Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Living With Adult ADHD

The light bulb went off for me yesterday.  My loved ones were already in the light.  They knew long ago there was a name for my strange ways.  Was I the only one in the dark?  Now I know why I get bored easily.  There was a reason I worked three jobs while playing on the tennis team my first year in college.  I thought that was normal.  It helps me understand my drive to write everyday.  I must write.  It's a part of me.  So is my hyper-focus, a form of ADHD.

Last night I watched The Book of Eli for the second time.  It's an awesome movie.  If you're planning on renting it, stop reading today's story and come back later after you see it.  Spoiler alert!  I'm giving away the ending in today's blog.  The ending was a shocker, wasn't it?  Who would have known Denzel Washington was blind?  All the signs were there, however, no one knew until the end.  Eli was laser focused on one thing... go west and deliver the book.  He refused to let anything distract him.  He made no excuses for his shortcomings.  In fact, he used his blindness as a way to sharpen all his other senses.  If you substitute hyper-focus with Eli's blindness, and point him east instead of west to deliver the book at all costs, then you have my story.  That's what I noticed for the first time last night when I saw the movie for a second time.  Once and for all, my eyes are wide open and I see all the puzzle pieces coming together.

If you're dealing with anything outside the norm of society, such as adult ADHD, OCD or any other  idiosyncrasy, I make this promise to you:  I will be here every day to encourage you.  Let's journey together.  There are no excuses here.  I do believe some adjustments are necessary in order to keep the peace with my loved ones.  Here's my strategy for dealing with my hyper-focus disorder:
  1. Tell my family I have adult ADHD.
  2. Maintain boundaries in my life to prevent me from ignoring the world around me when I'm in the "writing zone" and I lose track of time.  This means setting alarms clocks and designating writing times.
  3. Set up schedules so I don't miss any meals when my mind drifts.
  4. Organize every area of my life.
  5. Slow down.  My life is not a sprint, it's a marathon.  I need to behave more like a long-distance runner.
Eli crossed the finished line.  He ended up at Alcatraz, a place I once escaped from, thanks to my ability to hyper-focus on physical fitness training for one year of my life, and thanks to a special cousin who was willing to help me train.  He yelled out during a training swim in La Jolla when we saw fins (they were dolphin fins but I didn't know it at the time),  "don't freak out."  Those words are useful today on mile 14 of my marathon.  I will use my hyper-focus as a gift and I will publish books that inspire others to stay on course and finish their race. 

What unique gifts do you have that you are willing to share with others?  Please add your comments below.

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