The Problem of “Keeping It Up” & Other Random Thoughts

Random Thought Number 1023: It can be difficult to keep it up each and every time. There’s the pressure to keep it up. There’s the embarrassment of not keeping it up. What’s even worse, you work so hard to make sure you can keep it up and sometimes you just fall flat on your face. For well over a year I’ve been using a system to organize my desk: folders; paper calendar; colored marking pens, etc. (I wrote about it in ADDitude Magazine.) It’s grown exponentially. There are too many folders, too many barely legible notes on scraps of paper. My monthly/weekly/daily planning calendar is overflowing with details that requires using an avalanche’s worth of sticky notes. I’ve also been clipping on additional pages that have yet more details (and details and details) associated with various appointments and tasks. I know that I’ll eventually reach my Popeye moment (“That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more”) and put it all in order but, till then, well, I have to live with the mess.

Random Thought Number 847: I’ve figured out how to deal with my seasonal affective disorder. No more depression for me. This year I’ll remain in panic mode in anticipation of the depression. That’s progress, no?

Random Thought Number 621: So when extraordinarily creative and successful people like Steve Jobs leave their mortal coil, must we assume that they had ADHD? Just wondering out loud because it seems that some people make that assumption. (Attila the Hun was extraordinarily creative and successful. Was he an ADHDer too?) The real question I have is this: when ADHDers make this assertion about someone’s ADHDness — whether or not it is true — are they really saying something about the person who they assume has ADHD or are they really trying to say something about themselves? I don’t mean this in a mean or pejorative way but anyone who has ADHD or lives with an ADHDer knows that ADHD is debilitating. It is not manna from heaven and it is not a gift from the gods. It simply “is” and it “is” something that you have to confront – whether you embrace it, curse it, or try to ignore it like a mosquito – every single moment of your life. When you are awake, when you sleep, when you have sex, when you weed the garden, when you drive your car, you have to deal with your ADHD. The only known escape from ADHD is death. Short of death, you have to live with it and deal with it. So, again, I ask the question, what are we ADHDers really saying about ourselves when we assume that someone famous has ADHD?

A Message From Our Sponsor: The person providing the best answer to the question, “What are we ADHDers really saying about ourselves when we assume that someone famous has ADHD?” will receive a free Slap Chopper. Contest ends 11:59PM on October 1st, 2011. Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

Random Thought Number 768: I’m confronted with the same problem that I had in 2007. I believe that Adderall is helping me to feel normal but I have no clue what “normal” is supposed to feel like. How will I know “normal” when I see it and live it? I’ve never seen the world (or myself) the way others see the world (or myself). Is the medication making me “normal” when I decide to stop writing and cooking and growing vegetables and, instead, throw myself onto the sofa, flip on a football game and yell at my wife for not bringing the beers fast enough? Is that what “normal” is?

No? That’s not it?


I get it.

“Normal” is supposed to be about accomplishing your goals in life. Interesting.

So what happens if those goals are unrealistic and, therefore, are never achieved? Are you still “normal”?

Random Thought Number 933: Remember that “mess” that I described in Random Thought Number 1023? Well, here’s a random thought based on that random thought. (Still with me?) That mess is the externalization of the internal mess in my head, a result of going off of Wellbutrin and Vyvanse. Though getting off of those medications has put me in touch with my inner porn star, it has also resurrected the internal AND external Chaos of the ADHD weltanschauung. Those medications, it seems, only masked and suppressed Chaos and once they were out of my system the Chaos was back.

Perhaps it was naive to think that I could circumvent physics (the Conservation of Chaos assures that chaos cannot be created or destroyed). But it is disappointing to see that the years of Wellbutrin/Vyvanse induced “normalcy” did not have a lasting effect.

Random Thought Number 621 (cont’d): We’re really trying to make ourselves feel good in the same way we identify with a sports figure or team in order to make ourselves feel good. Through some sort of magical transference “their” good fortune – hitting home run number 500 or winning a world series – rubs off on us. We all want to feel like we’re a winner, so we identify with winners.

By the way, there’s a theory that says that some people vote for president, not based on who is the best candidate, but based on who they think will win.

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  • Gina Bina

    Weighty questions all, Jeff.

    When you look at the “normal” (is that the same as average?) among Americans, it ain’t all that attractive, is it?

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Normal=Average. That sounds about right. And you’re correct. It’s not very pretty. In fact, it’s about 30 pounds overweight. ;)

  • Anonymous

    Regarding RT 621: What we mean when we say Steve Jobs had ADHD is since I have ADHD,  I am exceptional like Steve, and I demand that you acknowledge my exceptionalism.

    When we merrily list the relatively few famous people with ADHD symptoms, we always fail to mention the way more numerable people in prison (something like 70% of incarcerated individuals, if I remember correctly) that have the “gift of ADHD”. We all want to be associated with Steve Jobs, but deny we’re just like Jake who raped his disabled father.

    And another thought, not only has ADHD kept me from achieving my goals, I can’t pay attention long enough to figure out what the hell my goals are. Some gift.

    Take care my friend,

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Neil, we’re in 400% agreement. You’ve described “the gift” beautifully and you’ve hit the nail on the head concerning the magical transference of exceptionalism from person A to B.

    • Lolly

      Agreed. We all secretly want to believe that ADHD is a gift. We all want to separate the positive traits and say that we are somehow “special”, “talented”, “gifted” or whatever, and just shove all the negative crap under the carpet.

      On another level, though, I think that we all have a strong  need to see that someone has finally made it. We’re looking for hope, mostly in all the wrong places. Hell, I’m 26 and I haven’t accomplished any of the the grandiose plans I intended to. I just keep coming up with more and finish none. To label a successful person ADHD is to believe that, if he did it, the you can too. Which is pretty much nonsense, but still, it makes a lot of people out there feel better, like a pat on the back.

      • Jeffs ADD Mind

        “I’m 26 and I haven’t accomplished any of the the grandiose plans I intended to. I just keep coming up with more and finish none.” – I’m 54 years old and keep coming up with grandiose plans, etc. HOWEVER, I am *finally* able to reign it in and the improvements have been absolutely amazing! Most important, keep in mind that you were diagnosed twenty years before me! I was diagnosed at age 46. I had no clue as to why my life was falling apart. Here I am at 54 and I’m working damn hard at undoing lots of bad habits, accepting those I can’t change, and then just moving on in life. My point is that five years from now you’ll look back on this time and you’ll see how much your life has changed for the better. You have a twenty year head start on me in terms of your diagnosis.

        • Lolly

          I really have come to appreciate the fact that I found out at this point. Reading so many stories of people that discovered it in their 50′s and 60′s has made me realize that I still caught it early enough. Moreover, I find it utterly admirable and respectful that these people decided to get their lives back despite their regrets over lost time. It’s just amazing how things can change after the diagnosis- I even see a difference in myself, even though it’s only been a few months.

          • Lolly

            Funny, I meant to write “respectable” instead of respectful, but on second thought, it seems perfect. Respectful towards life itself and all its possibilities regardless of one’s age.

          • Jeffs ADD Mind

            ” It’s just amazing how things can change after the diagnosis- I even see
            a difference in myself, even though it’s only been a few months.” – Yup! And you’ll see a lot more change.

            Boy…I wish I knew at 26 what I know at 54.

      • Jeffs ADD Mind

        “shove all the negative crap under the carpet” – That’s something I refuse to do. I can’t confront my enemy unless I truly know my enemy in all its ugliness.

  • Scott Hutson

    I know the answer to your question: “What are we ADHDers really saying about ourselves when we assume that someone famous has ADHD?”
    We are saying we have not yet looked at the scientific research that has, and is been done in regards to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. When we ASSUME that someone famous has ADHD.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      Maybe the issue is that we HAVE looked at the scientific evidence concerning ADHD and we don’t like what it says.

      • Scott Hutson

        Good observation Jeff. I know I don’t like what it says about me. And I know you have looked at the scientific evidence concerning ADHD. But the recently diagnosed ADHDers that believe the myths concerning ADHD (I was one) are, I honestly believe… learning the hard way…whether I like it or not, I see the evidence of that. 

  • brucecharlton

    Hey there, great writing. You allocate very informative info about random thoughts. I enjoyed reading your post. Particularly the random thoughts number 768, 933 is amazing to read for. Good work! Thanks

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