It’s the little things

I wasn’t diagnosed with acute ADHD until I was 38 years old. What can I say? I’m a late bloomer.

That also means I spent most of my life frustrated with myself and belittled by others for not being able to focus or just . . .

I was only diagnosed after entering a new work environment that was loud and chaotic, which spiked my inability to stay focused for long periods of time.

I found myself with two choices at the time: Either figure out what was going on or lose my job.

Initially, I thought I might be dyslexic.

After taking a battery of tests, the psychologist who administered them looked at me and said, “Holy shit! I’ve worked with children and adults for 18 years and have never seen someone with as an acute a case of ADHD as you. How have you functioned this long?”

I’m pretty sure the comment was a mixture of truth and an attempt to disarm me with humor. Anyway, the diagnosis led to coping strategies and some medicine.

It helped. I never told my boss about the diagnosis. He just assumed I miraculously got my shit together.

Through the diagnosis I also learned I have a superpower. It’s called hyperfocus.

Here is what hyperfocus is, as explained in the ADD-centric publication “ADDitude”:

“Hyperfocus, a common — but confusing — symptom of ADHD, is the ability to zero in intensely on an interesting project or activity for hours at a time. It is the opposite of distractibility, and it is common among both children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”

The best part about hyperfocus is my ability to spend hours fixated on a work task that I find completely engaging. The worst part about hyperfocus is my ability to spend hours fixated on a work task that I find completely engaging.

The truly funny part about sharing my ADHD diagnosis, work woes and hyperfocus superpower wasn’t even why I began writing this blog post.

I started out wanting to share the graphic below I created for work before Kings Island Amusement Park in Mason, Ohio announced its new 300-foot-tall giga-coaster, Orion on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (The coaster opens next spring.)

Graphic by Brian Mains for WCPO

As I started to write this post though, I realized I probably spent way too much time creating the graphic, which reminded me of my ADHD and the pitfalls of hyperfocus.

And that’s what led me here – the end of this post, where I share another aspect of my ADHD – I ALWAYS underestimate how long it will take me to do something because I ALWAYS forget that I ALWAYS find myself meandering down a few side streets and tangents along the way.


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