I’ve known I have ADHD since i was around 24. I found out by myself by searching online for solutions for my very short attention span, learning about ADD and then going to a specialist on these issues for an actual test. The discovery explained a lot of things about who I am and why I act as I do, and most importantly, knowing what I have allowed me to take the right steps to combat it.
Still, sometimes I keep surprising myself with just how much I need to trivially multitask in order to keep myself focused on my primary task. Trivially multitasking means doing small things with my hands, and feet and whatnot, in order to keep my splitting concentration from doing something even more disrupting. So I chew my fingernails, tap my feet, scratch and pick my nose, squeeze a rubber ball, chew the inside of my cheeks and lips, grind my teeth and so on. I usually do at least 3 of these things at the same time as my main task and I do them subconsciously, meaning that I only realize I’m doing them after I’ve done it for a bit.
However some times, I surprise even myself on the amount of things I need to be doing all the time, like today for example, where I was talking to my wife on the phone. Normally, I really don’t like talking on the phone. I find it boring and a few minutes is enough for me, at which point I just want to hang up and continue doing whatever I was doing before. This time however, I seemed to be more tolerant of the act and while talking on the phone my mind started working on why this might be and then it struck me on how many things I was doing at the same time at that point. I was talking on the phone with one ear. On the other ear I was listening to music via a ear-set. On my left hand, I was playing with a coin. On my second monitor, I was watching my electric sheep screen-saver (which, if you’ve seen it, is quite enthralling by itself). And finally, I was tapping my feet.
When I mentioned this to my wife (who knows a lot about ADD from her profession), she explained that there’s no way she would be able to do all these at the same time.
I’ve now formed another half-arsed theory on why I especially hate talking on the phone. You see, most people, even without ADD, do something more than simply talk on the phone. Doodling on a notepad is a common occurrence for long talks, and I’d seen both my mother and various other people do that. It occurs to me then that a phone-call is by default a not very enthralling activity. It just doesn’t contain the concentration of most people enough, which makes them want to do something extra while on the phone. Something like doodling is enough for most. However when you combine this with ADD, being on the phone becomes almost intolerable since doodling is nowhere near enough to fill up your attention.
What do you think? Anyone else with ADHD who has similar experiences?
- ADD & ADHD: Symptoms in Adolescents (brighthub.com)
- ADHD, ADD and the reason I for one as a parent would……. (floyd-wooley.blogspot.com)