Sunday, February 7, 2010

Okay, I admit it. I have ADHD.



All right.  

So, I've had a blog or two in my day.  Some have been public.  Some have been private.  Some have been really personal.  Some have been really superficial.  Some of my writings have attracted thousands of readers.  I have other blogs that literally have never been seen.  Some are old relics of my past.  Others capture the continuity of my life, and I still write in them though they started years ago because I've made friends there and I don't want to lose the community. 

I don't know what I want from this blog except to communicate my feelings about a particular difficulty I face in my life.  I suffer from the inattentive subtype of ADHD.  

I avoid talking about this a lot.  It's embarrassing.  Because ADHD is the disorder du jour of my generation, there is a lot of baggage and assumption when one admits "hey, btw, I have ADHD."  Many people think it's not real.  Many people immediately think of the hyperactive subtype (which, I admit, is a really confusing thing) and assume that it only means that someone is off the walls and can't sit still.  People have little tolerance for this label anymore--they've known somebody who used it as a crutch for bad behavior, or they've known somebody who seemed fine yet claimed to "be ADD."  I cannot begrudge those perceptions, and I understand where they come from.  Before I realized what I was experiencing, I had some of the same misconceptions and biases myself.  

Thankfully, I am a mental health professional.  I know very well what it means when I say the words "I suffer from the inattentive subtype of ADHD."  In fact, I know it so well that I diagnose this in others.  I'm the one that can decide--can mark a client forever with that label, and say "You.  You have ADHD.  Let's work on it together."

The impetus for this post, though, is the urge I have to say that above all else right now, I am tired.  I am tired of trying with all of my might to focus on the things that are important to me, and not being able to.  I'm tired of coming up with schedule upon schedule, with back-up plan upon back-up plan, intended to help me focus and accomplish my goals and be productive, only to have those plans and schedules crumble under the weight of my heavy, heavy inadequacies.  I'm tired of being disappointed in myself.  I don't want to be maudlin, here.  I don't want to portray myself as having low self esteem.  But it is just a fact: when a person wants to do nothing more than learn how to focus, and that goal remains largely unattainable, he feels a level of frustration that is difficult to describe.  The shame--a shame that has made me so embarrassed that I've broken down and wept in public--is not something easy to explain.

And that's why I'm here.  I want to talk about this.  I want to give it a coherent voice, from someone who is living life successfully, but still struggles with this every single day.  And I want to get better.  

I will chronicle my efforts here.

15 comments:

  1. Hey, this is great! I will be really interested to see how it goes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. More power to you, Josh. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Josh you are amazing as usual at describing things so well that I feel it deeply.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey i can totally relate to you and so I am excited about this blog. You are an inspiration. I have to admit when i saw this blog and what you were blogging about I thought, yeah if you ever post on here. But I know you can attain your goal of writing daily. And I will enjoy reading it. Also, the picture on this post is perfect for the idea. I love you Joshua Weed. You are my friend and brother.

    ReplyDelete
  5. P.S. that comment was from Jenni. Not Justin.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So...I have a very good friend with ADD and she is nearing 40. She has tried (and not thus far succeeded) to figure out her recent memory problems and if they are related or a new kind of food intolerance. She has a brother on the autism spectrum as well. It has led her to research not only the difficulties that people with this disorder face, but also their strengths and the things they *can* and *do* accomplish. She has found a few gems of books that have helped her on this journey as well.

    It gives me hope that although some of us (or our children) may have some "labels" which call them disabled, it also brings great blessings with it, if we can just dig and find them. :-) I know that my beautiful daughter has so much compassion for other people and often seeks out those who are "vulnerable" or "different" in social settings. She often has no need to communicate with words in those instances. She brings out the pure joy in many situations that I would not have seen otherwise and while I would never wish some of the trials that we have endured with her on anyone else, I know that she has taught us more than anything else could. :-)

    Good Luck on your journey and I look forward to reading it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm excited about this too. I had to get up in the middle of reading your post to do something else, but I rememberd to come back to it! It's that good! Thank you for putting it into words. No I haven't been diagnosed, but I have always felt kinda ADHD. Not serious, managable but irritating.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks guys, I really appreciate your enthusiasm as I get this thing going. It'll help me be really accountable, for which I'm grateful.

    Karin: thanks for your heartfelt comment about your daughter. She sounds like a true joy. I'd love to hear of any of the books your friend has discovered. I'm always on the lookout for new material on the subject to add to my growing library.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love that you're so open about it. I don't think it's anything to be ashamed or embarrassed about. I know so many intelligent and successful people who have ADHD, Learning Disabilities and even people who are on the Autism Spectrum. We are just all wired differently...that's all. Some of us are naturally left-handed. Some of us are better writers than mathematicians. Some of us naturally run a temperature of 97 degrees, while other hover around 99. And...some of us learn or focus differently. What really saddens me is that girls are often overlooked as being shy or quiet, when really they have ADHD-1. It's more alarming for a boy (I'm thinking school-aged kids here...) to be inattentive than for a girl, so girls get overlooked. It's terrifying. I'm glad there are people like you who have a voice. Go Josh. p.s. We miss you guys! I miss your girls!! Give Lolly and the girls our love! (Is that an inappropriate ending to a blog comment?)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think it's so great that you started this blog. I will look forward to catching up on it during midnight feedings.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Just found this blog. Great to see you are blogging! :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. So maybe this is weird, but I just have to say I've really enjoyed your blog. Every single post. It's been like a book that I couldn't put down. I found your blog when your Club Unicorn post went viral on Facebook, and while that post was wonderful and eye-opening, it was just the tip of the iceberg of all the awesome stuff on here. I started by thinking I'd just see what you normally posted about, so I clicked on the "older post" button at the bottom of the page and before I knew it I was hooked. I look forward to more new posts in the future, and hope that you and your family will be able to enjoy this new adventure you've begun by going public with Club Unicorn.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your blog is so great! I was told about your blog from my friend. The most amazing family/friends in our ward announced that their 14 yr old son is gay and I'm sure your blog inspires them. I was hooked after reading the Unicorn Club post and wanted to know what made you start this blog so I started from the beginning. I was glad I did. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 17 (now 34). I felt very alone and stupid. I was never confident in my abilities and that still makes me sad. I also didn't want anyone to know I took medication or was ADHD. It wasn't until a few years ago that I've really fully embraced my learning disability. My daughter was diagnosed a couple years ago (now 10) with ADHD and I needed to show her how strong we both are. Fighting for her education and all that she deserves has been challenging but rewarding. Being able to understand first hand what she is going through has been the biggest blessing. She doesn't have to feel alone like I did. She can get the help in school that wasn't available to me. I still forget things, being late, lose focus, lose my keys, forget to turn on the drier, forget to pick up my kids, forget I have kids....but I make a conscious decision every day to do better...try harder for my kids and husband. My very forgiving ADHD husband ha! Yeah, spend a day with us!!! And one more thing, I always hated when people/family told me to be quiet, stop wiggling, or give me that "earth to Jackie wave" when I spaced out! I would always hear the words "act normal"! Who says they were normal?! I'm sure my family wouldn't be described as normal even if I wasn't one of them:)

    Thanks for sharing your story. You are very brave and strong.

    ReplyDelete
  14. loved this. thank you. my husband was diagnosed with it last year and i am one of those people who doesn't believe it really exists. i so totally wish that you could counsel both of us through it so that we could better understand it and cope with it.
    i also have to say that the first paragraph was basically my blog history in a nutshell... hilarious.

    ReplyDelete
  15. So, I did it. I just finished reading every single one of your posts, and I am so very glad I did. I may have to email you again, just because I really want to be friends. Does that sound stalkerish?

    ReplyDelete