ADD and the Creative Person…


For those that lead an office life or other blue collar job with ADD, it’s hard to concentrate, be organized and meet deadlines.  While you’re at work, your brain is processing lists, things to do, things that really need to be done, and, in moments of sheer panic, things that needed to be done, and have been forgotten.

For all of us that suffer from ADD, we lose things, can’t find other things, kick ourselves for not having put that thing (You know that thing.) where we could find it later.  We are forever chasing keys, looking for wallets and purses, and trying to figure out where that other shoe happens to be hiding.   Yes, if we happen to be in a relationship, we endlessly frustrate our loved ones with our frantic searches and being upset with ourselves for not being “better put together”.  We fuss, call ourselves stupid, and incompetent.  We put ourselves down; at least I do.

For a creative person with ADD, it’s working on one thing while our minds are racing with new ideas for jewelry, sketching, blogs posts, novel writing, poetry, painting, clay work.  If you were to walk into a workshop of someone with ADD, you would find it littered with projects that have been started and not quite completed, because we got an idea for something else that we had to start doing, right then.  It’s looking at a workbench and seeing us working on a necklace while a sketch lays half finished and poly clay is curing in the oven for an idea that popped up, and a tea maker brewing the latest recipe for an herbal tea with scribbles on a note pad about how much of which herb is in there that’s probably been erased, added to, or struck through a few times.

Do we get projects done?  Yes, we love that sense of accomplishment, of being able to sit back and look at what we have just finished.  We love filling orders, making jewelry, finishing that sketch, and getting that clay project just right.  We love it.  We just can’t do it in one sitting.  Oh, and we are constantly looking for new hobbies and things to do.  All this while we try to keep house, cook, and manage everyday things.

It’s a little wonder that we break down, shut down, and feel like we do everything while everything lies around us, unfinished, not dusted, and uncooked.  We have moments when we finally sit down and think of all the stuff we have on our plate…  and PANIC.  Why? Because we think we have been doing it all, and it hits us like a ton of bricks when we realize that nothing is finished.  We get upset and panic when we realize we are three piles behind on laundry because we were working on a website/necklace/clay beads, and we thought we did it, but there the piles sit, laughing.  We get frustrated because we were going to start dinner at four to eat at five, and got caught up with writing that next chapter, and before we know it, it’s six and nothing is even prepped.

Oh, we think we have a handle on it.  We make lists, set reminders on our phones, and make appointments with ourselves to decompress and relax.  This list?  Lasts for about three days.  The reminders?  We do good for a week or so, but then they become a bother when it goes off in the middle of a project we have just about completed.  The decompression?  That usually happens before we go to bed, in the shower or bath because we were to busy to stop for a break.  We have our loved ones frustrated with us when they walk into our workshop to bring us lunch, they see the breakfast they made for us is half-eaten and cold because we got nose-deep in a project and forgot it was there.

We try to do everything in our mind at the same time.  We know it’s impossible, but we try anyway.  Oh, how we try.  Just be patient with us.  Be supportive.  If you want us to eat the whole meal when we are in the middle of something, no matter how we protest, drag us out of that workshop, and sit us down at a table with no distractions.  Remind us that we need to take that break.  I swear we will be grateful for it when we realize that we needed it.  It is one thing to be creative.  It’s quite a whole other thing to have ADD and be creative.  Hang in there with us.  We are trying, we just lose the fight sometimes, and get caught up in everything our brain is telling us we can do, and if we seem to be moping, it’s because everything hit us at once and we have short circuited, broke down, and shut down.  Our concentration is non-existent.  It has left us listlessly clicking from tab to tab on the browser, not really paying attention to what is on the monitor.  We walk in and out of the workshop not knowing how to start finishing anything.  We are spent, depleted, and utterly zombie-like in our funk.

Just love us.  Sit us down in front of the idiot box with tea, water or something a little harder to drink.  Sit next to us and put your arm around us.  We need it.  Trust me.  We need it.

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