Another in my series of living with ADHD, and not really realising it. Link for part one, Returning to Self and link for part two, I’ll Tumble 4 Ya. This one is a hot mess of sounds, time awareness and bruises.
I remember driving out of Doncaster Shopping Town, our son was still in his car seat with a five point harness, so not very old. He was cross, he was ratty, he was over shopping, people, lights and noise and his general demeanour in turn had set me off. I was sat at the traffic lights, also ratty, also over people, lights and noise so I did what I do to cope.
I put on some music really loud.
Our son started crying louder. I turned it up so I couldn’t hear him.
3.2km later (I’ve just looked it up), I had to pull into a garage at the roundabout, I was also now crying. I stopped the car in a parking bay and got into the backseat next to him. I undid his car seat and we sat with each other. Me apologising for putting the music on and upsetting him more.
In my late teens and early twenties I discovered clubbing. I went out to dance. From 9pm to 1am, two or three nights a week, I was on the floor. I didn’t care if I was the only one dancing, unusual for me not being worried about being up and visible. The music and the clubs I went to were a safe haven. The music pounding in my chest, took all thoughts away from me.
The bouncers knew me by name, I’d go clubbing with P and later E. Whoever I was with, it meant we’d be pulled out of the queue and fast-tracked in. The taxi company P and I used would also send a car out quicker to us at the end of the night, because they knew we were only 8 minutes up the road from the club and were sober. A quick turnaround and an easy job.
Every so often you get a song that lifts everyone and is the song of the season. If you’re lucky, its a great tune and will stay on the DJs radar, this is a song I listen to almost daily and I still love.
Bonus points if you knew what it was going to be before the link opened up 😉
It was a total floor-filler, the entire dancefloor wafting around in the middle of the song, waiting for the beat to drop and then we’d all go crazy. That song is my everything. It’s my starting ritual. It’s my mood changer when the world has gone to hell in a hand basket (hence the daily play). It’s my pep talk. I honestly can’t tell you how much I love it.
I’m going to do a playlist on Spotify, watch this space.
Rarely, I can also use it for a burst to get me through and give me one spare spoon for the day. If I do use it for that, I know I will need to get to bed earlier and sleep later as I’ll be useless in the morning. Life-style-tip, having batch-cooked and running a pantry saves me; because when I’m totally fried, it is very rare that we as a family won’t have something to grab and go for lunch or to nuke when we’re home in the evening for dinner.
Saltwater came out just as my heyday of clubbing in Eastbourne was coming to an end. In those days, we didn’t have the Spotify, so would you believe, I never knew what it was bluddy called! In a pub in deepest Wiltshire, I was behind the bar, on a walk around collecting glasses, the DJ put it on so he could have a pee-break. Crossing the dance floor, I asked him ‘What is this called?’ From the next morning, first via Napster.
Around the same time; we worked it out it was within the same month, the husband walked across a dancefloor in a pub in Townsville to ask the same question. About as far away from Wiltshire you can get. He still loves it too.
I was in Coles supermarket in the town we used to live in before we moved to Regional Victoria. I got to the tills and freaked out, leaving my shopping behind. I took our son and just bolted to the car. I thought I was having a panic attack, or extreme anxiety. Nope, I was again overstimulated, overwhelmed and overambitious about what I needed to get done.
The husband and I were both working full time, our wee man was in nursery full time. However, I wasn’t being paid for nearly six months of the year as the child care rebate cap (subsidising care for working parents), mostly being that around each January if you work full time you will hit the ceiling of what is paid to the centre. Leaving you to pay everything. Which means, my entire take-home wages went on fees from January through the end of June. I’d get a tax rebate at the end of the financial year, we’d pay some off what we’d had to put on the credit card. Wash and repeat for six years.
The husband was trying to keep it all together at his work, heading into the city from our suburb, getting up and onto a train before our son was awake. Our son was also picking up every single bug going, if he woke up poorly, I would be the one that had to stay home. When my six months trial period came up, the aforementioned eejit said ‘I don’t know if you’re suitable, you’ve not been in for a full week since you started.’ I had hysterics, took advice and offered to extend my trial period out for another six months to show that I was. There is more I could say here, but we’re going to leave it for now.
Being employed for over six months did mean I was able to access the EAP, (Employee Assistance Program). The Monday after the Coles trip the weekend before, I called the EAP from a meeting room. I said that I was having problems with my son. Reader, I wasn’t, I was in full flight mode and just pegged it out of Coles because my body told me too. My clearest memory was carrying him out like a surfboard when I shot out of Coles, I had put all my focus on us leaving. At the meeting, I was met with someone armed and ready to give me parenting advice. Not to talk me through having a meltdown myself, which is what happened.
From there I did get some regular counselling, but that eejit? I had to work late to go to appointments, even if they were over my lunch break. Did I mention disdain and disregard is something to look forward to working through with ADHD too?
Learning to rest and recuperate is the hardest lesson I’m learning.
Writing about what I’ve been like my whole life, has taken me back to through time and place really clearly. I know we’re all struggling with time as a concept since 2019, it really has become more nebulous the world over. But that is what it is like for me, all the time. No pun intended. Whenever I’m going ‘home’, that is basically where I’m sleeping tonight. If I’m your guest wing, that’s home.
My sense of place and time is truly up the wahoo. If I say ‘A few weeks ago’, that could mean anything from about 2010 onwards. I’ll say ‘You remember!’ to the husband, and he’ll give me a blank look. I then have to go on a breadcrumb trail through people, places and things to get to where my brain is, leading him on a journey that I’ve just leapt to in my head.
My brain also fires off so quickly, I can forget what I’m doing, while I’m doing it. You know when you get up to go into the kitchen and forget why you’re there? That is me, daily. I live by lists, lists of lists, post-it notes, notes in my phone, a pad by my bed for when I wake up at 2am remembering something. I carry a note pad in my pocket at work so if I’m away from my desk I can pull it out. I can be found standing staring into space, pad and pen in hand, as by the time I’ve got them ready – I’ve forgotten what I’ve meant to remember. It is also my superpower though, as I can read a room and organise the shizzle out of anything because of what I’ve learned to do to organise myself.
I also didn’t realise until the past few weeks unconsciously since I’ve been in the workforce and flying a desk, I’ve set my day up by constantly drinking gallons of tea and water. Which means, I have to get up and away from my desk for a break. That was another 2am revelation that made me sit bolt up right in bed.
As I’m not aware of what is around me, I will walk into things. Fall over things. Drop things. I crash into people in the city, and not just because they walk so fricking slowly either. I am covered in bruises from walking into my desk; walking into walls or worktops; either opening the car door onto myself, or shutting the door onto my leg as my brain hasn’t yet got my leg in the car, before on autopilot it’s told me to shut the door.
If something is not in front of me, it does not exist. I love my bibelots as Georgie calls them, but if I have too many things around me, I get a bit lost. It’s great though, because I know when we go through the boxes of things in the garage over Easter, I’m going to see lots of things I’ve forgotten I had. As soon as I see it, I’ll remember. But seriously, the amount of
This has gone on a bit long so I’m going to leave you with a shining moment of ADHD glory. Every so often when I’m overstimulated and fretting about things, I will need ‘order and method’. Aside from buying a new notebook (the possibilities of them are endless. I can go into hyperdrive and go through the house on a purge and donate heaps of things to charity.
I used to live in a town with a fantastic second-hand bookshop. I’d take bags of books in, rummage around and come home with bags of different books #Bliss. One day I saw a book and thought excitedly, ‘I’ve not read that in ages!’ On the bus on the way home reviewing my bountiful haul, I opened the book up and saw my name in it.