So I cannot think straight today because of this:
So I’m going to share with you day-in-the-life post that I wrote about the bullshit of living with ADD that I wrote it for The Cut but then they cut it down to just a few sentences and that makes sense because it’s right there in the name but I still wanted to share the whole thing here and then I completely forgot about it because I have ADD. *sigh* But here it is, in its entirety and you probably need to read it if you share my diagnosis or love someone who does.
I have had ADD (attention-deficit disorder) for as long as I can remember but that’s only because I literally can’t remember when I was diagnosed because I have ADD. Technically I don’t even have ADD because at some time when I wasn’t paying attention they decided that ADD should be folded under ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) but since I don’t have the hyperactivity part (which would possibly make up for all the time I lose getting distracted by otter videos) my diagnosis is actually “Inattentive-Type ADHD” which I literally can never remember the name of and when I go looking for it I end up in a rabbit-hole of “Do you have ADD quizzes” which pretty much is a pretty good indication that, yes…yes I do.
I didn’t actually know that I had ADD for a long time because I also have clinical depression and anxiety which can mimic a lot of the symptoms of ADD so it can be hard to tell exactly which of my mental disorders is being the biggest asshole at the time. If you get misdiagnosed with ADD (it happens a lot) and you actually have anxiety disorder masquerading as ADD it makes your anxiety disorder jump into overdrive and can make everything a million times worse but if (like me) you have ADD and anxiety you just end up trying to balance the anxiety of having ADD with the ADD meds that help lessen the anxiety of not being able to concentrate while at the same time heightening the anxiety of your anxiety meds not working because your taking stimulants for your ADD. And my head hurts just from trying to explain that last sentence.
A typical day in the life of me:
Midnight – My plan to go to sleep early was thwarted when I fell into a Wikipedia page about all the ways people have died at DisneyLand. I scold myself and close Wikipedia. I take a quick glance at my instagram before going to sleep.
3am – How are there this many otter videos on instagram? How is it already 3am?
3:30am – Can’t sleep. I ask twitter if they’re still awake too. They are and they are all thinking about that dumb thing they said in junior high. This is strangely comforting.
4am – My dog (Dorothy Barker) is whining. Can’t remember if I took her to pee before bed. Take her again while pretending to talk to the police on my phone just in case a serial killer is hiding in the bushes.
8am – Wake my 16 year-old daughter up for virtual school. Make sure she gets up and doesn’t immediately fall back asleep. Immediately fall back asleep myself.
10am – Wake up, vowing to go to sleep at a normal time tonight. Take the dog to pee. Take a shower. Forget if I’ve used conditioner. Use conditioner again. Wonder if I used shampoo. Start all over again. Remind myself to buy shampoo and conditioner because I’ve run out again for some reason.
11am – Can’t remember if I took the dog out. Take the dog out again.
Noon – Time to get to work. Wonder why there’s a word for noon and for midnight but not for any of the other times. Ask my husband, who tells me to get back to work because I guess he doesn’t appreciate the value of a curious mind and also because he just looked at my computer and pointed out that I have over 300 unread emails. This is when I realize that I need to take my ADD meds so that I can concentrate but then I remember that I need to eat something first.
Go to put bread in the toaster. Realize there is already bread in the toaster. From yesterday. Realize that I’d started making a sandwich for lunch yesterday and must’ve forgotten halfway through and now it suddenly makes sense why I was ravenous last night.
Make a new sandwich but realize I’m out of cheese so start a grocery list but then that make me think of my to-do list for the day and that I have a meeting that started 2 minutes ago. Run to get on the zoom call. No one is on there. Do a quick email search and find that it was postponed days ago and I just didn’t know because I’m so far behind on email. Feel alternately good for being only two minutes late to a meeting that didn’t actually exist and then bad for exactly the same reason. Realize that I still haven’t taken my ADD medicine. Also realize I left my sandwich on the kitchen counter and Hunter S. Thomcat has eaten most of it. Clean it up and then notice there are dishes to clean to so I start rinsing but discover I haven’t emptied the dishwasher and then realize that I’d forgotten to evenstartthe dishwasher last time I’d filled it. This reminds me that I also forgot to put the load wet clothes in the dryer. I did the same thing yesterday but I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I washed those clothes (was it yesterday?) so I just ran them again. Wonder if that was yesterday I’m thinking of or day before yesterday. Decide to run the clothes again. Wonder if I’ve accidentally set a Guinness world record for washing the same load of clothes the most times ever and imagine Greta Thumberg looking very disappointed in me, which I totally deserve.
OH MY GOD I STILL HAVEN’T TAKEN MY MEDICATION.
Go to the medicine cabinet. Look at bottle and wonder if I’ve already taken my pill for the day and just forgot. Remind myself to get a calendar to keep track of this and everything else. Wonder if it’s worse to take slightly too much or slightly too little before deciding to skip it just in case.
Dorothy Barker whines. I can’t remember if I took her out or if she’s just fucking with me. She looks like she wants to pee. Take her out again. Or for the first time. WHO KNOWS? Consider putting marks on my arm to remind myself that she’s gone out many times and is not trustworthy but then realize that would mean keeping up with a pen on a regular basis, which is just not going to happen.
3pm – HOLY SHIT – HOW IS IT 3PM? Reply to a glut of emails, all of them opening with variations on “Have I answered this? Do you still need me? I am so sorry. I am an idiot.” Also open dozens of emails that seem too complicated or overwhelming and then change them to “save as unread” so I can come back to them later and they can continue to haunt me forever.
4pm – Realize I have not seen my child since this morning. Find her playing Dungeons and Dragons online with friends. Make her eat something and check her schoolwork and tell her about the importance of focus and dedication until I get distracted by the dog who is whining and I can’t remember if I’ve taken her out today so I grab her leash and keep talking to my daughter as I walk Dottie out. My daughter says, “I think you forgot something” as I that notice Dorothy Barker is halfway across the lawn without me because I’ve literally FORGOTTEN TO ATTACH THE LEASH TO HER COLLAR. Dorothy Barker looks just as baffled as she stares at me holding a leash which is attached to nothing. This image is an analogy for my damn whole life.
5pm – I kept forgetting to charge my phone throughout the day until an hour ago when I finally plugged it in at 2%. Went to pick it up. It is now totally dead because apparently I forgot to plug the charger into the wall.
6-10pm – It’s been 4 hours since I may or may not have taken my ADD meds so that means it’s safe for me to take more. Take ADD pill even though it’s late and will make me stay up too late. Write. Email. Make business decisions easily that I labored over all day. Look like a normal person. Remember to put the clothes in the dryer and then start a new load of laundry because I have more faith in tomorrow me than I possibly deserve. Dorothy Barker whines. I take her for a walk but make sure to tell her that I know exactly what she’s doing and that she’s not fooling anyone (except for me a dozen times throughout the day apparently).
11pm – My husband asks why I’m still working at 11 at night and tells me that if I worked normal hours I wouldn’t be up this late fighting deadlines. He tells me that opening and closing work and not finishing it is crazy and that “touch it once” is the key to success. This all sounds very valid but my medication is wearing off and I really want to get into bed so that I can get a good night’s sleep and wake up at a normal time tomorrow but first I want to finish reading that Listicle about all the famous people who were decapitated. Feel exhausted because I worked like mad but accomplished only half of what I wanted and am filled with anxiety about all of the things I can’t remember that I’ve already forgotten.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
And I’m exhausted just from writing this.
But I remind myself that (in spite of myself) I probably accomplished a lot more than I think I did but I just can’t remember it. And after all, if you’re going to lightly hate yourself for your faulty brain fucking things up you should probably give it credit for the amazing things you just didn’t recognize you did at the time.
Did I try hard? Yes.
Did I survive the day? So far, at least.
Was I kind to myself and others? I hope so.
Am I human? Fully and totally.
Did I take the dog out? OMG YES. STOP ASKING.
Wait…did I take the dog out? Yes. You totally did. I was messing with you. Sorry.
That’s okay. Wait, when did we slip into a conversation with myself?
No clue. But let’s go with it because I think you need someone to tell you that you’re doing fine. Even when you’re sort of falling apart and doing it all wrong, you’re doing just fine. Just like everyone else. Just like the person reading this right now.
Is someone reading this?
Yep. And maybe they have the same struggles and maybe they have different ones but no matter what they should remember to appreciate how important they are regardless of what they have or haven’t accomplished today.
And also to go put the clothes in the dryer.