I am an addict.
Now that I've dragged you in kicking and screaming with the title, I should immediately confess.
I have ADHD.
I mean, I knew it because I'm a Ritalin Kid. But that has mostly meant that I didn't concentrate well in school, but I tested incredibly well, they gave me drugs, I went to the top of the class.
Then somewhere in my freshman year of high school, that stopped. And I stopped. And much stupidity happened for the remainder of my life. Much big dumb, false starts, skipping projects around like a three card monte carnie on amphetamines.
Part of me thought I just sucked and was faking being worth a shit. The other part grabbed the Mensa evaluation, the IQ tests, and the other related things, and the two went to war in my head and never shut the fuck up.
For thirty years.
I attended (let me count here):
- University of Alaska-Anchorage (academic probation because I liked being a DJ at KRUA too much) - Business Marketing/Management - hated it
- University of Phoenix (took all my GI Bill money and jacked me with only two classes)
- Cal State University - Long Beach (ROTC, aged out, thus kicked out)
- University of Massachusetts (one semester before my ex-wife said I couldn't play anymore) This had a split thing with Harvard, but who's counting? I got nothing out of it. Yet another Business major. I knew better. But it was shiny.
- Seminary. Now this one I knocked outta the park, graduated summa cum laude, and was ordained. Now that I'm pagan, I won't embarrass them by naming them, but it was a Presbyterian education.
As a wise man once said, "Hey look! A cat!"
I discovered that I was going nowhere with my education and found the Professional Certificate. I might have the mental bandwidth for that.
- CalArts for graphic design
- Georgia Institute of Technology to appease my late father, and I work IT anyway.
- Michigan State University. Journalism. This was what I always wanted.
Michigan State gave me a home. They made me feel welcome, loved, and accepted. I will be a proud Spartan until I fucking die. And when I sign your book in the deep green ink, know that's why.
I know all of the ADHD jokes. I've made most of them myself. But it's lonely here. You know that you have the most juice in the room. It's in your brain, and it teases you, won't let you get at it, so at the end of the day, you're the fool. You feel inadequate, even when you are being praised like the second coming of Christ.
Don't even get me started on being a combat veteran with ADHD, either. You always feel like the next battle for your very existence is right around the next corner. Your head stays on a swivel, and what's worse, that training you got in the military sticks.
I miss deadlines and instantly hate myself. The battle starts, and my brain is the courtroom, one side trying to convict me of abject laziness, the other fighting it off like Johnny Cochran to prove that I'm the genius everyone said I was as a kid.
But you don't feel that way, no matter what you know.
Having an ADHD brain is much like owning a cat. They're awesome when they cuddle up with you and purr, like when you win the little battles and do things and find solutions you're actually proud of.
Not so much when you can't keep your mind on the most fleeting things, and the cat has found your fresh laundry to sleep on. We're not even going to go into the way they enjoying tearing the side of the sofa out because, well, claws are meant to be sharp.
An example: I just spent twenty minutes whilst writing this simultaneously getting pissed the hell off because I was squinting at the words I can barely read wishing they were clearer.
Where the hell are my glasses? I've been trying to locate them for most of those twenty minutes. I tend to misplace things.
They're on top of my head.
I once drove 35 miles backtracking to find my $125 pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. We had been in a cave of some sort, the exact place is lost to me now, and after a protracted search, accepted defeat. Upon declaring said defeat with utter sadness, one of the party realized...
You guessed it. They were on top of my damned head. For 70 miles of driving, and two hours of constant bitching.
That's why nobody lets me near the nuclear briefcase. And that pleases everyone, including me.
The worst part of it is that you feel alone. You wonder if you are the only one dealing with this level of constant issues.
But I am not. Now I know for a fact I am not, and there are many people who help, and I couldn't be more grateful for them. I present to you first the one that has made incredible strides in helping people just like I begin to get their collective shit together.
Her channel on YouTube, How To ADHD, has been an absolute game-changer for me.
I learned that many of the traits that I have struggled with and hated about myself over the years are directly connected to it. Knowing the causes of things makes it easier to forgive yourself for them and create your own battle plan to resolve them.
I said I was an addict in the beginning, and you might think I am making light of a serious issue in society.
People living with ADHD, as you will see in the above video, are lacking dopamine triggers in the way most people have them. I am addicted to dopamine. Like everyone else with this different brain-mapping.
I am neuro-divergent, another way of saying it.
Wait! I found it!
I should point out that this post has taken about ten days to write. Since I got to the Jessica McCabe video, about six or seven days passed. I finally got the last few paragraphs and the cat picture we were looking for at the beginning of the post done tonight. Procrastination is also a hallmark.
You're welcome. I'll be here all week.
Tip your server.