ADHD / Adult ADHD / Anxiety / Coping Strategies / Pets Gone Wild

Adult ADHD: Despite our best intentions…blowing it.

We of the ADHD tribe all have days where, despite our best intentions, something goes wrong. Even when we don’t realize it. Especially when we don’t realize it. Yes, I realize that sounds like a major understatement, obviously we have days where things don’t go quite right, but to clarify, I mean a day where you THINK you are knocking it out of the park.

Yesterday started perfectly in every way.

I’ve had a hard time maintaining a positive attitude recently, so I started my day by just enjoying being alive, and giving negative thoughts a smack-down. Sometimes, it’s truly the only way to get rid of them: Push them away and think about something else.

I had a meeting to go to, and it’s a meeting that I always leave feeling good. There’s no drama there, I feel appreciated. It was productive and stress-free.

My next destination was one that gives me a great deal of stress but as I arrived, I started talking to myself again, reminding myself that the vigilant voice of anxiety that likes to run me like a puppet, isn’t the voice that gets to make all the decisions. I breathed in some air. I was thankful for warm winter boots. I arrived at my work area, put on my headphones (this helps me focus) and started some design projects that I truly enjoyed. Had an energizing and validating conversation with a co-worker.

Arrived home and Sonny (the husband) was home before me, getting ready for his gig, packing up the PA system, loading up the guitar and such. And he says “You know what was really weird? When I got home, the back door was unlocked, open, and both dogs were free ranging around the house.” Huh? Was the little one wearing his clothes, I wondered? Yes, he said, he was just like that: The chihuahua stares back at me, leash on, stripey turtleneck erect. Tail wagging.

I realize that none of these things is world-ending, but I have certain things that I am REALLY particular about. First of all, it was about 10 degrees Farenheit yesterday, why in the shit did I leave the door wide open? I’m the one that is always turning the heat down to 60 before leaving the house and worrying about the bill. Then there’s the fact that the door was unlocked – nobody’s perfect, but it’s completely fair to say that I’m obsessed with locking the doors (even though I live in a place where nobody really gives a crap about locking doors…people here leave their cars running and keys in the ignition in the winter while they run errands around these parts…). I check locks randomly during the day, I check them especially when Sonny is not home (he knows KARATE), and before I go to bed or leave the house, I check the locks. I’m naturally obsessed with the status of the door locks AND I’ve further trained myself to think about it. The fact that I didn’t lock the door, nevermind close the door, truly freaked me out.

And then there’s the dog. He’s a little imp, that one. He can’t be left out free ranging because he will pee on the floor if unattended, so I put him in his crate when I leave. And no, I’m not one of “those” people that costumes their dog regularly, but it’s winter and he’s nearly hairless so I put clothes on him when he’s out running around in the house or outside in the winter. I never leave him unattended in clothing, because I’m afraid he’ll try to take it off on his own and strangle himself. Yes, this is really how my brain works. Yes…it’s exhausting at times. And there he was, wagging his tail, fully decked out in his winter style, with a leash on…at least now I know why I found a wet spot in the middle of the livingroom floor.

But here’s what really bothers me: I don’t remember any of this. I mean OBVIOUSLY I don’t remember these details or I wouldn’t have not-done any of it. But I don’t REMEMBER.

I remember waking up, taking my meds, feeling good, feeling particularly organized before I left the house, feeling warm and awesome in my coat and boots. I remember talking to the dogs as I packed my last details…I remember…

Coming home and being told that I left my house wide open, my dog running wild. It’s like there’s a chunk of about 5-10 minutes of my morning that doesn’t even exist in my brain.

It’s moments like this where ADHD truly bothers me. Yes, people make mistakes…but these are basic, ROUTINE things, that I have trained myself to be very meticulously careful about, EVERY DAY. I do these things EVERY DAY.

I tend to have certain ADHD-related things that are more likely to be a problem for me. Like I get antsy sitting in a class, or at events where you just sit in a chair, unless it’s lighting my brain up like a firework display. I have a hard time listening when other people are talking (even if I’ve learned to fake that one pretty well). Mornings are never going to be my time of the day. My mind runs races with itself – usually many at one time (hence the title 18channels). Forgetting to close and lock my door to my house, and forgetting to tuck the naked dog back into his crate aren’t the type of thing I usually forget – because I work so hard to remember them. I have to pick and choose what I spend my limited working memory on, and these are things I budget for. And I still BLEW IT.

That hurts. Yes, I know, forgive yourself, I get it, I do it all the time…but it hurts. And my tiny dog could have ended up stuck outside in the middle of the heartless winter. I guess at least he was wearing clothes.