressed I was (you know, before. After is kind of a no-brainer) and some other questions… which I already forgot, actually. I do remember staring at the ceiling and mentally reciting lyrics to “My Shot,” though. I’m pretty sure nobody was talking to me. I told him about how I don’t do things unless I “have to.” Like get out of bed on time for work, or get my driver’s licence. I literally didn’t get it until 5 days before I started the job I NEEDED to drive to.

I’m not entirely sure which of these things brought him to the ADD conclusion. To be honest, I still don’t entirely get it, but thinking about that is the second part of my post. He also said depression and maybe thyroid, so they stole my blood and I got a prescription.

The one thing he did say was that usually ADD is something that’s always there, not something that develops. Based on the questions he asked, I had to say that, well, honestly some of this stuff has always been a problem. But I always really liked school, so it was easier for me to concentrate. The deadlines were easier to understand. I was good at producing higher-quality work than other kids at the last minute. I eventually learned to do things immediately so I wouldn’t have the problems I usually had. The procrastination, the last minute work, the panic, etc. Because I knew those deadlines weren’t going away. Work is different though. I don’t have coping mechanisms for this.

I guess that helped him think, well, maybe? The medication works with my anxiety medicine anyway, and it helps both ADD and depression anyway, so the specifics don’t matter as much, I suppose. I wouldn’t know. I have three or four weeks before I know if this will help.

Hours after the appointment, I was reading a thread on reddit about a dad who literally won’t see his kids doing something dangerous or hear them screaming if he’s doing something else. They discussed how it could be ADD and this dad should go to a doctor. Someone even said that people often aren’t diagnosed with this type of ADD until they have kids.

Which led me to looking at ADD types (yes, I know it’s officially ADHD for all types, but it’s bullshit that an attention disorder that might be making me TIRED has the word HYPERACTIVITY in it, isn’t it? It’s incredibly counterproductive. Of course, it also might not because I don’t have it, but you get my point, right?) and seeing that while a lot of the traditional stuff doesn’t match me at all, but “Inattentive ADHD” really hits those boxes.

  • Difficulty paying attention to details/makes careless mistakes
    • This is why I got fired, isn’t it?
    • There’s also little stuff. Like tonight, my roommate said “Would you get a haircut as short as her?” and I just didn’t see it. Pretty benign, normal stuff, but I can’t think of anything better. Because I forgot them.
    • I made a lot of careless mistakes in math. 95% of my wrong math problems through my life was careless mistakes rather than a misunderstanding of the concepts. My highschool Geometry teacher said math is really just learning to not make so many careless mistakes… so let’s be honest, this isn’t unique.
  • Short attention span
    • Every time I try to watch a video on youtube, I start fiddling with my phone.
    • I need to listen to a podcast in the shower. Because the shower is boring.
    • Also cooking. And cleaning. Maybe this doesn’t fit here.
  • Difficulty with listening
    • Sometimes, no matter how hard I try to listen, it all turns into nothing.
    • During D&D, I’ve learned to occupy my hands (therapy putty or coloring) or I won’t hear anything
    • It was common in school and meetings too. Sometimes… just. White noise for a few seconds.
  • Often unable to follow through on tasks
    • I think this is also related to why I was fired
    • I can only follow through on stuff with a clear deadline and consequence.
    • I haven’t edited any of those videos or worked on my miniatures or learned Korean or worked on my D&D campaign or…
  • Trouble with organization
    • I swear, my cubicle was the ONLY ONE that looked like a tornado hit it. Papers and toys everywhere.
    • I have piles on my desk here, and beside my desk and on a chair and on the counter and on the floor of my bedroom and…
    • I live in a disaster and I don’t know how to organize anything despite looking for tips. None of it makes any sense to me.
  • Avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort
    • Too tired to think
    • Unless I NEED to. Like right now. I wouldn’t sleep if this was in my brain.
  • Often loses things
    • This is why my keys and wallet are attached.
    • I TRY to always put them in the same place.
    • I usually have a better idea of where my roommate’s stuff is because I remember thinking about the weird places he puts his junk when I see them.
  • Easily distracted
    • Again, the youtube/reddit thing.
    • I can’t watch new shows because I won’t pay attention, even if I want to
  • Forgetful in daily activities
    • Isn’t this why I got fired?
    • I often forget what I’m doing. In the middle of doing it. Like writing this post. I look away, then look back, and ask myself “WHAT AM I DOING???”
    • I did that twice a day at LEAST at my job.

But the hyperactive symptoms?

  • Fidgets/squirms – Rarely
  • Has trouble staying seated – What’s the opposite of this? I have that.
  • Excessive running/climbing or restlessness – Well, okay, sometimes I just wanted to climb the cubicle walls and escape into the ceiling. But I don’t because I am an adult with (apparently) anxiety. Or I would perch on that cubicle wall and caw at people like a bird. That may be a different problem.
  • Trouble with quiet activities – What’s the opposite of this? I have that.
  • Needs to be “on the go” – Opposite
  • Often talks too much – So very opposite
  • Blurts out answers -SO. VERY. OPPOSITE.
  • Difficulty awaiting turn – And again. Couldn’t be more opposite.
  • Interrupts conversations or intrudes on others – Is there any way to be infinitely opposite?

I always thought of these when I think ADD/ADHD. It reminds me of my experience with anxiety. What I “knew,” what I thought was true, wasn’t really the whole story. People are a lot more open about this now, but I usually see depression as the big one. It’s NOT being sad. It’s bigger and emptier than that, and it’s not a choice. And that’s GOOD. That’s GREAT that we’re talking about that, because people NEED TO KNOW.

I guess all other mental issues are the same, because I expected depression. I expected stress. I didn’t expect ADD.

But… looking at it a little closer. I guess it’s possible.

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