Humor Blogs - Blog RankingsBlog DirectoryRSS Search

Living with Attention Deficit Disorder – ADD – for a Lifetime

by George on March 6, 2011

In hindsight, it all makes sense.

The clutter that adorned our basement, three garages – then, eventually, five garages – plus a trailer and a truck with a utility box marooned in the back yard, were symptoms of a problem that would not have a clinical definition until the second half of the 20th century.

As recent as 20 years ago I regarded my father’s predilection for collecting things he thought he might one day use was a result of his hardscrabble life as a child of the Great Depression. In all likelihood, it probably accounts for a good chunk of the “stuff” found in our basement, garages, and elsewhere.

But, aside from the quantity of the tools, parts, scrap, equipment, and other things occupying virtually every inch of these places, there was a conspicuous lack of organization to almost all of it. The end result is that my father had, typically, everything he needed. The problem was that he could never find anything when it was needed.

ADD affected earlier generations, too

This was no small problem.

When my father could not find things he knew he had, the frustration would typically send him into a rage that terrified everyone in the house. Cats, dogs, and kids tried to “get small” just like troops weathering an artillery barrage. There often was no meaningful warning of a gathering storm – and the sound of slamming drawers, as alarming as gunfire, would be your only warning.

Compounding the problems of a senseless inventory was a persistent litany of projects that remained suspended in time as one project was stopped and another started.

Although my father was an industrious man, he struggled with what we now know as Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD.

Attention Deficit Disorder is an actual neurobiological disorder – which is essentially something of a chemical screw-up that affects the transmission of chemical signals across specific synapses in the brain. It’s not unlike a faulty traffic signal.

The synapses being impacted are the ones associated with what is referred to as “executive function”. Think of executive function as that element of your personal psychology that controls impulsivity and your ability to selectively focus. In other words, it’s that part of your psychology that elects to study instead of reviewing porn.

The problem here is obvious. External stimuli is not adequately sorted through according to other higher-order desires – like the desire for order.

It also produces an angst about initiating projects because you get so caught in all that has to be done, you become overwhelmed and do nothing. The inability to conclude projects denies you that psychic sense of accomplishment and leaves you frustrated and angry.

It’s one of the reasons that ADD and depression have such a close affinity.

I find myself reflecting on my father’s struggles with exasperation and rage with a poignant sadness. How different life might have been if he’d known about ADD.

Leave a Comment